Graduate Program

POPC wordle

Master of Arts in Popular Culture

Students from all parts of the country have been attracted to our graduate program during the past four decades. One reason is close student-faculty working relationships. Normally, about 16-20 graduate students study with members of the graduate faculty. Another factor is the highly individual nature of study programs jointly developed by the student and the graduate advisor which produces Popular Culture Master's theses and alternative projects such as museum exhibits covering a wide-range of topics and subject areas. Each program is designed to fit the interests and needs of the individual graduate student. A third advantage is the excellent holdings of the University Library, especially in popular culture materials. The Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives, with some 700,000 items, is the finest academic collection of popular music in the United States. The Browne Popular Culture Library contains an extraordinary collection of popular print materials ranging from hardcover best-sellers to movie posters and television scripts.

In addition to the core curriculum of three courses (Theory and Methods, Folklore, and International Popular Culture), graduate seminars are offered on a variety of topics selected in consultation with current students.  In 2008, 2009, and 2010, seminars topics were: Genre & Authenticity in Music; Health, Illness & Folklore; Television as Popular Culture; Culture of Childhood & Youth; Superhero & Genre; Music & Sexuality; Black Popular Music; Grassroots Creativity; Popular Music in America; Female Body & Film Theory; Heroes & Villains; and Television Comedy.

Outside the classroom, there are many opportunities to develop professional skills as well as socialize with other graduate students.  An active student organization, Popular Culture Scholars Association, organizes an annual conference and sponsors other activities related to the study of popular culture. Popular Culture MA students join with MA and Ph.D. students in BGSU’s American Culture Studies Program in the student-run Culture Club.  The Culture Club sponsors a film series, organizes the Battleground States annual academic conference for graduate students, and meets regularly for pizza lunches.  Many of our graduate students present papers at regional and national conferences of the Popular Culture Association and other academic organizations, and they participate in the Center for Popular Culture Studies’ monthly colloquium lecture series as organizers, audience, and presenters.  These opportunities to present original research have enabled several of our MA students and recent graduates to publish articles based on their work at BGSU in academic books and journals. 

The Department is able to offer a number of graduate assistantships with monthly stipends for teaching, research, or other duties assigned within the Department of Popular Culture as well as tuition scholarships for MA students. Additional funds are available to support travel to conferences and thesis research.

After earning a Master's degree in Popular Culture at BGSU, students have gone on to Ph.D. programs in folklore, history, English, American studies, and other disciplines and interdisciplinary fields.  Popular Culture MA graduates are currently enrolled in doctoral programs at University of Kansas, Michigan State University, Bowling Green State University, University of Hawaii, George Mason, St. Louis University, Indiana University, University of South Florida, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, Rutgers and Ohio State University.

For more information, please feel free to contact us.

  • Graduate Coordinator and Department Chair:
    Kristen Rudisill /

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

  • Interpret and critically evaluate specific case studies in diverse cultural and historical contexts using fundamental concepts, major debates, and methods of analysis of the global phenomenon of popular culture with theories of race, class, sexuality, gender, and disability.
  • Produce a research project of publishable quality with a rigorous argument and strong theoretical basis that demonstrates engagement with contemporary scholarly discourse.
  • Develop and communicate (verbally and in writing) clear, persuasive, and sophisticated interpretations of popular culture materials and practices.
  • Evaluate how popular culture shapes and reflects personal and social experiences, diversity in a multicultural society, and American culture’s relationship to global cultures.

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.