Social Justice Education M.Ed.

The goal of the Social Justice Education (SJE) concentration is to prepare educational leaders who can promote social diversity and social justice in educational settings through the development of theoretical and practical knowledge, empirical research, and the use of effective social justice education practices.

Course of Study

Students in the Social Justice Education M.Ed. program (Youth Specialization Track or College Specialization Track) must complete 37 credit hours.

Course Description Credits
  Social Justice Education Content & Theory Core Courses - 5 courses required  
EDUC 624 Critical Histories, Ideas, and Praxis in SJE 3
EDUC 648 Liberatory Pedagogies for Social Transformation 3
EDUC 691E Confronting Oppression in Education 3
EDUC 627 Curriculum Design and Instruction in SJE 4
EDUC 622J  Education for SJE Self-Awareness 3
  Option 1: SJE Youth Specialization - 4 courses required  
EDUC 746* Social Justice Education in Schools 3
EDUC 778* Multimodal Approaches to Working with Youth 3
EDUC 888 Youth Participatory Action Research Methods 3
EDUC 780SJ Integrative Youth Justice Seminar 6
  Option 2: SJE College Specialization - 4 courses required  
EDUC 786 SJE with College Students in Educational Settings 3
EDUC 787C** SJE Inquiry into Praxis with College Students 3
EDUC 692B/698S Small Group Leadership: Dialogue Facilitation Across Differences 6
EDUC 788C SJE with College Students Integrative Seminar 3
  Elective Courses - 2 courses required  
Electives Selected with advisor  6

*Students may take up to 1 of the following alternative courses in place of either EDUC 746 or EDUC 778:

  • EDUC 626 Social Theory and Educational Change
  • EDUC 837 The Influence of the Social Context of Schools and the Politics of Reform on Teaching and Learning
  • EDUC 784 Social Issues in Children's and Young Adult Literature
  • EDUC 515 Teaching English In Middle & High Schools
  • EDUC 647M Making & Makerspaces in Education (only alt to Multimodal approaches)
  • EDUC 590Z Critical Pedagogy for Media Literacy (only alt to 'multimodal approaches')

**Students may take 1 of the following alternative courses in place of EDUC 787C:

  • EDUC 659A Helping Skills for Higher Education Professionals
  • EDUC 698ED Professional Practice & Career Development in Higher Education
  • EDUC 641 Assessment, Evaluation & Research in Higher Education
  • EDUC 606 Interventions and Consultations with Families & Schools
  • EDUC 644 Critical Perspectives on Equity and Justice in Higher Education
  • EDUC 614B Inclusive College Environments and Campus Cultures

Sample Two-Year Program Sequence

Year 1 - Fall

EDUC 622J - Education for SJE Self-Awareness (3 credits)

EDUC 691E - Confronting Oppression in Education (3 credits)

EDUC 746 (or equivalent) - Social Justice Education in Schools (3 credits)

OR 

EDUC 786 - SJE with College Students in Educational Settings (3 credits)

Year 1 - Spring

EDUC 624 - Critical Histories, Ideas, and Praxis in SJE (3 credits)

EDUC 627 - Curriculum Design and Instruction in SJE (4 credits)

EDUC 778 (or equivalent) - Multimodal Approaches to Working with Youth (3 credits)

OR

EDUC 787C (or equivalent) -  SJE Inquiry into Praxis with College Students (3 credits)

Year 2 - Fall

EDUC 648 - Liberatory Pedagogies for Social Transformation (3 credits)

EDUC 888 - Youth Participatory Action Research Methods (3 credits)

OR 

EDUC 692B/698S - Small Group Leadership: Dialogue Facilitation Across Differences (6 credits)

Elective Course (1 of 2) - (3 credits)

Year 2 - Spring

EDUC 780SJ - Integrative Youth Justice Seminar (6 credits)

OR

EDUC 788C - SJE with College Students Integrative Seminar (3 credits)

Elective (2 of 2) - (3 credits)

Sample Three-Year Program Sequence

Year 1 - Fall

EDUC 622J - Education for SJE Self-Awareness (3 credits)

EDUC 691E - Confronting Oppression in Education (3 credits)

Year 1 - Spring

EDUC 624 - Critical Histories, Ideas, and Praxis in SJE (3 credits)

EDUC 627 - Curriculum Design and Instruction in SJE (4 credits)

