Social Justice Studies Program

Graduate applications are closed for 2020-21.  Applications for 2021-22 will open in early November, review will begin in February of 2021. Contact Program Advisor, Kevin Brooks, if you have questions.  The Program Handbook provides the most complete overview of the SJS program.  


Have you ever wondered "What can I do to make a difference in my community or region? How can I combine my academic interests with social activism?" The Social Justice Studies (SJS) program at Lakehead university is designed to help you answer both of those questions. 

Located within the territories of the Anishinaabe peoples, Lakehead University's MA in Social Justice Studies (SJS) is an interdisciplinary graduate program housed in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities.  SJS  delivers a transformative education by asking students to think critically about the values, cultural assumptions, and actions that maintain the current economic, political, and social structures which shape our day-to-day lives. Our program empowers students with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge necessary to challenge the informal and formal configurations of power and oppression within local, national, and global contexts.

The Social Justice Studies program offers several paths that allow students to tailor their education to best to fit their scholarly and activist interests. There are four streams that students can pursue during the two-year degree: coursework, research project, creative project, or practicum. These four options ensure that students will be the engineers of their own learning. Connecting scholarly inquiry and community-based learning provides students with practical experience and an opportunity to develop necessary critical skills through an intersectional approach to social justice.

The flexibility of the program allows students to take courses with and be supervised by dynamic faculty from across the Social Sciences and Humanities. Our faculty come from a broad range of disciplinary specialties (including, but not limited to, Indigenous Learning, Women’s Studies, Music, Visual Arts, and English), are committed to positive political, social, and economic change, participate in community-based research, and are dedicated to fostering an environment of political engagement with those issues relevant to social justice. 

Mission Statement for Social Justice Studies

 "The intellectual project of decolonization has to set out ways to proceed through a colonizing world. It needs a radical compassion that reaches out, that seeks collaboration, and that is open to possibilities that can only be imagined as other things fall into place."

-Linda Tuhiwai Smith

The program is firmly grounded in critical theory and research that reflects both a politicized praxis in teaching and a transformative approach to research and knowledge as tools for social change and advocacy. Engaging with social justice means actively working towards eradicating settler colonialism, structural inequalities and violences, gender inequality, white supremacy and racism, homophobia, transphobia, poverty, and more; this program is committed to helping students do just that through social learning. Thunder Bay is ideally situated to offer students hands-on opportunities in community-based engagement through participation in local grassroots movements and organizations. We encourage our students to be actively engaged and to know that they can make a difference for the better.



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Recent books by Dr. Pauline Sameshima win an award and an honourable mention
Social Justice Studies Supervisor Dr. Pauline Sameshima's two books are garnering great attention and accolades.
MA student continuing on to PHD in Social Justice Education.
Mehdia Hassan (MA '19) has accepted an offer to continue her graduate studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), fall 2020.
Asserting citizenship: Muslim women's experiences with the hijab in Canada
In Canada, hijab wearing Muslim women have increasingly faced discrimination in the post 9–11 era. In this study, we investigate Muslim women's... full story
Graduate Student awarded SSHRC grant