Changing the World as an Urban Leadership and Social Justice Major

A major in urban leadership and social justice is centered around one overarching goal: to learn how to enact and bring about social change. Doing so also requires an understanding of the systems and processes involved in oppression and reform, including policymaking and regulation. As an urban leadership and social justice major, you’ll also work hard on developing your leadership and community engagement skills. You’ll learn to think on a local, statewide, national and global level.

Ideally, an urban leadership and social justice major will graduate with the ability and knowledge to evaluate an existing social inequality, develop a strategy to address it, and take action to rectify it. Some urban leadership and social justice programs even have a fieldwork component that will allow you to put into practice the theories you’ve learned before graduating. 

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Careers in Urban Leadership and Social Justice

With a major in urban leadership and social justice, you’ll be prepared to fight inequality in a number of fields, including: 

  • Education
  • Politics and policymaking
  • Policy analytics
  • Law
  • Social work
  • Advocacy or lobbying
  • Human rights

Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major?
Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer degrees in social justice and urban leadership?
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How to Prepare for Success

Urban leadership and social justice is an interdisciplinary field that will require you to draw on knowledge and skill sets from a variety of other disciplines. Here are a few subjects that may help to set you up for success:

  • English. Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential for anyone who intends to work in a field that involves other people. Being able to clearly and confidently articulate yourself will go a long way in helping to persuade others to join you in your cause.
  • History. Many social justice initiatives focus on addressing forms of inequality and discrimination that are rooted in historical events. Understanding the context of these issues and the way that the past continues to shape the present will go a long way toward helping you be more discerning and informed in your approach.
  • Government. Many social justice and urban leadership initiatives seek to bring about policy change that aligns with their goals. Accordingly, it’s important to have a familiarity with how political systems and processes work.
  • Leadership. Being active in the urban leadership and social justice field will require that you be able to work with others toward a common cause. Even if leadership coursework isn’t available to you, getting involved in community organizations or taking on leadership roles in extracurricular clubs or student government will provide valuable practice. 

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UNCF Schools to Consider

A number of UNCF-member schools offer programs in social justice and urban leadership majors, including:

Professional and Advocacy Organizations

There are also many organizations that can shed more light on what it’s like to work in this industry:




Several scholarships are available through UNCF. The Target Scholars Program supports students pursuing leadership degrees. The UNCF General Scholarship Awards are an excellent opportunity for any student going to a UNCF-member college, regardless of their major. The UNCF/Koch Scholars Program offers scholarships, mentorship, academic support and networking opportunities to undergraduate African American students. The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program awards a $10,000 scholarship to one exceptional HBCU senior each year who has demonstrated high academic achievement, strong leadership skills, commitment to community service and unmet financial need.

Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities. Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are scholarships available to study urban leadership and social justice.

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 social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!