Prospective DE Student Open House and Information Session

Join Critical Theory faculty and students for an informal information session about the Designated Emphasis (DE) in Critical Theory. Open to UC Berkeley graduate students pursuing a Ph.D. who are considering enrolling in the Critical Theory DE.

Applications for the DE in Critical Theory are due Thursday, March 20 at 4pm. Contact for more information.

Critical Theory is often associated with the Frankfurt School, a group of intellectuals who, starting in the 1920s, developed critiques of modern capitalist society, fascism, and new global dispensations that followed in the aftermath of World War II; in doing so, the Frankfurt School established modes of social theory distinct from established forms of philosophy. But key modern concepts of critique had already emerged in various forms in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the work of Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, and others, and critique itself has assumed distinct forms in recent years. The Designated Emphasis (DE) in Critical Theory offers courses on the nineteenth-century notion of critique, the Frankfurt School, and other modern and contemporary forms of critical theory, including critical race theory, postcolonialist theory, and feminist critique.

The DE in Critical Theory consists of a multi-course track including 3 Core Courses and 2 Elective Courses that culminates in a degree certificate in addition to the PhD. The aims of this curriculum are to establish an historical and normative framework for understanding critical theory in its current breadth.

The DE in Critical Theory now serves over 70 graduate students from the humanities and social sciences at UC Berkeley. All students enrolled in PhD programs at UC Berkeley are eligible to apply for the DE in Critical Theory. Students must apply before advancing to candidacy, preferably in the first or second year of graduate study.