Wilfrid Laurier University Graduate Calendar - 2013/2014
Canadian Excellence

Master of Arts in Social Justice and Community Engagment

Through an applied focus at the local scale, the Master of Arts (MA) program in Social Justice and Community Engagement (SJCE) is committed to engaged scholarship informed by critical social justice/environmental justice theories and approaches. Social and environmental justice is grounded in human rights and the dignity of every human being. It is based on the principles of solidarity, sustainability and equality. Social and environmental injustices are underpinned by a suite of common factors including class, poverty, racism, gender discrimination and lack of due process that marginalize people and communities. The MA in SJCE fosters studentsí abilities to investigate and understand these root causes and to engage in the active promotion of social and environmental justice principles and the resolution of community-level injustices.

Through course work, SJ621* - Social Justice Community Placement and SJ695* - Major Research Project, students will develop the skills that facilitate community capacity development, local-level innovation, sustainability and democratic renewal. In the first two terms, students will take 4 courses, SJ690 - Social Justice Research and Professionalization Forum and undertake SJ621* - Social Justice Community Placement. In the third term they will complete SJ695* - Major Research Project.

Additional Information
Admission Requirements

Applicants are expected to have a four year honours BA from a humanities, social science, natural science or interdisciplinary program, and a background in the concepts of social and environmental justice. Applicants should have a minimum B standing or equivalent. An applicant who does not meet these requirements may still apply for admission as a qualifying student.

Applications are reviewed by the SJCE Admissions Committee, which considers all prior university grades, a statement of research interests related to the themes of social and/or environmental justice, a writing sample, and letters of reference.

The committee forwards their recommendations for admission to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, which determines the final offers of admission.

Proficiency in English usage, both written and oral, is essential to pursue graduate studies at Laurier. Applicants whose language of instruction during the undergraduate degree was not English, must furnish evidence of superior proficiency in English prior to admission.

Program Requirements

To qualify for the degree a student must complete the following:

  • SJ601 - Theories of Social Justice and Community Engagement
  • SJ602 - Data Analysis in Social Justice Research
  • SJ603 - Engaged Scholarship and Community Capacity Development
  • SJ621* - Social Justice Community Placement
  • SJ690 - Social Justice Research and Professionalization Forum
  • SJ695* - Major Research Project

And one of the following:

  • SJ630 - Social Justice Directed Reading Course
  • SJ631 - Special Topics in Social and Environmental Justice
  • A half-credit elective course from another program (Students considering taking any alternative courses must consult the Graduate Co-ordinator prior to enrolling)

Students are advised to consult the Graduate Co-ordinator as they develop their programs. All community placements and MRP topics must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator and must be considered within the scope of social and environmental justice issues. Students are advised to consult the Graduate Calendar for information concerning the general policies and regulations of the University.

Typical Program Progression:

Fall:
SJ601 - Theories of Social Justice and Community Engagement (required; .05 credit)
SJ602 - Data Analysis in Social Justice Research (required; .05 credit)
SJ603 - Engaged Scholarship and Community Capacity Development (required; .05 credit)
SJ690 - Social Justice Research and Professionalization Forum (required; pass/fail; .05 credit)

Winter:
SJ690 - Social Justice Research and Professionalization Forum (continued)
SJ621* - Social Justice Community Placement (required; 1.0 credit)
Elective: One of SJ630 - Social Justice Directed Reading Course, SJ631 - Special Topics in Social and Environmental Justice, or a half-credit course selected from another WLU graduate program

Spring:
SJ695* - Major Research Project (required; 1.0 credit)

Grades for all courses will be assigned in accordance with the course requirements specified in the WLU Graduate Calendar. All Mastersí students must maintain a satisfactory academic standing as required by the general regulations of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Major Research Paper

Students will undertake research that culminates in a final 50-60 page major paper or alternative† creative work/engaged scholarship project. The alternative final project will be accompanied by a 20-30 page written report.† All MRPs must be within the scope of social and environmental justice issues and sufficiently rigorous for a Masterís program. The MRP topic will be chosen in consultation with the advisory committee and the Graduate Co-ordinator. Each student will have an MRP committee consisting of an Advisor and Second Reader.† Student submission of the final MRP (including written work and any other appropriate documentation such as arts piece) will be followed by an oral defense to the MRP committee. The final grade will consider both the submitted work and the oral defense. The final grade will be determined jointly by the MRP committee.