These are the degree requirements for students who matriculated in the 2017-18 school year. Requirements for other years can be found in their appropriate sections. The Master of Arts in Social Justice and Ethics (MASJE) is a professional master’s degree that challenges students to develop and practice an inclusive and collaborative approach to social change leadership; demonstrate the cultural capacity and organizational skills necessary for civic agency and efficacy in diverse social, political, and educational contexts; and critically engage complex interdisciplinary analysis of historical and contemporary social change strategies and movements. Graduates of the MASJE program lead social change efforts within diverse professional settings including domestic and international religious organizations, non-profit organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, the media, and for-profit corporations. Such leadership may also include ordination/consecration as a deacon or lay minister in various denominational traditions. As a professional degree within a theology school, the MASJE degree program combines personal, spiritual/religious, and academic learning with critical reflection, community engagement, and service learning. The curriculum provides an interdisciplinary approach with courses that combine political theory, sociology, ethics, theology, and the history, theory, and practice of social change movements. In addition, courses in management, leadership, and community collaboration, along with the internship provide opportunities for students to gain practical knowledge and experience.
To graduate, students must meet the requirements as specified in the Catalog and Master's Student Handbook of their year of matriculation. The MASJE requires at least 80 quarter credits with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better. In addition, all required courses below (60 of the 80 credits), must be completed with a letter grade of C or better (or with a Pass, when no letter grade is offered).
First Year Interdisciplinary Course (4 credits): This course is team-taught and limited to 25 students per section. This course will introduce students to terminology, reading of primary texts and how to write academic papers as well as expose them to the complexity and significance of theological reflection.
Core Courses (28 credits): One each of a breadth or depth course in the first five curricular areas:
Comparative Religious Traditions (CR) (4 credits)
Sacred Texts/Contextual Analysis (TX) (4 credits)
Social/Contextual Analysis (AN) (4 credits)
Historical Development and Expressions of Religious Traditions (HI) (4 credits)
Constructive Theology (TH) (4 credits)
Theology and Religious Practices (PR) (8 credits), required courses:
Foundations of Social Justice and Ethics (4 credits): An interdisciplinary critical review of social change strategies and their historical and contemporary contexts.
Community Organizing (4 credits): An exploration of the U.S. history and theory of modern community organizing, and an opportunity to practice the broad-based, relational community organizing method.
Social Justice and Ethics Praxis (8 credits): An integration of theory and practice within a practice-based learning environment, often including community-engaged collaboration with non-profit organizations, government agencies, or civic groups. Topics change each term (1-4 credits each)
Social Justice and Ethics Seminars (8 credits): An in-depth and interdisciplinary exploration and analysis of a variety of topics pertaining to individual and collective social change experiences, strategies, and practices. Topics change each term. (2-4 credits each)
Personal and Professional Formation (16 credits) Required courses:
Vocation and Orientation (2 credits)
Identity, Power, and Difference (2 credits)
Internship (12 credits, September-May): Internships need to be arranged with the Office of Professional Formation.
Consultation and Formation to be completed during the first quarter of classes at Iliff School of Theology
Other Courses (16 credits)
Total for Master of Arts in Social Justice and Ethics: 80 credits
Personal and Professional Formation Requirements
Prior to entering the MASJE internship, students must complete Vocation and Orientation; Identity, Power, and Difference; and Iliff’s Consultation and Formation process. Once these prerequisites are completed, MASJE students work in consultation with the MASJE Director/Director of Service Learning to identify a community partner and develop a personalized internship through the student-led drafting of a Service Learning Agreement. Students then register for the eight-credit MASJE Internship Seminar, a hybrid seminar consisting of two in-person praxis weekends at the beginning and end of the summer quarter, and online throughout the summer. This seminar runs concurrently with the 300-hour MASJE internship (8 credits, summer).
For details on the PPF process, please see the “MASJE Internship” subsection of the “Personal and Professional Formation in the Iliff Curriculum” section of this Handbook.
Length of Study
Students who average 40 quarter credits a year (13-14 credits each quarter of the academic year) will complete the course work for the MASJE degree in two years, including the completion of a summer internship in between the first and second year of study. Students may, however, elect to complete their course work over a longer period of time. The MASJE is considered a fully residential program. All requirements for the degree must be completed within seven calendar years from the date of the first course taken in the program.
Student Assessment Process
To insure the breadth and depth of the educational experience,students will be invited to participate in Iliff’s outcomes assessment process as they approach graduation. Students are required to enroll in Master's Recital (offered in multiple formats year round) as a way to reflect on and provide feedback about their Iliff education. Further information is available from the Dean's Office or from the student's academic advisor.
MASJE Degree Learning Goals
Comparative Religious Traditions (CR): demonstrate basic awareness of a range of religious traditions and an emerging capacity to engage in comparative analysis between traditions around a particular topic.
Sacred Texts (TX): demonstrate an informed understanding of sacred texts as historically-situated; utilize various methodologies for responsible interpretation of these texts to contemporary audiences.
Social/Contextual Analysis (AN): identify and critically evaluate the symbolic systems, power structures, ideologies, values, and religious meanings at play in events and interactions, institutional structures, ethical judgments, and living communities, and articulate and enact a vision for increased social justice in these contexts.
Historical Development/ Expressions of Religious Traditions (HI): demonstrate awareness of religious traditions as historically-situated movements that interacted and changed in relationship to their surrounding cultures and subcultures over time, resulting in various expressions located within and influenced by social structures and institutions, historical events, and ethnic and cultural ideologies.
Constructive Theology (TH): critically engage historical and contemporary theological expressions of religious traditions and articulate one’s own constructive theological position in relation to contemporary events and/or situations.
Theology and Religious Practices (PR): engage in analysis of contemporary religious traditions and institutions in order to assess, design, and perform meaningful leadership practices with sensitivity to contextual realities and relationships.
Personal and Professional Formation (PPF): develop strategies for spiritual formation and self-care, demonstrate an awareness of the importance of social location for self-understanding and professional presence, and enact self-aware and collaborative leadership within a specific vocational context.
MASJE: Demonstrates a complex interdisciplinary understanding of historical and contemporary social change strategies and movements, develop and practice an inclusive and collaborative approach to social change leadership, and demonstrate the cultural capacity and organizational skills necessary for civic agency and efficacy in diverse social, political and educational institutions.