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Social Justice Degrees: Our Quick Guide

Social justice promotes the equal treatment of everyone in all areas of society, including the economy, the political arena, the healthcare system, the schooling system, and more. No one should face barriers because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sex, or other characteristics. Everyone should have equal access to opportunities. There are many fields someone committed to social justice can work in, so there are many social justice degree options that set them on their career path. While some schools offer degrees specifically in social justice (most are master’s degrees), you’re more likely to find programs that align with social justice objectives, such as human rights, social work, law, education, and so on. You can also find programs that offer specializations in social justice. Here is our quick guide on what you need to know about social justice degrees:

Why get a social justice degree?

Getting a degree in a social justice field leads to many opportunities and sets you up for a fulfilling career. You’ll be prepared for various kinds of work centered on helping others and making the world a better place. If you value work that makes a positive difference, you’re not alone. Research shows most people are eager for meaning, even if it means making less money than if they went a different route. A social justice degree is one of the best degrees you can get if meaningful work matters to you. Because of the many career paths within the social justice field, it’s also a good choice if you’re still figuring out what exactly you want to do.

What jobs can I get with a social justice degree?

Speaking of career paths, what’s available to you? Here are some of the jobs associated with social justice degrees:

Social worker

Social workers engage with individuals and families to help them improve their lives. Issues addressed include addiction, unemployment, mental illness, trauma, abuse, and more. Social workers are found in places like schools, hospitals, and welfare agencies. Some work primarily with children and families while others work with individuals in clinical settings like a therapy office. Most people will need at least a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, though some jobs require a Master’s. Some places also require a social work license.


Lawyers can work on many social justice issues, such as gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, and other human rights. They can work at the local, national, and international levels. Lawyers interested in social justice should consider specializing in the area they’re most passionate about. To become a lawyer, you’ll need a law degree and whatever certification your country requires to practice law.

Policy analyst

Since policies are what drive change in society, it makes sense that policy analysts play an essential role in social justice. Policy analysts work with local, national, and international organizations, including NGOs, governments, and research institutions. They analyze existing policies and develop new ones related to economics, politics, healthcare, and more. A Master’s degree is usually required for this job, though some positions require a doctorate.


Journalists who focus on social justice issues are integral to raising awareness, exposing corruption, and educating the public on often complicated problems in society. They tell stories, conduct investigations, and analyze information. Most journalists have a degree in journalism, but other degrees like English, political science, and writing can work, too.

Where can I study social justice?

Every school will offer degrees relevant to social justice. Some even offer specific social justice degrees, though most of those are Master’s degrees. Here are some examples of the degrees available:

Hamline University (St. Paul, MN)

Social Justice major/minor

Available as a major or minor, this interdisciplinary degree exposes students to various academic disciplines and practical skills relevant to social justice. Areas of concentration include Native American studies, Latin American studies, international human rights, and more. Any approved concentration relevant to social justice is acceptable. The Social Justice Department also provides paid internships.

London University (London, UK)

MA in Human Rights, Culture, & Social Justice

This Master’s degree can be completed in 1 year (full-time) or 2 years (part-time). Students take courses through departments like cultural studies, political science, English, and communications. Students learn about modern human rights, how they’re addressed, theories, and more.

Brock University (St. Catharine’s, ON Canada)

MA in Social Justice and Equity Studies

Students learn to look critically at social justice issues while earning this interdisciplinary Master’s degree. Courses are taught through 16 different departments, providing students with a comprehensive perspective on social justice. Full-time study takes about 16 months.

The University of Buffalo (Buffalo and Amherst, New York)

Social justice minor

To earn this minor from the Department of Sociology, students need 18 credits, 12 of which are at the 300-400 level. The Social Problems class and internship are required. Other course examples include Social Movements, Race and Racism, Sociology of Social Policy, and Advanced Topics in Environmental Sociology.

About the author

Emmaline Soken-Huberty

Emmaline Soken-Huberty is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She started to become interested in human rights while attending college, eventually getting a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and climate change are of special concern to her. In her spare time, she can be found reading or enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty with her husband and dog.