Year 2 - Fall

EDUC 648 - Liberatory Pedagogies for Social Transformation (3 credits)

EDUC 888 - Youth Participatory Action Research Methods (3 credits)

OR 

EDUC 692B/698S - Small Group Leadership: Dialogue Facilitation Across Differences (6 credits)

Year 2 - Spring

EDUC 778 (or equivalent) - Multimodal Approaches to Working with Youth (3 credits)

OR

EDUC 787C (or equivalent) -  SJE Inquiry into Praxis with College Students (3 credits)

Elective Course (1 of 2) - (3 credits)

Year 3 - Fall

EDUC 746 (or equivalent) - Social Justice Education in Schools (3 credits)

OR 

EDUC 786 - SJE with College Students in Educational Settings (3 credits)

Elective (2 of 2) - (3 credits)

Year 3 - Spring

EDUC 780SJ - Integrative Youth Justice Seminar (6 credits)

OR

EDUC 788C - SJE with College Students Integrative Seminar (3 credits)

EDUC 624: Critical Histories, Ideas, and Praxis in SJE

Theoretical issues related to manifestations of oppression with focus on social constructions of race,gender and sexuality, and disability.

EDUC 648: Liberatory Pedagogies for Social Transformation

Theory, practice, and manifestations of oppression.  Various educational methods and techniques of combating oppression.

EDUC 691E: Confronting Oppression in Education

Introductory vocabulary and definitions, descriptions of the dynamics of oppression at the individual, institutional, and cultural levels.  Focus on developing personal awareness of social group memberships in relationship to two specific forms of oppression.  Introduction to selected literature on two specific forms of oppression.

EDUC 627: Curriculum Design and Instruction in SJE

Examines and applies theories and methods of instructional design, classroom teaching, and reflective practice in social justice education in K-16 settings.  Explores critical issues in teaching and learning about diversity and social justice issues.

EDUC 622J: Education for SJE Self-Awareness

Educational strategies for increasing SJE educators' self-knowledge.  Focus on self-awareness of social group memberships and the impact of those identities upon social justice education leadership skills.  Experiential approach to processes, concepts, and skills leading toward self-observation and development of effective responses to social justice education classrooms and teacher training, such as management conflict, recognizing and working effectively with resistance, and group-leader dynamics.

EDUC 746: Social Justice Education in Schools

This course focuses on the integration of SJE as pedagogy and SJE as content to promote youth engagement and transformative education across learning environments. Its purpose is to help students develop a combination of historical, theoretical, conceptual, scientific, and pedagogical foundation for SJE in youth-based settings such as schools and community based organizations.

EDUC 778: Multimodal Approaches to Working with Youth

This course's purpose is to guide students in implementing, evaluating and reflecting upon social justice education initiatives in elementary and secondary schools.  Additionally, students will develop a publication-ready manuscript examining a K-12 application of Social Justice Education.

EDUC 888: Youth Participatory Action Research Methods

An approach to research and evaluation; theories and ethical issues; practice using specific methods; learning to choose an appropriate method for particular contexts and goals.

EDUC 780SJ: Integrative Youth Justice Seminar

New course 

EDUC 786: SJE with College Students in Educational Settings

This course provides a conceptual, practical, and empirical foundation for SJE in college settings in four areas: advocacy and inclusion, diversity education, intergroup dialogue, and civic engagement.

EDUC 787C: SJE Inquiry into Praxis with College Students

New course

EDUC 692B/698S: Small Group Leadership - Dialogue Facilitation Across Differences

This course is intentionally designed to prepare students to become active change agents as planners and facilitators of intergroup dialogues using a reflective practice training model.

EDUC 788C: SJE with College Students Integrative Seminar

New course

Admissions

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 succinct yet specific about your interest in social justice education and the ways in which SJE can support your future plans and professional goals. Your personal statement will doubly serve as a writing sample (no more than 3 pages). Master’s applicants: Be sure your application indicates your preference to focus on K-12 education/youth-based settings or higher education.

Application Timeline

Applications are due by January 2. Decisions will be made in March/April for admissions the following September. There are no mid-year admissions.

Prerequisites

Applicants 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, and 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.

Application Materials

  • Online Application
  • Personal statement describing 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 program
  • Official Transcripts
  • Full résumé
  • 3 letters of recommendation (at least one faculty member)

For more information, please contact the program socialjusticeed@umass.edu.