Race & Social Policy

Graduate Certificate in Race and Social Policy

The Race and Social Policy Certificate Program is a 12-hour concentration. The concentration provides an opportunity for Master's and Ph.D. level graduate students to develop understanding of issues of race, ethnicity and culture, especially as they relate to public policy. The certificate program's practical value includes the enhancement of knowledge and analytical abilities regarding the intersection of race, ethnicity and social policy issues. The certificate is a credential that is applicable to a wide range of careers, including law, secondary and higher education, human resources, criminal justice, health care, housing, and welfare. The overarching aim of the program is to provide a coherent, interdisciplinary grounding in race and social policy scholarship and to create an intellectual community among faculty and graduate students sharing similar scholarly interests.

Admission Requirements

Graduate students accepted in any graduate program at Virginia Tech may be admitted to the Race and Social Policy certificate program. Decisions for admission to the certificate program for non-degree seeking students would be made by the Sociology Graduate Admissions Committee, based on transcripts, a writing sample, and a statement of purpose.

Course Requirements

RSP concentration students are required to complete SOC 6984 - Special Study: Survey of Race and Social Policy in the U.S. (3 credits), plus 9 additional credits in approved graduate-level (5000 and above) electives. In addition to the pre-approved courses listed below, other courses may be approved by the Director upon review of a course syllabus to ascertain that sufficient attention is given to issues of race and ethnicity in the respective courses. Students planning to take courses not included in the pre-approved list should consult the Director prior to enrolling to insure that the desired course will meet the criteria established. Transfer courses from other institutions will be considered if syllabi are available.

Certificate Application

After courses are completed, download the Certificate Application from the Graduate School website, complete the form, and bring it to the Center for Race and Social Policy.

RSP Concentration Courses
Course Name and Number
Credit Hours
A. Required Core Course  
AFST 5984, Special Study: Survey of Race and Social Policy in the U.S. 3
B. Elective Courses (9 hours)  
Africana Studies

AFST 5314, Theories in Africana Studies

AFST 5354, Topics in Africana Studies 3
AFST 5434, History of Africana People 3



HIST 5114, The U.S. to 1877

HIST 5674, Civil Rights Movement (Offered every other year) 3
HIST 5684, The U.S. South 3
HIST 5914, Race & Slavery in Comparative Perspective 3
Human Development

HD 5124, Social Policy and Aging (Prerequisite: HD 5104, Adult Development and Aging I)

HD 5634, Legislative Policy in Human Development 3

SOC 5034, Social Inequality (Offered every other year)

SOC 5917, Aging in Social Context (Offered every other year) 3
SOC 5984, Race and Social Inequality (Offered every two years) 3
SOC 5414, Crime, Control and Social Inequality 3
SOC 6214, Race and Mental Health (Offered every other year) 3

Click here to complete the Graduate Certificate application form. Once completed, the form can be emailed to lsellors@vt.edu or mailed to 564 McBryde Hall (0137).

Upon processing of the application, you will be contacted with information about the submission of additional required materials. Thank you for your interest.