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This handbook for the Graduate Certificate in Critical Translation Studies contains information on course requirements, advising, department policies, and capstone project forms.

About The Graduate Certificate In Critical Translation Studies

In the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan, we are interested in both the practice and the critical reflection on translation, a term we construe broadly. We believe that translation is

  • an ancient liberal art
  • a set of practices with complex aesthetic, historical, economic, ethical, and philosophical dimensions all worthy of in-depth critical exploration
  • a core concept underlying the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge, across disciplines within and beyond the humanities
  • a vital skill for the professional development of graduate students
  • indispensable to the future of community and communities, academic and beyond

The Certificate in Critical Translation Studies is designed to invite graduate students from a wide array of disciplines to contribute to this shared project. Requirements are designed to provide students an introduction to various modes of translation, historical and contemporary ones, and to explore disciplinary, institutional, cultural, and historical frameworks for shifting concepts and practices. More broadly, the program affords future practitioners and scholars of translation a critical and theoretical understanding of the variety of principles and traditions from which various theories and practices of translation emerge.

This program does not certify students as practitioners of textual translation or real-time interpreting. Such credentialing is governed by specific professional organizations, depending on the field and the kind(s) of translation involved. We can, however, advise students interested in such credentials, and we may be able in the future to contribute funding to certificate graduates who want to pursue certification.


Designed for students already enrolled in a terminal degree program at the University of Michigan, the Graduate Certificate in Critical Translation Studies (GCCTS) consists of graduate course work totaling 12 credit hours, a portion of which may be double-counted with coursework undertaken in the student’s primary field of study, in accordance with Rackham guidelines. The certificate provides students with flexibility for integrating Critical Translation Studies into their program of study.

The 12 credit hours are distributed as follows:

  • At least one graduate course (3 credits) in translation studies regularly offered by Comparative Literature (COMPLIT 580: Translation Workshop and/or COMPLIT 780: Seminar in Translation)
  • Other graduate courses (adding up to 6 credits) in any department, contributing to the student’s critical understanding of translation and/or culminating in a seminar paper specifically exploring a question in translation studies
  • Capstone Project (3 credits) taken as an Independent Study (COMPLIT 680), with a supervising faculty member The supervising faculty member can be the Translation Studies Advisor or a faculty member in another department.

Capstone Project

The Capstone Project requires that a brief proposal be developed in consultation with the Translation Studies Advisor. The proposal is reviewed by the Advisory Committee for the Graduate Certificate in Critical Translation Studie. After the proposal is approved, the student then registers for 3 credits of COMPLIT 680.

The Capstone Project may consist of one of the following:

  • Work in translation (e.g. a literary or scholarly translation, an artistic creation or performance engaged with translation, the subtitling of a film, a collaborative translation across disciplines or media)
  • A professional practicum related to translation (e.g. editorial work for a translation journal or online publication, development and teaching of an undergraduate translation course, engagement in community service translation projects; internship in a medical, legal, business, or other professional settings)
  • An applied project that takes up a concept or problem in the field of translation studies
  • A significantly redeveloped/expanded/revised dissertation chapter, master’s thesis, or independent study paper focused on some aspect of the history, theory or practice of translation

To complete and submit the final Capstone Project, the student should also include:

  • A 250-word description of the project
  • A brief statement that addresses the following questions: How does this project draw on critical perspectives in translation studies? How has this project been informed by coursework completed for the graduate certificate? How will the project be circulated to its intended disciplinary audience and/or how does it contribute to the larger field of translation studies?
  • The faculty member supervising the capstone project reviews and approves the project and submits a final grade.
  • Before the end of the semester, students are required to send a capstone summary to the Translation Studies Advisor upon completion of the capstone project.
  • After completing the capstone (and all other requirements), the student must apply directly to Rackham to graduate from the certificate program. If this step is not completed, the Graduate Certificate will not appear on the transcript. See further instructions for applying to Rackham in the Certificate Completion Section of this handbook.


The Translation Studies Advisor is available for general academic advising of graduate students pursuing the certificate. Students interested in pursuing the graduate certificate should make an appointment to meet with the Translation Studies Advisor prior to applying to the certificate program. During this meeting the advisor will work with the prospective student to create a preliminary plan for coursework that will satisfy the certificate requirements as well as the student’s individual goals and interests.

Scheduling Advising Appointments

Advising appointments can be scheduled online. If there are no appointments available, send an email to that includes your availability and the purpose for the appointment. Staff will work with you to schedule a meeting with the Translation Advisor.

Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee for the Graduate Certificate in Critical Translation Studies is chaired by the Translation Studies Advisor and comprised of members of the Comparative Literature Translation Studies Committee (including at least one rotating faculty member from another department). The Advisory Committee provides oversight on administrative and policy matters pertaining to the graduate certificate program and is responsible for the review of petitions to count graduate courses toward requirements. The Advisory Committee also reviews and approves preliminary proposals for Capstone Projects with an option to give feedback as needed, to be forwarded by the Translation Studies Advisor to the student. Supervision and final evaluation of the Capstone Project are conducted by the faculty member with whom the student has registered for a 3-credit Independent Study.


Admission to the Certificate program is granted on a rolling basis; students can apply at any time. However, students who plan to pursue the certificate are encouraged to apply as early in their programs as possible. Applicants must already be enrolled in a degree-granting program at the University of Michigan. (One term of U-M graduate study must be completed prior to the applicant’s designated term of admission.) They must be in good standing with their program and have the consent of their graduate advisor as well as the consent of the Translation Studies Advisor in Comparative Literature.

How to Apply

Applications are first submitted to the Translation Studies Advisor by emailing

For detailed instructions on application, visit the admission page. The application will be reviewed by the Translation Studies Advisor, and kept on file in the Department of Comparative Literature.

After approval of the departmental application, students then apply to the certificate program via Rackham by submitting one of the two Rackham applications:

  • Students who are already enrolled in a Rackham Graduate Program must complete the Dual Admission Application, which is available on Rackham’s website.
  • Students enrolled in non-Rackham graduate programs (e.g., Law, Business, etc.) must complete a Rackham online application, submit Rackham’s required materials/transcripts, and pay the application fee. Graduate Certificate applicants do not need to submit new test scores, but a final official copy of undergraduate transcripts/credentials must be submitted to Rackham.
  • Important: The student should notify by email both the Translation Studies Advisor and when the Rackham application has been submitted.

Course Selection

A course plan may be developed in advance or retroactively in consultation with the Translation Studies Advisor for approval. We encourage the selection of graduate courses across departments, according to your particular areas of interest and expertise. We maintain a list of faculty with interests in translation studies and can provide information about graduate courses offered from year to year. Please consult with the Translation Studies Advisor to select courses that will meet the requirements for the Certificate. In case questions arise about whether to count a course, students may submit a petition for review by the Advisory Committee.

Comp Lit Translation Courses:

  • COMPLIT 580. Translation Workshop
  • COMPLIT 680. Capstone in Critical Translation Studies
  • COMPLIT 780. Seminar in Translation

Double-Counting Credits

The Department of Comparative Literature adheres to the rules outlined in Section 7 of Rackham Graduate School’s Academic Policies regarding double-counting credits:

  • Not more than one-sixth of the credits required for a master’s degree may be double-counted with a certificate.
  • Not more than half of the credits necessary for a certificate that requires 10 or more credits of coursework may be double-counted with a master’s. If a certificate requires 9 credits of coursework, only 3 credits can be double-counted. Double-counted credits may not be used to fulfill the requirements of other degrees or certificates.
  • There is no restriction for double-counting courses between a Ph.D. degree and a certificate; however, if the student is receiving an embedded MA, then they are subject to the double-counting rules for master’s degrees.
  • Courses cannot be double-counted between certificate programs.

Applying to Rackham to Complete the Graduate Certificate

Once all requirements have been fulfilled for the GCCTS, all students must apply for graduation with the certificate via Wolverine Access, by Rackham’s term-specific deadlines. Instructions and deadlines for applying for graduation are detailed on the Rackham Graduate School website.


  • We strongly encourage students to apply for graduation from the Certificate program immediately after completing all requirements. Rackham will send the application to the Translation Studies Advisor for final approval. This will ensure that the Graduate Certificate appears on their transcript. Please note, applying to graduate with the Graduate Certificate does not need to be the same semester as completion of the graduate degree.  
  • Students must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.
  • All coursework must be approved for Rackham graduate credit.     
         - Must not be “VI”/audit, 990/995, NFC, or any course with Doc, Dissertation, or Prelim in the title.
  • Double-counting is not allowed between certificates.
  • Please confirm which courses will be counted toward the certificate with the department.
  • If a certificate student is enrolled in a Master’s degree program or has received an embedded Master’s along the way to their Ph.D., they must also complete a Dual Degree Course Election Form to verify that Rackham’s double-counting rules have been followed.

Please contact the Department of Comparative Literature with questions or concerns.





Updated June 2021