Social Justice and Human Rights Concentration

Imagining and applying strategies for creating and sustaining a more equitable, just, and humane world


The Social Justice and Human Rights (SJHR) concentration in the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program is flexibly designed to allow you to focus your studies around the issues to which you are most committed. This program provides a deep theoretical foundation for understanding the social, political, cultural, historical, and economic implications of an array of social injustices and human rights issues. It emphasizes a global and intersectional approach while engaging students in imagining and applying strategies for creating and sustaining a more equitable, just, and humane world.

Now Available: Option to complete this concentration online!

Not yet in a position to move to the Metro DC area?  Courses focused on race and gender are conveniently offered in person and online, allowing students to complete the program from almost anywhere. 

When you apply, there is no need to decide whether you want to take classes online or in person. Online courses are available for all students. See the online course options here.

Who's in the Program

Students range from recent college graduates to mid-career professionals. They pursue research and activism on topics such as racial and environmental justice, human trafficking, disability rights, immigration, and human rights. Students in the program come from a range of disciplines and professional backgrounds, including education, political science, criminology, sociology, women’s and gender studies, African American studies, and social justice activism, to name a few.

Experiential Learning

Students will seek out or create an opportunity for experiential learning that deepens their understanding of social justice or human rights. Experiential learning opportunities can include internships, service-learning, consulting projects, and field studies or research (including overseas). The experiential learning requirement should be met through an opportunity that advances the student's understanding of their chosen emphasis. Students pursue a range of internship and experiential learning opportunities with organizations focused on racial justice, domestic violence prevention, human trafficking abolition, youth unemployment, environmental justice, and education.

Career Paths

You will have the opportunity to shape your program around your social justice and human rights interests. Current and former students have focused on issues such as racial justice, educational rights, (dis)ability rights, indigenous rights, animal rights, the abolition of human trafficking. Others have focused on regional contexts such as the Middle East, Central Europe, East Africa, or Central America. Many students go on to pursue careers in human rights and non-profit organizations, social justice activism, higher education, and public policy.

Faculty and Research

You will be taught by an interdisciplinary team of faculty who combine contemporary theoretical and philosophical frameworks in critical race theory, feminist and queer theory, and social justice and human rights with the knowledge and strategies of past and present change-makers. Faculty are engaged in social justice work worldwide, including in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and in our own community.

Why Mason

George Mason University is committed to exploring issues of social justice, as education is one of our greatest tools in the fight for equity and justice. The Washington, D.C., area is a strategic place to study social justice and human rights. You will have opportunities to meet and work with activists and organizations who are putting contemporary understandings of social change into action.