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SJE Faculty

Programs of Study

Graduate Certificate

Course Descriptions

Application Process

Frequently Asked Questions

Funding Support

Doctoral Dissertations

Careers in SJE


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

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does SJE provide funding for graduate students? SJE itself does not at this time provide funding for graduate students. Questions about funding sources and processes may be directed to the Office of Financial Aid at the University of Massachusetts online at http://www.umass.edu/umfa/ or at 413-545-0801. Many current students in SJE do hold graduate assistantships that they have secured by applying to positions open across campus. The UMass Amherst College of Education newsletter, The Beacon, regularly publishes notices of graduate assistantship openings.

2. Does SJE require GRE test scores for application to the concentration? SJE does not require GRE test scores from applicants. Please see the SJE website for information on other requirements.

3. To apply, do I have to have a background in Social Justice Education? Yes, at least some background in Social Justice Education, broadly defined, is necessary. Please view the SJE application guidelines for a more detailed description of what the concentration is looking for in applicants.

4. Will I learn how to be a better activist in SJE? Not directly. SJE program is not an activist training program where individuals hone particular skills and understandings activists or community organizers in social justice education. Rather, the SJE concentration is a program which provides a space for the critical examination and analysis of social justice education including its knowledge bases and praxis-oriented applications. Every student decides their own praxis and as a result, many do choose to apply their work in SJE to activism.

5. Is it possible to speak with students, visit a class, or take a tour of SJE? Due to FERPA regulations and efforts to protect students’ privacy and promote the highest levels of security and safety for all, SJE does not distribute contact information for current students or students associated with SJE. Individual faculty may be contacted directly by phone or via e-mail found at http://www.umass.edu/sje/faculty.html. SJE does not provide tours or in person interviews, other than the final round applicants invited to campus, in the Spring, for a group interview with SJE faculty and students. However, regularly scheduled tours of the larger campus are available to all through The Robsham Memorial Center for Visitors. Arrangements for tours may be made by calling 413-545-0306 or via the Visitor Center’s website.

6. Is it possible for graduate students to complete the SJE program of study fully online? At this time, it is not possible to complete the SJE program of study fully online. Efforts are presently underway to offer an increasing number of courses online. Please check back with the SJE website and the University schedule of courses each semester to view concentration course offerings for SJE.

7. Is it possible for graduate students to continue working a job while completing a graduate degree within the SJE concentration? Many current students do work as they complete their graduate studies. The SJE program of study is intensive and requires extended blocks of time and study for successful completion. Accordingly, students typically assess the times and number of credits required per semester as outlined on the SJE website description of a typical program of study as compared to their personal and professional commitments and make adjustments accordingly based on their needs. The listing of SJE courses available and the times courses meet is available on the University course catalog. Although some courses are offered in the evenings, many courses are offered during the afternoon as well. That being said, the community built among SJE faculty and students can allow for small changes in meeting times or places to be made, to accommodate the needs of individuals in the community.

8. When are students admitted each year and how many students are admitted each year? The admissions process in SJE follows the University of Massachusetts Amherst schedule beginning in January with a review of the submitted, complete applications. Please see the UMass Amherst Graduate School website for specific deadline dates. Applications submitted after the January deadline are not reviewed and must be resubmitted for the following January deadline. Once files are reviewed in SJE, invitations are sent out to potential candidates for admission by approximately the second week of February each year. Invited potential admissions candidates attend a required campus visit in early March each year. Final admissions decisions are made after the campus visit and are typically submitted by late April each year. SJE has traditionally had the good fortunate of having many more qualified applicants applying for the program each year than the program can presently admit. Approximately 12-16 Master’s and CAGS students are admitted to each year’s new cohort in addition 3-5 doctoral students in average.

9. Can I transfer other graduate credit into the program? Yes, with qualifications. SJE follows university policy on the transfer of other graduate credit into the program, which allows up to 12 credits for transfer. The approval of transfer credit is at the discretion of SJE faculty. Courses similar to those required for SJE programs of study may be waived at the discretion of SJE faculty and upon comparison of course content. However, it is usually the case that the student must make up the credits with other coursework in that specific area of domain. Each case is individually handled between the student and their advisor. Please contact the University of Massachusetts Amherst Graduate School for more information at 413-545-0722 and http://www.umass.edu/gradschool.

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