Master of Arts in Politics and Popular Culture

Earn a career-enhancing master’s degree that combines rigorous social science training with the creative arts of pop culture studies.

Popular culture shapes and reveals how societies think about themselves, especially their politics. More people experience and understand politics through mass culture – everything from Star Wars and Game of Thrones to World Cinema, museums, and monuments – than through formal political acts like voting or reading political literature.

The UConn Master of Arts in Politics and Popular Culture (MPPC) offers you the vocabulary to move fluidly between the traditional in-depth study of political science, with all of the rigor and specialist knowledge that entails, and the flair and imagination of pop culture studies.

Degree Outcomes

Students will gain:

  • Substantive knowledge of trends in politics and popular culture.
  • Quantitative and qualitative data analysis and presentation skills.
  • The ability to identify, analyze, and deconstruct narratives.
  • A range of interpretive skills and tools for interpreting political and cultural texts.
  • Multi-stage research skills from problem identification through presentation of findings.

Program Details

The MPPC is offered by the UConn Department of Political Science.

Students take the political science core graduate seminar sequence of Nature of Political Inquiry and either Qualitative or Quantitative Methods to acquire competency in the academic interpretation of politics.

They take the new Proseminar in Politics and Popular Culture to acquire competency at the intersection of social science and cultural studies.

They complete their coursework by choosing from a suite of courses that build understanding of the intersection of academic and popular culture interpretations of politics. Courses cover an exciting array of topics–from science fiction and popular music to film theory and digital culture–while also exploring relevant research techniques, theories, and cultural perspectives.

Students also produce a master’s project uniquely tailored to their interests. Options include:

  • A portfolio of writings, video essays, and other creative-analytical works on politics and popular culture.
  • A more traditional single work of academic research.

Credits and Requirements

The MA requires 30 credits. All MPPC students are required to take:

  • Proseminar in Politics and Popular Culture (3 credits).
  • At least one other political science proseminar or equivalent (3 credits).
  • The political science core graduate seminar sequence: Nature of Political Inquiry, Qualitative Methods and Quantitative Methods or equivalent (9 credits).
  • POLS 5620. Research Design and Development and POLS 5000. Independent Study in Political Science (6 credits).
  • MPPC students will earn the remaining credits by taking political science classes with substantial politics and popular culture content (6 credits) and one class from a related discipline (3 credits).

Visit the Graduate Catalog website for full program requirements.

Course Options

Dedicated Political Science Classes
  • Political Science Fiction
  • Law and Popular Culture
  • Black and Asian Speculative Fiction
  • Political Theory and Popular Music
  • Politics and Film
  • Heroes and Villains in American Politics

Related Disciplines

These are suggested classes, others may be substituted per advisor and MPPC coordinator approval.

  • ART 5320. Issues in Art Criticism
  • ARTH 5319. Introduction to Art History, Methods, and Theories
  • ARTH 5370. Issues in Contemporary Art
  • COMM 5640. Social Media Use and Effects
  • DMD 5010. Digital Culture
  • DRAM 5131. Studies in Theatre History
  • ENGL 5200. Children’s Literature
  • ENGL 5440. American Literature since 1914
  • ENGL 5530. World Literature in English
  • ENGL 5650. Digital Humanities
  • ENGL 6410. American Literature and Culture
  • HIST 6000. American Studies: Methods and Major Texts
  • LCL 5010. Film Theory and History
  • LCL 5020. Digital Humanities, Media Studies, and the Multimodal Scholar
  • LCL 6020. Advanced Theory for the Studies of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
  • MUSI 5359. History of Music Theory
  • PHIL 5301. Seminar in Contemporary Philosophy
  • PP 5305. Race and Public Policy
  • SOCI 5201. The Logic of Social Research
  • SOCI 5251. Core Theorists
  • SOCI 5601. Gender and Society
  • SOCI 5612. Feminist Theory and Social Sciences
  • SOCI 5801. Political Sociology
  • SOCI 5833. Gender, Politics, and the State
  • SPAN 5323. Concepts of Literary Criticism
  • WGSS 5305. Gender and Culture
  • WGSS 5365. Feminist Methodologies
  • WGSS 5371. Genders, Sexualities, and Theories


The application deadline for fall submission is April 15.

Applicants are required to submit:

  • An unofficial transcript demonstrating a minimum GPA of 3.5 in political science and closely related classes.
  • Two letters of recommendation on official letterhead speaking specifically to the applicant’s research potential. (Students must submit the names of their two recommenders as part of their web application to the program. Recommenders will be notified via email and asked to submit their letters via the Graduate School's website.)
  • A personal statement outlining the applicant's:
    • Research interests
    • Prior relevant academic experience
    • Proposed plan of study
    • Identification of faculty with whom they would like to study.

Costs and Fees

You will be asked to provide a valid credit card for a non-refundable payment of the application fee ($75.00).

In some circumstances, your application fee may be waived. Please refer to the UConn Graduate School Fee Waiver Policy.

Tuition and fee schedules for the MA in IIREP can be found on the Office of the Bursar's page for graduate students.

Contact Us

For questions about the Master of Arts in Politics and Popular culture, please contact the program directors:

Jeffrey Dudas

Professor of Political Science

Stephen Dyson

Professor of Political Science

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