Find below answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to admissions to our Master of Arts in Social Justice. Not seeing your question below? Send your question to email@example.com.
How Does Union Evaluate Applicants?
Union recruits and admits individuals on the basis of their qualifications and abilities. Union aims to admit a a student body that represents a diversity of gifts and talents, academic backgrounds, scholastic and personal experiences, and professional aspirations; as well as age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race and ethnicity. There is no requirement for applicants for the MASJ program to have majored in or to have done concentrated work in religion or religious studies, although broad training in the liberal arts is expected. There is no GRE requirement.
Who Should Write My Recommendations?
Consider seeking recommendations from people that know you well: people who can speak to your commitment to social justice as well as your achievements, and professional and intellectual aspirations. This can include workplace supervisors and leaders of religious groups or community-based organizations. For applicants who recently completed their undergraduate degree (past 3-5 years), it is preferred if one of the letters comes from a professor if at all possible.
Can I Receive An Application Fee Waiver?
When Will I Receive An Admission Decision?
Students will be notified of their admission decision approximately three weeks after submitting a complete application (with all requirements, including reference letters).
I Am An International Student. Can I Apply?
International students are welcome to apply to the MASJ program. Keep in mind, however, that the Seminary cannot assist MASJ students in obtaining a visa as it is a part-time, online program. There is no requirement for on-campus attendance.
Your application must be accompanied by official transcripts furnished directly to the seminary from each of the institutions from which you matriculated with the equivalent of a B.A.
International applicants whose first language is not English, or who matriculated from an institution where the primary language of instruction was not English, must submit recent scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as a part of their application to any of the degree programs at Union Seminary. Union requires a minimum score of 600 on the paper-based TOEFL test (250 on the computerized exam). For an applicant who scores below the minimum required level, we suggest additional study in English prior to making application.
Is Financial Aid Available?
All MASJ applicants who submit a complete application for admission will be considered for scholarship funding. As a part-time program for working professionals, financial aid is limited.
Merit based aid, in the form of scholarships, is offered solely on the strength of the application, without regard to financial need. Criteria for scholarship funding include the clarity and strength of the Admission Statement, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, as well as other forms of merit. Students with financial need as determined annually by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may be awarded need-based aid in the form of grants and federal loans (Perkins and Unsubsidized Stafford loans).
If you have been awarded a scholarship, you will be notified with your letter of admission or in a notification letter that will arrive within a week of admission. Even if you do not receive a scholarship, you may still be eligible for need-based grants and other forms of financial aid based on FAFSA. Please submit FAFSA as early as possible.
When are Courses Held?
The program is designed so that students can complete the program by taking courses on weeknight evenings. Most courses are on Mondays or Thursday evenings from either 6-7:50pm or 8-9:50pm. Some intensive Friday/Saturday and Saturday daylong courses are offered. The colloquia (taken during the first and final terms) each meet for a single intensive all-day Friday and Saturday session immediately before the start of the term. Additionally, students able to attend courses on Union’s campus, which is not required, are also able to take courses during daytime hours on weekdays.
MASJ courses take place during fall and spring semesters as well as intensive January and summer terms.
REQUIRED Introductory Colloquium for Students Entering in Fall 2022
DATES & TIMES: 8/26 (4-9pm EST) and 8/27 (10am-6pm EST)
How Long Does It Take To Complete the Degree?
Students may complete the 36-credit program in under two years by taking 6 credits each fall and spring term, and 3 credits each summer and January term. NOTE: To complete the program in under two years, students will take a total of 7 credits in the first term and 8 credits in the final term (6 credits plus the colloquium credits).
However, students have the ability to extend their time to degree and may take up to 36 months to complete the program.
Will I Be Required To Attend Any Courses in NYC?
No, the entire degree can be completed online without coming to campus. Students are always welcome to take on-campus courses if their schedule permits, and there are some intensive weekend format courses (especially 1-credit supplemental unit “SU” courses) that might make it more feasible for out-of-area students to attend a course on campus.
What Are Online Courses Like At Union?
Online courses are taught by Union’s world-renowned full-time and adjunct/practitioner faculty. All courses include live class meetings hosted on Zoom. For most courses, a one hour and 50 minute live class is held each week throughout the term. For other courses that meet in a more intensive format, classes will meet for the equivalent amount of live class time. Outside of live class, students will also engage with asynchronous content like videos, online class discussions, and group activities. Courses also all have required assignments throughout the term, which may include a series of reflection papers, research papers, projects, and other assessments. Students in Union’s other programs will take online courses alongside MASJ students.
What Courses Will I Take?
MASJ students will take a foundational course and a course in each of the distributional areas: ecojustice, gender and sexuality justice, racial and ethnic justice, and interreligious engagement. There are a variety of courses offered on a rotating basis that fulfill those requirements. The rest of the program (18 credits) is largely self-designed by students in consultation with their faculty advisor. Electives can include additional courses in the distributional areas as well as other social justice-related courses from throughout the Union curriculum. Additionally, students will complete a 1-credit social justice colloquium in the first term and a 2-credit social justice colloquium, which includes an integrative paper, in the final term.
How Else Can Online Students Engage?
MASJ students are able to get engaged with the many student caucuses, participate in Chapel, and attend events and guest speakers hosted throughout the year. Efforts are made to make as many of these opportunities accessible to online participants as possible, and MASJ students are always welcome to come to campus as their schedule permits. “Supplemental Unit” (SU) courses are available to MASJ students (three can be taken for 1 credit each), many of which are available online. Additionally, MASJ students are able to audit additional MASJ colloquia held throughout their time in the program (in addition to taking it for credit in the first and final terms). MASJ students have access to a variety of additional student resources, including career services, and will have full membership in the Union alumni network upon graduation.
Is there a thesis requirement?
No, but students complete an applied integrative paper as part of the colloquium that takes place in the final term of the program.
When will the required Social Justice Colloquium be held for incoming students?
All students beginning in Fall 2022 must attend the 1-credit Social Justice Colloquium held online on 8/26 (4-9pm EST) and 8/27 (10am-6pm EST).
The required Social Justice Colloquium for incoming Spring 2023 students will be held online on 1/27 (4-9pm EST) and 1/28 (10am-6pm EST).