Justice and Society

The Justice and Society major in the Justice and Peace Studies (JPS) Program empowers students as agents of change who advance justice, peace, and environmental sustainability in our complex world.

The flexible curriculum complements any major, supports any minor, can be tailored to support any interests, and helps prepare students for any career.

The interdisciplinary curriculum is anchored in Creighton's Catholic, Jesuit tradition and cultivates the Ignatian ideal of cura personalis by developing the skills of:

  • Social analysis to diagnose the root causes of problems.
  • Ethical reflection to make moral judgments about pressing issues.
  • Vocational discernment to discover personal and professional pathways to build a better world.

JPS Program alumni are well-rounded "men and women for and with others" and have careers in health care (as doctors, nurses, mental health practitioners, and administrators), law, social work, public policy, education, pastoral ministry, negotiation and conflict resolution, mediation, and more.

B.A., Major in Justice and Society Requirements: 40 Credits

Introductory Course3
Select one of the following:
Introduction to Sociology: Self and Society
Introduction to Anthropology: Human and Cultural Diversity
Introduction to Anthropology: Culture, Ecology and Sustainability
Introduction to Anthropology: Social and Cultural Determinants of Health
SOC/ANT 301Social and Cultural Theory3
SOC 312Research Design for the Social Sciences3
SOC/ANT 314Statistics for the Social Sciences4
SOC/ANT 316Qualitative Methods, Ethnography, and Engagement3
SOC 411Social Inequality and Stratification3
Service, Justice, and Vocational Discernment6
Models and Heroes of Service and Justice
Land More Than a Job: Justice, Career, and Vocational Discernment
Select one of the following:
Theological Ethics: Social Action and Political Advocacy
Catholic Social Teaching
Peace Studies3
Select one of the following:
An Introduction to Conflict Resolution
Ultimate Questions: Reconciliation
Christian Ethics Of War And Peace
Ecological Sustainability3
Select one of the following:
Sustainability Across the Rural Americas
A History of (Un)natural Disasters
History of Environmental Inequalities
Global Environmental History
Philosophical Ethics: Energy and Environment
Environmental Ethics
Environment & Society: Sociological Perspectives
Sustainable Practice: The Examined Life
The Human Induced Climate Crisis:Origins and Solutions
Divine Providence, Catholic Social Teaching, & the Problem of Climate Change
God is Green
Elective Courses6
Choose two courses in any combination from the following:
300+ Anthropology (Cultural or Medical), Communication Studies, Criminal Justice, Education, Encuentro Dominicano, English, Environmental Science, Health Administration and Policy, History, Honors, Justice and Peace Studies, Political Science, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Sustainability Studies, or Theology chosen in consultation with the JPS director.
Total Credits40


JPS 261. Dominican Republic in Context. 3 credits.

A study of the history, sociology and politics of the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean. Classroom work is integrated with service-learning and cultural immersion in a context of ethical analyses and reflection. Included in this 3-hour course is course work combined with a service requirement and a seminar. CO: JPS 461.

JPS 265. Cortina Seminar. 1 credit. SP

JPS 265 is a one-credit seminar addressing the four pillars of the Cortina Community: community, service, faith, and justice and the general theme of privilege and poverty Eight sections of approximately 14 students each will be offered, each taught by a different instructor, within that instructor's academic discipline but meeting the same requirements and engaging in cross-disciplinary conversation. P: Open to students in the Cortina community only.

JPS 271. Philosophical Ethics: Cortina Community. 3 credits. (Same as PHL 271)

This course is a component of the Cortina Community program. It is a critical study of fundamental philosophical theories, including a utilitarian theory, a deontological theory, and a virtue ethics theory, about the sources of moral obligation, moral virtue, justice, wisdom, and a good human life. Students will use these theories in conjunction with reflection on first-hand experience of serving others to evaluate critically their own ethical presuppositions and to form well-reasoned judgments about moral problems related to social justice. P: Membership in the Cortina Community, and one Philosophical Ideas course: PHL 110 or PHL 111 or PHL 112 or PHL 113 or PHL 118.

JPS 274. Theological Ethics: Social Action and Political Advocacy. 3 credits. ((Same as THL 274))

This course empowers students to advance justice by engaging moral theories and applying theological ethics to voting, advocacy, community organizing, and civil disobedience/nonviolent direct action. The course is academic service-learning and climate change is a particular focus. Satisfies Magis Core: Ethics. P: Philosophical Ideas course.

JPS 337. Anthropology of War and Peace. 3 credits. (Same as ANT 337, SOC 337. Magis: Do Soc Sci, Written Comm)

This course explores the dynamics of war and peace from an anthropological lens. Using ethnographic cases, students will examine approaches to peace, analyze the varied forms of violence that stifle it, and explore possibilities for transforming violent conflict. Students will apply anthropological methods to consider peacebuilding strategies in comparative contexts. Satisfies Magis Core: Doing Social Science, designated Written Communication course.

JPS 365. Liberation and Integration: Ignatian Reflections. 1 credit.

This seminar will examine a theory of faith or moral development and a biography of a social activist such as Dorothy Day or Martin Luther King, Jr. Satisfies Magis: Designated Oral Communication. P: Oral Communication course; Ethics course; Sophomore standing.

JPS 375. Advanced Cortina Seminar. 1 credit.

JPS 375 is a one-credit seminar for junior and senior participants in the Cortina Community on the theme of Social Justice and Public Policy. Students will learn about the policy making process so that they can analyze policies that contribute to various social injustices and help develop more just alternatives.

JPS 400. Public Health & Social Justice in Haiti. 3 credits.

