Critical Theory Certificate Program Requirements

To participate in the certificate program:

1. Declare affiliation to the Critical Theory Cluster. To affiliate, please fill out this form or e-mail criticaltheory@northwestern.edu)

2. Complete five courses, at least two of which must be introductory seminars - such as those listed below - or appropriate substitutes. The remaining three courses are from a list designated annually.

*Please note, the completion of the certificate is indicated on student transcripts.

Introductory Critical Theory Seminars (at least 2 courses):
  • Critical Theory and Literary Studies. Poststructuralism, cultural studies, and postcolonial theory in literary analysis and theory. The influence of psychoanalysis, Marxism, structuralism, semiotics, and post-structuralist thought on contemporary textual analysis. Cultural critique and context-centered methodologies.
  • Critical Theory and Philosophy. Themes may include the origins of critical theory in Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche; the contemporary re-emergence of critical theory in the work of the Frankfurt School; and/or the poststructuralist thinkers such as Derrida and Nancy.
  • Critical Theory and the Study of Politics. The concepts of progress and power in politics and in the study of politics: the sources of modern political critique in the Frankfurt School and phenomenology; the critique of positivism in the social sciences; the critique of sovereignty, identity, and race; empire and post-colonial politics.  
Remaining Courses (three):
  • courses chosen from a designated list updated annually. A complete list of accredited graduate course for the current academic year can be found on our graduate courses page.

*Please note that no more than two courses can be counted towards the certificate from the student’s degree program.

When you have completed the requirements, please fill out the online TGS Certificate Application. This application will be routed to the Critical Theory Program Associate Director, Peter Fenves (p-fenves@northwestern.edu), who will review the application. It will then be reviewed by TGS and notification will be sent to the student of approval.

*Interdisciplinary Certificate in Critical Theory (ICCT) seminars are open to all interested students. Cluster fellowship students are required to take three Critical Theory related courses outside of their degree program. The choice of courses must be approved by the Director of the Critical Theory Cluster.