pop culture thesis

Get Inspired By These 5 Students’ Undergraduate Theses On Pop Culture and Celebrity

No dedication like a fan's dedication.

From topics about Taylor Swift to SEVENTEEN, these college students put together what they loved and what they wanted to learn about into pop culture theses that they’re proud of.

Related: 6 Fields You Can Enter With A Communications Degree

Listen. We’ll be real here. The undergraduate thesis is a beast. It’ll make you question all your years of college (and then some), spend 99% of your time hunched over papers and laptops. But it doesn’t have to be a miserable endeavor. Choosing thesis topics that pique your personal interests while still having the potential to impart something of unique value to the world is 100% possible. And what with the ever-changing landscape of media and entertainment, celebrity and pop culture studies is never a dull field.

Just take it from these students, who have embarked on learning journeys that required them to dive deep into their interests and passions, and encounter pop culture like they never have before. From Taylor Swift to Regine Velasquez, these studies explore a central pop culture icon or moment and connect it to aspects of society and humanity, from communication to power to identity.


University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication alum Katherine Joy Tolentino became one of several Swifties across the globe to add to the ever-growing discourse surrounding pop superstar Taylor Swift in 2019. Her thesis, Look What You Made Me Do: A Study on the Individualized Fan Culture of Filipino Taylor Swift Fans, explored how Taylor Swift fans developed self-esteem, identity, and empowerment through engaging with the star’s music and content.


In a viral moment last year, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid came face-to-face with UP Diliman Broadcast Communication graduate Waxee R. Galang’s thesis titled You Make Me Shine: The Gay Fandom of Regine Velasquez and the Making of a Gay Icon. If that title wasn’t clear enough, Waxee’s thesis involved studying the impact of the gay community of fans on the iconicity of Asia’s Songbird and vice versa. How does a celebrity become a gay icon? How does the queer community form a deep connection with an artist? These questions are all explored in the study. A huge fan, Waxee himself shared the stage with his idol Regine on an episode of talk show Magandang Buhay.


Communication major Cayl Andrew Franco used theories on visual rhetoric to examine the influence of BLACKPINK’s media visuals and performances in their music videos on audiences. In A Case Study on the Rhetorical Power of BLACKPINK as a Popular Culture Icon, Cayl found that while BLACKPINK, like many K-pop groups, are being commodified by YG Entertainment, their fans understand that their messaging can also be taken to be empowering. The idol group, through their branding and identity and their own fans’ fan labor, are pop culture icons with influential power themselves.


K-pop group SEVENTEEN inspired a viral thesis last year, this time done in the Sociology program at UP Los Baños! Fellow CARAT and Woozidan (Woozi-biased) Raymart Rodriguez did a deep dive into the identities, shared experiences, and perspectives of Filipino CARATs to find out what meanings were made and shared between SEVENTEEN, their content, and the fans themselves. Slipping Into the Diamond Life: Filipino Carats’ Identity and Meaning as Fans of the K-pop Boy Group SEVENTEEN is both personal yet interesting to those fascinated by fandom and identity.


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Photo courtesy of Margaux Riola

A CARAT through and through, BS Development Communication major Margaux Maria Yzabelle Riola found her thesis topic in SEVENTEEN’s Going Together advocacy campaign with UNESCO. The global campaign champions the importance of accessible and quality education, an advocacy Margaux shares. Her thesis, Evaluating the Impact of the #GoingTogether Campaign by SEVENTEEN and Korean National Commission for UNESCO on the Behavior of Selected Filipino SEVENTEEN Fans towards Education and Literacy, sheds light on the impact an idol group has on the perspectives of fans regarding education.

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