Academics at Prescott College
Area of Study:
Social Justice & Community Organizing
Resident Master of Arts Program
The Social Justice and Community Organizing (SJCO) curriculum combines a unique focus on theories and practices that equip our graduates with the skills, connections, and knowledge to participate effectively in social justice movement building. Courses offer an intensive emphasis on comparative critical theory (both scholarly and grassroots movement-based) with direct participation in organizing and mobilization as powerful tools for understanding the complex relations of culture, power, systems of oppression, and the history and future of movements for social and environmental justice. Community Organizing skills, together with a strong theoretical basis, prepare students for applying their skills within different organizing settings and working in collaboration with directly affected communities. SJCO faculty combine academic scholarship with long-time committed participation in social justice struggles and movement building. Through hands-on participatory learning and community-based, experiential courses, students have opportunities to learn directly from movement leaders working on the cutting edge of grassroots projects from Los Angeles, to the US-Mexico borderlands, to Maasailand, Kenya. SJCO is open to students interested in all social justice issues and struggles, from anti-racist struggles against state violence, to economic and environmental justice, to indigenous rights, climate justice, LGBTQ liberation, immigrant rights, and housing justice -- all voices and issues are needed as we seek to build diverse and resilient mass movements with the power to shape the future.
Students will spend their first class in the field; the program begins with a month-long, intensive orientation in Los Angeles. This type of hands-on field experience prepares each entering cohort to get the most out of our theory and practice-based pedagogical approach. Through scholarly study, each cohort engages with major questions and debates in the interdisciplinary and applied study of urbanization and globalization; builds an intentional learning community; and explores themes of justice, home, and community in diverse contexts of social justice organizing and activism.
During the January winter block, students travel to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands for 3 weeks to explore the social and environmental impacts and social justice organizing possibilities created by globalization in the transnational border region. During this intensive field course, students are immersed in many of the issues that make Arizona a microcosm of the global crises of the twenty-first century.
The fall and spring semesters will be spent in Prescott in a core curriculum providing historical and theoretical context for social justice and community organizing work. Students will, through the choice of an elective course, identify the focus of their individual work: such as human rights research; strategic media and communications; or community organizing. Students begin to identify the specific skills they will focus on developing, that will lead to their thesis and final project.
During the final semester, students will culminate their work in a final M.A. Participatory Social Justice Research Project. There are three options offered: a Research Paper/Thesis, an Organization/Campaign Project Report, or a Media and Communications Proposal and Product. All of these research-based options are considered to be of equal merit and value. Students will choose the option that is most appropriate for their research interests and future plan for professional work.
Graduate Teaching Scholarships are available for students who wish to gain teaching experience and defray the cost of their Master’s program. A complete description and application instructions can be found here.
Prescott College offers scholarships to alumni of the City Year program who enter the Masters in Social Justice and Community Organizing program. Click here for the details.
Life & Career OutcomesLife & Career Outcomes
- Labor and Community Organizer
- Non-Profit Manager
- Social Justice Activist
Signature CoursesSignature Courses
Academic ResourcesAcademic Resources
Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies
The Kino Bay Center is Prescott College’s field station on the shores of the Gulf of California in Sonora, Mexico. Each year the Kino Bay Center hosts over 450 researchers, students, resident fellows and community visitors from dozens of institutions and community groups from Mexico, the United States and other parts of the world.
The Kino Bay Center facilitates, supports and integrates collaborative efforts promoting sustainable use and conservation of resources in the culturally and biologically rich Midriff Island Region of the Gulf of California. The mission of the Kino Bay Center is to protect priority species and habitats through the integrated application of science, education, information exchange, and community participation. The Center provides high quality opportunities for experiential and field-based education to contribute to research and conservation in the region and to build capacity within local communities for participation in conservation and sustainable development. The Center promotes and models collaborations between people from different cultures and institutions to co-create solutions to complex conservation challenges.
Prescott College Library
The Prescott College Library supports the curriculum with a variety of print and electronic resources. Our library catalog reflects not only our collection but that of more than 30 other libraries in Yavapai county. A system-wide library card allows borrowers to request books from any library in the county. Online resources include millions of full-text articles available through our article databases, and over 130,000 e-books available through ebrary.More Information