Unit Certification

The Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory offers a certificate in Criticism and Interpretive Theory to graduate students enrolled in participating departments or programs. Students affiliated with the Unit are encouraged to participate actively in the Unit by regularly attending colloquia and seminars, taking courses with a significant theoretical component, working with Unit faculty, and integrating theory into their written work and dissertations.

The intent of the following requirements is to guide Unit students in planning and pursuing their programs of study so that, in addition to satisfying the degree requirements of their home departments, they will gain a broader competence in criticism and interpretive theory. To accomplish that purpose, students should consult regularly with the Unit director and other Unit faculty about choosing courses that will help them fulfill the requirements for certification.


1. Registration in a graduate degree program in a participating department or program.

2. Attendance at a minimum of 16 sessions of the Unit for Criticism’s Colloquium Series and/or Criticism Seminar. With consent of the Unit director, attendance at Unit conferences and other events may also qualify. Please use the Unit Certification Checklist to keep track of your attendance.

3. Completion of at least four Unit-approved theory courses. At least two of these courses must be outside the student’s home department. Introductory or required methodology courses will usually not satisfy this requirement. Independent study classes taken with Unit faculty members, however, often do.

4. Completion of 1-2 posts for the Unit’s blog, Kritik. Arrangements to blog about a Unit or other relevant event should be made with the Unit director prior to the date of the event.

5. Submission of a 4-5 page research statement that clarifies the role of critical theory in the student’s research project along with submission of a substantial sample of the student’s writing (e.g. a seminar paper or dissertation chapter) that exemplifies the student’s research. The statement and writing sample typically are submitted around the time the student nears completion of a dissertation or other final project. The student will discuss the statement and writing sample with the Unit director and other appropriate Unit faculty members as the final stage of certification.

6. Completion of the application form.

Because Unit students' interdisciplinary interests take a wide variety of shapes, these requirements are necessarily flexible; candidates for certification should consult with the Unit director about modifying them to fit their specific needs.