Empower Communities and Influence Change With a Degree in Urban Leadership and Social Justice

Urban leadership and social justice are vital fields that shape the world and have been instrumental in driving societal change. Specialized degree programs cater to raising interest in social equity, city planning, and leadership roles within these contexts. African American representation in these fields is particularly significant, given the historical and ongoing social justice issues that disproportionately affect Black Americans.

Bethune-Cookman University's Center for Law & Social Justice "Just Mercy" Movie Screening

Bethune-Cookman University Center for Law & Social Justice

Understanding Urban Leadership and Social Justice

Urban leadership and social justice are distinct fields of study. Urban leadership involves understanding the complexities of urban environments and managing urban policies, programs, and initiatives. Social justice involves promoting equality, equity, and human rights. Degree programs aim to give students the skills and knowledge to address complex social issues and bring positive change.

African American Representation and Leadership in the Field

African American representation in urban leadership and social justice is increasingly important due to the unique perspective brought by diverse experiences. Several prominent African American professionals have made significant contributions in this field. 

For example, Angela Glover Blackwell, a renowned policy expert and lawyer, founded PolicyLink, a research institute advancing economic and social equity that has deeply impacted urban and social justice policy.

In addition, Majora Carter, an urban revitalization strategist who championed the concept of self-gentrification in urban neighborhoods, has been instrumental in many urban development initiatives. 

By enrolling in an urban leadership or social justice degree program, you can add your invaluable experience and voice to the future of urban development and the pursuit of justice. However, even if you aren’t a student, you can still help bolster essential diversity in the field by supporting tomorrow’s leaders with a donation to UNCF-member HBCUs.

Advantages of an Urban Leadership and Social Justice Degree

A degree in urban leadership and social justice comes with numerous advantages, including:

  • Building a Better Society: One of the primary benefits of earning a degree in urban leadership and social justice is the ability and opportunity to make a tangible difference in society. The knowledge and the skills acquired will enable you to understand and identify the underlying issues affecting urban communities and develop strategies to address them.
  • Enhanced Critical Thinking: A critical understanding of social, economic, and political issues affecting urban populations and disadvantaged people is necessary. Studying urban leadership and social justice equips students with analytical skills to identify systemic problems and develop equitable solutions.
  • Broad Career Options: Graduates in these fields can find opportunities in various sectors, including education, urban planning, public policy, nonprofit management, law, and advocacy work.
  • Financial Leverage:

Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major? Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer this program? Looking for help with financing this degree? 

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Preparing for Success

High school students interested in urban development and social justice can take several steps to prepare for a college degree. Several classes, including social studies, geography, history, political science, economics, environmental science, and statistics, can be beneficial. 

In addition, read as much as possible about urban development and social justice topics found in news articles, research papers, books, etc. Understanding the current state of the world and the various urbanization and social justice challenges is crucial.

UNCF Schools to Consider

The following UNCF-member HBCUs offer programs in Urban Leadership and Social Justice:

Professional Organizations

Many professional organizations can provide more insight into some of the specializations in this discipline. A sample list includes:


There’s no better way to start your career in urban leadership and social justice than on strong financial footing. Search for current UNCF scholarship opportunities and check with colleges and universities to see if other scholarships are available. In addition, you can also explore the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and The Thurgood Marshall College Fund for current scholarships for students pursuing social justice degrees. You can find tips on applying for scholarships and grants here

Reach out for guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in urban leadership and social justice. Submit the form on our website to get started, and follow us on UNCF’s social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!

You can also show your support for students pursuing careers in urban leadership and social justice by contributing to UNCF member schools. Education is the greatest tool we have in creating a just and equitable society in which economic mobility is available to all. Help us achieve this future by donating today!