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7 Fully-Funded PhD’s in Social Justice

We have compiled a list of 7 fully-funded opportunities to obtain a PhD in Social Justice. The programs we compiled span from Australia, over UK to the US and Canada.

1 Arizona State University (USA) – PhD in Justice Studies

This innovative interdisciplinary program is housed in the first-ever School of Social Transformation. The intersectional curriculum emphasizes social science research approaches, critical theory, community-engaged practices, and legal and economic foundations. In addition, students in this program can also apply to be concurrently enrolled in the law school, graduating with both a PhD and a JD. The diverse affiliated faculty have experience in law, public policy, economics, youth issues, criminal justice, environment, education, citizenship, gender, race, and human rights.

Funding details: Every year, the Arizona State University admits the number of doctoral students who can be fully funded with graduate fellowships and teaching and research assistantships. These fellowships cover student’s tuition, health insurance, and also carry a stipend. Continuation of fellowships and a stipend depend upon funding, satisfactory progress towards a degree, and satisfactory performance in re teaching assistantships and research.

Once doctoral students approach the final stages of their program, they can apply for competitive Dissertation Completion Fellowships from the University’s Graduate Education. These fellowships provide an opportunity for students to completely focus on their doctoral dissertations. In case a student’s ultimate goal is a professorial career, they will  be encouraged to participate in University’s Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Program after the first year of doctoral studies. Additionally, to support the off-site research and participation in professional meetings and conferences, the University’s Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) offers competitive research grants and travel funding.

2 University of Liverpool (UK) – PhD in Sociology and Social Policy

If you are looking for a social scientific focus to your PhD research, the University of Liverpool offers an approach that is grounded in empirical research and public policy. Housed within their School of Law and Social Justice, this program foregrounds issues of social justice in its qualitative and legal methodologies. It focuses on three broad areas of research: urban space and culture, crime and regulation, and critical social policy (including welfare, inequality, and social justice). In addition, the University of Liverpool maintains an active, cross-disciplinary research community that emphasizes collaboration.

Funding details: If you are planning to undertake the PhD program you may need to seek financial support from various sources. There are several different ways of meeting the costs of studying for a PhD at the University of Liverpool: through PhD studentships, which usually cover the cost of research degree and provide a stipend to cover living expenses, self-funding PhD by covering the costs yourself or through other sources, applying for PhD scholarships, grants and bursaries which might cover fees and help with other expenses, and working alongside your PhD.

The University of Liverpool offers a range of PhD scholarships and awards to the UK, the EU and international students. You can check out the list of available scholarships as well as the eligibility criteria, award amounts and application details at the University’s website. Additionally, some PhD students are offered full-funding through Graduate Teaching Assistantships, which includes all school fees and a living stipend. Outside funding is available through institutional research clusters at the University of Liverpool, internal scholarships, and the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership.

3 University of Massachusetts, Boston (USA) – PhD in Global Inclusion and Social Development

If you want to focus on global issues, this program centers on human rights and social justice as they intersect with global development, health and wellness, and economic policy. Students are trained in research and policy methods that will improve educational opportunity, community wellness, economic parity, and social opportunities for people across the globe regardless of race, gender, class, or sexual orientation. In addition to core classes, each student selects an additional concentration to further focus their research. Some options include human rights, transnational studies, and nonprofit management. The department also has a close relationship with the medical and public health fields and offers training in disability studies, gerontology, rehabilitation counseling, and vision studies.

Funding details: Research assistantships are offered on a competitive basis to fulltime students for up to three years of study, with responsibilities over and above course and seminar requirements. Graduate Assistants (GAs) are expected to work 18 hours a week on a grant based within SGISD and projects within the Institute for Community Inclusion, the disability-focused research and training institute. The University makes efforts to match students to projects in their interest area; however, that is not always possible. Students’ responsibilities under assistantships are work obligations, and projects rely on the GAs to complete project work. During assistantships students receive a stipend for their work, which is paid bi-weekly throughout the academic year. Besides the stipends, assistantships also support tuition, educational fees, and health insurance. UMass Boston also administers the Coverdell Fellows Program that offers partial scholarships to returning Peace Corps volunteers.

