Arts and Culture: Cultural Analysis (research)

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The Research Master's programme Cultural Analysis is dedicated to the interdisciplinary analysis of culture at large.

Since its beginnings in 2001, the Research Master's programme Cultural Analysis has rapidly gained a leading reputation in the field and is constantly attracting growing numbers of high-level applicants from around the world. The programme is dedicated to the interdisciplinary analysis of culture at large. Cultural phenomena such as works of art and literature, cinema and new media, popular culture, as well as social belief and value systems are examined and analysed. Emphasis is placed on textual, visual and historical details in the context of the social, political or aesthetic movements that underpin them. Their implied normativity and the ways in which identity, difference and otherness are negotiated across the cultural spectrum are questioned. The University of Amsterdam's (UvA) Cultural Analysis research programme is unique in the Netherlands and one of the leading programmes of its kind worldwide. Its curriculum reflects the research activities of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA).

This programme prepares participants for entry into a related PhD programme. The programme is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study and analysis of contemporary culture. It seeks to enhance analytical skills and to train students to explore a field of study and an object of inquiry that is not necessarily deducible from or reducible to disciplinary traditions.

Programme outline

The programme yields a total of 120 ECTS credits: for three core courses, electives, tutorials and a supervised individual research project (Master's thesis). Students with a related Master's degree should be able to complete the programme in one year (70 ECTS credits).

The specific number of credits a student is required to obtain through coursework is determined by the admissions committee and is based on the student's previous qualifications. Fulfilment of all of the requirements will take at least two years.


The core courses and electives all take the form of seminars devoted to the detailed study of texts, cultural objects, theories and methodologies in the field of cultural analysis. Tutorials are small groups of up to five students who work together under specialists' supervision. They provide an intellectually challenging and stimulating context in which students can narrow their focus. The core courses, electives and tutorials provide the training and preparation necessary for writing the Master's thesis (which can also serve as the basis for future research, such as for a PhD).

Research activities

Students are encouraged to participate in additional ongoing research activities, including international workshops and conferences organised through ASCA. Recent ASCA guest lecturers have included: Anselm Haverkamp, Diane Crane, Judith Butler, Cesare Casarino, Szusa Baross, Geoffrey Hartman, Murray Pratt and Sam Weber.


The Master's thesis is a research project carried out by the student under the supervision of two members of the academic staff involved in the programme. The subject of the thesis must be mutually agreed upon by the student and the academic adviser(s). Researching and writing the thesis takes at least six months.

Degree requirements

Upon successful completion of the Master's programme, students receive a Master's degree in Cultural Analysis and the title Master of Arts (MA).

Credit transfer

Students who show exceptional promise during a regular or professional Master's programme are encouraged to continue their studies in a research programme. Once students are admitted to the research programme, they can transfer credits earned during their previous course of study towards their Research Master's degree. The examination committee determines which courses qualify for transfer.

Grade average: A /3.8 (American system), 2.1 HONS (an upper second class honours degree in the British system), B (ECTS-system), or 7.5 (Dutch system). Previous education: The Research Master’s in Cultural Analysis is open to all students with a Bachelor’s diploma from the UvA, or a recognised equivalent from another accredited university in: - The Humanities The level of the Bachelor’s diploma from a foreign higher education institution must be equal to three years of Dutch university education (to be judged by the Examinations Board). Prospective students with university Bachelor’s diplomas other than those mentioned above can nonetheless apply for admission to the programme. The Examinations Board will in such cases take a look at the content of the prospective student’s Bachelor programme, his/her study results and general motivation. Language test: IELTS: average score 7 TOEFL: score 100 Cambridge Advanced English: score A2 Cambridge Proficiency in English: score B1 Written request: Cultural Analysis is a research programme, which means that it is meant for students with strong academic interests. This is the principle reason why the UvA decides to follow a selection process. During the process, the university’s selections committee scrutinises the content of a student’s Bachelor programme, his/her study results (for research programmes an average grade of 7.5 is mandatory), Bachelor thesis and general motivation. Once admitted, students are given leeway to determine their own research trajectories. Additional language requirements:Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English: A2Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: B1IELTS overall band: 7IELTS listening: 7IELTS reading: 7IELTS writing: 7IELTS speaking: 7TOEFL internet based: 100 English Language Requirements IELTS band: 7 CAE score: (read more) Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is part of the Cambridge English suite and is targeted at a high level (IETLS 6.5-8.0). It is an international English language exam set at the right level for academic and professional success. Developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment - part of the University of Cambridge - it helps you stand out from the crowd as a high achiever. 80 (Grade A) TOEFL iBT® test: 100

Scholarships / Grants:

The University of Amsterdam:
The University of Amsterdam provides a limited number of full and partial scholarships for excellent students from outside the European Economic Area. The Amsterdam Merit Scholarships have specifically been designed to offer talented, ambitious and dedicated students the opportunity to pursue a Mast
For additional information: Website


Accredited by: NVAO in: The Netherlands

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Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 2.04 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 11.3 k / Year(s)
66 place StudyQA ranking: 1957 You need IELTS certificate
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