New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

Social Justice and Human Rights, M.A.

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Social Justice & Human Rights Degree (M.A.)

The MA in Social Justice and Human Rights (SJHR) is a theoretically and methodologically rigorous program, providing specializations in research and/or in the management of advocacy-oriented organizations in the non-governmental sector, both domestically and transnationally. The SJHR degree program offers social justice and human rights approaches to specific issues such as health, education, labor, migration, children, family, and the environment. These issues are approached in a context defined by the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, location, and/or nationality.

Students may choose from two different tracks through the program:

1) Social Justice and Human Rights Research Track: The research track will prepare students for work in governmental agencies and non-governmental agencies, and for doctoral programs in the social sciences and law. Students will not only be exposed to the most recent research literature in social justice and human rights, they will also develop advanced skills in qualitative and/or quantitative research methods.  The research track supports students in applying their methodological skills throughout their various activities in the program, including in internships, community-embedded seminars, and the capstone experience.

2) NGO Management Track: This track brings together training in the area of social justice and human rights with intensive practical training in non-profit management that will prepare graduates for leadership positions in the rapidly growing NGO sector. Often NGO Coordinators are passionate about social justice and human rights, but they lack essential management skills. NGO Management track students will be required to take two courses in non-profit management such as Fiscal Management in Nonprofit Organizations, Program Evaluation and Information Management, and Leadership and Ethics in the Nonprofit Sector.

Unique Features of the Program

This program is based on an innovative learner-centered curriculum that emphasizes problem-based and community-embedded seminars, as well as professional internships.  Three distinct features of this program include:

Innovative, Learner-Centered Curriculum: Students will benefit from an innovative curriculum focused on engaging the community and working with faculty on interdisciplinary research.  Our curriculum not only brings university expertise to real-world community problems, but it also creates engaged interdisciplinary research teams of faculty and graduate students united by a common concern. Learning in the SJHR program is also enhanced by the infusion of videoconference lectures from scholars, attorneys, activists, government officials, and other experts from around the world.

Problem-Based and Community-Embedded Seminars: An integral part of our curriculum is interdisciplinary seminars that examine current problems in social justice from several different theoretical and analytical viewpoints.  For example, problem-based seminars devote the entire seminar to a specific community issue such as the migrant deaths in Arizona or the murders of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.  These courses are taught by faculty who address the issue from their area of expertise (social movements, international law, activism, etc.).  Community-embedded seminars often require students to be placed in local agencies dealing with that issue during the semester.  For example, in a community-embedded seminar on children’s rights, students could work with the International Rescue Committee, the Florence Project for Immigration and Refugee Rights, Foster Angels of Arizona, Foster Care Review Board, and/or CPS.  Such placements bring much-needed applied knowledge to the seminar classroom and also provide a benefit to the community.

Grant Writing and Development for Social Justice: Due to the present indispensability of these skills for both researchers and those employed in NGOs, all students in this program are required to successfully complete a course in grant writing and development, usually in their second year.  Experts in grant writing, such as program officers from national funding agencies and major private donors, join us as guest lecturers to provide invaluable practical instruction.  By taking this course in their second year, students prepare with the requisite research and/or management skills to write successful proposals.

SJHR is Now Accepting Spring Applications

Spring Application Deadline: December 15th (priority deadline: October 15th)
Fall Application Deadline: July 15th (priority deadline: February 15th)

Ready to begin? Contact SJHR to learn more about the Social Justice & Human Rights Degree (M.A.)