Social Justice and Community Studies

SJCS Banner Image 2019Photo credit: Bria Miller

Saint Mary's University is in Kjipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki, the Ancestral and Unceded Territory of the L'nu'k*

The Department of Social Justice & Community Studies (SJCS) at Saint Mary's University offers a strong interdisciplinary training to promote social responsibility and the development of active citizens. It does this by fostering intersectional knowledge and community engagement around issues such as gender and sexuality; Indigenous-settler relations, and settler colonialism; race and critical whiteness; citizenship and migration status; urban politics and histories; material conditions and resource distribution; and social organizing and organizational theory, in order to build stronger institutional and community relationships with and between diverse Indigenous peoples, African Nova Scotians, immigrant peoples, and historically settled white Nova Scotians and Canadians. Among the key ways in which SJCS at SMU builds intersectional knowledge and relationships is by fostering mutual engagement between community members, the university, and the city, and mobilizing social justice and community work on and off campus. 
For our 2023-24 Teaching Schedule see below.

The Social Justice & Community Studies Major Program is the first of its kind in the region offering this dual focus, through training in interdisciplinary and intersectional scholarship, informed access to community, and skills for public engagement on key local and global discussions, policy debates, and social movements, particularly involving unequal power relations. SJCS graduates develop critical skills in problem identification and definition, research, developing frameworks for analysis, information literacy and effective communication, and strengthening social relationships and networks. SJCS faculty are interdisciplinary scholars. The program also includes courses in English, Religious Studies, History, and Atlantic Canada Studies, and students can pair their degree with a range of other majors in the Arts, and minors in Science and Commerce.

The Social Justice & Community Studies Honours Program involves more in-depth study, including a thesis evaluated by a supervisor and one (or more) other SJCS-associated faculty member(s). For further information contact the SJCS Chair and consult page 297 of the 2021-2022 Academic Calendar

The Social Justice & Community Studies Minor Program offers university students in all faculties, and social justice and community engaged professionals, the intersectional knowledge necessary to engage in problem solving, organizational work, and public deliberation in a range of complex social issues.

See Social Justice & Community Studies course options here

SJCS positions Students and Professionals for Future Opportunities through:

  • Social justice-informed and community-engaged training for further study in undergraduate, professional and graduate programs;
  • Training for social justice-informed and grassroots community-engaged employment in the civil service and government; politics and social policy; non-profit/non-governmental organizations; unions and labour relations; social advocacy and research; international organizations and relations; social work; education; law; journalism; medicine and nursing; socially responsible business; university and college administration. 

Meet our Social Justice & Community Studies faculty and staff here.

Award News

Benita Bunjun was awarded both the 2022 Father William A. Stewart, S.J. Medal for Excellence in Teaching & the Dr. Geraldine Thomas Educational Leadership Award. For more on Dr. Bunjun's latest awards see:

Rachel Zellars (SJCS) received the SMUSA Award for "Overall Excellence in the Field of Education” (2021), recognizing her work in creating rigorous, respectful learning spaces and teaching challenging subjects with great care.
Benita Bunjun (SJCS) received the SMUSA Award for Overall Excellence in the Field of Education (2020), recognizing her selflessness and sincerity in dealing with students and positive influence on students’ academic careers. 
SJCS applauds the work of its stellar faculty.

For general SJCS inquiries, contact

**What is now called the Maritimes are governed by the Peace and Friendship Treaties between the Mi'kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) Nations, and the British Crown. For more information on these treaties, see the resources provided by Cape Breton University.                             

For More Information on SJCS Contact Us: