A female BGSU master’s student in popular culture works on a computer and does research in the extensive collections at the popular culture library.

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Popular Culture

BGSU is the only U.S. university to offer a master’s degree in popular culture. Our M.A. program is recognized nationally and internationally. It has attracted students from across the country and around the globe over the past four decades.

Work with renowned faculty from multiple disciplines to tailor your degree to your interests and choose a focus area. The program offers thesis and non-thesis options.

An extensive alumni network provides a variety of internship, study and networking opportunities. BGSU houses the most extensive academic collections of popular music and culture in the country.

Program highlights

  • Personal attention. Smaller class sizes allow you to develop close relationships with faculty.
  • Individualized degree. Pursue your passions. Work with a graduate advisor to identify academic and research interest areas for a master’s thesis or project.
  • Acclaimed faculty. Learn from the best. Our faculty members are widely published and globally recognized. Their research is enhanced by interdisciplinary support from across the campus.
  • World-class collections and centers. BGSU is home to the finest academic collection of popular music and culture in the U.S.
    • Center for Popular Culture Studies – promotes the study of popular culture through fellowships, conferences, lecture series, research and advising on K-16 curriculum development
    • Browne Popular Culture Library – the most comprehensive archive of its kind in the country. Preserves print materials ranging from hardcover best-sellers and graphic novels to movie posters and TV scripts.
    • Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives – houses almost a million recordings and is considered to be the finest academic collection of popular music in the U.S. The sound recording collection is supported by books, scores, video/film, hard-to-find periodicals, fanzines, promotional materials and archival collections.
  • Popular culture events. Faculty and graduate students often organize and host popular culture conferences on topics ranging from electric guitars and heavy metal music to comic books, romance novels and Asian popular culture.
  • Active alumni. Our extensive alumni network provides a variety of internship opportunities.
  • Opportunities to network and learn. The Popular Culture Scholars' Association supports your professional development and links undergraduates, graduates, educators and outside scholars in conversation. The PCSA hosts professional development programming and an annual Ray Browne Popular Culture Conference.

BGSU is the only U.S. university to offer a master’s degree in popular culture.

Career opportunities

Graduates of our popular culture master’s program are highly successful at gaining admission to Ph.D. programs.

Recent graduates have pursued higher degrees in fields such as:

  • English
  • Communication
  • Children’s literature
  • American studies
  • Music
  • Texts and Technology
  • World Arts and Culture
  • African Cultural Studies
  • Folklore

Popular culture M.A. alumni have pursued careers in:

  • Political activism
  • Music industry
  • Nonprofit work
  • Media (television, graphic novels, journalism, social media management, digital content production and news)
  • Counseling
  • Museum or library work
  • Higher or secondary education
  • Business
  • Journalism

Career paths

  • Popular culture critic
  • Arts reviewer
  • Television executive
  • Magazine editor
  • Public relations specialist
  • Museum curator
  • Journalist
  • Author
  • Arts administrator

Quick Facts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

View Average Salaries


The Master of Arts in popular culture is an interdisciplinary program designed for students with unique academic interests.

  • Study with faculty from diverse fields such as anthropology, folklore, Asian studies, women’s studies, American studies, ethnic studies, media studies and ethnomusicology.
  • Develop interdisciplinary projects across media, time periods and regions.
  • Integrate popular culture studies with studies of race, class, gender, sexuality, disability and nationality.

The program is highly individualized. You will work with a faculty advisor to choose an academic focus and decide whether to do a thesis or a project.

Past pop culture project topics include:

  • Disabled Heroes: Disabilities in Rick Riordan's Greek and Roman Retellings
  • Diversity of K-Pop: A Focus on Race, Language and Musical Genre
  • Fair and Lovely: The Concept of Skin Bleaching and Body Image Politics In Kenya

Required courses

Two women taking a selfie. Cellphone habits are one phenomenon studied by BGSU graduate students in the popular culture program.

Sample courses

  • Pop Culture Theory and Methods
  • Folktales and Proverbs in Africa
  • Philosophy of Play and Gaming
  • Music and Sexuality
  • Heavy Metal Music and Culture
  • Female Action Heroes
  • Black Popular Music
  • Indian Popular Culture

BGSU College of Arts and Sciences

The Popular Culture graduate program is a part of the Department of Popular Culture in the School of Cultural and Critical Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Updated: 12/13/2023 02:44PM