School and community leaders increasingly seek to address racial and social justice challenges in classrooms, organizations, schools and neighborhoods.

A wide range of organizations are looking for people with the knowledge to improve equity.

But many do not fully understand the histories of racial and other oppression in the U.S., or the ways social, economic, and other forces continue to harm people from different groups.

In the Certificate in Racial and Social Justice in Education, you will join a diverse group of students who are working together to make sense of these challenges and develop strategies to address them. Our highly qualified faculty will guide you on this journey.

Students Will Learn:
  • The history and sources of racial and other oppression in the U.S.
  • How these oppressive forces affect schools and communities today
  • Strategies to confront and change structures, attitudes, and patterns
Why Choose Our Program?
  • Diverse faculty with deep understandings of racial and social justice
  • Diverse student body from a wide range of educational and community backgrounds
  • Unique focus combining education and community contexts
  • Flexible program tailored to student interests
  • Available fully online, partially face-to-face/hybrid, and on evenings and weekends

The Certificate can be completed:

  • Fully online   
  • Mostly face-to-face/hybrid (evening and weekend classes)
  • In combination 

Admission Requirements

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


  • Students wishing to obtain this certificate must declare their intention by applying to the program office or director.
  • All graduate certificate applicants—even those already enrolled in a UWM graduate program—must apply to the Graduate School through the Panthera Admission Application.
  • Graduate degree and previously admitted graduate non-degree students who decide to pursue a certificate program must submit the Panthera application before completing 6 credits in the certificate sequence.
  • Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree and have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average to be admitted into a certificate program.


Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree and a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average. Students who do not meet the GPA minimum may provide additional evidence of admissibility, including passing two courses in the certificate program as a special student with a grade of B or better.

Credits and Courses

Required Courses
Choose one:3
Theories and Issues of Racial Justice in Education
Sociology of Education and Community Engagement
Focus Area Courses
Choose two from a single category:6
Education and Communities
Reproduction of Minoritized Communities
Race Relations in Education
Antiracist Education
Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy in Urban America
Community Engagement and Change:
Community Change and Engagement
Social Media and Technology for Community Engagement
Community Participation and Power
Content Electives
Choose two in consultation with certificate program director and/or advisors:6
Schools, Decolonization, Communities
Foundations in Systems of Educational Equity
Leadership in Multicultural Organizations
Collaborations for Teachers with Families, Schools, and Communities
Teaching in Urban & Diverse Communities
Community Change and Engagement
Peace Education
Educating Black Males-Theories, Methods and Strategies
Students Placed At Risk: Deconstructing Risk, Defining Promise
Educating Students Placed At Risk: Pedagogies of Engagement
Education and Hispanics
Education Issues in American Indian Communities
Foundations of Education
Public Schools, Church-State Issues: Educational Foundations
Social Media and Technology for Community Engagement
Reproduction of Minoritized Communities
Community Participation and Power
History of Native Education and Policy Development
Gender and Education
Race Relations in Education
Antiracist Education
Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy in Urban America
Community Development: History, Structure, Process-Empowering Communities
The Rise and Fall of America's Southern Civil Rights Movement
The Civil Rights Movement in Northern Cities
Sociology of Education and Community Engagement
History of Education in American Communities
Social Psychology of Group Differences: Race and Ethnicity
Total Credits15

A student’s faculty advisor or the graduate representative can approve substitutions for Certificate program courses.

Additional Requirements

Capstone Final Portfolio

At the end of the program, students complete a capstone portfolio drawing from the work completed during the program that synthesizes and reflects upon what they have learned, particularly how this new knowledge might affect their practice. They will present their conclusions before a faculty member in the Department. For students in the Cultural Foundations MS program, this could be integrated with the final MS paper.

Transfer Credit

Students may transfer in a maximum of 3 relevant credits, as determined by a student’s advisor. 

Grade Point Average Requirement

Students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75. 

Time Limit

Three years from initial enrollment.

Articulation with Degree Programs

  1. Credits and courses required for a certificate may double count toward meeting UWM graduate degree requirements subject to the following restrictions:
    • Degree programs must approve the courses from certificates that can double count toward the degree.
    • All credits taken in completion of certificate requirements may count towards a UWM graduate degree as long as they do not contribute more than 90% of the total credits needed to obtain the degree. (Note: Students in PhD programs must still complete the minimum residency requirements)
    • Certificate courses used toward meeting degree requirements must be completed within the time limit for transfer credit.
  2. Courses completed for a degree may be counted toward a subsequent certificate, subject to all certificate policy requirements.
  3. A course may count toward no more than one certificate and one degree.
  4. Students may not earn a certificate subsequent to a concentration in the same area.