Harvard students can now earn a 'Social Justice Certificate'

Harvard University is now offering graduate students an opportunity to earn a certificate by taking online courses in “social justice.” 

The “Social Justice Certificate” is a graduate-level certificate that can be earned after taking 16 credit hours in relevant courses, and is offered by the Harvard Extension School, a “fully accredited Harvard school” with an online-based platform.

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The recently launched certificate allows students to take classes such as “Chocolate, Culture, and the Politics of Food,” “The Culture of Capitalism,” and “Storytelling and Global Justice” for credit, and Harvard stresses that courses taken prior to the 2016–17 academic year “do not apply toward this certificate.”

Other classes in the program include “The Minimum Wage Debate,” “The Politics of Religion in Liberal Democracies,” and “Readings in Black Radicalism”—a class dedicated to exploring readings on topics such as black Marxism, black feminism, and reparations. 

“Through this liberal arts graduate certificate, you’ll learn about core themes of social justice, including philosophy, economics, the environment, religion, politics, ethics, sociology, and law,” the university explains on its website. 

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Unlike other social justice programs—which often build their curriculum around the matrix of power, privilege, and oppression—the Harvard program takes a different approach by centering curricula around economic and policy issues. 

Though no specific courses are required, students are encouraged to take classes on topics such as “human rights, affirmative action, income distribution, and the role of markets,” as well as “education, government, health, media, and religion.” 

Instead of requiring GRE scores for admission, the Harvard Extension School website encourages any interested student to “simply register” for courses during the registration periods. 

Additionally, the school explains that “certain certificate courses can also be counted as electives” for students who are “also considering a master’s degree and have earned a bachelor’s degree.”

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Harvard isn’t the first school to offer a graduate certificate in social justice. Schools including Loyola University ChicagoIowa State University, and the University of Southern California-Price School of Public Policy have all rolled out similar programs in recent years. 

The average tuition for the certificate program is approximately $10,800. Interested students are encouraged to contact an enrollment officer, but no application deadline is listed. 

Campus Reform reached out to Harvard University for comment on the purpose of the certificate program, but did not immediately receive a response in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen