Program Curriculum

Detailed Program Timeline: Year 2

Year 2 of the Cultural Studies program is designed to facilitate (a) the development and presentation of your portfolio, and (b) your progress on the capstone, from conception through execution and evaluation.

The core courses provide a great deal of structure and support for portfolio and capstone work, including peer review and collaborative workshops.

Autumn Quarter

BCULST 510: Engaging Cultural Studies (5 credits)

This core course focuses on designing and situating your capstone project in relation to the ongoing conversations and literatures in cultural studies. It is intended to help you:

  • formulate or refine your research question(s) and context(s);
  • fit these research question(s) and context with useful methodologies;
  • synthesize or integrate work from previous courses and prior work;
  • facilitate the formulation and refinement of your capstone proposal and portfolio, through peer review.

Cultural Studies Elective (5 credits)

Please see Current Courses for descriptions of elective offerings. 



You should make contact with your PA at some point (no later than Week 5 of the quarter) to discuss your progress and to consider your options for electives (one or two) in the Winter quarter.


Arrange a meeting with your capstone advisor early in the quarter. This meeting should ensure that you have everything in place to advance the capstone project in the context of BCULST 510.

Discuss with your CA how to support your capstone project in Winter Quarter, by taking additional electives or Directed Research credits. Together with your CA (and perhaps PA), you may identify an optional second reader for the capstone project. If you opt to include a second reader, this person should be on board by end of the quarter.

According to the prescribed dates and deadlines, you will submit a draft of your capstone proposal to your CA for review and possible revision. Your CA will review the final capstone proposal and sign-off on things by the end of the quarter.

Winter Quarter

BCULST 511: Portfolio and Professional Development (1 credit)

This core course focuses on helping students prepare their capstone portfolios for the Cultural Studies program; it also applies the principles of portfolio development to career planning and development for after the program. The course is organized around a series of workshops focused on:

  • understanding the elements and uses of portfolios
  • archiving and annotating a diverse sample of your own work
  • imagining and articulating professional and personal post-program goals
  • presenting persuasive evidence of your own work, knowledge, and competencies for different audiences and situations.

Cultural Studies Elective (5-10 credits)

In Winter Quarter of your second year, you may opt to take a second elective course (BCULST or outside elective) or  you may opt to take Directed Research credits under the supervision of your Capstone Advisor.  These decisions will be guided by the nature of your capstone project and the advice of your capstone and portfolio advisors.

Please see Current Courses for descriptions of elective offerings. 

Submit a Petition for Outside Coursework (UWNetID and login required)

Submit a Petition for Directed Research (UWNetID and login required)



Makecontact with your PA before the end of the quarter to share the work you have done in BCULST 511 and to discuss plans and expectations for the capstone portfolio to be submitted in Spring quarter.


Whether or not you have decided to take Directed Research credits with your CA (see above), stay in regular contact with your CA . Schedule a meeting for the beginning, middle and end of the quarter as a way to monitor your independent work on the capstone project. 

Spring Quarter

BCULST 512: Cultural Studies and its Publics (10 credits)

This final core course facilitates the completion and public presentation of your capstone project or portfolio at the Graduate Research Conference. Specifically, this course:

  • facilitates a writing workshop and peer review for the capstone portfolio;
  • helps with define the boundaries of the capstone project so it can find its conclusion and identify its next steps;
  • facilitates writing workshops and peer review for the capstone project as it moves toward “final product”;
  • arranges “trial runs” of public (oral) presentation of capstone work (including responding to critical response/questions);
  • includes the Graduate Research Conference;
  • facilitates wrapping up the capstone portfolio and thinking through its relationship to “life after” Cultural Studies.


You should consider 5 of the 10 credits of BCULST 512 as devoted to working with your advisors on wrapping up the capstone portfolio and the capstone project. Be proactive in scheduling and structuring ongoing advisory meetings so as to address your particular needs, questions, and timelines. Clear, unambiguous communication between your advisors will be necessary for successful completion of the second portfolio essay, the capstone and the portfolio itself.

You will want to:

  • Address any requests for revisions made by your PA.
  • Schedule any meetings needed to prepare the capstone portfolio for its final review;
  • Meet with your CA to discuss/review the capstone project;
  • Coordinate with any second reader for their final assessment of the capstone project and arrange for them to sign off on things; and,
  • Submitting the capstone project and the capstone portfolio to the respective advisor by or before the specified deadlines.

To the extent possible, there should be no surprises for the final portfolio review. This can best be assured by meeting and discussing the capstone project and capstone portfolio with advisors in advance of the final review.