Theory and Criticism

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Meet Kamran Ahmed, PhD candidate in Theory and Criticism

“Prioritize: hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Supervisors: Dr. Antonio Calcagno and Dr. Gyongyi Hegedus

Where did you complete your undergraduate degree?
University of Toronto

Where’s your favourite place on campus to work/study/research? Why?
The Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism (CTSC) computer lounge. Friends and windowless rooms are good for seeing things through.

What is it about your grad program that enables you to thrive and be successful?
The Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism prides itself on being both multi and interdisciplinary—that is to say, it prides itself on operating both across and in-between disciplinary boundaries.

This unique position places the CTSC in a precarious relationship with tradition, in particular, and knowledge, in general.

On the one hand, the conspicuous location of Critical Theory offers fresh new perspective to age-old questions, it also demands a balancing act between tradition, convention and innovation – a challenge that can be tricky to negotiate as a student/scholar. Ultimately, studying at the Centre, I believe, invites us to think of knowledge not only in archival or eternal terms but rather in socially constructed and creative terms—an insight that encourages an academic generosity not found in more specialized programs.

What is your “dream” career?
I dream in colour, not in careers.

What one thing would you like people to know about you?
I am an immigrant.

What idea, suggestion, or comment would you like to share with the Western graduate community?
Thank you for all that you do. I am very grateful to be surrounded by such dedicated, passionate, and hard-working humans.

Do you serve on any Department, Faculty, or University committees?
I am part-time faculty in the Department for Philosophy and Religious Studies at King’s University College.

What are you most passionate about?
Knowing others.

What’s your favourite book?
The ones that travel with me.

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.

The Own Your Future doctoral professional development program will help you become a career-ready graduate with the skills necessary to excel in your studies and achieve your future goals. By participating in the program, you will assess your own strengths and opportunities for growth, choose what skills you want to enhance during your time at Western, and learn how to articulate the skills you gained in your degree to optimize your future career opportunities. To learn more, visit

Program Length

  • 12 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 Master's degree or equivalent in a Humanities or Social Science subject with a minimum A- (83%) average.
  • Evidence of research potential and previous theoretical work, indicated by the applicant's course record and in writing samples submitted as part of the application.

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