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Cultural Studies

PhD in Cultural Studies

A PhD in Cultural Studies, a dynamic, growing field of inquiry, equips you with the cultural expertise and critical research methods needed to transcend disciplinary boundaries as you examine ideological dimensions of culture and power struggles among competing systems of representation.

Cultural Studies situates culture as a site of power struggles between competing systems of representations and the ways of life that they support. Our scholars use critical theory to examine cultural practices and activist politics in a variety of intellectual and practical settings. As a student in one of the oldest Cultural Studies programs nationwide, you will study with faculty-scholars active in American and hemispheric literary studies, African American and Black Diaspora studies, feminist and queer studies, and many other fields. Your study includes training in field- and text-based research, ethnography, textual analysis of film and media, archival studies, and oral history, spanning the humanities and allowing you to tailor your academic experience. The PhD program offers ideal circumstances for collaborating with colleagues in other CGU departments and schools as well as with the other member colleges in the Claremont University Consortium.

Program Highlights
  • CGU is only 35 miles from Los Angeles, one of the most multicultural and diverse cities in the world with a wide array of internship and field opportunities.
  • You can pursue a PhD in Cultural Studies in conjunction with another degree program at CGU, such as an MA in Religion. You earn a diploma for each degree and “double count” some units from one program to the other to decrease your required total units.
  • You can pursue elective coursework in other CGU departments and schools and across the colleges of the Claremont University Consortium.

Program At-a-glance

  • 72 units

    required units

  • PhD in Cultural Studies

    degree awarded

  • In Person


  • Spring, Fall

    program start

  • 4-7 years | full time*

    estimated completion time

Areas of Concentration

  • American Studies

    The American Studies concentration takes a multidisciplinary approach to the study of United States culture, society, civilization, and identity through the curricular lenses of history, literature, critical theory, and more.

  • Early Modern Studies

    The Early Modern Studies concentration undertakes interdisciplinary examination of history, culture, politics, and society within the transitional and transformative period that stretched between Medieval and modern societies, marked especially by the advent of print, Christian confessional war, and the rise of the modern state.

  • Hemispheric & Transnational Studies

    A comparative analysis of culture in the Americas, the concentration in Hemispheric & Transnational Studies explores how scholarship on the Atlantic, borderlands, and diaspora have reshaped U.S. American Studies, Caribbean Studies, and Latin American Studies, emphasizing the topics of empire, race, religion, and revolution.

  • Media Studies

    Situated at the bustling intersection of cultural studies, new media, critical theory, and popular culture, the burgeoning field of Media Studies examines the creative and critical practices of media consumers, producers, artists, and scholars, focusing on questions of representation, power, technology, politics, and economy.

  • Museum Studies

    The Museum Studies concentration investigates the history and political role of museums in society, the interpretation and display of a wide variety of cultural productions, and topics of special concern to museums as cultural organizations, using a multidisciplinary, practice-based approach to understand the historical development of this evolving field.

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Gigi Audoma

Director of Recruitment for the School of Arts & Humanities


Where You Can Find Our Alumni


  • Lucia Cantero

    Lucia Cantero

    Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies

    Research Interests

    Consumer culture, social media, algorithms and data science, infrastructures and urban public space

  • Deshonay Dozier

    Deshonay Dozier

    Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies

    Research Interests

    Black studies, urban geography, policing and carceral studies, abolition studies, cultural studies, indigenous studies, racial capitalism.

