• Application Deadline
  • 12 months
The Master in Cultural Studies addresses different facets of culture as a socially embedded practice. Formed from a thorough appreciation of cultural expressions such as literature, fine arts, dance, heritage and their translation into a diversity of media formats, the programme aims to connect theoretical reflection with practical realization via an apprenticeship in the cultural sector.


‘Cultural studies’ refers to a specific type of critical analysis and interpretation of culture, looking into how people construct and participate in everyday life. It studies and compares the meaning, political power and the social impact of varied cultural practices worldwide. The KU Leuven team is proud of their longstanding reputation as an active contributor and specialist in this field. 

The term ‘cultural studies’ also refers to the study of cultural policy at all levels of policy-making in the public, and more often non-profit sectors. Smart cultural policies are anchored by intelligent practices and legal frameworks. This master’s programme provides a research-based approach to both the design and the application of these smart cultural policies. 

The MA in Cultural Studies places the following emphases:  

  • cultural theory and concepts
  • applied narratives
  • art, media and performance
  • contemporary culture
  • interdisciplinary objects of study and methodologies
  • project-based learning

You can choose between two trajectories within the program:

  • The 'creative practices' track focuses on contemporary art and culture creation, across the boundaries of genres and media, with a lot of attention for the creative industries.
  • The 'cultural memory and identity' track focuses on the impact of the cultural past on the contemporary cultural landscape, and the relationship between culture and forms of identity.


The Master of Cultural Studies is an interdisciplinary programme that aims at preparing the student for a wide range of executive functions in the cultural field (cultural mediation, criticism, media, heritage). In order to achieve this goal, the programme offers a combination of theoretical and practical modules.

At the end of the programme, graduates:

  • have an in-depth knowledge of the structure of the cultural field and the aims and functions of cultural policy in Flanders (to a lesser extent) and Belgium/Europe (to a larger extent);
  • are fit for employment in a cultural institution or organisation;
  • are aware of the current definitions of culture and the theoretical debates on these definitions;
  • are capable of writing an individual research report;
  • have developed a solid scientific attitude towards the major methodological aspects and issues in the field of cultural studies.

Career perspectives

As both a hands-on and theoretically oriented programme, the Master of Arts in Cultural Studies prepares students for careers in a wide range of fields. A great many of our graduates become public servants and cultural policy officers at all levels of government (local, regional, national, international); others enter into the broad field of the creative industries (music, television, print and online media).

A fair number of students combine their studies (in 2 years) with a teachers' training programme, which prepares them for a career in teaching. In addition, the programme's regularly updated internship database provides a good overview of the possibilities open to students of cultural studies.

Students who are eager to find their way into the cultural sector should take into account that careers in culture rarely deliver traditional nine-to-five jobs and competition for appointments is often fiercely competitive. Special qualities such as passion, enthusiasm, creativity, flexibility, teamwork and good verbal and communicative skills are crucial for success. This programme aims to hone these transferable qualities in addition to the specialised academic framework. 

The Cultural Studies programme is offered at KU Leuven.

Questions about student life in Belgium, life at KU Leuven or more information about a specific course? Chat with our students: www.kuleuven/be/chatwithourstudents.

Programme Structure

Core courses
  • Cultural Studies: Capita Selecta
  • Cultural Policy
  • Cultural Semiotics


Creative Practices

  • Online Publishing
  • Contemporary Dance and Dance Studies
  • Photography and Visual Culture
  • Film and Literature
  • Cultural Economics
  • European Cultural Policy

Cultural Memory and Identity

  • Contemporary Latin American Cinema
  • Cultural Approaches to Transmedial Memory
  • Changing Cultures in Europe
  • Theatre, Theory and Culture
  • Digital Cultural Heritage
  • Highlights in European Literature

Master's Thesis



  • You should be able to demonstrate good writing skills (in English), as demonstrated by a well-evaluated bachelor's thesis.
  • You should have a thorough knowledge of various sectors and aspects of contemporary culture, as demonstrated by your bachelor-level studies.
  • You should have a marked ability and eagerness to explore a wide range of learning formats, including both for individual and group work.

Detailed Programme Facts

English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Get a free IELTS practice test

General Requirements

BA in one of the following fields: arts, literature, history 

Applicants are required to submit a file showing substantial academic background in the field of study.

  • a list of study results obtained for each of the above courses, preferably according to the ECTS scale. If a different scale is used, a brief explanation of the local.
  • for the undergraduate courses that the applicant considers most relevant to the Master of Arts in Cultural Studies, a brief course description (one half to a full page) according to the standard guidelines for an ECTS study guide
  • proof of proficiency to CEFR level C1 in English, viz. an IELTS score of at least 7,5
For more information, please visit the homepage of the programme.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    3500 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 3500 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.
  • EU/EEA

    938 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 938 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Leuven

  • 810 - 1280 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Check the programme website for information about funding options.

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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Cultural Studies
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