Critical Theory (Graduate Certificate)

The Graduate Certificate in Critical Theory will provide students with deep background in cultural and social theory, emphasizing critical and analytic skills based in concepts derived from Continental Philosophy. Such knowledge and skills are used widely in teaching and research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. This is a transdisciplinary certificate, with opportunities to study theoretical approaches as applied across a range of arts, humanities, and social sciences disciplines. Upon completion of the certificate, graduates will be able to demonstrate an awareness of key conversations and debates in existing Critical Theory and make arguments that contributes new insights to existing conversations, debates, and knowledge in that scholarship.

The graduate certificate in critical theory is available to all ASU graduate students irrespective of their major and to non-degree graduate students and working professionals provided they meet eligibility criteria. Sample target majors include English, Women and Gender Studies, Art History, and Arts, Media, and Engineering. Only nine hours may be taken in non-degree/certificate status and applied to a graduate degree/certificate program. Admission requirements for obtaining the graduate certificate include having:

  1. Completion of an undergraduate bachelor's degree from an U.S. accredited institution or equivalent.
  2. Minimum of a 3.00 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.0=A) in the last 60 hours of a student’s bachelor’s degree program. If entering with a Master’s degree, then a minimum of 3.00 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.0 = A) in the applicable Master's degree.
  3. Two courses in critical theory or a related field taken at the upper level undergraduate level (such as ENG 401 Topics in Critical Theory) or at the graduate level (such as ENG 502 Contemporary Critical Theories). Note that ENG 502 is a core course for the certificate. It may be taken prior to the certificate (and credit given for having taken the class) or it may be taken once the student is admitted into the certificate program. It is not required as a prerequisite for entry into the certificate program.

Note: International students on an F1 or J1 visa cannot study only in a certificate program. They would need to be already in a graduate program.

Applications are accepted year round. 

1. Complete the Graduate Admissions Online Application for Admission and submit the application fee and official transcripts.
2. Supporting Documents: These items must also be uploaded into the online application.

- Personal statement should be approximately 300 minimum to 600 maximum words in which the applicant explains the following: What is the applicant's background in theory? what areas of theory is the applicant interested in pursuing and which authors is he/she reading and thinking about? What concepts in critical theory interest her/him and why? What does he/she hope to accomplish in this certificate?
- The cv should include a) dates and names of classes related to theory, b) work experience (this does not have to be school related work), c) a list of two to three professors we could contact who would serve as references.
- A minimum ten-page writing sample with a theory focus.  This gives the committee a sense of the applicant's writing style, analytic abilities, and ability to engage in primary or secondary sources.

International students must have an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS score report sent to the Graduate College. Please refer to this webpage for English Proficiency Score requirements:

Contact Information:  For questions about the application process, email
For questions about qualifications or the specifics of the program, please contact Professor Ron Broglio or Professor Gregory Castle

Important steps to receiving critical theory certificate:

1. Complete 15 hours of certificate coursework

2. Submit plan of study (ipos) (include 15 hours on ipos – five classes)

3. Submit Portfolio in one PDF file to the Graduate Program Manager at The Portfolio consists of the culminating assignment for ENG 502, one paper from a theory course taken for the certificate, and a brief statement (up to 500 word) that reflects on what the student has accomplished in the certificate and how it might help [the student] in future academic projects and employment opportunities. Once the portfolio is deemed acceptable by the critical theory directors, the graduate program manager will update the ipos to reflect completion of the portfolio.

4. Apply for graduation from the theory certificate on your MyASU.

Program Requirements:

- Core Requirement: ENG 502 Contemporary Critical Theories (offered every Spring semester)
- Electives: Choose 4 courses from the list below for a total of 12 credit hours. Students may select additional elective courses outside of this list pending they are 400 level and above and have been reviewed and approved by the certificate advisors prior to inclusion on their plan of study. A minimum of two thirds of the courses taken to complete the certificate must be at the 500-level or above. As a general guideline a course to count toward the certificate, at least 70% of the course content should be texts within critical theory (not cultural texts such as literature, film, art, etc.). When in doubt, consult with the certificate's administrators.

ENG 546 Gender Studies
ENG 554 Rhetorics of Race, Class, and Gender
ENG 602 Advanced Studies in Theory and/or Criticism
AME 530 Experiential Media Methodology & Theory 1 
AME 531 Experiential Media Methodology & Theory 2
AME 591 Seminar: Critical Theory
ARS 591 Seminar: Critical Theory
PHI 582 Studies in Modern Philosophy
WST 602 Mapping Intersections of Gender
GCU 529 Contemporary Geographic Thought
GCU 514 Human Dimensions of Sustainability
DSC 598 The Culture of Objects
THE 504 Studies in Dramatic Theory
THE 505 Critical Theory and Performance
COM 691 Rhetoric and the Public Sphere
COM 691: Critical/Cultural Approaches to Communication Studies
SLC 598  Film Theory and Criticism

The student will file a plan of study for the certificate program and apply for graduation. The student will be awarded a certificate when they fulfill the requirements. 

Note to certificate students: Credit hours earned in a certificate program may also be used towards a degree program, standard preadmission rules apply.

Note to current students: According to Graduate College policy, "No more than 40% of coursework towards the requirements of a graduate certificate can be completed prior to admission to the certificate program." This means that a student who is in a master's program cannot get towards the end of their program and request to use their credits earned to get a certificate too.   However, if a student starts a certificate and a degree at the same time, they could finish both in 30 hours.

Degree Offered

Critical Theory (Graduate Certificate)
Liberal Arts and Sciences, The College of

Tempe, West

Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study

Application Deadline

Applications are accepted year round. 

How to Apply

See the Admission Requirements and  Application Procedures tab above.