2018-2019 Catalog 
    May 17, 2024  
2018-2019 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Justice Major

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Professors Dean, Durst, Gitter, Leber, Schrock, Shari Stone-Mediatore, White

The social justice major aims to cultivate in students the knowledge and skills needed to analyze social injustices and theorize and work toward positive social change. Through this interdisciplinary major, students will develop the knowledge and skills to reflect critically on the meaning of social justice at both the local and global levels, examine the dynamics of societal conflicts and struggles for social justice within and among various groups and institutions, and apply interdisciplinary perspecitives at multiple levels of analysis. Students will be required to supplement their classwork with a more experientially-oriented activist project, and will be encouraged to further participate in a travel-learning course, theory-to-practice grant, and other service projects. These practical components of the major will provide opportunities for students to develop career-related skills, such as community organizing, working with and mediating diverse social groups, presenting ideas in professional forums, and managing real-world projects.

Major Requirements

Required Courses (8 courses):

  • Awareness and Understanding:
    • SJ 100 1   Introduction to Social Justice
    • EDUC 115  Teaching for Social Justice
  • Structural Inequality - 1 required - choose from among:
    • SOAN 349   Gender in Contemporary Society
    • SOAN 352   Urban Sociology
    • SOAN 357   Race and Ethnicity
    • SOAN 359   Social Inequality
    • WGS 351 Global Feminism
  • Cultural Expressions - 1 required - choose from among:
    • CMLT 265   Freedom and Constraint
    • ENG 300 6 Race, Power, and Identity in Postcolonial Literature
    • ENG 266   Caribbean Women Writers
    • WGS 325 Feminist Perspectives on Race and Gender in the Media
    • SPAN 371   The Construction of Latin American Identities: From the Center to the Margins
    • SPAN 360   20th and 21st Century Mexican Literatures and Popular Cultures
    • SPAN 362   The Poetics of Latin American Literature: Short Stories and Poetry
    • SPAN 364   The Latin American Novel within Its Revolutions, Cultures, and Social Changes
  • Theorizing Social Justice - 1 required - choose from among:
    • PHIL 354   Social and Political Philosophy
    • SOAN 358   Society, Politics, and Social Movements
    • WGS 499 D   Contemporary Feminist Theory
  • Research Skills
    • SOAN 279   Sociological Research Methods
  • Mentored Activism
    • SJ 495 or SJ 490 Internship or Independent Study (with a member of Social Justice-affiliated faculty)
  • Interdisciplinary Integration
    • SJ 301 Social Justice Capstone
  • Up to 4 other electives (at least 2 must be numbered 250 or above) from the following:
    • ECON 277   Labor Economics
    • ECON 282   Global Poverty
    • ECON 378   Public Finance
    • GEOL 110   Physical and Environmental Geology
    • MUS 347   History of Jazz
    • PG 260   Equality and American Politics
    • PG 348   Latin American Politics
    • PG 352   Civil Rights and Liberties
    • PG 372   Democracy and its Critics
    • PG 373   Freedom, Equality and Democracy in American Political Thought
    • PHIL 110 A   Introduction to Philosophy
    • PHIL 112   Critical Thinking: Ideology Critique
    • PHIL 250   Environmental Ethics
    • PHIL 340  /WGS 340  Feminist Philosophy
    • SOAN 117    Social Problems
    • SOAN 292   Cultures of the Pacific
    • SOAN 295   Native American Cultures of the Southwest

If double-majoring in SJ and SOAN, then students can have no more than 3 courses overlapping with SJ and SOAN.

Minor Requirements

Required courses (3 courses):

  • Awareness and Understanding - 1 required
    • SJ 100 1: Introduction to Social Justice
  • Theories and Methods of Social Justice - 1 required - choose from among
    • PHIL 354   Social and Political Philosophy
    • SOAN 279   Sociological Research Methods
    • SOAN 358   Society, Politics and Social Movements
    • WGS 499 D   Contemporary Feminist Theory
  • Mentored Activism - 1 required
    • SJ 495 or SJ 490 Internship or Independent Study (with a member of a Social Justice-affiliated faculty)
  • Electives Courses (3 courses)
    • 3 other courses (at least 2 must be numbered 250 or above) from the above list of SJ-approved courses


To be eligible to declare a major in Social Justice, a student must have a 2.5 cumulative GPA or both a 2.0 cumulative GPA and have earned a “B” in one SJ course.

Knowledge of a foreign language and training in statistics are strongly recommended for all majors. Mastery of these skills is especially important for students who are planning on graduate study or government service.

Independent study and apprenticeships are vital parts of the major. Every effort is made to tailor programs to individual student needs and to maintain flexibility within a framework of rigorous scholarship. All apprenticeships are graded credit/no entry. No other course counting for credit in the major may be taken credit/no entry.

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