Taught course

Social and Cultural Theory

University of Bristol · Department of Sociology

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree or equivalent qualification. Applicants with a lower second-class honours degree or equivalent may be eligible for Postgraduate Diploma entry.

Months of entry


Course content

This programme aims to provide an introduction to a range of debates entailed within the so-called cultural turn in sociological studies. Increasingly, sociologists are turning to the concept of culture as a source of explanation - and questioning - in their studies of contemporary social formations.

Both theoretical and substantive elements of this cultural turn are addressed: on the one hand, the works of key thinkers within social and cultural theory (Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Foucault and others) are explored; on the other, the role of cultural explanations within - among others - theories of race and ethnicity, gender relations and the sociology of religion is given both theoretical and empirical consideration.

These issues are also situated within the framework of analyses and critiques of wider debates and discourses in social and cultural theory on questions such as postmodernism, postfeminism and postcolonialism.

Programme structure

Please note that the programme structure is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

The MSc programme lasts 50 weeks (September to September). It comprises six 12-week taught units and six assessed essays, followed by a dissertation.


You must take at least three units from this list:

  • Contemporary Sociological Theory
  • Culture, Postmodernity and Religion
  • Globalisation and Culture
  • Interpreting Gender
  • Narrating the Self
  • Philosophy of Social Science
  • Qualitative Social Research
  • Theories of Ethnicity and Racism
  • Dissertation (MSc only)

You will take the remaining three units from not more than two of the following:

  • Global Ethnicities
  • Quantitative Social Research
  • Advanced Quantitative Research
  • Advanced Qualitative Research
  • Care, Labour and Gender
  • Popular Music and society
  • Theory and Politics of Multiculturalism
  • Social Class in Contemporaty Society
  • Nations and Nationalism
  • Religion and Politics
  • Understanding Risk
  • One option (maximum) from the remaining SPAIS Politics optional units

Information for international students

For English language requirements, please see the 'Contact web' link below.

Fees and funding

UK students
Full-time: £5,600; Part-time: £2,800
International students

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students is available from the Student Funding Office website.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Graduate Studies Administrator
+44 (0) 117 331 7577