Critical sports studies—which examines sports and their social, cultural, historical and economic contexts—is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary and intersectional field that engages cultural studies, the humanities, social sciences and professional fields such as business and law. At CU Boulder, critical sports studies is a multifaceted discipline that addresses the growing interest in society to examine social and cultural issues in sports today. Critical sports studies is also making great strides in understanding how sport and play function in everyday interactions and how it can be harnessed to support social and cultural change. 

The certificate in critical sports studies is open to all degree-seeking undergraduate students pursuing any major at CU Boulder. The program framework demands that students analyze race, gender, class and nation as they study sports, preparing students to engage in an increasingly diverse and globalized society. Students also participate in co-curricular activities to augment their understanding of the development, focus, functioning and future of sports in society. 


Admission Requirements

Applications for admission into the certificate program will be reviewed once each semester. Degree-seeking undergraduate students may apply before they begin coursework, while they are engaged in it or after they have completed certificate requirements.

Required Courses and Credits

A total of 18 hours of coursework are required to complete the certificate. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the interdisciplinary course offerings based in cultural studies, political science, history, study abroad, journalism, philosophy, communications, and writing and rhetoric.

All students are required to take ETHN 3024 Introduction to Critical Sports Studies. At least 6 additional credits must be taken within the Department of Ethnic Studies for a minimum total of 9 credits within ETHN.

The remaining 9 credits must be taken in other departments and in other disciplines. Alternately students may take 6 credits in other departments plus 3 credits from an experiential learning course such as the Education Abroad Summer Seminar: ETHN 3704 Athlete as a National Symbol: Nationhood/Nationalism, Sport (offered annually).

A grade of C- or higher is required to count a class toward the certificate. Students must achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0 in certificate coursework in order to earn the degree.

Core Course
ETHN 3024Introduction to Critical Sports Studies 13
Ethnic Studies6
Selected Topics in American Studies (The Governance of Sport OR Sports and Social Justice)
Gender, Sport and Culture
African American Sport Experience 1
Athlete as a National Symbol: Nationhood/Nationalism, Sport
Sport and Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean
Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity in Sports Films 1
Sport for Social Justice
Outside Ethnic Studies9
Ancient Sport and Spectacle
Senior Seminar: Rhetoric (Rhetoric & Sport)
America Through Baseball 1
Sports Writing
Sports, Media and Society
Sports Broadcasting
Philosophy and Sports
Sport Psychology 1
RUSS 2222
Topics in Writing (Sports in American Culture) 1
Total Credit Hours18