The Graduate Certificate in Critical Theory offers students a background in the philosophical foundations of critical theory. Drawing on disciplines such as philosophy, psychoanalysis, Marxism, literary criticism and sociology, critical theory develops analytical tools for describing and evaluating modern society and cultural production. The program is open to students currently enrolled in a graduate program at CU Boulder.

Certificate Requirements:

A total of twelve credit hours are required for completion of the certificate.

Six semester hours of required course work, composed of these two core graduate courses:

  • GRMN 5030: Foundations of Critical Theory  (usually offered in the fall semester)
  • GRMN 5051: Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School (usually offered in the spring semester)

This sequence of courses is designed to provide the intellectual history and philosophical foundations for contemporary research directions in critical theory. Neither of these courses may be taken as an independent study.

Two additional elective courses in theory. Some of the elective courses recognized by the program include:

Elective Courses for Graduate Certificate in Critical Theory

If you would like to substitute any other course for the electives, please contact the Director of the program. Except for under extraordinary circumstances, independent study courses will not count for the graduate certificate. 

Note: Students must obtain a grade of B or above in each course taken toward the certificate.


To complete the certificate program a student must:

  1.  Enroll in the certificate program by emailing the Certificate Director of the program.
  2. Once a student has completed the requirements for the certificate, they should complete the Certificate Completion Worksheet and submit it to the Graduate Program Assistant, Karen Hawley,  Note: worksheet should be submitted the semester the student competes the certificate requirements (or any semester thereafter); certificate is awarded when the student completes their graduate program.  Once the director has approved the worksheet, and once student completes their graduate program, the certificate will be added to the student's transcript.

Graduate Certificate Forms & Links:

For more information contact the Certificate Director  or the Graduate Program Assistant, Karen Hawley, (303) 492-3529.