(Graduate Certificate in Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought)

Campus: Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

Instructions: Residential/On Campus 

ASPECT graduate certificate offers the opportunity to develop competency in the study of problem‐centered interdisciplinary analysis informed by social, political, ethical, and cultural thought.


Credit Hours




Research Project Completion


The certificate in Social, Political, Ethical and Cultural Thought (ASPECT) enables graduate students to take graduate courses that may later help them to undertake problem‐centered interdisciplinary analysis informed by social, political, ethical and cultural thought. ASPECT is designed to be of particular interest to those seeking a program of study with a framework wider than that of a specialized department or a particular discipline.  It follows an emerging national and international trend in offering training in interdisciplinary subject clusters that involve both department‐based and program specific courses.  ASPECT research and teaching are centered on questions that span concerns articulated in a number of disciplines or fields of study and whose complexity requires the entire tool kit of knowledge offered by the program. Participating faculty and ASPECT courses come from the core contributing departments of History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Religion and Culture, as well as from many other departments and programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS) and across the University.

Who can apply?

Applications for the Graduate Certificate in Social, Political, Ethical and Cultural Thought will be considered from non‐degree post‐baccalaureate students who have been permitted to take courses by the Graduate School.  This includes Master's, professional and/or Ph.D. graduate students accepted in ASPECT or other programs at Virginia Tech who seek to enhance their training in interdisciplinary thought, methodology, and theory. Students new to Virginia Tech will be considered on the basis of transcripts, a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and additional requirements specified by the Graduate School, as relevant. Students previously admitted by the Graduate School or accepted as graduate students in a cognate program will submit to the director a statement of purpose and at least one letter of recommendation.

Completion Requirements

The certificate provides entry level graduate training in interdisciplinary social, political, ethical, and cultural thought and theory. The certificate curriculum consists of 15 credit hours of course work and can be completed in one year of concentrated study. Alternatively, the certificate can be earned over the course of several years of part time study or while the student is working simultaneously towards completion of another degree.  The certificate will be awarded following successful completion of all course requirements with an overall GPA of 3.4 or better.

Interested in learning theoretical and empirical cross-disciplinary methodologies, concepts, salient issues, cultural studies, political economy, intellectual history, critical world order studies, and aesthetics, performance arts and visual studies?

Prospective students, please call at 540-231-0694 or email: aspect@vt.edu

Visit our office at 202 Major Williams, Blacksburg, VA 24061 

Domestic Application

Fall: August 1

International Application

Fall: April 1


François Debrix, Director (ASPECT)
Professor of Political Science
202 Major Williams (0192)

Tamara Sutphin, Program Support Technician
202 Major Williams(0192)

Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought
202 Major Williams (0192)