Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Social Justice

Nov 23, 2019

Social justice is an academic subject that has many online offerings for those who wish to pursue a graduate certificate. Curriculum varies, but it almost always tackles difficult issues in today's society. Learn about the common courses and typical admission requirements.

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There are many schools that offer online graduate certificates in social justice. Some are available as extension programs, while others are official graduate programs. The format varies greatly, but they all tend to have the types of subjects discussed below in the curriculum.

Typical Coursework for an Online Graduate Certificate in Social Justice

Graduate certificates in social justice can range from 12 to 18 credit hours in length and are available widely online. Some of the following subjects are standard for social justice graduate certificates, and prospective students should bear in mind these courses are not shy in calling to light various issues and perceived delineations in society.

Social Justice Education

Social justice education courses often examine the education systems in America and how they relate to the workforce and labor economy. Different teaching approaches and theories related to social justice are typically underscored in these courses. Frameworks for teaching social justice may be part of these courses as well.


A common subject matter in social justice courses is the feminist narrative. These courses could examine feminism through many different contexts. Some courses may examine feminism at a certain point in history, at a specific geographic location, or within another framework (government work, the politics of activism, societal structures, etc.).

Racial Justice

Racial justice courses usually look at race, ethnicity, and heritage in the context of social justice. A specific topic may be selected for study within each course (e.g. how society views being white, racial justice in the Latino/(a) communities, Native American social history, or historic black power movements). Specific figures may be studied in courses, as well, such as Malcolm X.

Social Movement and Change

Social movement and change courses often cover specific movements, past and present, or how to effect change. Examples tend to fall in the socio-economic sphere, a few examples being inherent rights and infringement, minimum wage laws and upward mobility, and social media examination including the phenomenon of fake news. Courses might examine the relative impact these movements have had on society as a whole.


History courses in social justice certificate programs might look at specific points in history or historical movements and how they affect the social justice environment of today. Some examples of topics could include the history of American women in society before or after certain periods, ethnohistory of Native Americans and various events throughout their history, or other social justice movements. Takeaways from studying these particular periods in history can help inform students' conceptualization of social justice as it stands today.

Program Admittance Requirements for an Online Graduate Certificate in Social Justice

Unless considered an extension program, graduate certificate programs require proof of graduate standings for admission into their programs. Official transcripts will be expected to prove a minimum GPA was maintained in undergraduate studies (usually between a 2.75 and 3.0 minimum). Personal statements are also standard for these types of applications. Candidates can expect to answer questions about how the certificate will enhance their lives (professional or otherwise), and their goals in pursuing it. Admissions board may also be interested in prospective students' previous work in the subject sphere.

Graduate certificates in social justice are readily available online, and the curriculum of 12-18 credits is composed of many hard-hitting topics in today's society and throughout history. Graduate certificate students in social justice can expect their online classes to be full of tough sociological questions and to involve heavy critical thinking.

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