Social Welfare and Justice

What is Social Welfare and Justice? 

Social welfare concerns the collective well being of members of a society and the social responsibility for its ongoing improvement. The study of social welfare examines the quality of human life in a society, in all its dimensions, and explores the types of resources needed to enhance it, including but not limited to social work and social welfare policies and programs. Social justice intersects with social welfare in its concern for the extent to which persons have equitable access to resources for human development, both within a society and globally. Social justice research investigates whether some groups have privileged access to resources while others are systematically excluded and social justice advocacy explores ways to remove social inequalities.

Why study Social Welfare and Justice?

The Social Welfare and Justice major is designed to provide students with the knowledge and experience needed to pursue successful careers in social service, social policy analysis, mediation and intervention and social justice advocacy. Through course work, service learning and internships, students gain understanding of the complexities of a range of social welfare and justice issues and learn the analytic and practical skills needed to develop, evaluate and transform social welfare and justice policies and services. Students gain competency in the roles, ethics and values of the social work profession and in the core issue of global human needs and social development. They learn and embrace practices that promote and advance anti-racism, diversity equity, and inclusion. Graduates have the knowledge base to work with culturally diverse groups and understand how social justice issues affect particular communities in specific ways.


Upon completion of the Social Welfare and Justice degree, a student should be able to:

  • Strive to improve individual and collective human well-being. 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of and embrace practices that promote and advance anti-racism, diversity equity, and inclusionExpress a value system consistent with social justice.
  • Know important US social welfare policies and programs.
  • Exhibit a complex understanding of the social, economic, and political contexts that have driven debates on social welfare policies and programs.
  • Apply skills learned in the major — such as empathy, ethical behavior, active listening, and restorative practices — to interpersonal relationships and professional practice.
  • Engage constructively with people whose perspectives challenge their views without compromising a value system consistent with social justice.
  • Understand that people have a diverse range of cultural backgrounds and perspectives, and be able to work effectively with each person in culturally appropriate ways.

Additional Information