  • Portrait of Joshua Goode

    Joshua Goode

    Associate Professor of Cultural Studies and History
    Chair, Cultural Studies (Fall 2022)

    Research Interests

    Modern Spain, 19th- and 20th-century Europe, Genocide and racial thought, Museums and commemoration, Memory

  • Portrait of David Luis-Brown

    David Luis-Brown

    Associate Professor of Cultural Studies and English
    Chair, Cultural Studies Department

    Research Interests

    Hemispheric Americas studies, Latino/a/x studies, Black diaspora studies, American literature and culture

  • Darrell Moore

    Darrell Moore

    Visiting Associate Professor of Cultural Studies
    Philosophy Teachout Coordinator

    Research Interests

    Aesthetics, Africana Intellectual Thought, Critical Theory, Continental Philosophy

  • Portrait of Eve Oishi

    Eve Oishi

    Associate Professor of Cultural Studies

    Research Interests

    Cultural studies, Media studies, Feminist and queer theory, Asian American studies

Extended Faculty

  • Elizabeth Affuso

    Pitzer College

    Research Interests

    Spectatorship, Fandom, Branding, Technology, Architecture, Moving image media art, Reality television

  • Aimee Bahng

    Pomona College

    Research Interests

    Gender and women’s studies

  • Myriam Chancy

    Scripps College

    Research Interests

    African diaspora with specialization in its literature

  • Jih-Fei Cheng

    Scripps College

    Research Interests

    Feminist and queer of color approaches to media representations of public health issues

  • Ciara Ennis

    Pitzer College

    Research Interests

    The appropriation of Wunderkammer tactics in contemporary curatorial practice

  • Paul Faulstich

    Pitzer College

    Research Interests

    Cultural ecology, Ecological design, Ecology of expressive culture, Aboriginal Australias

  • Jennifer Friedlander

    Pomona College

    Research Interests

    Cultural studies, Contemporary art controversies, Film theory, Psychoanalytic theory

  • Martha Gonzalez

    Scripps College

    Research Interests

    Chicanx-Latinx studies

  • Jesse Lerner

    Pitzer College

    Research Interests

    Media studies

  • Susan Phillips

    Pitzer College

    Research Interests

    Community, gangs, and environment

  • Erin Runions

    Pomona College

    Research Interests

    The intersections of biblical interpretation and political philosophies, with their multiple impacts on political subjectivity, gender, sexuality, U.S. national sovereignty, and biopolitics

  • David Seitz

    Harvey Mudd College

    Research Interests

    Cultural geography


Additional Program Requirements

Course Requirements
72 units

  • Three 300-level Cultural Studies foundation courses
  • One Research Methods course
  • One Transdisciplinary course
  • Thirteen elective courses

Up to 24 units transfer credit from previous graduate work in relevant fields may be substituted for the elective coursework.

Research Tools Requirement

  • Two research tools

PhD Completion

  • PhD qualifying exams
  • Dissertation

Application Guidelines

Requirements Summary

Item Description
Application Fee $80
Official Transcripts Yes
Letters of Recommendation 3
Statement of Purpose Yes
Resume Yes
Academic Prerequisites Master's Degree required
Standardized Test Scores Optional
Other Requirements Writing sample, English proficiency exam

Key Dates and Deadlines

CGU operates on a priority deadline cycle and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit complete applications by the priority dates in order to assure maximum consideration for both admission and fellowships.

Spring 2024
Priority Deadline – November 1, 2023
Final Deadline (International) – November 15, 2023
Final Deadline (Domestic) – December 1, 2023
Classes begin – January 16, 2024

Fall 2024
Priority Deadline – February 1, 2024
Final Deadline (International) – July 5, 2024
Final Deadline (Domestic) – August 1, 2024
Classes begin – August 26, 2024

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Cost & Aid

Tuition and Fees

Program 72 units
Tuition per unit* $2,020

*Based on 2023-2024 tuition rates.


$245 Student Fee
$150 Technology Fee
International Student Services Fee*: $661 fall semester, $776 spring semester
**Applies to all international students (F-1 visa only) who are registered in coursework, doctoral study, or continuous registration. The fee is assessed each fall and spring semester for annual ISO accident and sickness plans and administrative fees. Subject to change.

For estimates of room & board, books, etc., please download CGU’s Cost of Attendance 2022-2023 .

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