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University of Massachusetts
College of Education
Graduate School


Contact Information:

159 Hills South
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003

Student Development Department Office:
413-545-2231, 413-545-3610

Ximena Zúñiga, Concentration Chair


College of Education
Department of Student Development (SD)
Social Justice Education Concentration

2015-2016 Application Guidelines

The Social Justice Education Concentration at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst is currently accepting applications for Master's students (with a focus on either educational settings involving youth or higher education), Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) students, and a limited number of Doctoral students.

All graduate applications are due on January 15th for decision by the faculty in April and admission the following September. There are no February admissions. Detailed admissions information is available for prospective students at the College of Education website.

All applications to SJE graduate programs should include a full resume and a personal statement that describes the applicant's prior experience with social justice education, professional objectives relevant to social justice education, and a description of what they hope to achieve through completion of the Master's, Ed.S., or doctoral program of study. Applicants should include among their recommendations at least one letter of reference from a faculty member who has taught them at the undergraduate or graduate level. Our goal is to admit a diverse group of students who can contribute to the development of a learning community in which all members grow personally and professionally.

Applicants to the Master's program are expected to show evidence of applied social justice experience, at least one semester of which is supervised. Examples might include classroom teaching, peer education programs, mediation teams, residence assistants, or community outreach programs. Applicants may also have certification in teaching, school counseling, special education or school administration. Evidence of at least one full year's work experience in a social justice-related area beyond the bachelor's degree is strongly preferred.

Applicants to the doctoral program are expected to have completed a Master's program that is related to social justice education, and have prior professional experience in related areas of school counseling, teaching, teacher training, staff development, student services, or advocacy. Additionally, applicants to the doctoral program are expected to submit a writing sample that demonstrates advanced writing and communication skills appropriate to doctoral level scholarship. Doctoral applicants are also expected to describe their interest, background, and readiness to conduct doctoral level research in social justice education.

Matriculation in the Social Justice Education masters or doctoral program does not necessarily include completion of coursework and practica leading to eligibility for professional certification or licensure. Students who enter SJE and seek such certification or licensure will need to pursue additional coursework beyond that required for the Social Justice Education masters or doctoral degrees. For more information about how SJE students have pursued professional certification through co-enrollment in one of UMass Amherst's licensure programs, review the guidelines to Educator Licensure Programs.

Application Process

Please use the application form provided by the Graduate School and return the completed form before January 15th to the Graduate School.  Graduate School Contact Information: Graduate School Admissions Office, 530 Goodell Building, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003. Telephone (413) 545-0721 (http://www.umass.edu/gradschool/)

After the Graduate School receives your completed application material, your file will be made available to the Social Justice Education faculty for review. The faculty will review all submitted application materials in January. Interviews with selected applicants will be conducted during the month of February. More details about the interview process will be provided in October.

Based on the submitted application materials and the campus interview, the Social Justice Education faculty will make admission decisions for the Master's, Ed.S., and Doctoral programs and forward these recommendations to the Graduate School. Applicants who are recommended for admission will then receive an official notification of their acceptance from the Graduate School.

Please note that the College of Education does not require applicants to take the Graduate Records Examination.

Materials to Include in Your Application:

All applicants: The Social Justice Education admissions committee wants to know about your interest in social justice education and to understand how your prior personal, educational, and professional experiences have prepared you for graduate work in social justice education. Please be as specific as possible about your interest in social justice education and the fit of SJE to your future plans. Please include recommendations from at least one professor who has taught you at the undergraduate or graduate level, and from at least one person who is familiar with your background and skills in social justice education. Masters applicants: please be sure your application indicates whether you would prefer to focus on K-12 education (including teacher education) or higher education.

Doctoral applicants: In addition to completing the personal statement on the Graduate School application, please respond in writing to the following questions and attach this to your application materials. Please be concise. A total of 2-3 pages is sufficient:

1. What is your prior work experience and educational background related to social justice education?

2. What are your current and projected social justice education research interests?

3. What are your professional goals relevant to completion of a doctoral program of study in social justice education?

Doctoral applicants must also include a sample of your academic writing. (Examples: a published or unpublished article, a sample chapter from a master's thesis, a paper written for a masters class).

Should you need additional information about our graduate degree programs or wish to schedule a visit please contact:

Antonio Martinez (antoniom@umass.edu), Master’s admissions chair 
Korina Jocson (kjocson@umass.edu), Doctoral admissions chair
Ximena Zúñiga (xzuniga@educ.umass.edu), Concentration chair, Ed.S. admissions



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