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Democracy & Justice Studies


This is an exciting time of change and innovation for those of us in Social Change and Development. In order to better serve our students and the community, and in order to build on our strengths, we’ve made changes to the curriculum and, as you may have heard, have changed the name of our department to Democracy and Justice Studies.

First and foremost, all of you will graduate. None of you will be left in curricular limbo. Already signed-up SCD Majors and Minors can remain and graduate as SCD students. We may have to provide some course substitutions, but we will take care of you. Breathe easy. After July 1, 2011, students new to the program will only be Democracy and Justice Studies students. After July 1, 2011, current SCD students who want to become DJS students will have to drop the SCD major/minor and sign up anew as DJS students. If you are an SCD student and want to become a DJS student please see the departmental advisor in the early fall.

What is Democracy and Justice Studies? DJS fits all of you well. Democracy and Justice Studies explores diverse ideals and practices of democracy and justice in the United States and the world through interdisciplinary social and historical learning. Democracy and Justice Studies students look at how peoples past and present have sought in various ways to sustain and change political, economic, cultural, and social orders. We ask why and how societies develop and whether their political, economic, cultural and social relations and activities promote justice, freedom, equality, and democracy. Through problem focused thinking, we enable students to become engaged citizens and professionals.

What are some of the curricular differences and similarities?

  • New to the DJS program is a course entitled DJS 101 Intro to Democracy and Justice Studies. This lower level general education course will be taught every semester. Providing competing definitions and analyses of democracy and justice, this course will be led by one DJS faculty but also will include approximately one week led by each of the other DJS faculty members.
  • DJS students are required to take one of four theory courses.
  • The four emphases options remain in DJS.
  • We have added two skill subject options to the DJS program: communication skills and media skills.
  • SCD 302 Portfolio is not part of the DJS curriculum. We will, however, be offering SCD 302 two more times. Please take note and enroll when it is offered.

Please direct questions to the departmental adviser Professor Eric Morgan ( or the chair Professor Andrew Austin (