Our students change the world.

We engage in hands-on academics — like community-based learning in urban areas — and cultivate a solid understanding of the strategies required to enact real social change. You'll debate the true meaning of progressive social justice and develop informed action plans for community transformation.

At Simmons, you're encouraged to apply your extensive skills to local service and activism. Our campus culture is focused on social justice, giving you ample opportunities to connect and grow within our community.

With their technical and intellectual experience, our students find rewarding careers in community organizing, law, public policy, teaching and social work.

Program Requirements

To complete the minor, a student must take three required courses and two electives.

Three required core courses:

  • SJ 220 Working for Social Justice 
  • SJ 222 Organizing for Social Change 
  • SJ 380 Integrative Capstone Project

Two electives from a list of courses in Africana Studies, Economics, History, Management, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and Women's and Gender Studies.

Note: Women's and Gender Studies majors, Sociology majors, and Africana Studies majors who choose to complete a minor in social justice may only count one of the required social justice core courses as an elective.

SJ 220 Working for Social Justice 
Offered every fall.
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing
Instructor: Becky Thompson, Professor of Sociology

This course combines study of the psycho-social, moral and ethical issues of social justice and social activism with community-based learning. It explores what it takes to become citizens who are committed to rectifying the myriad political, economic and social problems we face. The course aims to have students better understand their own values and motivations, to grapple with the complexity of understanding the needs of others, to assess and clarify their ethical and political beliefs, to develop skills in recognizing and negotiating across social differences, and to cultivate strong participatory democratic instincts toward structural social change. Download SJ 220 Syllabus

SJ 222 Organizing for Social Change 
Offered every spring.
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing

This course provides students with a theoretical and practical foundation for understanding and evaluating social change strategies. Students look at different collective actions, citizen movements and community-based organizations with an eye toward understanding the history of community organizing and assessing the ways in which community leaders have mobilized resources to effect change. Conversation with community-based practitioners is incorporated throughout. 

SJ 380 Integrative Capstone Project
Offered as needed.
Prerequisite: SJ 220 and SJ 222, and Junior or Senior standing

This course is designed for students to address a particular social justice issue, research past and current organizing efforts and strategies, and develop a community action plan that culminates in a term paper. This project allows the minor to offer a culminating course experience for all students, with different kinds of community-based work during the semester and with the possibility of further student-initiated, community-based learning via a subsequent internship or fieldwork experience (which could mesh with a student's major). Download a detailed description of the Capstone Project

Two Electives Chosen from the Following Courses:* It is strongly recommended that you take electives from two different disciplines.

  • AST/WGST 210 Sisters of the African Diaspora
  • AST 240 African American Intellectual and Political History
  • AST 313 The Black Struggle for Schooling in the United States
  • ECON 216 Economic Development
  • ECON 225 Political Economy of U.S. Capitalism
  • HIST 213 Race and Ethnicity in U.S. History
  • HIST/WGST 216 Women and Gender in U.S. Since1890
  • MGMT 224 Socially-Minded Leadership
  • PHIL/POLS 232 Theories of Justice
  • POLS 212 Politics Unplugged: How Things Work in Massachusetts
  • POLS 215 The Politics of Race and Ethnicity
  • POLS 219 Gender and Politics
  • POLS 242 African Politics
  • SOCI 225 Social Movements
  • SOCI/AST 249 Inequality: Race, Class, and Gender in Comparative Settings
  • SOCI 262 Criminology
  • SOCI 263 Sociology of Education
  • SOCI 267 Globalization
  • SOCI 270 South Asia: People and Power
  • SOCI 347 Antiracism and Justice Work
  • WGST/ECON 125 Women and Work
  • WGST 204 Roots of Feminism
  • WGST/ECON 214 Women in the World Economy
  • WGST/AST/SOCI 365 Intimate Family Violence

Electives for the Minor in Social Justice devote a preponderance of the course material to developing an analysis of social inequities; studying different strategies, activist experiences and social movements in the 20th and/or 21st centuries; developing an historical understanding of social movements in the 20th and 21st centuries; and/or studying different theories of social justice.

Internships and Research

Service learning is a teaching and learning method which combines community service with academic instruction to achieve specific learning objectives. The Scott/Ross Center for Community Service facilitates service learning placements for classes in many different fields of study, including SJ 220 Working for Social Justice and SJ 222 Organizing for Social Change.

Previous service learning placements include:

How to Apply
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