Critical Theory

The Graduate Certificate in Critical Theory is an integrated curriculum offering students the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge, expertise, and certification in the interdisciplinary and international field of critical theory. Students enrolled for the M.A. or Ph.D. degree within any department at the University of Maryland at College Park may apply to participate. The Certificate is presently administered through the Department of English and guided by an interdepartmental faculty steering committee. The current Program Coordinator is Professor Orrin Wang (

The Certificate is earned by successful completion of an 18-credit curriculum which includes the following courses and requirements. These courses are also open to non-certificate students on a space-available basis. With the approval of the Certificate Program Coordinator, courses taken at other institutions can count toward the 18-credit requirement.]

Download the Requirements and Worksheet in PDF Format

(A) An Introductory Course in Critical Theory (3 credits)

This requirement normally will be satisfied by completion of the graduate-level introduction to theory offered in the student's home department.  Students may satisfy this requirement, however, by enrolling in any introductory theory course approved by the Program Coordinator and Advisory Board.  The following courses are currently approved to fulfill this requirement:

AMST 602: Interdisciplinary Research Methods
ARTH 692: Methods of Art History and Archaeology
CMLT 600: Introduction to Theory
COMM 652: Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
ENGL 602: Critical Theory and Literary Criticism
FREN 600: Introduction to Literary Theory
GERM 620: Methods of German Literary Studies: Theory
HIST 601: History and Contemporary Theory
SOCY 621: Contemporary Sociological Theory
THET 686: History of Modern Theory
WMST 601: Advanced Feminist Theory
WMST 602: Advanced Feminist Theory II
Other courses may be substituted with the approval of the Coordinator.

(B) Two Certificate Core Courses (6 credits)

Students are required to take two Certificate in Critical Theory Core Courses: PARADIGMS OF THEORY (ENGL 701) focuses on critical thinkers whose works provide the theoretical paradigms for the contemporary human sciences, with special emphasis on the diversity of such paradigms; CULTURES OF THEORY (ENGL 702) explores the socio-historical, cultural, and material contexts of various theoretical traditions and practices.  These courses will continue to be cross-listed when taught by faculty from Comparative Literature or other departments. Other courses may be substituted for these requirements with the approval of the Coordinator.

(C) Selected Topics in Critical Theory (6 credits)

Students are required to elect two additional graduate courses in theory from relevant course offerings throughout the University, subject to approval of the Program Coordinator. Such courses might focus on specific critical issues, traditions, or approaches.  

(D) Colloquium in Critical Theory (1 credit for each of 3 semesters)

Students are required to attend the Colloquium in Critical Theory (ENGL 798) for three semesters (1 credit per semester; 3 credits total required).  Based on presentations by students, faculty, and invited guests, the Colloquium is open to University of Maryland graduate students and faculty. At least once during the three semesters of their enrollment in the program, students working toward the Certificate in Critical Theory are required to present to the Colloquium a formal paper on theory or in which theory figures prominently.

(E) Minimum Grade Point Average

Students must earn a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in Certificate course requirements in order to be awarded the Graduate Certificate in Critical Theory.  The Colloquium, taken on a pass/fail basis, is excepted from this calculation.