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Master of Arts in Restorative Justice (MARJ)

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The Master of Arts in Restorative Justice (MARJ) degree program is for students who want to address deficiencies in our justice system and become the next generation of justice leaders.

Students in the MARJ program will gain an in-depth understanding of the history of restorative justice domestically, internationally, and cross culturally. Designed by the faculty of the Center for Justice Reform, the unique curriculum combines traditional law school courses with restorative justice courses created specifically for the MARJ degree. Graduates will be prepared to become leaders and advocates in the field of restorative justice at a regional and national level. Experiential learning opportunities, including simulations and field placements, expose students to actual cases and controversies handled through a restorative response.

Students may complete the 30-credit MARJ program residentially in 12 months or online in 18 months, but have up to five years to obtain their degree. It is also available as a joint degree with the Vermont Law School JD and is open to students enrolled at other law schools who wish to combine their JD with the MARJ from Vermont Law School. The degree can be completed online, on campus, or a hybrid of both.


Program Center: Center for Justice Reform
Location: Online, on-campus or a hybrid of both
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

  • A minimum of 30 credits, including all required courses
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.2 for successful completion of the degree
  • Students have up to 5 years from the date of matriculation to complete the MARJ

Required Courses

All of the following courses:
Course Code Course Title Credits
​​RSJ7115 Principles of Restorative Justice 3
​RSJ7110 Restorative Justice Theory and Practice 2
RSJ7120 Origins, Evolution and Critical Issues in Restorative Justice 3
REQ7186 Legislation and Regulation or Legislation and Regulation Survey 3


Experiential/Writing Courses

You must have a minimum of (3) Credits from the following:
Course Code Course Title Credits
RSJ7215 Narrative Writing Seminar 3
WRI7301 Advanced Writing Seminar 3
ENV5122 or
Communications, Advocacy, and Leadership 3


Core Electives

At least (9) Credits from the following core electives:
Course Code Course Title Credits
RSJ7140 Applied Criminal Justice 3
RSJ7315 Peacemaking Courts 3
CRI7380 Pleas Sentencing and Accountability 3
RSJ7340 Race Crimes and RJ 3
RSJ7280 Drug Policy Reform 3
RSJ7345 Teaching Restorative Justice 3
RSJ7355 Police Use of Force 3
RSJ7371 Youth Justice Reimagined 3
RSJ7365 Teaching Restorative Justice 3
RSJ7117 Restorative Justice Facilitation 3
RSJ7350 Ethics and Restorative Justice 3
RSJ7325 Advanced Restorative Practices 2
RSJ7330 Restorative Justice in Educational Institutions 3
CRI7319 Juvenile Justice 3
RSJ7230 Restorative Justice in Indigenous Communities 3
RSJ7250 Global Restorative Justice 3
REQ7140 Criminal Law 3
CRI7305 Advanced Criminal Law Seminar 2
RSJ7320 New Approaches to Domestic and Sexual Violence 3
ADR6420 Negotiation 2
RSJ7210 Adversity, Trauma, and Victimization 3
RSJ7360 Advanced Victim Rights Seminar 3
RSJ7270 Clemency, Pardons, Expungement 3
  Externship 4



Any remaining courses may be chosen from the approved list in the Academic Regulations.


Note: This page is offered as a quick, simplified glance of a complex topic. Please consult the Academic Regulations for full and official degree requirements.​

CAREERS AND Externships

Vermont Law School master's graduates are the leaders, policymakers, and professionals our communities and our world most desperately need. Master’s alumni careers include:

  • Social Work
  • Attorney Generals Office
  • Attorney's
  • Restorative Justice Centers
  • Police Officers
  • Research Coordinators
  • And more

Student Testimonials:

Emily Severson - Residential MARJ 2019

"Since graduating with my MARJ degree this past fall, I've applied for a few jobs throughout the U.S., three of which were Mitigation Specialist positions (my dream job!). I was offered one and was a finalist for another position, receiving wonderful feedback. I didn’t accept the offered position as it was in Kansas and was Capital Mitigation work, which is not what I want to do at this juncture. Each of these jobs told me that they'd never seen a Master of Arts in Restorative Justice degree before and that this made my resume stand out. The attorneys who interviewed me (there were several on each interview) were intrigued and asked me many questions about the program. 

I’m holding onto my dream of securing a job as a Mitigation Specialist and will ensure this comes to fruition one day. But for now, I’ve accepted a position in York, PA and will be starting this spring. The job title is a JUMP (Juvenile United Mental Health Program) Wellness Therapist. I'll be working with at risk youth, ages 14-17, who have come into contact with the system and are on probation. The JUMP program is based on Restorative Justice principles so this next chapter will be an important step towards gaining experience within the legal arena while simultaneously employing my skills as a social worker. I’ll have the honor of serving a vulnerable, deserving population who may otherwise end up in the jaws of our tragic system.

Vermont Law School is a pioneer in its dedication to paving a much-needed path for a more humane system. I’m grateful for what I learned within this program and will go forth as an agent of positive change. I'm leaving New England with fond memories of VLS and of all of the wonderful people I met. I hope the MARJ program continues to grow and flourish, setting a precedent for others to follow."

Kate Frederick - Residential MARJ 2020

"Vermont Law's Center for Restorative Justice has been exciting and generated hope amongst fellow advocates on campus.  I highly recommend these programs.  The content is hands on and cutting edge, with immediate real-world application.  I've been able to influence legislation and policy just by using what I learned in class before the semester had even ended.   All the faculty and staff are extremely personable, professional and caring.  When challenges arise they're there for you even if you're not in their particular class."

Gabriel Jackson - Online MARJ 2021

“This is my first year in the MARJ Program. While taking classes here at VLS, I feel that I am learning concepts that I will apply to change the judicial system with juveniles. Also not only are these concepts being learned, yet these concepts are being applied by each professor throughout the courses. This program is awesome, and it prepares you to make a societal transformation.”