Ph.D. Program in Cultural Studies


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Cultural Studies


The PhD in Cultural Studies program is run by the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) at Yildiz Technical University. It is the first PhD program on cultural studies in Turkey. HSS’s policy is to attract students to the program from Turkey and the rest of the world with an MA degree in cultural studies. However, the students with equivalent degrees in the following programs can also apply: sociology, anthropology, psychology, political science, history, art history, human geography, philosophy, gender and women studies, English and other foreign literature, Turkish literature, law, international affairs and multicultural education.


Language of the Program

The language of instruction for the program is English. All writing and speaking activities in the program such as courses, thesis, assignments, examinations and comprehensives are in English. Overriding the minimum language requirement of the Graduate Institute of Social Sciences the program has its own English language requirement. The students must have at least a score of 80 from YDS (the Turkish national examination for English language proficiency) or an equivalent score from international tests (such as TOEFL and IELTS) recognized by Turkish Higher Education Institution (YÖK).


Coursework and Credit Requirements

Please check out the Graduate Institute of Social Sciences (YTÜ Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü)  and Turkish Higher Educational Institution’s (YÖK) rules and regulations for minimum credit requirements and other procedures for graduation. The PhD in Cultural Studies program has the following course requirements. The students will have 27 hours of course load (9 courses) for the program. Other than the 9 departmental courses, the students are expected to pass 2 non-credit (pass/fail) courses; Seminar and Ethics & Research Methods.


Core Course (Required)

HSS requires all its students to take a core course that is fundamental for students to comprehend theoretical debates within the field of cultural studies. The core course will also constitute an important part of the qualifying examinations.


·         ITB 6100 Theories in Cultural Studies

Elective Courses

Cultural Studies program offers a wide range of elective courses each semester. These courses can be divided into three groups. The first group of courses covers theoretical issues in social sciences and cultural studies, while the second group of courses aims to prepare students for research skills such as research design, literature review, data collection, data analysis, and writing skills. The rest of the courses are on different areas of speciality that aim to address the interests of the faculty and the students. Students are advised to contact faculty members to be able to choose the courses that best fit their needs and interests.


The elective courses aim to help the students to customize their own program. Find a list of all approved courses below. Note that some of the courses may not be available every semester as the faculty will decide to open only a limited number of courses from the pool. Also, the faculty may decide to approve and open new courses that are not on this list. Please check out the elective alternatives from the department at the beginning of each semester. The students are allowed to take up to two MA courses from the MA in HSS program. However, the MA course should not be identical to any course elected course from the PhD list. Please consult the department or your supervisor in case you are in doubt.



·         ITB 6101 Qualitative Research Methods                                        

·         ITB 6102 Heritage Studies

·         ITB 6103 Contemporary Approaches to Urban Studies

·         ITB 6104 Culture, Power and Inequality

·         ITB 6105 Political Economy and Cultural Studies 

·         ITB 6106 Ottoman Ceremonies and Manners

·         ITB 6107 Space and Identity

·         ITB 6108 Minorities in the Middle East

·         ITB 6109 Media and Cultural Representation

·         ITB 6110 Cultural Diversity

·         ITB 6111 Cultural Politics of ‘Race’ and Ethnicity

·         ITB 6112 History of Everyday Life

·         ITB 6113 Cultural History

·         ITB 6114 Cultures of Conspiracy

·         ITB 6115 Materialism and Positivism in Turkish Intellectual History

·         ITB 6116 Bergsonianism in Turkish Intellectual History

·         ITB 6117 Popular Culture in Turkey

·         ITB 6118 Gender, Culture and Representation

·         ITB 6119 History of Perception

·         ITB 6120 History, Narratives, Discourse

·         ITB 6121 History of Material Culture

·         ITB 6122 Philosophy of Film

·         ITB 6123 Language and Power in Political Thought


Comprehensive Examinations

In order to be qualified to take the PhD comprehensive examinations, students must have a GPA of at least 3.0 (B) in their coursework with no grade lower than a B.  Comprehensive examinations will take place twice in a year. The student taking the exam needs to work with his/her supervisor throughout the process. In comprehensive examinations, students are expected to demonstrate competence in two fields: (1) theory and practice in cultural studies and (2) an area of specialization. The selection of the area of specialty must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee. Students are examined in each of these fields. A written examination is followed by an oral viva.


Having completed the coursework, the student will receive a list of reading material to prepare for the exams prior to 6 months. The student must enter the comprehensive examinations at the end of 5 terms (2.5 years) latest. In the event that a student fails in comprehensive examinations, there will be another chance in 6 months.


Dissertation Requirements

The students should decide on a dissertation topic and be assigned to a supervisor by the end of the first year. Each candidate must prepare a dissertation under the guidance of his/her supervisor to be defended finally in an oral examination. The dissertation draft which is approved by the supervisor must be completed in accordance with the deadlines and guidelines of the Graduate Institute of Social Sciences.


Dissertation and the Monitoring Process

Students must consult their supervisors to submit a dissertation for approval by the dissertation committee. This committee ideally consists of three members recommended by the student’s supervisor and approved by both the department chair and the Institute of Graduate Studies. The committee meets twice a year to assist the student and review his/her progress.


Dissertation Defense (Viva)

A full dissertation draft must be submitted to the Graduate Institute of Social Sciences and a preliminary approval must be received from the Institute in order to finalize a viva date. The examination process is done by a jury of 5 members; 2 external examiners, 2 internal examiners and the supervisor. All oral exams are open to public. The students should consult their supervisors for viva details.



For a student to graduate from the program, s/he has to fulfil the departmental requirements above as well as the requirements of the Graduate Institute of Social Sciences and Turkish Higher Education Institution. The student must publish an article with his/her supervisor in an international/domestic peer-reviewed academic journal and make a presentation in an international/domestic academic conference. Please consult your supervisor and visit the Institute’s website at for legal processes and procedures required for graduation. The maximum duration of the program including the courses, comprehensives and the dissertation is 12 terms  (6 years).


Updated in September 2017