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Online Certification Courses

Fall 2024 Online Course for Certification in the Paul-Elder Approach to Critical Thinking

Successful completion of this course fulfills the requirement for certification training as described in our White Paper on Certification. Participants must demonstrate to our instructor that they sufficiently understand foundational critical thinking principles and theory.


  • Course Cost: USD $995
  • Dates: August 28th - November 20th, 2024  (12 weeks)
  • Meeting Schedule: Every Two Weeks on Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time
  • Meeting Duration: 1.5 hours per meeting
  • Instructor:  Dr. Linda Elder, President & Senior Fellow
  • Prerequisites: Read Here

Important Dates

  • August 16, 2024: Last day to drop with a registration refund
  • August 23, 2024: Last day to register

Certification in the Paul-Elder Approach

The emergence of critical thinking as a fad has now placed genuine critical thinking at risk of being so watered-down as to be unrecognizable.

In the time since the core principles and concepts of critical thinking (now known as the Paulian Approach, Paul-Elder Framework, etc.) were expounded by the Center for Critical Thinking beginning in the 1980s, the popularity of the term "critical thinking" has given rise to numerous approaches that are variously superficial, mistaken, or outright counterfeit. These competing systems, oftentimes appealing in their simplicity and well-crafted marketing, have in many circles supplanted more rigorous, comprehensive critical thinking understandings and methodology. On the whole, critical thinking scholarship is at risk.
At the same time, we know that many educators, consultants, and trainers are doing their best to facilitate understanding of the Paul-Elder Framework for Critical Thinking. While this is occurring at varying levels of quality, with the foundational concepts often shared incompletely or inaccurately, we applaud these efforts to keep robust critical thinking alive. They are an excellent start; what is needed now
is to ensure adequate standards in this facilitation.
We want to certify you in your ability to promote understandings of the Paul-Elder Framework for Critical Thinking, the world's most widely-adopted and substantive critical thinking approach. This framework is explicit, robust, applicable to all human reasoning in any context, and described entirely in natural language. In pursuit of this goal, we have overhauled our Certification Program to greatly reduce fees and add more pathways to completion, and we are now offering affiliations through this certification process for consultants.

For the full details of our Certification program, including benefits, requirements, and fees, please read our
White Paper on Certification. This paper was heavily revised in May of 2024 to reflect extensive changes to the Certification Program; please ensure you are familiar with the latest version.

Prerequisites for This Course

Those wishing to participate in the Certification Course must have undergone one of the following:

1. successful completion of one of our semester-long online courses and engaged attendance at one of our live events or guided study groups,

2. Engaged attendance at three (3) or more of our live events, guided study groups, on-site or online professional development programs (customized for your organization) or a combination of these.

“Engaged attendance” means you attended the sessions and completed the assignments (both in-session activities and homework where applicable).