Our dedication to Racial Equality and Social Justice (RESJ) spans decades. Learn more about our RESJ Initiative

time exposed photo of headlights in urban center

Peace and Justice Studies Concentration

  • Credits:

Concentration Description

The undergraduate concentration in Peace and Justice Studies treats justice issues as a general class of social and political problems to be understood. It is through understanding of the issues that underlie injustice that society is able to create social change. The mission of the Peace and Justice Studies program is to promote the fair and equitable provision of justice as the path to a more just and humane world.

A Key Element in Your Bachelor’s Degree.   The Peace and Justice Studies concentration is accepted in any Cambridge College bachelor’s degree, as open electives. It is often of interest to students doing a bachelor’s degree in human services, multidisciplinary studies or psychology. It also provides valuable understandings to students in other fields who work with people and social change.

Program Outcomes

Students will gain:

  • Fundamental understanding of the historical development of concepts of justice
  • Basic knowledge of major theories, concepts and processes of justice
  • Critical understanding of formalized constructs and procedures designed to impart justice
  • Understanding of alternate concepts of justice and social change
  • Understanding of the roles of cultural, social and historical forces in shaping concepts of justice

Careers and Further Study

Our students go on to graduate study in human services, psychology, counseling, social work, law, political science, government studies, corrections, law enforcement, forensics, criminology, religious and peace studies. This program can lead to careers in law, government service, corrections, law enforcement, politics, urban and community planning, mediation and management in NGOs, government, and community agencies.


Introduction to Social Justice
JUS 225 3 credit(s)
Social Justice, the state where conditions are met for all of creation to survive and flourish, is the bedrock which supports all other forms of justice. This course examines the understanding of Social Justice tradition that has developed over the last century. Principles of power, community, and responsibility will be examined in light of practical political and social problems - racism, sexism, hunger, poverty and environmental issues.
Wealth, Poverty and Inequality
JUS 315 3 credit(s)

This course explores differing sociological theories of why inequality exists and how it affects us, and offers alternatives toward a more economically and socially just society. While the United States is the main focus, attention is also given to global inequality. The major emphasis is on socio-economic class, including intersections of class with race and gender. Students will learn about the U.S. upper class, middle class, working class, and poverty class.

War, Peace and Non-violence
JUS 345 3 credit(s)
Working from an international and local perspective, this course will explore roots of war and peace, connect theory with practice and address personal as well as political implications of war, peace and non-violence. The course will touch on Just War theory, but focus on positive alternatives to war--including a Just Peace framework and the range of strategies (and ways of life) that are often grouped under the umbrella of "non-violence." The course is an introduction, but we will offer time for participants to build community and dig more deeply into specific areas of interest through a final project.
Violence in American Society
JUS 415 3 credit(s)
In this course, students explore the roots of violence in this country. Students will identify risk factors for violence (e.g. interpersonal and intrapersonal violence, physical and psychological violence, social violence, war, terrorism). The risk and protective factors of violence from both current and literary examples will be discussed. They also examine existing, and construct new, strategies to prevent violence. Students explore a topic of personal interest in their final project.
Restorative Justice and Alternative Sentencing
JUS 435 3 credit(s)
An alternative to the retributive model of justice, Restorative justice offers a reconciliation model in which the victim, the offender, and the broader community can work toward a more personal and satisfying response to juvenile crime. The emergence and growth of several models such as balanced and restorative justice, VORP (Victim Offender Reconciliation Program), and circle conferencing are viewed within the context of adolescent offending. Attention is paid to issues of age, gender, and culture in various methods of conflict resolution.
Special Topics in Justice Issues
BHS 402 3 credit(s)

This seminar will provide students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of the justice issues inherent in contemporary social attitudes and institutions. Students will utilize Circles as a forum for in-depth discussion of selected social issues such as race, poverty, juvenile delinquency, crime, war, terrorism, and the death penalty. Issues selected will vary.