Graduate Division

Culture and Theory Ph.D.

Section 1


The Ph.D. program in Culture and Theory provides a strong theoretical and critical approach to race, gender, and sexuality studies. It is the Ph.D. graduate program that is constituted by several interdisciplinary units including African American Studies and Asian American Studies, and works integrally with the Critical Theory Emphasis. Interdisciplinary in nature and buttressed by the established strengths in critical theory at UCI, the program uses a problem-oriented approach to issues of race, gender, and sexuality in diasporic, transnational, and postcolonial contexts, as they are engaged broadly in the humanities, social sciences, and arts.

What Sets Us Apart?

Coming soon.

Quick Facts

Program Type

Doctoral Program

Normative Time to Degree

7 years

Capstone Type


Accordion Section

Admissions Requirements

The application/admissions process occurs only once a year for Fall Quarter admission only via an online application. The online application is centrally run by UCI Graduate Division. Should any issues arise with the application, contact their office directly at


Applicants must have earned a BA, BS, MA or equivalent degree in any discipline in the humanities, arts or social sciences.

To be admitted formally into the doctoral program, students must satisfactorily pass a department evaluation at the end of their first year of study; this includes students who entered with an M.A. from another institution.

Application Checklist:

The Program in Culture & Theory requires the submission of the following materials, in addition to the UCI graduate application, in order your application to be considered complete. All materials must be received by the application deadline, including letters of recommendation. There will be no upload option with the online application.

  • GRE scores (Electronic Submission)
  • Transcripts: For application review purposes only, scan and upload copies of transcripts for all institutions attended since high school. In the online application, you will be prompted to upload your scanned documents. Please upload both the front and back sides of the transcript. Uploaded transcripts should be recent and include the following: your name, dates of attendance, grades/marks received, credits and grading legend. UCI reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admission process, and rescind any offer of admission made if discrepancies between uploaded and official transcript(s) are found. Official transcripts will be requested if and when you are admitted and decide to attend UCI. Do not send official transcripts until this time, unless you are requested to do so.
  • One copy of TOEFL scores (Electronic Submission) - This applies only to International applicants from countries where English is not the primary language.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (Electronic Submission) - Letters of Recommendation can be submitted online through the application system or sent directly to the Program.
  • One Writing Sample (Electronic Submission) - No more than 20 pages in length. Any paper or essay from a university or college course is acceptable.

Financial Support

There are several opportunities for financial aid at UCI for students of Culture and Theory.


Teaching assistantships are an important way in which financial support is available at UCI. Depending on previous training, students can work as TA’s in the participating programs in African American, Asian American and Women’s Studies. Often summer teaching is also available in these units. After completion of qualifying exams, students are eligible for teaching in the Humanities Core Course.

Doctoral students can be eligible for up to 18 quarters of total teaching support (this is a campus wide limit).  Appointments are made on the basis of academic progress and performance as well as funding. All other considerations being equal, students making normal progress toward the degree have a more compelling claim to support than those who do not. For instance, although students can receive up to 18 quarters of support, priority is normally given to those who have not yet used 12 quarters.

Renewal of an appointment is made on the basis of satisfactory teaching performance, satisfactory progress toward the degree, and funding.

The Program discourages students from assuming other jobs while holding teaching assistantships. Students who hold fellowships are not permitted to take other jobs. Only exceptionally can students enroll less than full time after advancement to candidacy.

In addition, it is NOT possible to teach (as a lecturer) at another UC campus while enrolled at UCI.

Students can expect program support to drop off after the completion of the qualifying examinations. Students at this stage become eligible for a variety of fellowships granted by outside agencies, and for TAships offered by the Humanities Core Course. The program will do its utmost to assist students in locating and applying for these awards, but students should also take the initiative to locate opportunities on their own.

Other financial support

Apart from teaching assistantships, there are a number of other awards that support the graduate program. Chancellor's Irvine, Regents', Cota Robles and Humanities Pre-Doctoral Fellowships can be awarded to entering students. Students who are advanced to candidacy and are working on their dissertations are eligible for an In-Candidacy Fee Offset Grant through their eighteenth quarter of registration. These students may also apply for one-quarter Regents’ Dissertation Fellowships, Humanities Dissertation Fellowships and Summer Dissertation Fellowships. Humanities Research Grants, which are awarded for specific research projects, are also available for continuing students. These grants are usually awarded for summer travel. Through the Diversity Fellowship Program, the University offers the Faculty Mentor Program Fellowship and the President’s Dissertation Fellowship. The Humanities Research Institute offers fellowship opportunities for advanced UC graduate students to work in collaboration on interdisciplinary topics.

