Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

MA in Social Justice

The MA in Social Justice is an ecumenical and interfaith degree program that offers a balanced, integrated approach that engages both theory and practice. 

The degree educates students to lead societal transformation in a variety of contexts from local neighborhoods to international settings, with a focus on improved economic, racial, cultural, and gender equity, and ecological health. As an aspriring "change agent," you will study spiritual and theological foundations of social justice, key contemporary social justice issues, the tools of analysis in addressing social justice issues, best-practice strategies for effective work in advocacy and community development, and the practical skills of successful leadership. 

This graduate certificate program will prepare you for faith-based leadership in social advocacy, community organizing, and systemic social change. The program combines theoretical and practical learning in social justice and activism. 

  • The degree offers full- and part-time enrollment
    - MA average time to completion (full time): 2 years
    - MA average time to completion (part time): 4 years
    - Certificate average time to completion (full time): 1 year

As a student in the MA in Social Justice program, you will complete a 3-credit Contextual Education placement, as well as a capstone integration project that synthesizes your learnings at the end of your studies.

When you complete your degree, you will have built a strong resume for a career in a variety of settings such as non-profit leadership, issues advocacy, legislative work, environmental activism, government work, and community organizing.
Career services are available—learn more at LUC.edu/career.

IPS continues the centuries-old Catholic and Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, a personal and community approach to education, and social relevance.
You can broaden your academic and experiential foundation by pursuing the MA in Social Justice along with another master’s degree.

  • The MASJ/MDiv prepares you for leadership in faith-based organizations that promote justice, foster global awareness, and develop professional programs committed to excellence.
  • The MASJ/MSW provides you with a strong background to become an agent for positive change as well as the competencies to become a licensed social worker.
  • Study abroad: We encourage you to widen your pastoral experience with an international immersion. Study abroad is open to full- and part-time students; courses in Rome are scheduled for every summer.
  • Student organizations include: As an IPS student, you are welcome to participate in the IPS Student Engagement Committee.

Applicants must demonstrate a commitment and dedication to social justice.

Our faculty members are respected leaders in their fields. They integrate research and practical experiences into the classroom. Their interests include Christian origins and spirituality, practical and contextual theology, women in ministry, women active in inter-faith work around the world, African theological and ministry voices, social entrepreneurship, community organizing, political theology, health care, and war and peace.
MASJ faculty work in organizations such as the American Academy of Religion, U.S. Embassy to the Holy See in Rome, Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Faith and Order Commission at the National Council of Churches USA.

Begin the financial aid process by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov.

IPS has a variety of funds available for financial assistance. Via the Sponsored Matching Grant program, IPS will match up to 50% of tuition for eligible students from sponsoring institutions. Other options include merit-based scholarships, need-based grants, Mission Grants, Loyola University Campus Ministry Assistantship, the Chicago Archdiocesan Lay Ecclesial Ministry Program, and/or graduate student worker positions at IPS. Learn more at LUC.edu/ips/admission/finaid.

Learn more about faculty, curriculum, and how to apply.