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Major: Social Justice

Major Details

Social Justice


Macquarie Law School
Faculty of Arts

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

Law, Human Rights and Global Governance (3)
3cp from
Foundations in Gender Studies (3)
Happiness, Goodness and Justice (3)
Australian Society (3)

200 level

Human Rights, Policy and the Law (3)
3cp from
Reading Gender in Everyday Life (3)
Freedom and Domination (3)
Bioethics and Biotechnology (3)
Contemporary Issues in Australian Politics: Race, Nation, Class and Gender (3)
Social Inequality and Social Policy (3)
Migration, Human Rights and Diversity (3)
Consumption and the Consumer: Global Perspectives (3)

300 level

6cp from
Racialised Punishment and the Construction of Nation (3)
Modern Families (3)
Understanding Contemporary Societies (3)
Activism and Social Change (3)
Social Philosophy (3)
The Philosophy of Race and Identity (3)
Living Diversity: Multiculturalism, Racism and Nation (3)
Social Inequality (3)

500 level

Discrimination and the Law (3)
3cp from
Family Law (3)
Indigenous Peoples and the Law (3)
International Human Rights Law (3)
Law and Religion (3)
Health Law and Ethics (3)
Human Rights and Moral Dilemmas (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Additional Information
Overview and Aims of the Program This major will enable students to understanding of social justice. They will also gain knowledge and skills for research and professional practice in law of international human rights law, human rights and moral dilemmas, family law, anti-discrimination law, heritage law and policy, and law, globalisation and cultural transformations.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. explain key principles and concepts in the area of social justice (K)
2. identify and evaluate relevant issues, and apply reasoning and research skills to generate appropriate responses to contemporary socio-legal problems (T, P, I)
3. communicate knowledge in oral and written form in ways that are appropriate for legal and non-legal audiences (C)
4. recognise and reflect upon issues of disadvantage and social justice, the impact of globalisation on the Australian legal system (E, J)
5. collaborate and reflect upon the application of knowledge to advocate solutions for a sustainable global society within the context of social justice (A, J)
6. reflect on feedback and identify opportunities to extend and apply knowledge and skills in broader professional and academic contexts (L).
Learning and Teaching Methods The Major in Social Justice offered at undergraduate level combines a diverse range of disciplines. An interdisciplinary approach drawing on areas such as politics, economics, sociology, history and philosophy provides the framework for students to develop their knowledge and critical understanding of the main areas of focus in the program: law reform, policy and human rights.

Teaching and learning in this program is facilitated through a range of methods including lectures, tutorials, seminars and intensive on-campus sessions.

Lectures are usually delivered in units with large enrolments. The lectures are usually recorded (or pre-recorded), giving students the option to attend the lecture in person or to listen to the lectures in their own time, depending on their mode of enrollment and circumstances. This is beneficial for students who may be studying from a distance, work or have a clash in their timetable. Day students enrolled in these units usually attend a lecture followed by a tutorial that is scheduled either in the week the lecture is delivered or in the following week. External students attend an on-campus session that is usually scheduled during the mid-semester break. (Note not all units are offered externally).

Units with smaller enrolments are offered in a seminar format and require students to attend weekly seminars or a block of seminars over a number of days.

It is usual for the convenor of each unit to set readings in advance of when classes are scheduled. In units where no text has been prescribed, the readings are either uploaded onto iLearn or accessible via e-Reserve (depending on copyright restrictions). Links to Internet sources (eg PDF files, YouTube clips) that are relevant to the unit are also available on iLearn.

When lectures teaching aides such as powerpoint slides may also be used to enhance the coverage of the unit materials in the lecture. When powerpoint slides are used, they are usually uploaded onto iLearn before each lecture. The scope of the lectures ranges from covering basic doctrine to clarifying more difficult legal and theoretical concepts. The main themes and issues arising in the unit materials are canvassed in the lectures. The lectures also provide the opportunity to make links between unit content and the assessments and for students to seek clarification on how to approach the assessment tasks.

