Master’s course for global citizens
Commended for its inter-disciplinary approach and emphasis on learning in a regional and international context, Lingnan’s Master of Cultural Studies (MCS) programme is not specific to one career or profession. Rather, it aims to teach and inspire students to be well-rounded global citizens, with the holistic knowledge and soft skills to succeed in any profession or area of life.
Life transforming experience
“The course helps students to reflect on current practices and devise alternative ways to approach new challenges,” says MCS core faculty, Prof. Lisa LEUNG Yuk-ming. “So, the Master of Cultural Studies is not career-oriented per se, but for those who want to broaden their horizons, experience profound intellectual development and, ultimately, have a sense of transformation.”
Originally launched in 2003, it started as a part-time, two-year programme offered on a self-financed basis. In 2012, a one-year, full-time option was introduced. To graduate, students have to complete four core modules and up to five electives, amounting to a total of 24 credits. The core courses include such topics as perspectives in cultural studies, critical thinking through popular culture, pedagogy and cultural studies, and methods in cultural research.
Cooperative learning approach
According to Prof. LEUNG, the Master of Cultural Studies programme combines strong engagement in local issues with subjects that develop international expertise and global perspectives. Classes are led by teachers from different faculties, who can draw on their own research and close links with community organisations, professional group and scholars elsewhere.
“We have a remarkable team of local and international experts, known both for their research work and achievements in the wider world,” Prof. LEUNG says. “Our students have a good mix of academic and work backgrounds. This allows each of them to offer viewpoints and contribute in a meaningful way to group projects and classroom discussions.”
Embracing diversity and changes
According to feedback, the Master of Cultural Studies programme typically exceeds student expectations. In the year’s graduate survey, respondents identified three key elements/aptitudes with particular relevance for work and daily life. These were critical thinking skills, the ability to solve problems independently, and multi-perspective thinking skills.
“A focus on the teaching and training of these areas can make students better as professionals and people,” Prof. LEUNG says.
She adds that each intake sees a diverse mix in the classroom, potentially including doctors, nurses, lawyers, translators and engineers. The Master of Cultural Studies programme is also popular with professionals from the media and creative industries, educators, and those who do government or community work.
“In particular, we are seeing profound changes in the media and cultural industries linked to the commercial, political and technological challenges Hong Kong is facing,” Prof. LEUNG says. “Hence, the course has to equip students to meet these challenges and give them the necessary intellectual and cultural framework.”
Aligned with Lingnan’s mission
So far, some of the programme’s best known alumni include film director Herman YAU Lai-to; chief-editor of am730, Alan LO Kok-lun; the deputy chief editor of am730, Danny FUNG Chun-chiu; writers YU Yeuk-mui and HON Lai-chu; and musician Adrian CHOW Pok-yin.
The main learning outcomes of the MCS are fully aligned with Lingnan’s mission of enabling students to think, judge, care and ultimately act responsibly in the changing circumstances of Hong Kong, the region and the world.
“On completing the programme, graduates are able to better analyse and evaluate the complex processes of cultural work and production today,” Prof. LEUNG says. “They also learn to identify and assess the constraints, potential new challenges, and emergent problems in the rapidly changing contemporary context.”