Social Justice and Human Rights
College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Visiting the famous civil rights lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.

George Mason University offers three programs for people are interested in pursuing careers related to social justice, human rights, environmental justice, or animal rights. These programs are designed to cultivate deep, intersectional understandings of the social, political, cultural, historical, and economic implications of social injustices and human rights issues while also fostering the knowledge and skills necessary to imagine and actualize holistic strategies for creating a more equitable, just, and humane world. 

Each of these programs is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on coursework in conflict studies, government, sociology, psychology, women and gender studies, and other fields. They allow students to examine a wide variety of oppressions such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, anti-immigrant oppression, ableism, economic injustice, animal exploitation, environmental injustice, as well as related denials of human rights, such as human trafficking, settler colonialism, mass incarceration, use of sweatshop and child labor, unequal access to education, and voter disenfranchisement. Each balances the study of social justice and human rights theory with on-the-ground application and advocacy. 

Undergraduate Programs

The Minor in Social Justice provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to supplement their major course of study with 15-18 academic credits focused on social justice, human rights, environmental justice, and animal rights.

The Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies with a Concentration in Social Justice and Human Rights offers a flexible, integrative course of study designed to prepare students with knowledge and competencies that are critical to vocational pursuits or further study related to social, political, and economic equality; human rights education, advocacy, and law; and domestic and global justice. Students apply social justice and human rights lenses in the pursuit of understanding a variety of forms of exploitation and oppression, such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, environmental degradation, and animal abuse. They apply these lenses, as well, in the pursuit of learning effective and sustainable strategies for eliminating these forms of exploitation and oppression.

Graduate Program

The Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Concentration in Social Justice and Human Rights also draws on interdisciplinary, global, and integrative sources of knowledge derived from past and present movements for social justice, such as movements for racial justice, queer rights, animal rights, and environmental justice. Students consider the ways in which these movements intersect and overlap while examining processes and institutions established to promote and protect individual and group rights and to advocate for social, economic, and environmental justice.


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