Social Justice MA

About the Social Justice MA at Loyola

The Master of Arts in Social Justice (MASJ) program at Loyola's Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS) is designed to prepare tomorrow's “change agents” to bring advocacy, service, and equity to underserved and underrepresented communities.

Whether along racial, ethnic, gender, or religious lines, social disparities continue to gain prominence in the national conversation, creating a heightened need for social justice advocates. This program offers students a solid grounding in spiritual and theological foundations, current issues, best-practice strategies, and practical tools to carry out this important work effectively.

Program Structure

The MA in Social Justice is a 12-course, 36-credit hour degree, with eight required core courses and three electives. The program also includes a sequence of Contextual Education courses (three credit hours) and a Final Integration Project. As a student in the program, you can choose the general MA in Social Justice track or focus your studies with a concentration in Social Enterprise.

Master of Arts in Social Justice (General)

The general MASJ curriculum provides graduates with a solid understanding of the theoretical, spiritual, and theological foundations for work in social justice. Three electives may be chosen from IPS offerings or other schools, colleges, academic centers, and institutes at Loyola.

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The Social Enterprise concentration positions you to complement the program's core course requirements with electives taken through Loyola's esteemed Quinlan School of Business. You can choose to focus on areas like marketing, management, leadership, operations, accounting, and entrepreneurship, among others.

The Social Justice MA program can be pursued full-time or part-time. Classes are held weekday evenings at Loyola's Water Tower Campus, conveniently located off the Red Line in the heart of Chicago, and the majority of the courses are also offered online.

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Why Choose Loyola for Your MA in Social Justice?

A focus on today’s pressing needs

With social disparities expanding and becoming more dynamic every day, the world needs bright, motivated, well-trained “change agents” to carry out the work of community development, social justice, and human rights advocacy.

As a graduate of this program, you will be empowered to integrate service, social justice, and advocacy in your work to bridge gaps and bring equity to disadvantaged, underserved, and underrepresented communities.

The program’s Social Enterprise concentration (MASJ-SE), in partnership with Loyola’s prestigious Quinlan School of Business, offers preparation in business disciplines and leadership that can expand future opportunities to lead social justice organizations.

Founded in 1964, Loyola’s IPS was one of the first pastoral institutes of its kind and for over a half-century has earned a nationwide reputation for exceptional academic offerings.

The MA in Social Justice program can be completed fully online, on campus, or through a hybrid delivery model, allowing you to choose an option that best fits your specific needs.

As a student in the MA in Social Justice program you can opt for dual degree offerings in Social Work (MSW/MASJ) and Divinity (MDiv/MASJ), enabling you to further specialize your professional credentials with two master’s degrees on an accelerated track.

Meet the Faculty

Loyola is proud to have talented and nationally-recognized scholar-teachers as part of our diverse community of exceptional faculty, students and staff. Loyola faculty are known for their commitment to teaching, the dissemination of knowledge through innovative and interdisciplinary scholarly research, and a commitment to social justice and cura personalis, or care for the whole person. Visit the Institute of Pastoral Studies faculty and staff directory to learn more about the teachers and mentors involved with the Social Justice MA program.

Faculty and Staff

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Curriculum and Program Outcomes

While courses for the Social Justice MA program may vary from semester to semester, Loyola’s extensive Academic Catalog will always house the official listing of courses, programs of study, academic policies, degree requirements, and specialization or concentration options.

Additionally, this resource will provide Social Justice MA learning outcomes, showcasing the commitment to specific skills and growth graduates can expect to achieve following completion of the program.

2024-2025 Catalog
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Costs, Scholarships, and Aid

Loyola University Chicago is committed to making your graduate and professional studies a reality. Our Cost & Financial Aid page can help better inform you about the costs and potential funding opportunities through scholarships, loans, and aid for graduate and professional education.

If you are a current Loyola undergraduate or recent alum, you may be eligible for a Returning Rambler discount. Learn more and see if you qualify on our Returning Rambler Scholarship page.

Tuition and Costs

The estimated tuition and fees for the Social Justice MA totals $30600.00, or 36 credit hours at a cost of $850.00 per credit hour. Please note that tuition and fees for all of Loyola's academic programs are subject to change.

For more detailed information about tuition and fees, and a breakdown of how these costs are calculated on a yearly basis, please visit Tuition and Fees from the Office of the Bursar.

Institute of Pastoral Studies Financial Aid & Scholarships

More information about financial aid opportunities can be found on the Institute of Pastoral Studies Financial Aid page.

Appointments and Events

Whether you’re just beginning your search, in the midst of the application process, or eager to explore our graduate and professional programs, our admissions staff is here to assist you every step of the way.

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The Institute of Pastoral Studies offers graduate open houses, information sessions, individual appointments, open Zoom and text sessions, and a multitude of other ways to get to know us better.

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With our visit opportunities, you can tour our beautiful Chicago campuses and learn more about Loyola's ties to one of the most prestigious cities in the world.

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Application Process

Application Deadlines

The available start terms and corresponding application deadlines for the Social Justice MA are listed below. Please keep in mind that both the application and the required materials must be submitted by the specified deadline.

Fall, Spring, & Summer
Rolling admission

Recommended Deadlines
Fall: July 15
Spring: December 10
Summer: April 15

Final admission is 10 days before the start of classes

Application Requirements

Application requirements for the Social Justice MA include:

  • Official Transcripts

  • 2 Letters of Recommendation

  • 3.0 Minimum GPA

  • Statement of Purpose

Statement of Purpose Details

Please submit a 1,500-word essay describing your personal, educational, professional, and ministerial background and how these have prepared you for the specific MA or Certificate program for which you have applied. In your essay, also address the following:

  • Prior undergraduate or graduate study in theology or philosophy, if any

  • The ways in which your professional life and any volunteer service have emphasized spiritually, community and social justice

  • A theological book(s) that has helped to shape your understanding of your proposed vocation and course of study

  • Your vision of ministry, your strengths relative to this vocation, significant influences on your faith life (including minsterial mentors or role models), and the professional context in which you see yourself working upon completion of your program

  • Why you are choosing to pursue this degree at Loyola's IPS

Official Documents

Official transcripts are those that are sent directly by the college/university to Loyola University Chicago. Transcripts sent by the student to Loyola are considered unofficial documents, and while they may be utilized for initial review of your application, official transcripts are still required. Official documents should be sent by the institution to

International Applicant Requirements

An official English language proficiency exam is required for international applicants whose native language is not English. If you have non-U.S. educational credentials, you are required to submit an official transcript evaluation. The transcript evaluation cannot be waived.

Please visit our International Applicant Requirements page for specific information regarding the application process for international students.

International Applicant Requirements
Start Your Application

Applying online to the Social Justice MA program is a swift, uncomplicated, and cost-free process. After submission, you can proceed to send and upload any additional requirements.

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