At the heart of the BISR Certificate program is our Oxbridge-style tutoring model. Under the close guidance of their faculty tutor, students will chart a personalized curriculum—ranging over six BISR courses and curated to meet the student’s specific academic goals—and conceive, elaborate, and realize a capstone project, be it a piece of long-form writing or an off-the-page work in other media (video, audio, etc.) grounded in the learning they have engaged with throughout their coursework and individualized study. And throughout, students will meet with their faculty tutor one-on-one, on a bi-monthly basis, to discuss key course material, develop further lines of study, and receive feedback and guidance with respect to their capstone project. At program’s end, students will have the opportunity to present their final project, in classic academic “defense” style, to an interdisciplinary committee of three faculty members, who will offer scrupulous and constructive analysis of the approach, claims, and creative form of the student’s capstone work.
Accepted students will have full access to the BISR curriculum, developed specifically to meet the needs and conditions of adult learners from a diverse array of social, cultural, and educational backgrounds, who are looking to connect their experiences, existing practices, ideas, and speculations with focused, critical study. The BISR Certificate Program for Critical Study extends and enhances this objective with a course of study that is attuned to the rhythms of working life and with a faculty experienced in public-facing, community-based scholarship. BISR Certificates students have the unique opportunity to participate in a custom and collaboratively tailored path through our curriculum, with concrete guidance, structure, and assistance toward their own self-determined goals outside the classroom.
As a full-time creative professional, what attracted me to the certificate program at BISR was the opportunity for one-on-one mentorship and course workload that fits into my schedule. … The experiences the certificate program has given me are invaluable because each course I take relates to each other in a critical way that continually expands my overall understanding.
– Kenzie Rattray, ’22-23 Certificate Student
For students interested in questions or topics in Marxism, historical materialism, Frankfurt School Critical Theory and related approaches, and contemporary critical thought across the world.
Social and Political Theory
For students exploring questions related to the theory and practice of politics, social analysis and theory, and canonical and contemporary questions in social and political theory.
Philosophy and Aesthetics
For students interested in exploring questions at the intersection of philosophy and aesthetic theory, from the history of aesthetics as a branch of philosophy to the unique ethical and formal problems that aesthetics brings to the fore.
Literature and Criticism
For students interested in exploring questions at the intersection of literature and criticism, their reciprocal histories and interactions, their modes of production and reception; the program is oriented toward investigation of literature, literary techniques, and critical methodologies.
History and Social Thought
For students interested in taking a broad survey of historical methodologies, with a particular emphasis on historical materialism, its critiques, and new iterations; this program requires students to choose an area of specialization, which can be geographic, temporal, or thematic.
History of Philosophy
For students interested in acquiring a broad foundation in the Western philosophical tradition, from its origins in Greco-Roman antiquity through the medieval, modern, and contemporary periods; this program is oriented toward a syncretic and panoramic understanding.
Sociology and Social Movements
For students interested in studying the political and socioeconomic roots and dynamics of collective struggle; students will be able to explore movement in the capitalist periphery and Global South, as well as developments in the Global North.
Sociology and Race
For students interested in exploring the ways that race is constructed, from historical, social, economic, political, and cultural perspectives, as well as the wide-ranging effects of such constructions; this program requires that students take coursework that explores the intersection of race with gender and class.
For students interested in economic thought and theory beyond neoclassical models, including institutional, ecological, socialist, feminist, Marxist, and post-Keynesian approaches and critiques.
International Political Economy
For students interested in blending questions of political economy in relation to global capitalism, with particular emphasis on world-systems analysis and a Marxist approach to core and periphery.
Psychoanalysis and Theory
For students broadly interested in questions or topics relating to psychoanalysis as theory and practice, as well as studies informed by psychoanalytic thought, observation, and speculation.
For students interested in exploring feminist thought and politics, including contexts for first, second, and contemporary feminisms and gender theory in multiple critical modes and in conversation with adjacent fields.
Successful certificate applicants will work with one the following BISR faculty tutors, depending on disciplinary track and general course of study:
Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Lygia Sabbag Fares, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Nara Roberta Silva, Suzanne Schneider, Michael Stevenson, Paige Sweet, and Sophie Lewis.
Over a set of amazing conversations, my faculty tutor has helped me sharpen my initial set of questions into a research program that I am not only deeply interested in personally but has informed how I think about the work I have done and hope to do.
– Josh Wallack, ’22-23 Certificate Student
Applications to the Certificate Program are accepted at each BISR term. The Program admits new students four times a year: March, June, September, and January.
- To be considered for an April start date, the deadline to apply is March 14
- To be considered for a June start date, the deadline to apply is May 1
- To be considered for a September start date, the deadline to apply is August 1
- To be considered for a January start date, the deadline to apply is December 1
Application materials include:
- Current CV
- A 1-2 page statement (ca. 500-600 words) that outlines a) your interest in pursuing a BISR Certificate, b) your anticipated disciplinary track, and c) a preliminary project proposal
Please submit applications to firstname.lastname@example.org, with APPLICATION and the desired starting month in the subject line. Applicants may be invited for a phone or in-person interview.
Tuition for the year-long Certificate Program is $10,515. This includes: six regular courses from the existing BISR curriculum, taken over the course of one calendar year (beginning at the student’s particular start date); six in-depth, one-on-one, tutoring sessions scheduled over the same time period; project planning, generating annotated bibliographies and/or similar preparatory materials, a project prospectus, revising, and review; and a classic academic defense of your final project by a faculty committee of three, including your faculty tutor.
If you have any questions regarding the program, disciplinary tracks, faculty tutoring, interdisciplinary or off-the-page capstone projects, tuition, or anything else, please email email@example.com, with QUERIES in the subject line.
The BISR Certificate Program for Critical Study is a non-credit bearing program. BISR is committed to a transparent, inclusive, and non-discriminatory educational environment. BISR does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or other legally protected status. We strongly encourage applications from historically underrepresented groups and regardless of prior education background.
I wanted to find a way to connect my day-to-day thinking and work to a broader historical and political understanding… BISR coursework helped me take some of my long standing interests and doubts and articulate them as issues and questions I was excited to explore more deeply; but I didn’t have the time, resources, or need for a typical graduate degree. The BISR Certificate program was the perfect next step.
– Josh Wallack
BISR Certificate for Critical Study
An intensive year-long program, the BISR Certificate for Critical Study offers students a unique opportunity to delve deeply into a topic of their curiosity; to focus, develop, and expand a project that is already in the works; or to hone and enrich an individual, social, or professional practice with rigorous theoretical foundations. BISR Certificate students participate in a personalized course of study, within the broad framework of our disciplinary tracks, and with the close, personal attention of a BISR faculty tutor.