Concepts of justice play a profound role in clarifying human needs for health and well-being. Such basic social problems as inequality, poverty and discrimination pose a constant challenge to policies that serve the health and income needs of children, families, people with disabilities and the elderly. The public response to such problems, in America and elsewhere, rests on contested definitions of social obligation and social citizenship.
The Social Justice and Social Policy Program also brings together an unusually broad spectrum of faculty and curriculum — combining the academic perspectives of arts and sciences departments with professional expertise from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Students are encouraged to explore policy areas in concrete detail, focused variously on particular groups (children, the elderly, people with disabilities) or particular services (health care, income support).
Students can also select courses that deal thematically with problems of social equity (poverty, discrimination), as well as courses that approach social justice from historical, philosophical and comparative perspectives. Key elements of the program include a foundation course, a capstone course and a research-based internship in a social policy setting.
The concern with social justice speaks to the core educational commitments of Brandeis. This program does not seek to promote a particular ideological agenda, but rather to spark creative thinking about complex social problems. It carries the search for norms and principles into the wider arena of practical experience. By providing models for critical reflection, it challenges students to articulate their own value commitments in a spirit of constructive debate.
How to Enroll in the Program in Social Justice and Social Policy
The Social Justice and Social Policy Program is open to all undergraduates. Students may begin the program at any time, but are encouraged to complete the foundation course within the first two years of study. Individual SJSP courses are open to all students.
To enroll in the program, fill out the declaration forms from the Office of Academic Services and contact the program administrator, Cheryl Hansen. You should then meet with professor David Cunningham to discuss your tentative plans for meeting the program requirements. Upon acceptance in the program, you will be assigned an advisor.
Students who complete the requirements of Social Justice and Social Policy Program will receive certificates and notations on their transcripts.