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Program Requirements

Note: University regulations apply to all students at Laurier. If there is any discrepancy between the program or progression requirements outlined on this page and those in the university's academic calendars, the academic calendars are the official sources of information. The information below is from the latest calendar, and you may be following progression requirements from an earlier calendar. Students are responsible for checking the appropriate calendar. Contact your program coordinator should you notice any discrepancies.


The curriculum of the Cultural Analysis and Social Theory (CAST) program is divided into a core set of courses and three fields of inquiry.

Core Courses

A two-term, biweekly colloquium and two core courses provide graduate students with grounding in the theoretical and methodological issues relevant to their program of study. Together, these required courses provide a strong foundation for developing the theoretical perspectives and qualitative research concepts and methods students will utilize in their own research.

Three Fields of Inquiry

In addition to the core courses, students will also choose the courses for their degree completion requirements from three complementary fields of inquiry.

  • Globalization, Identity and Social Movements
  • Body Politics: Gender, Sexuality and Embodiment
  • Cultural Representation and Social Theory

Program of Study

All master’s students must maintain a satisfactory academic standing as required by the general regulations of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Master of Arts (MA) in CAST students must successfully complete 4.0 approved credits in order to fulfil the degree requirements for the program.

In order to fulfil their degree requirements, students may choose either a Coursework option or a Major Research Paper option.

For the Coursework option, students take:

  • CQ600: Colloquium (0.5 credit)
  • CQ601: Cultural Analysis and Social Theory (0.5 credit)
  • CQ602: Approaches to Cultural Analysis (0.5 credit)
  • Five electives (2.5 credits)

For the Major Research Paper option, students take:

  • CQ600: Colloquium (0.5 credit)
  • CQ601: Cultural Analysis and Social Theory (0.5 credit)
  • CQ602: Approaches to Cultural Analysis (0.5 credit)
  • CQ695*: Major Research Paper (1.0 credit)
  • Three electives (1.5 credits)

With the approval of the CAST program coordinator, elective courses may be taken in another MA program at Wilfrid Laurier University. Students may also arrange to take one of their electives as a Directed Studies course (CQ650) under the supervision of an individual CAST faculty member. 

Cast Courses

All courses in the program are organized as seminars and include a significant research and presentation component. However, CQ650: Directed Studies may, at the discretion of the instructor, differ in form and content. In each of the core and elective courses, students are required to complete at least one substantial research paper. There are no formal examinations in CAST. Individual instructors are responsible for the assessment and evaluation of student work in the courses that students take.

Major Research Paper

The Major Research Paper is similar to a thesis in quality of work, but it is shorter in length and narrower in scope than a thesis. Students will complete a paper in which they engage in original research on an approved topic. Papers should be between 12,500 and 17,500 words in length, excluding bibliography. The MRP will be evaluated by a supervisory committee consisting of a faculty supervisor and one faculty reader. The supervisor will work closely with the student in supervising the research and writing of the paper, but both may advise and both will grade the final paper. The final grade will be an average of the two grades. All CAST faculty who are members of the Graduate Faculty may serve as supervisors. There is an oral defence of the MRP. The student’s performance at the MRP defence will be taken into account in determining the final grade for their project.

Duration of Program of Study

Normally the master's program will be completed within two to three terms by full-time registered students in the course work stream. Students who elect the major research paper option will be expected to complete the research requirements, including all suggested revisions to the paper, within 12 months. Permission of the program coordinator will be required to take more than four half-credit courses besides the colloquium in a single term.

Students requesting an extension will be expected to complete all requirements by the end of the following fall term. Students given permission to complete their requirements part-time will be expected to complete all course work within two years.