Apr 13, 2024  
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog 
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Democracy and Social Movements Graduate Certificate

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►    Graduate School Rules  apply to this program.​

Program Advisor: Lucy McGuffey
Office: King Center, 522
Telephone: 303-556-2436
E-mail: lucy.mcguffey@ucdenver.edu

The Democracy and Social Movements (DSM) certificate program in political science introduces students to current research and practice concerning the complex interplay between social movements and the processes for initiating and consolidating democracies. While contentious political activities have historically contributed to democratization, they have also led to repression, ethnic conflict and substantive human rights violations. Among the several DSM issues requiring scholarly investigation are:

  • Viable ways to contest authoritarian regimes;
  • The means for constituting a cohesive civil society after a civil war or revolution;
  • The relationships between social equality, distributive justice and democracy;
  • The relative efficacy of violence and of nonviolent strategies to institute and sustain regime change;
  • The challenges of peacebuilding, transitional justice and democratization in societies torn by internal conflict;
  • The growth of transnational social movements in response to globalization;
  • The contextual factors determining the specific character of any social movement and of democratic regimes;
  • The means by which democratic regimes are consolidated and deepened; and
  • The ways in which democratization processes and social movements influence law and public policy, public discourse and culture, the use and design of public/private spaces and the socio-economic outcomes.

Students in the DSM program examine relevant theoretical and methodological literature in these aforementioned areas and apply it to current circumstances by taking specified courses in each of the four major subfields of political science: American, comparative, international politics and political theory.

The DSM certificate program is designed to appeal to persons who want to focus their studies on the recent state of democratization processes around the world, including explorations of the ways in which social movements can catalyze or even threaten those democratization processes. Students in the program will explore how globalization is simultaneously fragmenting and uniting the globe, enhancing wealth and impoverishing people, consolidating human rights regimes and transgressing them and provoking questions about the boundaries of our ethical commitments and the means whereby communities strive for democracy and justice.

By permitting students to devise a curriculum that integrates academic and experiential, the DSM program should enhance students’ scholarship, civil engagement and prospects for further study and employment in rapidly growing fields like international/community development, the non-governmental organization sector, civic education/engagement and human rights.


The graduate certificate requires three program courses and the capstone seminar [12 total credits; all must be graduate-level (5000 or above) courses]. Field work/experiential learning is encouraged and promoted throughout the graduate program, but it is not a certificate requirement.

All courses for the certificate must be taken in residency at CU Denver, and completed with a grade of B or higher. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for the graduate certificate.

All students, whether working toward a degree or as a non-degree student, are eligible for the certificate.

Choose one course from each of the subfields below:

Courses listed below are examples of courses that can be selected for the certificate, but other graduate-level courses (5000-level or above) in political science may be applied with the consent of the program advisor.

Note: Some courses appear more than once in different subfields; students should choose four different subfield courses, not count one toward
two subfields.

Total: 12 Hours


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