Protesters march on Brooklyn Bridge after the killing of George Floyd.

The Certificate in Social Justice and Education examines equity in educational policy and practice. It provides students with a foundational understanding of the social inequities that shape education and broader society.  Students also learn how educators, students, administrators, parents, and community members have effectively responded to these inequities.

This certificate prepares UW–Madison students to critically analyze the role education policies and practices play in broader social inequalities and social justice efforts. Students connect course concepts and ideas to both their own lives as well as to historical and contemporary social and educational issues in education (in the U.S. and/or globally).

How to Get in

All current UW-Madison undergraduates are eligible to complete the Certificate in Social Justice and Education. Students intending to complete this certificate should visit the School of Education's Certificate Programs page to complete the declaration form.

Students pursuing the Education Studies major or the Certificate in Educational Policy Studies are not eligible to complete the Certificate in Social Justice and Education. 


The Certificate in Social Justice and Education requires the following course distribution for a minimum of 12 credits. At least 6 credits must be completed in residence. Completion of the certificate requires a minimum GPA of 2. 0 in certificate coursework.

Required Course

This course provides students with foundational knowledge about social justice in education that they can build from and connect to their other coursework and assignments as part of the certificate.

ED POL 212 Education for Social Justice3

Elective Courses

Select three additional courses that have a central focus on social justice in education. Two of the three must be in ED POL coursework. These courses meet most or all of the certificate’s Learning Outcomes, and enable students to tailor the certificate to their specific topical and disciplinary areas of interest (e.g. historical perspectives on social justice and education, social justice and education in the U.S., comparative/global studies of social justice and education).

ED POL 197 Listening to the Land3
CURRIC 240 Critical Aspects of Teaching, Schooling, and Education3
CURRIC/​CHICLA  321 Chicano/Latino Educational Justice3
CURRIC/​C&E SOC/​ENVIR ST  405 Education for Sustainable Communities3
CURRIC/​RP & SE  406 Race, Intersectionality, and Equity in Education3
ED POL/​HISTORY  143 History of Race and Inequality in Urban America3
ED POL 145 Introduction to Education Policy3
ED POL/​GEN&WS  160 Gender, Sexuality, and Education Policy3
ED POL 180 Education and White Supremacy3
ED POL 200 Race, Ethnicity, and Inequality in American Education3
ED POL 205 Language and Social Inequality3
ED POL 210 Youth, Education, and Society3
ED POL/​INTL ST  220 Human Rights and Education3
ED POL 237 Wealth, Poverty and Inequality: Transnational Perspectives on Policy and Practice in Education3
ED POL 240 Comparative Education3
ED POL/​CURRIC/​LEGAL ST  250 Incarceration and Education3
ED POL 300 School and Society3
ED POL/​HISTORY  412 History of American Education3
ED POL 423 Education for Global Change3
ED POL 435 Education in Emergencies3
ED POL 460 Immigration, Education, and Equity3
ED POL 505 Issues in Urban Education in the U.S.3
ED POL 510 Urban School Policy3
ED POL/​CURRIC/​HISTORY/​JEWISH  515 Holocaust: History, Memory and Education3
ED POL/​GEN&WS  560 Gender and Education3
ED POL/​AFROAMER  567 History of African American Education3
ED POL/​ANTHRO  570 Anthropology and Education3
ED POL 575 Education Policy and Practice3
ED POL 595 Language Politics and Education3
ED POL/​HISTORY  612 History of Student Activism from the Popular Front to Black Lives Matter3
RP & SE 100 Disability and Society3
RP & SE 300 Individuals with Disabilities3
RP & SE 466 Diversity in Special Education3

 Certificate Completion Requirement

This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of how education, and education policy and practice specifically, has been used as a tool for both social justice and the (re)production of inequality in the United States and/or globally.
  2. Identify and describe the social inequities that shape education and broader society, as well as how various social actors (e.g. educators, students, administrators, parents, and community members) have responded to these inequities through their social justice efforts.
  3. Draw from theory and research to analyze issues of social justice in education.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to apply critical thinking skills to the study of inequities in education, by recognizing and questioning knowledge claims and their own assumptions and preconceived notions.