In the tutorials, students are able to consolidate their knowledge and understanding of the unit materials. This is done in a variety of ways. It is common for tutorial questions to be set for discussion in the tutorials. The questions help students to focus on the key issues and to deepen their understanding of the themes and concerns arising in the unit as they read through the materials and listen to the lectures. The tutorial questions also assist students to meet the requirements for class participation which is often used to assess student oral communication skills. In order to meet the learning and teaching outcomes of each the unit,, the activities set for the tutorials can vary and may involve students working independently or in groups. Class time can give students the opportunity to develop their critical thinking and analytical skills by advancing their own understanding of the materials, considering what others have to say and generating discussion among the other students in the class. Class time may also be allocated to problem solving; the readings providing the tools for students to analyse complex legal cases or resolve hypothetical legal problems. Class time may also be used to develop integrative thinking by requiring students to engage in role plays and debates. Class time may also be used for asking questions, clarifying the requirements for the assessment tasks or working on assignments. It is usual for the same sort of tutorial questions and activities to be set for External students attending the on-campus sessions for the units offered in the program.

Units with small enrolments are offered in a seminar format and do not usually have lectures. In these units students are also provided with set tutorial questions. The emphasis in the seminars is on students showing initiative and leading class discussion. The aim of the seminars is to develop independent learning and critical thinking skills.
Assessment The tasks set for assessment are designed to meet the learning and teaching outcomes of each unit and of the program as a whole which is to develop student awareness of disadvantage and social justice, and to equip them with the knowledge and skills to gain employment in legal practice, policy or research that will enable them to contribute to the creation of a more equitable society.

The assessment tasks have been designed appropriately to suit different levels of study. In the units offered in the early stages of the program, assessments are designed to develop student knowledge and understanding of the Australian legal and political system and of the law reform process in Australia. Assessments also aim to develop student knowledge and understanding of fundamental concepts of law and theory relating to international and domestic laws and policies on human rights. Assessment quizzes provide the foundation for students to acquire knowledge about key aspects of human rights law and the system of law and government in Australia. Research tasks requiring students to produce annotated bibliographies assist students to develop their writing and research skills.

As students progress, the assessments become more challenging, requiring students to critically engage with more complex legal issues and theoretical ideas and demonstrate independent thinking. Units offered later in the program build on student understanding of the Australian legal and political system and the place of human rights law in that system. These units aim to critically evaluate the role of law in overcoming inequality and discrimination; to identify the ways that law can perpetuate disadvantage; and to consider how the rights of the oppressed and disadvantaged can find protection in the law. Students are assessed on their ability to convey their understanding and critical analysis of these issues in both oral and written form. This often requires students to draw on interdisciplinary knowledge to demonstrate depth in understanding and critical analysis. Class participation, independent research essays, case law analyses and take home exams are the main types of assessment used in these units to assess these skills. These assessments aim to test student knowledge; to assist in the development of critical, analytical and integrative thinking, and the development of independent research and problem solving skills.

In particular the Capstone unit, Discrimination and the Law, aims to enhance student knowledge and critical analysis of the role of law, legal institutions and law reform in responding to inequality and discrimination in Australia. The assessment tasks in this unit include class participation, a research essay and a take home exam. Combining these assessments in the one unit aims to fine tune the key skills that students have developed in other units offered in the program, consolidating their awareness of the issues of inequality and injustice, and equipping them for employment in related fields in law, policy and research.

In each unit rubrics and/or marking criteria is provided to students for each assessment prior to the due date. Written feedback is provided for all written assignments. Students may seek additional feedback in consultation with the original marker or unit convenor. There is no automatic right to a remark for any assignment. Feedback is provided in a timely manner and within a time-frame to allow students to reflect upon it and use it as guide to improving the completion of the other assessments in the unit. In some units students may be given the opportunity to peer assess and/or self assess class participation which may be taken into account in the assessment of class participation.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability This major will prepare students for a wide range of professional and community-based engagement to further aims of social justice, including with regard to public interest advocacy, socio-legal policy reform, NGOs, advocate groups, government and private sectors.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

2017 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148