Lead Others as an Influential Social Change Agent with a Master's in Social Justice

Business, education and organization leaders around the world are becoming increasingly aware of their social and ethical impact on the communities around them. By recognizing that social justice must be woven into the fabric of their organization, social justice leaders are the vanguard of creating and maintaining a future of positive social change.

Earning a master’s degree in Leadership for Social Justice at University of the Pacific will help you develop and strengthen a leadership identity focused on authentic, sustainable change. Whether you are a current leader or are just starting out on your leadership journey, our 26-month graduate Social Justice degree prepares you to lead in a broad range of environments — including schools, nonprofits, community organizations and more.

A Social Justice master's degree built on experiential learning

At the heart of our graduate Social Justice degree program are rigorous courses taught by professional leaders and agents of change. In your Social Justice master’s courses, you’ll collaborate with faculty and peers in project-centered courses that will give you real-world experiences both inside and outside the classroom.

Please note: This program format cannot support an I-20 for international student visas. 

  • For Benerd Degree Completion students, take LEAD 200 Exercising Leadership and LEAD 210* through Benerd College and directly transfer those units to one of our MA programs (*pending catalog approval in fall 2024)
  • For all other undergraduate students, take LEAD 200 and another course pre-approved for transfer by undergraduate advisor and Benerd MA Program Lead.

Hyrbid Course Format

2 Year Program Length


Why Earn Your Master's in Leadership in Social Justice at Pacific?

Offering the only graduate Leadership for Social Justice degree program in California, we are single-handedly preparing tomorrow’s leaders to make positive social and ethical impacts throughout the world. From the expertise of our faculty to our focus on hands-on, authentic learning experiences, there are so many reasons why we stand out from other community justice and leadership programs throughout the country.

Dr. Laura Hallberg with 2 students
Gain Real-World Experience from Dedicated Faculty

Take advantage of small class sizes in our Social Justice degree program and work closely with faculty mentors who put student success first.  Our faculty have decades of experience leading nonprofits and youth organizations, K-12 schools and districts, consulting and leading anti-racist, diversity equity and inclusion initiatives as well as working on Capitol Hill to influence policy.  We design each course to emphasize collaboration and real-world projects so you can apply the concepts you learn in class to actual situations.

Program Testimonial
Clarence Henderson

“The master’s in Social Justice program has magnified my passions for diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education and social justice. I appreciate the program’s flexible format, making it manageable to maintain a full-time job and a family at home, and to stay active within the Stockton community on various social justice projects.”

- Clarence Henderson, Master's in Leadership, Leading for Social Justice, 2024

Assistant Director, Community Involvement Project, University of the Pacific

clarence henderson

What Can You Do with Your Master's Degree in Leadership for Social Justice from Pacific?

Bring about the change you want to see in organizations and communities with Pacific’s master’s degree in Social Justice. Our program provides you with the latest theories and methods in ethical leadership, which you will then apply to real organizations to help them grow and foster social justice.

With a graduate Social Justice degree from Pacific, you can also continue your educational journey in a doctoral program, such as our Transformative Action in Education EdD.

Positions you may be qualified for when you graduate from Pacific’s master’s in leadership program include: ·

  • Principal of a charter or alternative school
  • Nonprofit founder/director
  • Community organizer/director
  • Youth development director
leading for social justice
Career Outlook for Leadership for Social Justice Program Graduates

Employment opportunities for social and community service managers is projected to grow 12 percent by 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the world grows increasingly diverse, organizations and communities around the world must learn to adapt to new cultural and ethical environments. With the knowledge and skills that you’ll gain in our social justice degree program, you’ll be in high demand as an agent of positive social change.

Explore Courses for the Master's Degree in Leadership for Social Justice

Our two-year, 33-credit Social Justice master’s program covers essential topics in social change, creativity, ethics and diversity to prepare you to become an inspirational leader.

Most of your coursework in the master’s in Social Justice program is online, with weekly evening classes and once-a-month Saturday sessions. You are only required to be on campus for three days at the beginning, middle and end of the Social Justice master’s program.

Your Social Justice degree program culminates in an integrative capstone for the Social Justice course.

Some of the popular courses in our Social Justice degree program include:

  • How to Change the World
  • Design Thinking for Social Justice
  • The Ethical Leader
  • Leading in Diverse Contexts


LEAD 260. How to Change the World. 3 Units. Examines ideas and concepts around society, socialization and what it means to be social change agents. Focuses on the development, continuity and changes in social institutions, culture and society and their impact on how we fit into society, how we view ourselves as individuals and how we create change.

LEAD 261. Design Thinking for Social Impact. 3 units. Design thinking is an iterative problem-solving process of discovery, ideation, and prototyping. The process can be used to address all kinds of creative challenges. This course will focus on equipping students with design thinking skills, as they apply to leadership and social impact issues.


LEAD 262. Understanding Social Impact and Change. 3 units. Provides a foundation of the concepts, themes, vocabulary, and theories related to social impact and social change. Gives students opportunities to explore various community and professional practices to expand awareness of social impact issues and the role of power, privilege, and identity in their understanding.

LEAD 221. Facilitation of Projects and Initiatives. 3 units. Provides knowledge and skills related to group facilitation with focus on facilitating projects and initiatives of all types. Emphasis will be on facilitative leadership, tools, techniques, processes, and knowledge for helping teams succeed.


LEAD 263. Global Social Change. 3 units. Explores issues related to globalization, the changing relationships related to culture and societies, and the impact on us individuals. Examines power, privilege, activism, resistance, and global social justice movements to deepen our understanding of social relations at local, national, and international levels.

LEAD 220. Creativity and Ideation. 3 units. Engages students in creativity and ideation. Students develop creativity skills and ideation processes to create ideas that will be launched later in the program.


LEAD 201. The Ethical Leader. 3 units. Enables students to understand ethics, leadership, and leadership ethics and how they relate to our personal and professional lives. This course attempts to raise awareness surrounding these legal, moral and ethical challenges, create a sensitivity to the implications of leadership decisions so you can make the most effective decision possible, equip you with tools and strategies for managing your own and others' ethical behavior, and encourage you to critically evaluate the decisions of others.

LEAD 210. Action Research. 3 units. Engages students in cycles of inquiry to gain deeper understanding of the issues that impact their organization and how that informs their leadership identity. Through these inquiry cycles, students reflect on how actions and decisions influence an organization and its people. Students use these reflective practices to build self-awareness about their on-going leadership growth and development.


LEAD 200. Leading in Diverse Contexts. 3 units. Provides knowledge and skills to lead, motivate, and coordinate diverse individuals toward attaining shared goals. Includes study of leadership in organizational and community-based contexts, with an emphasis on development of personal leadership competencies.

LEAD 265. Reflective Practice for Leadership and Change. 3 units. Engages students in reflective practice to understand the impact their identity has on their leadership skills. Students will develop critical perspectives related to leadership and social impact.

Summer EDUC 296. Integrative Capstone for Social Impact. 3 units. This course provides the culminating experience of the program, including leadership-related fieldwork project to apply innovation skills through integration of research, theory, and practice.


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Benerd College Leadership Programs

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Stockton, CA, 95211

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