Social justice refers to the overall fairness of society and the manner in which it divides its rewards and burdens among groups of people.

Working with marginalized groups, social justice agents or advocates are concerned with bringing equality within society. Progress and success are measured not in individuals, but rather with respect to an entire community, city, state, or nation. 

Students who choose this major are interested in helping everyone gain equality and access resources that promote health, education, safety, security, and justice. 

Why Iowa?

The UI Department of Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies offers the only undergraduate major in social justice at a public university in the state of Iowa.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major must meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 


Social Justice
Social Justice
Areas of Emphasis
Seven emphasis areas are offered. See Course Work.
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.

The social justice major prepares students for careers in diverse fields. Graduates typically work in nonprofit or government sectors, international organizations, think tanks, research and policy institutes, foundations, religious and cultural institutions, education, or health care. Their positions may focus on areas such as aging, criminal justice, children and family, human rights, labor, race and ethnicity, disability, and poverty.

Students in this major are well prepared to continue their studies in a wide range of graduate programs or professional schools.  

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 Study Abroad Programs and numerous Undergraduate Research Opportunities.


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.


This program provides rich field experiences that connect knowledge and theory to practice and builds communication skills including writing, speaking, digital literacy, collaboration, and teamwork. 

Students gain a broad understanding of how ethics, philosophy, human rights, and history intersect with power, diversity, and broad social issues in the fields of health, environmental studies, ethnic and cultural studies, political science, and gender and women's studies. 

Work for the major consists of the foundation core courses, an emphasis area, and a capstone experience.  

Students choose one of the following emphasis areas or they may work with the social justice adviser to create an individualized emphasis area:

  • Ethnic and cultural studies in the United States
  • Environmental issues
  • Health
  • Human Rights
  • International history, theory, and action
  • Politics and social justice
  • The arts and social practice

In addition to courses required for this major, students also must complete the requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core Program. 

Review Social Justice in the UI General Catalog to learn more about required course work for the major or minor and graduating with honors.