Minor Requirements

Students with a minor in critical theory will develop their ability to question the world in which they live. Critical theory generally involves the attempt to better understand the roots of social conflicts and political struggles, and to achieve critical distance from unexamined beliefs, forces, conventions, ways of thought, traditions, and institutions. The minor offers an opportunity to articulate theoretically nuanced responses to the problems that define our historical moment.
The minor is an interdisciplinary program of study enabling undergraduates to acquire understanding of critical theory’s many dimensions and fields of application. It fosters dialogue between students with shared interests in such areas as continental philosophy, comparative literature, media and communication, film studies, the social sciences, political theory, gender, sexuality and critical race studies. Many faculty offering courses towards the minor have interests in critical theory traditions that have developed in different languages. A small number of relevant courses are even offered each year in different languages including French, German, and Spanish. The minor warmly encourages (but does not require) the study of foreign languages, an area of strength at Northwestern.  
Through the undergraduate-initiated and organized Critical Theory Research Workshop, the minor benefits from an active undergraduate research culture. The minor is associated with Northwestern’s Critical Theory Cluster, a research network of over 100 faculty and graduates at Northwestern responsible for a vibrant program of interdisciplinary events, workshops, visiting professors, and lectures. The minor is also associated with the popular undergraduate Paris Program in Critical Theory, Literature and Media, which offers undergraduates the unique opportunity to spend a quarter studying in Paris.


  • Comp Lit 207/PHIL 220: Introduction to Critical Theory
  • 5 interdisciplinary 300-level courses approved by the program, including at least 1 course in each of three generally defined fields:
    • literary theory
    • political theory
    • philosophy
  • Students may petition to the director to count courses not listed or to substitute 1 200-level course for a 300-level course.

A list of pre-approved courses counting toward the minor.

For more information about the undergraduate critical theory minor contact Professor Mark Alznauer, m-alznauer@northwestern.edu