Master of Arts in Social Justice

Union has launched the Master of Arts in Social Justice (MASJ). This online 36-credit master’s degree can be completed in as little as two years. Building upon our 186-year legacy of social justice and working with Union’s dynamic faculty, the MASJ empowers students in the program to reimagine the work of justice.

Students Will Learn To:

  • Build theological, theoretical, historical, ethical, critical, practical and contextually accountable foundations for the work of pursuing a more just and equitable world
  • Integrate knowledge and critical awareness of existing power dynamics and structures in terms of gender, sexuality, race, class, and identities targeted for oppression, and how they shape, and are shaped by, religion, spirituality, and theology
  • Effectively and constructively engage the world’s serious issues such as racial and sexual/gender injustice, mass incarceration, and the climate crisis, in ways informed by deep theological, historical, and critical study
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Throughout history, religion has been a driving force for social justice and gaining an understanding of the religious underpinnings of social justice is critical to not only advancing social justice but also crucial to the ability to effectively collaborate with many of the partners and organizations in the social justice space who come at it from a faith-based perspective. 

Students in the program will be equipped to think critically, intersectionally, and creatively about human and planetary flourishing and the ongoing pursuit of a more just society and equitable world. The program emphasizes social justice’s religious, spiritual, and theological roots. In keeping with Union’s unique approach to theological education, it underlines the importance of interreligious engagement with diverse religious traditions.

Union is the home of several centers focused on social justice issues:

Center for Earth Ethics

The Center for Earth Ethics envisions a world where value is measured according to the sustained well-being of all people and our planet. We work to cultivate the public consciousness needed to make changes in policy and culture that will establish a new value system that is based on this vision of the world.

Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice

Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice is a national organization committed to building a movement to end poverty, led by the poor. Kairos and its many leaders are responsible for: the Poor People’s Campaign, Policy, Communications, Arts and Culture, and Religions.

Center for Community Engagement and Social Justice

Center for Community Engagement and Social Justice is creating an environment where community activism and engagement of pressing social justice issues is integrated into the life of Union and the local community. The Center also leads Union's anti-racism work.

The MASJ Program of Study

The MASJ can be completed in as little as 21 months, but students may choose to go at a slower pace, taking up to 36 months to complete the program (or anything in between). The design of the program makes it possible for a student to go at a pace that best fits their needs, interests, and realities. A total of 36 credits are required. Coursework is available in fall, January, spring, and summer terms. Students looking to graduate in under two years will, generally, complete 2 courses each fall and spring term and 1 course each summer and January term.

  • Introductory 1-credit colloquium (first term)
  • Three credits in each of the following five required areas:
    • Three credits in a foundations of social justice course
    • Three credits in Ecojustice
    • Three credits in Gender & Sexuality Justice
    • Three credits in Racial & Ethnic Justice
    • Three credits in Interreligious Engagement
    • Three additional credits in one of the required areas
  • Fifteen elective credits in courses relevant to the student’s goals
    • Can be additional courses from distributional areas or other courses from across the Union curriculum
    • Up to three elective credits can be in supplemental (“SU”) coursework – intensive courses that focus on special topics that go beyond the traditional Union curriculum 
  • Concluding 2-credit Colloquium (final term), which includes the completion of a final applied integrative paper
Dr. Cornel West on Union's MA in Social Justice
Dr. Su Yon Pak on Union's MA in Social Justice
Rev. Dr. Cláudio Carvalhaes on Union's MA in Social Justice
Rev. Dr. Gary Dorrien on Union's MA in Social Justice


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