Social Justice and Human Rights, MA

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Around our communities and around the world people can be oppressed or exploited for any reason and sometimes no reason at all. You can gain hands-on experience with advocates and aid workers to better understand the problems in order to work toward solutions.

The MA program in social justice and human rights addresses urgent social issues related to human security, labor, migration, children, family, education and the environment.

The social justice in human rights graduate degree program provides students with a combination of applied real-world skills and training in research. They may choose to focus on specific issues such as racial justice, educational rights, disability rights, indigenous rights, animal rights or the abolition of human trafficking. Or they may direct their focus to regional contexts such as the Middle East, Central Europe, East Africa or Central America.

The coursework in this theoretically and methodologically rigorous program examines social issues in contexts defined by multiple and intersecting forms of social identity and disadvantage, including gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality and nationality.

The program requires an internship, to be completed domestically or internationally, in which students typically work alongside other advocates for social justice to help refugees, migrants, workers and survivors of violence or human trafficking.

Students may select from three degree tracks: research, advocacy, or critical trauma studies and social work. The research track prepares students for positions as researchers, analysts and advocates in governmental, intergovernmental and nongovernmental agencies. The advocacy track prepares students to be leaders in nonprofit, social movement, governmental and intergovernmental organizations. The critical trauma studies and social work track prepares students to assist vulnerable people, especially survivors of extreme violence, poverty, war, sex trafficking, human trafficking, gender-based violence and various forms of marginalization.

At A Glance

Social Justice and Human Rights, MA

Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete this graduate level program.

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Application Deadline

See important dates and information on the Advising pages for both Online and Ground programs.

Go to Online Advising

Go to Ground Advising

Degree requirements

Required Core (12 credit hours)
JHR 501 Proseminar in Social Justice and Human Rights (3)
JHR 506 Grant Writing for Social Justice and Human Rights (3)
JHR 510 Problem-Based Seminar in Social Justice and Human Rights (3)
JHR 525 Action Research in Social Justice and Human Rights (3)

Electives (3-6 credit hours)

Research (3 credit hours)
JHR 500 Research Methods (3)

Other Requirements (9 credit hours)
JHR 584 Internship (3) and
track coursework (6)
JHR 598 Topic: Migration, Asylum, and Refugees (3)
JHR 598 Topic: Gender-based Violence and Sex-Trafficking (3)
JHR 598 International Law and Organizations (3)

Culminating Experience (3-6 credit hours)
JHR 549 Capstone in Social Justice and Human Rights (3) or
JHR 593 Applied Project (3) or
JHR 599 Thesis (6)

Additional Curriculum Information
For other requirements coursework, ground immersion students will complete an internship and track coursework. Online students will take JHR 598 in the listed topics. When approved by the academic unit, other requirements courses may be substituted.

Students attending in-person choose one of three tracks in social justice and human rights research, social justice and human rights advocacy, and critical trauma studies and social work and select courses for the track and electives requirements in consultation with faculty.

Students completing an applied project or capstone for the culminating experience complete six credit hours of electives to meet the program's 33 credit hour requirement.

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree, in any field, from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. statement of purpose
  4. two letters of recommendation
  5. an academic writing sample (preferred) or professional writing sample
  6. resume or curriculum vitae
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency.

The statement of purpose should describe the educational background, scholarly interests and academic and professional goals of the applicant.

It is preferred that letters of recommendation be from faculty members who know the applicant's work well; if these are not available, letters of recommendation from individuals in supervisory or professional roles will be accepted. If letters of recommendation from two faculty members are not available, then it is strongly preferred that at least one letter be from a faculty member.

A writing sample is recommended but not required for students applying to the digital immersion program. If the applicant does not meet the minimum GPA requirements, the application may still be considered.

Applicants should see the program website for application deadlines.

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What are ASU's Online Programs?

ASU Online offers programs like Social Justice and Human Rights, MA in an entirely online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year.

More information on the program is available directly from ASU Online.