Graduate Certificate Programs


CLST offers two interdisciplinary certificates that dramatically enhance conventional work toward degrees in traditional disciplines:

  • The Master's Certificate in Cultural Studies, granted only after the completion of all degree requirements for the MA (or corresponding degree) in the student's home department, school or program.
  • The PhD Certificate in Cultural Studies, awarded only after the student has been admitted to candidacy for the PhD (or corresponding degree).

A student may earn either a Master's Certificate or a PhD Certificate, but not both.


Post-degree students with CLST certificates in hand find that they gain crucial flexibility in being able to respond creatively to the vicissitudes of gainful employment amid collapsing boundaries between knowledge domains, in university teaching and research, the arts, culture industries, government service, and public administration.  

General Requirements

The two CLST certificate programs are open to any student enrolled and in good academic standing in a graduate or professional program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Students in both programs take one required course, CLST 2050 Common Seminar (3 credit hours), offered each Spring Semester with a varying topic wide enough to accommodate the breadth of current students’ interests.  MA students take a minimum of three additional CLST courses, while PhD students take a minimum of five, in a required system of course distribution across the program’s four categories (A,B,C, and D).

CLST students choose from a wide array of offering to custom-tailor their CLST coursework to their own academic interests. The fifty or so CLST courses offered each year variably address debates concerning the theory of texts and their production (Category A); the formation of disciplines and institutions (Category B); and the nature of cultural antagonisms and crises (Category C). Beyond such “Core Courses” in Categories A-C are those called “Designated Courses” (Category D) that are more discipline-based in their approach to cultural studies.  Course offerings feature a variety of recent methodologies of historical and textual interpretation and open opportunities for students to work with faculty members and other students from many departments.

Course Requirements for MA Certificate

  • Common Seminar (and Colloquium)
  • One Core Course (3 credits) from Group A or B
  • One Designated (Group D) Cultural Studies course (3 credits) in the student's home department or school
  • One Designated (Group D) Cultural Studies course (3 credits) outside the student's home department or a course (3 credits) from Group C

Course Requirements for PhD Certificate

  • Common Seminar (and Colloquium)
  • Three Core Courses (3 credits) (one each from Groups A, B, and C)
  • One Designated (Group D) Cultural Studies course (3 credits) in the student's home department or school
  • One Designated (Group D) Cultural Studies course (3 credits) outside the student's home department

CLST offers a limited number of courses on its own, but more commonly shares coursework in other departments through crosslisting. The names of all courses crosslisted are available only on the CLST website (and not in the University’s official Time Schedule of Classes) shortly before each enrollment period begins.  Each crosslisted course counts for credit both in its home department and in the CLST program. Thus, if students carefully coordinate crosslisted home department offerings with those in CLST, the certificate program normally requires only one or two extra courses beyond those required by the disciplinary degree program.

Beyond the coursework, non-English language competency is required. Students from departments without foreign language requirements need to demonstrate the ability to use primary and secondary texts in one language other than English (waived for students having English as their second language). For English native speakers, courses are regularly offered in the language departments toward the achievement of this level of reading proficiency, the successful passage of which can serve as the required demonstration.