Degree Requirements and Special Courses
All single-major and joint-major students must take two of CUST 1500H, CUST 1510H, CUST 1520H, CUST 1535H, or CUST-INDG 1570H (see First Year in Cultural Studies). Students focusing on one particular area of concentration may graduate with a Specialization if they have successfully completed 4.0 CUST credits in their chosen Specialization. The same course may not simultaneously count toward two or more Specializations. The transcripts of students who have successfully completed the Specialization option will contain the notation “with a Specialization in [the appropriate Specialization]."
For further information about Department requirements consult the Cultural Studies section of the academic calendar.
In addition to lecture, seminar, and workshop courses, Cultural Studies offers Honours students the chance to take reading, internship, and thesis courses, or "Honours courses." The general pre-requisite for all Cultural Studies Honours courses is 10.0 university credits. Students who have not fulfilled this requirement will only be able to register in courses through the submission of a signed add/drop form, authorized by the Cultural Studies Department Office. Although there is no GPA requirement to register for an Honours course, students are reminded that graduation from Trent with an Honours degree requires a cumulative GPA of 65%.
Honours reading courses are available as CUST 3900Y, 3901H, 3902H, 4900Y, 4901H, and 4902H. Registration in reading courses requires the permission of the instructor and the Chair of the Department before registering. An interested student should first approach a potential instructor with a general description of their proposed course. If the instructor agrees, the student and instructor should collaborate to create a course syllabus to be approved by the Chair.
The deadline for submission of an outline for reading courses to begin in the next Fall session is July 1, while the deadline for reading courses to be taken in the Winter session is November 30. Students wishing to take more than one reading course must petition the Chair of the Department.
Fourth year Cultural Studies and Media Studies majors can receive university credit for experiential learning conducted outside of Trent University by completing CUST 4041Y/4541H: Internship in Media and Cultural Studies. This course fulfills the criteria and desired outcomes of the capstone course currently encouraged in Trent’s curriculum, providing the student with valuable professional experience. Previous internships have been completed with organizations including CHEX Peterborough, Bell Canada, the Art Gallery of Peterborough, Artspace, Media Matters Inc., Echo Recording, and the Trent Centre for Aging and Society, among others.
In order to arrange an internship course, an interested student should first approach the prospective host organization. If the host organization is interested in a partnership, the student should then approach a suitable faculty supervisor and the Chair of the Department. Because internships require coordinating with organizations outside of Trent, it can take quite a while to set them up, so students are encouraged to begin this process well in advance of the desired start date.
In addition to the practical work done for the host organization, the student intern submits written work during the course of the internship that demonstrates critical reflection on their activities and connects their first-hand experience to media and cultural theory. The reading list for the course, agreed upon by the student and the academic supervisor, is designed to help the student place their internship work in the context of wider institutional, social, cultural, political and economic processes.
For more detail, see the General Expectations and Outline for establishing and completing CUST 4041Y/4541H.
CUST 4010Y/4020D is a double-credit course intended for the fourth-year student who has an area of interest that may become a preoccupation in graduate school and who may benefit from preliminary instruction in research methods. The emphasis in the course is on practice in the research and development of critical methods, which the student will undertake under the supervision of a member of the Department with whom they will meet regularly.
The thesis (of approximately 15,000 words) is expected to show the benefits of substantial reading in primary and secondary texts and to display a sustained level of critical insight. The supervisor is to be chosen by the student (with the agreement of the faculty member) and can be changed by either party in consultation with the Executive Committee if required.
Normal Deadline Expectations:
- A preliminary statement of intent and brief outline should be submitted to the Chair of the Department by April 1.
- By May 1 of the third year, the student will submit a 200-word abstract of the proposed research project and a bibliography, both of which will have been approved by the supervisor, to the Chair. The Chair, in consultation with the student and their supervisor, will then agree on a second reader.
- Before the final date to change registration, the student will meet with the supervisor to show that they are actively engaged in an advanced stage of research on the thesis. By December break, the student will give a substantial piece of writing to the supervisor and the second reader. In consultation with the second reader, the supervisor will then counsel the student on their progress.
- The student will submit a complete draft of the thesis to the supervisor and second reader by February 15. The complete draft with comments will be returned to the student by March 1. Within the next six weeks, the student will submit a finished copy of the thesis to the supervisor and second reader who will forward the thesis, with their final evaluation and grades, to the Chair.
Should it be decided that the thesis cannot be given a passing grade, the supervisor and second reader may recommend to the Chair that the student be given credit for CUST 4900Y (a single-credit reading/research course) rather than CUST 4020D (the double-credit Honours Thesis). Should significant disagreement develop between the supervisor and the second reader on any matter concerning the thesis, the Chair or their delegate will arbitrate.
One copy of the thesis will be filed in the University Library.