This 17-day course for juniors and seniors includes two days on campus for pre-departure classroom work; ten days in Haiti to learn about its culture, microfinance and public health initiatives, and other development projects; daily reflection; and three days of post-trip classroom work on campus, including reflection on the experience. P: Junior standing; completion of a course in SOC or ANT with a C+ or better; GPA of 2.5 and good academic and disciplinary standing.

JPS 416. Healthcare Ethics: Public Health, Administration, and Clinical Care. 3 credits. (Same as HAP 416)

This course prepares students to navigate unique ethical challenges at the three interrelated levels of modern healthcare: macro (public health), meso (organizational), and micro (clinical). The course also engages the Ignatian tradition as a tool for discerning one's vocation in healthcare. Satisfies Magis Core Intersections; Designation: Ethics. P: Critical Issues in Human Inquiry course, Ethics course.

JPS 419. Bible, Spirituality & American Public Life. 3 credits. (Same as AMS 419, THL 419)

Exploration of the Biblical foundations of Christian spirituality, followed by critical examination of the implications for contemporary American life; includes attention to intersection of race, gender & economic realities. P: THL 110, THL 200.

JPS 421. Public Health and Social Justice in Haiti. 3 credits.

This FLPA (Faculty-Led Program Away) course includes pre-departure on-campus classroom work, followed by immersion in Haiti to learn about its culture, public health and microfinance initiatives, and other development projects, and post-travel classroom work. ln addition to reading and discussion, students will engage throughout the course in daily reflection as a group and in individual student journaling. Course content emphasizes health and justice issues in Haiti as outgrowths of historical and present-day global interrelationships - particularlybetween Haiti and the U.S. Students will develop a proposal for action that is grounded in careful attention to the complexities of this interrelationship. P: Critical Issues in Human Inquiry; Senior standing.

JPS 430. Violent Environments and Sustainability. 3 credits. (Intersections course; Same as ANT/EVS/SOC 430)

This course examines environmental violence and sustainability from an interdisciplinary perspective. Using ethnographic cases, we will consider environmental struggles for justice in relation to war, displacement, and political violence. Students will analyze how people resist and transform violence and explore concrete strategies for building a more just and sustainable world. Prereq: Critical Issues in Human Inquiry.

JPS 443. Ecclesiology in Global Context. 3 credits. (Same as THL 443)

The Catholic Church as present within various countries around the world provides unique opportunities for understanding how local churches incorporated the call of the Second Vatican Council to read the signs of the times and interpret them in the light of the Gospel. Immersion learning allows contact experiences with people and different realities to teach and supplement academic material in the classroom. P: One Magis Core Critical Issues in Human Inquiry course and one 100-level THL course.

JPS 460. Models and Heroes of Service and Justice. 3 credits. SP

Course Description: This course explores five models of service and justice: advocacy, solidarity, ecological stewardship, hospitality, and compassion. The course then examines "moral exemplars" who embodied each model: Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero, Mother Teresa, Greg Boyle, and Dorothy Stang. The course utilizes readings, films, lectures, and student-led discussions. Statisfies Magis Core: Intersections; Magis Designated: Ethics. P: Critical lssues in Human lnquiry, Ethics.

JPS 461. The Crucified People of Today. 3 credits.

A multi-disciplinary study of social justice issues pertaining to people experiencing material poverty. This course will combine Theological beliefs to make meaning out of the injustices in our world, with Economics views that address sustainable development ideas to eradicate extreme poverty. Classroom work is integrated with service-learning and cultural immersion in a context of ethical analyses and reflection. CO: JPS 261; P: One Magis Core Critical Issues in Human Inquiry course.

JPS 465. Faith and Political Action. 3 credits. AY (Same as PLS 465)

Challenges students to understand theological and political science perspectives on social policy issues and the work of religious-based organizations in politics. Course includes 20 hours of work with a community partner during the semester. P: Sr. stdg.

JPS 470. Poverty in America. 3 credits. (Same as EDU 470)

The intent of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the cultural, economic and political structures of an impoverished society, to understand the dilemmas inherent in poverty and to develop an attitude of sensitivity and connectedness with those in this plight. P: PHL 250 or THL 250; One Magis Core Critical Issues in Human Inquiry course; IC.

JPS 495. Directed Independent Study. 1-4 credits. OD

Offered especially JAS majors but open to any interested student. May be repeated to a limit of 6 hours. P: IC.

JPS 499. Land More Than a Job: Justice, Career, and Vocational Discernment. 3 credits.

Are you discerning your post-college vocation? Are you interested in working for justice in your future career? This course explores understandings of justice and pathways to advance justice. Course content includes readings, guest speakers, career building exercises, classroom discussion, and insights from Ignatian discernment. Satisfies Magis Intersections, designated Ethics course. P: Critical Issues in Human, Inquiry, Ethics, Sr. standing.

JPS 565. Catholic Social Teaching. 3 credits. SP (Same as THL 565)

This course provides an examination of contemporary Catholic social ethics. Focus is on the relevance of Christian moral reflection on issues of concern in contemporary society including racism, poverty, issues of life and death, immigration, economic justice, and the environment. We will give special attention to the moral teachings and ethical methods of Roman Catholic social ethics, but other perspectives within Christianity will also be studied and discussed. P: Magis Ethics course.

JPS 588. Christian Ethics Of War And Peace. 3 credits. FA (Same as THL 588)

Introduction to the development and application of Christian ethical perspectives on the use of lethal force from the biblical period to the present day. Just war theory and pacifism in both Catholic and Protestant traditions. Special attention given to the formation of personal conscience in reflection on public policy and world events, both historical and current. P: PHL or THL 250 or Magis Core Ethics course and Jr. stdg.