Tuition & Fees

Graduate/Credential Student Fees 2018-19

  Fall 2018 Winter 2019 Spring 2019 Annual
Student Services Fee 376.00 376.00 376.00 1,128.00
Tuition 3,814.00 3,814.00 3,814.00 11,442.00
Assoc. Grad Students Fee 9.00 9.00 9.00 27.00
Student Center Fee 137.88 137.88 137.87 413.63
Bren Events Center Fee 23.00 23.00 23.00 69.00
Recreation Center Fee 88.00 88.00 88.00 264.00
eTech Fee * 60.00 60.00 60.00 180.00
Document Fee † 80.00 0.00 0.00 80.00
Student Health Insurance 1,348.00 1,347.00 1,347.00 4,042.00
Total California Resident $5,795.88 $5,794.88 $5,794.87 $17,385.63
Nonresident Supplemental Tuition 5,034.00 5,034.00 5,034.00 15,102.00
Total Nonresident $10,829.88 $10,828.88 $10,828.87 $32,487.63

Posted 10 August 2018 at

The tuition, fees, and charges posted to your billing statement or account are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by increases or reductions in State funding, or other developments. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus your final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

The non-refundable eTech Fee is required of all students and is used to support the maintenance and improvement of existing education technology, and new services and capabilities. The eTech fee is listed separately as the charged amount varies based on the amount of undergraduate units the student is enrolled in and is assessed later in the term than the other fees listed. The fee is $4 per unit of undergraduate lecture course, up to a maximum amount of $60 (or 15 units) per quarter. It will be assessed after the third week of instruction. The $60 eTech Fee included on this chart reflects the maximum possible fee.

† The Document Fee provides lifetime access to official transcripts and academic verifications without a fee for in-person pickup or delivery by USPS. In addition, there is no fee for mailing the initial diploma. Effective Fall 2018, new undergraduate, professional, and graduate students are assessed the one-time document fee. Eligible students are able to use financial aid to cover the Document Fee.

Core Faculty

Jonathan Alexander, Ph.D. Louisiana State University, Campus Writing Coordinator and Professor of English; Culture and Theory; Education; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Informatics (writing studies, sexuality studies, queer theory, new media studies)

Christine Bacareza Balance, Ph.D. New York University, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies; Culture and Theory; Gender and Sexuality Studies (Performance studies, popular music, critical race and ethnic studies, Filipino/Filipino American studies, queer & feminist theory)

Vinayak Chaturvedi, Ph.D. University of Cambridge, Associate Professor of History; Culture and Theory; Religious Studies (modern South Asia, social and intellectual history)

Bridget R. Cooks Cumbo, Ph.D. University of Rochester, Associate Professor of African American Studies; Art History; Culture and Theory; Visual Studies (African American art, museum studies, feminist and post-colonial theory)

Sora Han, Ph.D. University of California, Santa Cruz, Associate Professor of Criminology, Law and Society; African American Studies; Culture and Theory; School of Law (law and popular culture, critical race theory, philosophies of punishment, feminism and psychoanalysis)

Rodrigo Lazo, Ph.D. University of Maryland, College Park, Associate Professor of English; Culture and Theory (hemispheric American studies, nineteenth century, Latino studies and the Americas, Cuba, immigrant literature)

Mark A. LeVine, Ph.D. New York University, Professor of History; Culture and Theory; Religious Studies (modern Middle Eastern history, Islamic studies, histories of empire and globalization)

James K. Lee, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies; Culture and Theory; Religious Studies (Asian American literature and culture, contemporary U.S. literature, race and ethnic studies, urban studies, religious studies)

Jerry Won Lee, Ph.D. University of Arizona, Associate Professor of English; Anthropology; Culture and Theory

Julia Hyoun Joo Lee, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies; Culture and Theory (Asian American literature and culture, African American literature and culture, ethnic literature, twentieth-century American literature.)

Kevin E. Olson, Ph.D. Northwestern University, Professor of Political Science; Culture and Theory (contemporary European political theory, cultural politics, politics of diversity, popular sovereignty, citizenship, nineteenth- and twentieth-century political theory)

Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan, Ph.D. Binghamton University, State University of New York, UCI Chancellor's Professor of English; African American Studies; Comparative Literature; Culture and Theory (critical theory, postcoloniality, nationalisms and diasporas, poststructuralism, postmodernism, democracy and minority discourse, cultural studies, globalization and transnationalism)

Jared Charles Sexton, Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, Associate Professor of African American Studies; Culture and Theory; Film and Media Studies; Visual Studies (race and sexuality, policing and imprisonment, contemporary U.S. cinema and political culture, multiracial coalition, critical theory)

Damien Sojoyner, Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin, Assistant Professor of Anthropology; Culture and Theory

Rei Terada, Ph.D. Boston University, Professor of Comparative Literature; Culture and Theory (theory, poststructuralism, nineteenth- and twentieth-century poetry)

Keith Topper, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, Associate Professor of Political Science; Culture and Theory (political theory, critical theory, poststructuralism, theories of power, language and politics, theory and politics of interpretation, politics of culture, philosophy of the social sciences)

Frank B. Wilderson III, Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, Director of the Graduate Program in Culture and Theory and Department Chair and Professor of African American Studies; Culture and Theory (Afro-Pessimism, film theory, Marxism, narratology)

Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associate Professor of African American Studies; Comparative Literature; Culture and Theory; Political Science (South Africa, poor whites, race in foreign policy, diaspora, comparative racial politics, third world feminisms, feminist pedagogy, black political thought)

Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, Ph.D. Stanford University, Department Chair and Professor of Asian American Studies; Culture and Theory (Asian American history; comparative racialization and immigration; empire and decolonization; gender and sexuality)

Academic Data

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Career Outcomes

career outcomes data

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Students & Alumni

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