Students studying together with their laptops and notebooks

Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice

The Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (GRSJ) explores themes of diversity, equality, gender, race, sexuality, and community in a critical, intersectional feminist, and post-colonial context.

GRSJ offers an interdisciplinary program which incorporates research and theories from the social sciences, humanities, science, education, and law to provide students with an understanding of global and local social justice issues from a variety of perspectives. Areas of study include: critical race theory, indigenous studies, family, migration, sexuality, social policy, and community action. Within the GRSJ Institute, the affiliated Critical Studies in Sexuality program explores issues to do with gender and sexual diversities. 

Get experience at UBC

Building your career takes more than attending academic lectures. Get involved with research and complement your studies with relevant research and applied experiences. Whether you choose one of the experiences listed below or one of the many other great opportunities available, you’ll learn new things, make new friends, network, and set yourself apart. It all counts.

GRSJ Research Networks

Get involved with research opportunities faculty are conducting across disciplines through Social Justice@UBC research networks.

GRSJ Undergraduate Student Association

Join this very engaged, action-oriented group. Get involved with regular events such as the annual “The F-Word Conference” or work on the published undergraduate journal: Ignite: A Feminist Journal of Interdisciplinary Thought.

Go Global 

Gain insight into other diverse contexts and perspectives in gender, race, and sexuality studies. Participate in Go Global international learning programs and experience the challenge and the reward of learning in a new context.

Arts Co-op Program

The excellent analytical and written skills you have developed through your interdisciplinary studies in GRSJ are highly valued by employers in any field. The Arts Co-op program offers challenging and paid work experience for those looking to discover what they are passionate about, all the while improving their academic and professional capacities.

Arts Internship Program

The Arts Internship Program gives you the opportunity to unleash the passion for social change that courses in GRSJ foster.  Volunteer with a local organization or business to see what it takes to make change happen while building valuable skills and a network which will help you succeed after graduation. 

Community experience

Work and learn in community settings like non-profits and inner city schools. Take a course with a community-based experiential learning component and develop an understanding of community contexts and the systemic factors underlying community needs. Whether it is a course or signing up for Trek & Reading Week placements, International Service Learning,or a grant project in community, you’ll build skills in real-world settings and make invaluable connections with people in community.

Student directed seminars

Student directed seminars allow senior undergraduate students to participate in, or initiate and coordinate small, collaborative, group learning experiences. Previous seminars have included GRSJ 425C, “Development of the Modern State and Sexuality” and GRSJ 425, “Lifting the Veil: Representations of Middle-Eastern Women.” 

Using your degree

Through an examination of culture, politics, and public policy (locally, nationally and transnationally),  students of the Institute for Social Justice gain the critical thinking, communication, problem solving, research, teamwork, leadership, and advocacy skills which will allow them to understand and engage with the ways systems of power and oppression shape how humans interact with each other and with broader society. 

Career possibilities

Social Policy Researcher

Conducts research, develops policy, and implements or administers programs in areas such as consumer affairs, employment, immigration, human rights, housing, labour, family services, foreign aid, and international development.


Lobbyists use excellent communication skills and experience in research and debate to influence government policy and legislation on behalf of clients or organizations.

Other Potential Careers

Human Rights Officer
Community Development Coordinator Gender Equity Advisor
Public Information Officer
Public Relations Officer
Diversity Consultant
Policy Analyst
Community Relations Specialist
Social Compliance Advisor
Corporate Communications Coordinator Educator
Human Resources Diversity Specialist
Re-settlement Worker 
Crisis Worker/Intake/Referral Worker
Children’s Rights Advocate 
Substance Abuse Counsellor 
Labour Organizer 
Consumer Affairs Advocate 
Outreach Worker
Discrimination/Harassment Investigator 
Youth Worker
Executive Director of a Non-Profit Organization
Event Planner
Project Manager
Foreign Service Officer
Public Relations Specialist

Academic possibilities

This interdisciplinary degree prepares students for further study in GRSJ and a variety of fields including:

  • Anthropology 
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Education 
  • Health Studies
  • Human Resources
  • International and Public Affairs
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Midwifery
  • Policy Studies
  • Population and Public Health
  • Sociology

Alumni profiles

Jen Sung, BA Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice 2009

Through her degree, Jen says it was "like the foundation to everything that I do, the analysis – I learned how to speak, how to look at the world in a different way. I learned how to be okay with my own discomfort and that has translated into my work in a very profound way." She now works as a public speaker and program coordinator for the Out in Schools program and has been featured in Daily Xtra's Top 30 Under 30. 

Lau Mehes, BA Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice

During her time at  UBC, Lau worked for the Centre for Accessibility as well as UBC's CampOUT, an experience that inspired her to do the work she does today, where she is a youth worker for BC's queer resource center, QMUNITY.  Her activism has been succssful enought to earn her a spot on Vancouver’s Top 30 Under 30 list.

Shoko Kitano, BA Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice 2010

Shoko volunteered at the North Shore Women's Centre while a student at UBC, and when she graduated in 2010 she was hired in a full-time position as Resource Centre Coordinator and was recently promoted. She is a great example of the power of volunteering and attributes her preparation for her job to her major.