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Major: Society and Culture

Major Details

Society and Culture


Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies
Faculty of Arts

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

Living Culture (3)
Seeing Culture: Politics of Visual Representation (3)
Visual Media and Communication (3)

200 level

6cp from
Australian Film and Television (3)
Visual Countercultures: Graffiti, Kitsch and Conceptual Art (3)
Performance and Popular Media (3)
Theatre and Performance Practice (3)
Health, Bodies, Media (3)

300 level

Cultural Contexts: Communities and Cultures in Action (3)
9cp from
Racialised Punishment and the Construction of Nation (3)
Screening (Ab)normal Bodies (3)
Performance Research (3)
Sex, Death and Politics: The Ethics of Our Lives (3)
Natures-Cultures (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Units marked with a P are PACE units.
Additional Information
Overview and Aims of the Program Cultural Studies is the study of how we represent ourselves to each other (through the media, and cultural and social practices and events). In particular the program examines culture through the lens of social justice by enabling students to reflect on how the role of media, cultural practices and institutions shape identities and provide spaces for social action.

The program prompts students to think through different strategies for moving towards social justice, and the role of representation and cultural forms in those strategies. Students focus on a range of systems of representation including the law, film, texts, news media, policy, life narratives, digital and live performance, graffiti, art advertising, celebrity culture and medical and scientific imaging. In assisting students to develop an array of critical thinking and social justice skills, and by situating these skills in real world contexts and communities, the program enables students to work toward applying these skills in practice.

Students will also build a strong suite of research and evaluation skills to enable them to consider ethical, logistical, social and environmental issues as they arise in the context of diverse communities. Questions concerned with identity, ethics, politics, bodies, nationhood, performativity, race, gender, sexuality and disability, and policies and practices that work to produce disenfranchisement are examined. The Cultural studies program encourages students to develop ethical analytical skills that enable the ongoing examination of the world around them and, importantly, its transformation into a socially just place.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. identify and recall disciplinary knowledge of cultural studies and appropriate related disciplines (K, L, C)
2. recognise and evaluate how contemporary power relationships constitute communities, identities and everyday practices (K, T, P, L)
3. recognise and analyse the role of advocacy in challenging and transforming communities, identities and everyday practices (T, P, C, E)
4. analyse the social, cultural, political and ethical issues and debates in cultural studies (K, T, E, A).

5. communicate and evaluate problems and disciplinary debates through discipline specific frameworks (K, C, J)
6. prepare and research independently so as to develop ways to apply course concepts to everyday practices (P, I, C, J, K)
7. synthesize critical theories and apply them to appropriate local and international cultural practices (K, L, I, E, A)
8. develop ethically informed advocacy strategies to promote socially just outcomes (T, P, I, E, A).

9. apply theoretical frameworks to analyse representations and cultural practices, communities and institutions (K, T, L)
10. demonstrate an awareness of broader consequences of cultural theories, legislation and engagement (K, P, L, C, A).
Learning and Teaching Methods The Cultural Studies program utilizes a range of learning and teaching methods while also ensuring university commitments to flexibility, equity and diversity are upheld. Unit level outcomes are constructively aligned with the program level outcomes and graduate capabilities, and are designed to be as inclusive as possible so as to cater to the diverse student body.

The Cultural Studies program employs a range of learning and teaching methods through which students meet learning outcomes:
• Lectures: primary lecture materials are presented in-person and/or online. Support for lectures is provided by readings and targeted personal and general discussion facilities, allowing students to engage the lecture materials at any point during the semester.
• Tutorials: tutorials are provided weekly with content released (either in class or via the main announcement section of iLearn) to ensure that current debates, issues and questions can be addressed regularly. The dynamic nature of this release of content also provides a complementary space for the written lectures, allowing theory to be illuminated with real world case studies as they are happening.
• Teaching materials: the Cultural Studies program uses a range of teaching materials to support and direct student learning. These may include, but are not limited to:
a. lectures (written and supplemented with online peer and student engagement)
b. traditional written readings and audiovisual examples
c. audiovisual material (case studies, art works and other primary evidence)
d. curated external critical pieces such as the inclusion of TED talks, etc.
e. interactive tutorial exercises and discussion forums.

Program Structure: the Cultural Studies program is designed to facilitate lower and higher order learning outcomes in its trajectory from 100 through to 300 level study. Additionally, disciplinary knowledge and literacy is developed through the program’s progression from 100 to 300 level study.

Support for Learning: the Cultural Studies program is delivered by staff who have published widely in cultural studies and related areas. Cultural Studies staff also include creative practitioners and cultural commentators, ensuring that content remains current and broad reaching.

The range of expertise held by the staff ensures that students learn current and relevant theories and techniques underpinned by a strong appreciation of cultural histories. In addition to this, students also have access to academic advisors to counsel them in choosing units, academic progress, workflow and time management, and career paths. Staff work closely with Campus Well Being to ensure that students receive support in their personal as well as academic pursuits.

Program Standards and Quality: there are a number of standards and quality assurances measures in place. Each unit within the program undergoes mandatory evaluation periodically, including the regular updating of course content and readings, and changes to layout and delivery style in response to informal and formal student feedback. Informal feedback via various means is welcome throughout each semester and addressed by tutors and the course convenor regularly (including reporting back to Head of Department), while Learner Evaluation of Unit surveys are also regularly used to provide formal feedback on curriculum and assessment design. During each semester tutors and convenors engage in a process of marking moderation to ensure consistency of grading, and rubrics are used (and distributed to students) to ensure this. Unit guides are quality assured and compliant with university policy and best practices in learning and teaching, specifying the learning outcomes, graduate capabilities and specific expectations of each assessment. Written feedback is also provided regularly and in a timely manner (as close as possible to within two weeks of submission, and one week prior to the next piece of assessment), so as to allow students to ask further questions and progress.
Assessment The Cultural Studies program utilizes a range of assessment tasks, including, but not limited to, the following:
• written and/or verbal analysis of given materials
• interactive engagement with online tools including quizzes, forums, visual and textual materials, and forms of peer review
• written essay tasks for questions developed by convenors and in consultation with tutors or academic peers
• written response to student-nominated stimuli using course-specific methods of analysis
• written development of major work in consultation with course materials and appropriate broader cultural resources.
• communication skills through single and group presentations
• exams.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Cultural studies graduates have found work within a range of industries and employers. Our graduates' critical and cultural literacy, commitment to social justice and understanding of the social and political contexts of diverse and disadvantaged communities enable them to work with NGOs and community organisations, as well a public sector organisations. The programme's focus on the role of systems of representation in the functioning of diverse organisations enable our graduates to make creative and effective interventions in public relations, community media and social marketing. Their ability to research, synthesise and apply knowledge informed by ethics and social justice values makes them suitable to undertake work in policy, community engagement and outreach, as well as public communications.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

2017 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148