Theory and Criticism

Master of Arts (MA)

Meet Heather Twele, MA candidate in Theory and Criticism

“I came to Western specifically for the Theory & Criticism program. In the final year of my BA, I became interested in theory, and Western has the best theory program in Canada. I wanted an interdisciplinary program that allowed me to explore several disciplines in one degree.”

Describe your research.
I am researching invisible/hidden disabilities in relation to the medical gaze and current critical disability theories. I’m focusing on Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception and Foucault’s medical gaze in The Birth of the Clinic.

What is it about your grad program that enables you to thrive and be successful?
The professors in the Theory Centre are fabulous. I’m so honoured to have Dr. Janelle Blankenship as my MA thesis advisor, and Dr. Helen Fielding as my second reader. They have both helped me to develop academically and professionally.

Do you belong to any university or community groups?
I’m currently involved with Chiasma, an academic peer-reviewed journal through the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism.

Have you worked as a teaching assistant?
Yes, I’ve worked as a TA for two semesters now. I’ve gained experience grading, holding office hours, and helping students understand the course material and course requirements. I took the Teaching Assistant Training Program (TATP), and it really helped me to prepare for TAing.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone considering applying to your graduate program?
Take the opportunity to get to know the professors at the Theory Centre through workshops and events, such as the Theory Sessions. The best MA advisor for your thesis might not be the first person you originally had on your list.

Program Websites

Program Contact

Melanie Caldwell (
Program Coordinator

Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism

Western University
Stevenson Hall Rm. 2157
London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5B8

t. 519-661-2111 ext. 83442
f. 519-850-2927

Western's program has established strengths in social & political theory and media & cultural studies, while maintaining its traditional strengths in critical theory and continental philosophy. What distinguishes the Theory Centre's MA program from other graduate programs is the serious attention given to intellectual history, and to its connection to contemporary forms of critical theory. Although the program emphasizes the study of theory as a distinct object of inquiry, and thus supports speculative inquiries about particular forms of theory, it also encourages students to engage with contemporary critical aesthetic, social and political inquiry.

Program Length

  • 6 Terms

Program Design

  • Full-time study
  • Thesis-based

Funding Information

Applicants are encouraged to apply for the following scholarships (if eligible):

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fee schedules (per term) are posted on the Office of the Registrar's website at

Graduate Student Affordability Calculator

Use this helpful tool to estimate how much money you will need to pay for your tuition, fees, housing, food, and other necessities for a 12-month (three term) academic year.

Admission Requirements

  • A four-year degree from an accredited university with a minimum B+ (78%) average across courses taken in the last two full-time years of study.
  • B.A. in a field in the Humanities or Social Sciences (however, students holding other Honors degrees will also be considered).

Additional Requirements

  • Some demonstration of theoretical and/or interdisciplinary study at the undergraduate level is helpful, though the Committee may also consider candidates with a more general interest in and aptitude for theoretical enquiry (as indicated through grades, essays and letters of reference).

English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose first language is not English must furnish evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language:

Application Deadline

  • January 8 - Acceptance notifications usually take place in March