Cultural, Social, and Political Thought (PhD)

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Length of program

48 months

Mode of delivery

In person

Program consists of:

  • Thesis
  • Coursework
  • Comprehensive examination




Fall and Spring

Program description

Please note this is not a Political Science program. We offer a Political Science major at master's level only; please visit our Master of Arts in Political Science program page for more information. 


The Cultural, Social, and Political Thought major in the Ph.D. program is interdisciplinary in nature. It is based on a cohort learning model that fosters an environment of interdisciplinary engagement and exchange, research, peer mentoring, and collaboration. The overall academic aims of the major are to emphasize the breadth and depth of social, cultural, and political thought and to inculcate the intellectual and practical tools needed to work successfully with community partners and agencies to facilitate social change. Students graduating from the Cultural, Social, and Political Thought major are trained experts, who demonstrate a range of professional skills (e.g., teaching, peer reviews, presentations, critical thinking, etc.) and research competencies. Graduates are capable of producing novel, relevant, and rigorous research that makes significant and substantive contributions to interdisciplinary knowledge.

This major is thesis-based. Students are required to complete 9.0 to 18.0 credit hours of graduate semester courses and a thesis. A list of the required courses for this major is outlined in the Graduate Studies Calendar and Course Catalogue.

This program is highly theoretical and interdisciplinary in nature and intended to ground students in a body of cognate critical theories and methodologies. Across disciplinary boundaries, the Cultural, Social, and Political Thought major emphasizes the critical engagement of ideas and their manifestation in shifting cultural, social, and political contexts.

Finding a supervisor

​Applicants are required to secure a potential supervisor prior to submitting an application for this program.​

Faculty members from various departments can supervise in this area; you should contact a supervisor who shares your research interests within the framework of the CSPT major. For further information on securing a supervisor, please visit our Search Supervisors page.

Career pathways

Students in this program have the opportunity to develop comprehensive expertise and advanced understanding of: 

  • theoretical frameworks related to cultural, social and political thought such as Feminism, Poststructuralism, Postmodernism, Settler Colonialism & Postcolonialism,  Critical Theory, and Culture & History;
  • the interdisciplinary area of cultural, social and political thought. Research topics are not constrained but are likely to include such problems, issues, and concepts as gender, race, class, disability, sexuality, equality, citizenship, justice, power and resistance;
  • relevant methodology and methods such as Discourse Analysis, Ethnography, and Qualitative Interviewing;

and advanced ability to propose, design, present, and disseminate original and relevant research in the interdisciplinary area of cultural, social and political thought.