Justice Studies

Program Faculty: Giancarlo Panagia, Mike Zarkin, Leonardo E. Figueroa Helland (chair)

Program Goals

  • To develop critical, analytical, and integrative thinking skills
  • To improve written and oral communication skills
  • To be able to evaluate and conduct research within the Justice Studies field
  • To develop global consciousness, social responsibility, and ethical awareness
  • To gain a broad understanding of justice concepts and perspectives


The Westminster Justice Studies program treats justice as a broad category of social and ethical problems that includes issues relating to crime and justice, economic and social justice, community rights, environmental justice and global justice. Accordingly, students who choose a major in Justice Studies are encouraged to take interdisciplinary coursework that exposes them to different ways of thinking about justice. This includes, but is not limited to, coursework in fields such as Economics, English, Gender Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, and Global Studies that helps students understand the nature of justice and why individuals and institutions may or may not behave in a just manner. Justice Studies majors are also required to engage in independent research and experiential learning activities such as internships. The Justice Studies minor affords students an opportunity to view justice through broad, interdisciplinary lenses.

Program Requirements

The Justice Studies program offers a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies as an academic major and provides for an academic minor in Justice Studies. The Justice Studies academic major requires completion of 58 semester hours of credit selected from Justice Studies’ coursework and related classes in the social sciences and selected other coursework. Thirty-two of those hours must be in Justice Studies and related courses numbered 300 or above. Students must maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA or better in the academic major and minor.

Students must meet the college-wide graduation requirements in addition to the Justice Studies major:

  • 124 total hours
  • 30 upper division hours
  • WCore requirements

Justice Studies Major

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. World Language Requirement 8
Justice Studies majors must complete eight credit hours in a single world language.
II. Lower Division Justice Studies Courses 10
JUST 221 Community Justice (3)
WCSBS 109 Imaging (in)justice (4)
WCSBS 201 Courts, Law, & Social Justice (3)
III. Upper Division Courses 20
JUST 303 Critical Theory (4)
JUST 310 Law and Society (4)
JUST 365 Economic Justice (4) Same as ECON/PHIL 365. Prerequisites: ECON 105 or 253 or 263, or consent of instructor
 JUST/PLSC 490 Senior Capstone (4)
Additional upper-division JUST coursework (4)
IV. General Social Justice Track 16
Students must complete 16 hours of coursework from the list of approved electives below. At least 4 hours of coursework must be an upper division JUST elective course.
ENGL 367 Literatures of the African Diaspora (4)
ENGL 368 U.S. Minority Literature: Writing from the Margins (4)
ENGL 373 Postcolonial Literature and Theory (4)
ENGL 377 Queer Theory and Posthumanism (4)
Each of these requires two of the following prerequisites: ENGL 221, 222, and/or 223
Gender Studies
GNDR 350 Gender in Society (4)
GNDR 360 Race, Gender, Class, and the Media (3)
Justice Studies
JUST 324 Women, Work, and Justice (4)
JUST 344 Environmental Justice (4)
JUST 350 Criminal Law (4)
JUST 374 Legislation of Morality (4)
JUST 376 Immigration and Justice (4)
JUST 384 Restorative Justice (4)
JUST 420 Punishment (4)
Political Science
PLSC 306 Comparative Politics (4)
PLSC 315 Global Politics I (4)
PLSC 318 Humanitarian Politics (4)
PLSC 355 Constitutional Law (4)
PLSC 367 Contemporary Political Philosophy (4)
PLSC 415 Global Politics II (4)
V. Required Courses from Other Programs 4
PLSC 390 Research Methods (4) junior/senior standing, or consent of instructor

Recommended Plan of Study for Justice Studies

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Freshman Year WCSBS 109
Language I

Language II

Sophomore Year JUST 221
Elective course

Elective course
Elective course

Junior Year JUST 303
Elective course

JUST 310
JUST 365

Senior Year PLSC 390
Elective course
JUST elective

Justice Studies Minor

To fulfill the requirements for an academic minor in Justice Studies, students must complete a minimum of 20 semester hours in Justice Studies or related coursework. Twelve of these hours must be in coursework numbered 300 or above.

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Required Courses 8
WCSBS 109 Imaging (in)justice
JUST 310 Law and Society (4)
II. Elective Courses 12
Additional Justice Studies or related coursework (12)
(numbered 300 or above)
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