Department of Popular Culture

Bowling Green State University is the only institution in the nation to have a Department of Popular Culture. We offer a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to earn a bachelor of arts degree with a Popular Culture major and for graduate students to earn a masters degree in Popular Culture. Undergraduates majoring in any field can take approved Popular Culture courses to meet BGSU humanities requirements and can complete a Popular Culture minor or a Folklore minor. We regularly offer both graduate and undergraduate courses in popular music, television, film, literature, and folklore, as well as courses that focus on how to research and analyze popular culture and its influence on society.  

Popular Culture students study those aspects of national and international culture which have the most impact on a majority of the population. The 10 full-time faculty in the department hold doctoral degrees in American Culture, Anthropology, Asian Studies, Ethnic Studies, Folklore, and Women's Studies: we share an interest in bringing these different perspectives to our research and teaching about popular culture. While popular culture may at first appear to be a trivial matter, it turns out to be the site where many of the most important and controversial issues are explored and debated.


Get a Degree in Popular Culture

Training in Popular Culture can prepare students for many careers.

News and Stories

Popular Culture Summer Research Institute

“Popular Culture Past and Present: Experiencing the Archives” For the fifth year, the PCA/ACA, the BGSU Department of Popular Culture, the Ray and Pat Browne Library for Popular Culture Studies and the Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives are jointly sponsoring a summer research institute at Bowling Green State University from Sunday, June 14, 2020 through Friday morning, June 19, 2019. This institute is generously supported by the School of Cultural and Critical Studies, the Dean of University Libraries, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Provost at Bowling Green State University, as well as by the PCA/ACA. The institute will introduce 20-25 scholars from across the country and the globe to the research and pedagogical treasures of BGSU’s very special collections. Scholars will engage in conversations and activities to learn best practices in researching, writing, and workshopping projects in popular culture.

Eileen O’Neill inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Three outstanding alumni received Bowling Green State University’s highest honor when they were inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Alumni as part of Homecoming 2019 festivities. This year’s honorees included retired Discovery executive Eileen O'Neill ’90, ’14 (Hon.); Sandusky City Schools Superintendent Dr. Eugene T.W. Sanders ’80 , ’85 , ’92; and J. Robert Sebo ’58, ’13 (Hon.), former senior vice president for Paychex Inc.
You may not know Eileen O’Neill, but you might know one of the many TV programs she created during her tenure at Discovery Communications, including “Cake Boss,” “Long Island Medium,” “Say Yes to the Dress,” “Naked and Afraid,” “Fast ‘N Loud,” “The Little Couple,” “Sister Wives” and “Toddlers & Tiaras,” just to name a few. O’Neill’s road to Discovery’s headquarters in Maryland began in Ohio. As part of her master’s program in Popular Culture at BGSU, O’Neill started at Discovery as an unpaid intern, organizing the company’s first tape library. Read More

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the baccalaureate degree, students in Popular Culture are expected to be able to:

  • Apply critical analysis to the popular culture environment, both in the present and in its various historical manifestations, in order to discuss such matters as how popular culture shapes/reflects our personal and social experiences, how popular culture shapes/reflects diversity in a multicultural society, and how popular culture shapes/reflects American culture's relationship to global culture(s);
  • Explain ways in which the materials of popular culture are shaped by aesthetic, social history, and cultural forces, and how the materials of popular culture influence these forces as well;
  • Describe basic theories and methodologies relevant to popular culture scholarship, and apply those theories and methodologies in research;
  • Demonstrate how diverse aesthetic systems embody the visions and values of different cultural groups;
  • Convey ideas orally and in writing.

Accreditation and/or Program/Cluster Review
Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

The Popular Culture program is currently undergoing Program/Cluster Review.

Professional Licensure (If applicable)
Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The Popular Culture program does not lead to professional licensure.

Gainful Employment (If applicable)
Under the Higher Education Act Title IV disclosure requirements, an institution must provide current and prospective students with information about each of its programs that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

The Popular Culture program is not a recognized occupation that requires a Gainful Employment disclosure.