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Graduate Studies in English & Cultural Studies

McMaster has long been considered one of Canada’s best places for graduate work in English. One of Canada’s more established graduate programs, it has been offering MAs in English since 1950, and PhDs since 1965. As a mid-sized department, taking in about 25 MAs and 10 new PhDs every year, we offer an alternative to huge departments where graduate students may receive little individual contact or exchange. At the same time, we are large enough to cover all the fields of study, from Medieval to Contemporary, including leading, influential approaches like postcolonialism, poststructuralism, popular culture, cultural theory and gender, to name just a few. Building on McMaster’s strengths in theory and the analysis of contemporary culture, we also support an interdisciplinary MA in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory (CSCT), housed in the English department, but drawing on faculty from across the University.

In recent years, Departments of English around the world have seen an explosion of interest in cultural studies and critical theory. These areas of research offer a different approach to literary studies and have raised a host of new questions.

Without limiting itself to traditional texts, cultural studies examines the conditions of cultural and social life through an analysis of a wide range of cultural and social practices, inquiring into areas such as gender, sexuality and the body, race and ethnicity, mass culture and visual culture. Critical theory emphasizes the development of self-critical, self-reflexive interpretive strategies. Most importantly, both cultural studies and critical theory challenge accepted theories and critical practices in order to open up new ways of thinking and being.