4 University of British Columbia (Canada) – PhD in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice

Part of UBC’s Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, this interdisciplinary program provides a solid basis in feminist, intersectional, and de-colonial theory as well as qualitative research methodologies. The department also supports four focused research networks pulling students from across the university: Critical Racial and Anti-Colonial Studies, Ecologies of Social Difference/Social Justice, Indigenous Pedagogies, and Rethinking Responses and Responsibilities in River Regions. While many of their PhD students are engaged activists, the rigorous theoretical focus of this program makes it a good fit for those who are looking for careers as academic researchers, writers, and teachers.

Funding details: All successful admitted applicants to the PhD program will be considered for financial support and no separate application is necessary for this process. The UBC’s Four Year Doctoral Fellowship (4YF) is a major source of funding for PhD students and the Graduate Entrance Scholarships are assigned during the admissions process itself. Through this fellowship, students are provided with financial support of at least $18.200 per year plus tuition for up to four years of their doctoral student. Both domestic and international PhD students can also apply for Teaching Assistantships and Graduate Academic Assistantships. All Canadian students are expected to apply for the SSHRC and CIHR fellowships, while international students are expected to apply for the UBC Affiliated Fellowships. For more information on tuition, application fees, student fees, costs of living similar you can visit the UBC’s Tuition, Fees and Cost of Living website.  You can also access tuition information under Tuition / Program costs on the Doctor of Philosophy in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (PhD) website.

5 University of Toronto (Canada) – PhD in Social Justice Education

This program provides rigorous scholarly training in both social justice and the field of education, producing scholars who understand how to bring social justice issues into the classroom. Using approaches from history, philosophy, sociology, and political science, student research explores the relationship of education to society and breaks down systemic barriers in education. The department supports two major research centers – Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies and Centre for Media and Culture in Education – and is affiliated with other centers focusing on francophone education, urban schooling, women’s studies, comparative education, and transformative learning.

Funding details: The University offers base funding packages to students in full time PhD programs. Base packages provide students in the funded cohort a minimum level of support to offset the cost of graduate education. The estimated value of the base funding package for the academic year 2020/21 is at least $24.850, including tuition and incidental fees; however, the average income of students is typically more than the base. There are four types of packages that comprise the funding. For more information on the types of packages you can visit the following website. Additional external funding, scholarships, and assistantships are also available.

6 Vanderbilt University (Tennessee, USA) – PhD in Community Research and Action

If you are looking for a PhD program that gives you the opportunity to work in either academia or public policy, this program may be a good fit. Students engage in active, community-based research that is oriented towards social justice philosophies. The Community Research and Action department grew out of a community psychology program and represents an interdisciplinary model that combines psychology, community development, organizational change, health policy, and social policy. Using both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, students focus on multi-level problem solving, interdisciplinary perspectives, collaborative and transformative action, and a dynamic theory of social change.

Funding details: All entering students receive financial support covering 18 hours of tuition/semester, a stipend, and health insurance for up to five years in the program in the form of teaching or research assistantships. The funding packages usually require 20 hours a week of graduate assistant work. In some cases, hours are split to 10 hours as teaching assistant duties and 10 hours as research assistant duties working with a faculty member. One of the options is also to work 20 hours per week in one of these areas.  There are also limited funds to support conference-related travel and support.

7 Australian Catholic University – PhD in Social and Political Thought

Part of the University’s Institute for Social Justice, this program asks its students to read and think critically about justice, equality, freedom, democracy, and the public good. The program is interdisciplinary in nature and the faculty and students have backgrounds in a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, political science, sociology, anthropology, and gender studies. While theoretically rigorous, the department encourages students to combine their theoretical research with social justice action. They also have the Sydney School for Critical Social Thought, a yearly 2-week-long symposium featuring public lectures, masterclasses, and discussions with leading academics and public intellectuals in the social justice community.

Funding details: While funding is not guaranteed, there are full scholarships (including living allowances and health coverage) available for domestic, international, and indigenous students. Domestic students can apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) Scholarship, while International students can apply for an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship. Indigenous students can apply for an ACU Indigenous. For more information on scholarships visit ACU Research Website.

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Human Rights Careers

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