About the Program
The Certificate in Social Justice provides concentrated study in the broad field of justice studies. Certificate awardees are required to take 12 credits of courses that examine how unequal power relationships shape human experience and structure life outcomes. These courses will pay particular attention to categories such as race, gender, sexuality, class, faith, physical and mental ability, age, geography, linguistic background, and environment. Moving beyond cultural appreciation and difference, affiliated courses will focus on injustice, inequality, and the work of freedom.
This certificate identifies courses that emphasize three core Penn State values -- Respect, Community, and Responsibility -- along with social responsibility and ethical reasoning learning objectives. Ethical citizenship not only requires an understanding and appreciation of difference, but also of the world that such differences have made. By providing concentrated study in social justice, students will be better equipped to put Penn State values and ethics into real world practice.
This certificate program is open to all students and is offered in collaboration with faculty from diverse academic disciplines. With an evidence-driven understanding of history, oppression, and structural inequality, this certificate program champions the ideals of equity, justice, and democracy. Above all, this certificate helps students work toward a future in which all members of our college community and society have been empowered with knowledge and understanding to reach their full potential. Certificate awardees will be better prepared to understand and address issues of injustice not only while in college, but also in their communities and future careers.
Certificate Learning Objectives
Upon completion of the Social Justice Certificate, students should be able to…
- Articulate how power differences structure life outcomes, particularly regarding the role of class and economic status, gender, sexuality, race, physical and mental ability, geography, environment, and other related categories.
- Define and apply fundamental social justice values in personal and professional settings;
- Create and evaluate arguments on the role of social justice in furthering a more just and egalitarian democracy;
- Demonstrate the critical thinking, reading, listening, and analytical skills necessary to evaluate and address injustices in one’s community, one’s workplace, and other areas of civic life;
- Apply classic and contemporary social justice scholarship to compare and contrast scholarly understandings of “diversity,” “justice,” and related concepts, including how such ideas function in both academe and the greater world;
- Understand principles of justice as they relate to fields such as education, government, health, media, religion, business, art, technology, environmental science, and others.
Students must take and earn a C or higher in 4 classes (or 12 credits) in qualifying coursework. There are no entrance requirements nor time limit for completion. All students must take SOC 205N: Critical Race Theory in the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as three other courses from the course menu below. Students must also complete a Capstone Project. The project must be completed in one of the four Certificate courses in consultation with the student’s professor(s) and/or Certificate adviser(s). If not on the course menu, students may petition for a single course to count toward the Certificate. Such course exceptions will be made by the Certificate Head(s) only.
|AF AM/WMST 101
|AM ST 226N
|ENG (WMST) 194
*Non-listed courses and independent studies must be approved by certificate Head(s)
Certificate Assessment Plan
Upon successful completion of required courses (C or better), Certificate applicants must submit a Certificate Project in one of the four certificate courses that meets three out of six (3 out of 6) Certificate Learning Objectives. Projects must demonstrate how students will apply their learning in future endeavors, including but not limited to graduate school, the workplace, philanthropy, or entrepreneurialism. Projects may take many forms (public campaign, artwork, conference paper, podcast, performance, personal statement, white paper, zine, short film, etc.) but must be approved by the student’s Certificate Project professor(s) and/or adviser(s).