Justice Studies, PhD

Join us in the Justice Studies PhD program at the nation’s first School of Social Transformation. Our diverse community of scholars unites students and faculty across academic boundaries to strategically create social change that is democratic, inclusive and just. We take a unique approach to the study of justice by examining the intersecting forms of injustice, engaging multiple visions of justice -­ knowing that no one solution works for all - ­ and transforming communities by empowering those silenced by inequality.

Our Justice and Social Inquiry faculty are nationally recognized leaders in the interdisciplinary field of justice studies. Faculty areas of expertise include:

  • Law, policy and economics 
  • Youth and criminal justice
  • Sustainability, water rights and the environment
  • Education and culture 
  • Democracy and utopias
  • Gender, race, class and social justice
  • Citizenship and migration 
  • Human rights

Backed by the resources and commitment of Arizona State University to developing solutions to real-world challenges, Justice Studies students catalyze social change while receiving their degree.

Students are prepared for conducting research and utilizing their analytical skills in universities, policy institutes, government positions and nonprofit organizations. 

54 credits (w/ master's or JD)
84 credits (w/o master's or JD)
50 faculty members

Degree Overview

As a doctoral student in justice studies you’ll pursue your coursework in a diverse, inclusive and interdisciplinary environment.

Our curriculum is designed to give you transdisciplinary training that integrates philosophical, legal and ethical approaches with social science and humanities perspectives. Most of our doctoral alumni are teaching at the college or university level. 

With few required courses among the required units for the degree, you'll have tremendous flexibility to build a program that suits your research interests and professional goals.

Focus Areas

You will develop a specialization in an area relevant to your interests and consistent with our faculty expertise in the following core research areas:

  • Citizenship, migration and human rights
  • Globalization, sustainability and economic justice
  • Law, policy and social change
  • Media, technology and culture
  • Social identities and communities

How to apply

Start your application at: graduate.asu.edu/admissions

Submit the following materials to the ASU Graduate Education by December 15:

  • Graduate Admission Services application
  • Non-refundable application fee as specified by Graduate Admission Services.
  • One set of official transcripts from every college and university from which a bachelor's degree or higher was earned.
  • Students whose native language is not English (regardless of where they now reside) must meet ASU's English proficiency requirements.
  • A personal statement (one-and-a-half to two pages, double spaced) outlining areas of interest, educational and career goals.
  • Writing sample (10 pages minimum—research that best represents the applicant's academic thinking and writing skills)
  • Three letters of reference (academic references are preferred)


With the exception of transcripts, all of the above will be uploaded through the ASU Graduate Admission Services online application system. Transcripts need to be physically mailed to ASU Graduate Admission Services at the address below:

Arizona State University
Graduate Admission Services
PO Box 870112
Tempe, AZ 85287-0112

If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS, use this address:

Graduate Admission Services
Arizona State University
1151 S. Forest Avenue, #SSV112
Tempe, AZ 85287-0112

For additional information, contact the Graduate Coordinator for the School of Social Transformation, at SSTgraduate@asu.edu.

I like that Justice Studies is an interdisciplinary program and that our students are able and encouraged to take courses in other departments. During my first years in the program, I took courses in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. I really appreciate this openness in the department. It allowed me to be versed in Justice Studies as well as familiarize myself with other fields that my work engage as part of my core training.

-Onyekachi Ekeogu
Justice Studies PhD Student  

Curriculum

The Justice Studies PhD program consists of 84 credit hours for students entering the program who have not earned a master's or JD degree. However, students entering the program with an applicable master's or JD degree are only required to complete 54 credit hours. A written comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation are required.

Students entering with a master's or JD degree:

Requirements and electives

Hours

Core courses

6

Other Requirements

3

Culminating Experience 

12

Electives 

33

Total hours required

54

 Students entering without a master's or JD degree:

Requirements and electives

Hours

Core courses

6

Other Requirements

3

Culminating Experience 

12

Electives 

24

Foundation Courses

12

Add'l Electives, Reading and Conference, or Research

27

Total hours required

84

Courses and electives

Students take core required courses in Justice Studies. But, in addition to the culminating experience, the bulk of the program consists of electives, providing the flexibility to build a program that suits your research interests and professional goals.

For the other requirement course, students may take JUS 630, JUS 650, SST 691 or other methods course at ASU approved by the program’s graduate coordinator.

Students entering the doctoral program with an applicable master's or JD degree may complete a minimum of 54 credit hours for the program. In addition to the requirements listed above, coursework will include 15 credit hours of elective classroom hours (nine of which must have a JUS prefix) and 18 credit hours comprised of any combination of additional elective courses, reading and conference or research.

Students entering the doctoral program without an applicable master's or JD degree are required to complete 84 credit hours. In addition to the requirements listed above, the coursework will include 12 credit hours of 500-level foundation courses, 24 credit hours of elective classroom hours (15 of which must have a JUS prefix) and 27 credit hours comprised of any combination of additional electives courses, reading and conference or research.

JUS 620 Justice Research Methodology (3)
JUS 640 Theoretical Perspectives on Justice (3)

JUS 630 Data Analysis for Justice Research (3) or
JUS 650 Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis (3) or
SST 691 Topic: Qualitative Methods for Qualitative Researchers (3)

15 credit hours of elective classroom hours (nine of which must have a JUS prefix)

18 credit hours comprised of any combination of additional elective courses, reading and conference or research.

15 credit hours must have a JUS prefix.

27 credit hours comprised of any combination of additional electives courses, reading and conference or research.

Electives are chosen in consultation with student’s assigned faculty mentor and the program’s graduate coordinator.

12 credit hours of 500-level foundation courses.

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