Cultural Studies Program

Program Director: Dr. Michael Tristano, Jr., 

Why Cultural Studies?

  • How does culture impact our lives? 
  • Where does culture come from? 
  • How can we shift culture in the interest of social change? 
  • What, exactly, is culture? 

If you are curious about how to answer these questions, Cultural Studies may be a great fit for you. The Cultural Studies Program invites Cultural Studies majors and minors to interrogate how culture is produced, the impact of consuming, performing, and experiencing culture, and how culture shapes communities. With a specific focus on critical thought/theory and social justice, Cultural Studies is particularly invested in the examination of culture through the study of power. In other words, it studies how racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, and other forms of oppression influence culture and vise-versa. The Cultural Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program that brings together faculty and students from across the university to study different subjects of interest including, but not limited to, gender, sexuality, race, class, globalization, science and technology, national identity, and art and performance. This interdisciplinary approach utilizes the methods of inquiry of the humanities, social sciences, and critical cultural theory, as well as science, mathematics, economics, and health professions. 

Alumni of Cultural Studies find work in a variety of sectors including diversity and inclusion work, law and government, journalism and publishing, technology, non-profits, media and entertainment, community organizing, and international relations. They also have a competitive edge when applying for scholarships and grants like Fulbrights, programs like the Peace Corp, and graduate programs across a variety of disciplines.  

The program faculty boast an impressive record of scholarly research and creative production across a variety of subjects. Students are invited to work closely with faculty members whose interests align with their own. In addition to departmental faculty teaching in the program, Cultural Studies also connects students to affiliated faculty across the university.

Internship Program Guidelines

Cultural Studies has a successful and robust internship program that is part of the program's capstone experience. Students can complete a six-unit Capstone Project or a three-unit Capstone Project and a three-unit Internship in Cultural Studies. Visit the department website for information on the internship application and approval process. All internship worksites must be approved by the internship coordinator.

Departmental Scholarships

The department is fortunate in being able to offer CLST majors a number of scholarship opportunities, including the Jamie Parker Memorial Scholarship, and the Louis Adam Dollenger '75 Memorial Scholarship. Typically, scholarship applications are due in early February for the next academic year.

Departmental Activities

The Speak Up, Speak Out! (SUSO!) Residential Learning Community invites students to live together and learn public speaking and advocacy skills. The department supports the Public Communication Center, a center to help students improve their advocacy, public speaking, and class presentation skills, and Pi Kappa Delta, the national honorary for speech and debate. The department sponsors a Welcome Back event in the fall and two major events in the spring--a campus-wide public speaking contest and the Communication Studies Symposium. The department also provides workshops, lectures and alumni events throughout the year.