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Just Society

We are offering our course 'JUST SOCIETY: The Rule of Law and Equal access to Welfare' again in 2024.

Application is open now.


Apply here.

Recommendations from previous students from South Africa

Program purpose

The course promotes comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives to deepen students' understanding of the development of and challenges to the rule of law and welfare states globally. The course provides participants with conceptual knowledge and analytical skills to deepen their understanding of the legal, political and social conditions that shape (in)equal access to rights and welfare across contexts. The course brings together participants from different countries and across law and social science disciplines to enable cross-country interaction, exchanges and understanding.

Who is eligible?
The course is open to current students of MA programs in Law, Political Science, Social Work, Public Administration (or other similar field) at University of Johannesburg,  as well as graduates from the Social Sciences and Law Programs at University of Johannesburg. Demonstrated proficiency in written and oral English is a requirement.

Brief course description

Across the world, welfare states are emerging due to strong social rights movements and effective social policies, yet in many countries, inequal access to fundamental rights and welfare policies continues to be prevalent. Some vulnerable groups do not have access to social protection benefits; some cannot dispute administrative decisions in a court of law; and low-income groups often carry the largest burden of financing welfare in largely regressive tax systems.

In this course, participants will compare the development and characteristics of the rule of law and welfare states globally and analyse the conditions that shape (in)equal access to rights and welfare. This is done together with participants from different countries and various disciplinary backgrounds such as law, political science, public administration, sociology and social work.

The course comprises three modules: a main module, a thematic module and a project module which collectively provide course participants with knowledge, skills and competences to deepen their understanding of the rule of law and its intersection with welfare state development applying comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives.

Read more about the course here.

Time and location

The course is kicked off with a mandatory onsite induction  workshop on 2.-3. August 2024. Time and place will be announced later.

The remainder of course takes place online. Please be attentive to the dates for the online  live seminars. 


A small fee will be charged for accepted students.


The course lasts 15 weeks (including induction). See tentative course schedule below.

The expected weekly workload is 8 hours and the course is graded accordingly. 

Induction Workshop
In-person in Johannesburg
2-3 August 2024
Induction workshop onsite: 2-3 August 2024.
Time and place is tbd.
Full participation in the Induction Workshop is mandatory  and will be necessary for following the course.
Main Module

Module pt. I:  The Rule of Law in the Nordic Model
Week 1

The rise of the Rechtsstaat
Week 2

Core principles of the Rule of Law
Week 3 Live seminar: August 23rd
Access to Court and judicial remedies 
Module pt. II: The Nordic Model of Welfare
Week 4   Introducing and defining the Nordic Model of Welfare
Week 5   Drivers of change in welfare states - the Nordic Model and beyond
Week 6 Live seminar: September 14th How well does the Nordic Model travel?
Module pt. III: An interdisciplinary and comparative perspective on welfare states
Week 7   Doing interdisciplinary and comparative research on rule of law and welfare
Week 8 Live seminar: September 27th Comparing emerging welfare states
Thematic Module
Week 9
Students participate in one of three thematic tracks: 1) Anti-discrimination at work, 2) Social protection, or 3) Equitable taxation.
Week 10
 Week 11 Live seminar: October 19th  
Project Module
Week 12-15:
Independent, problem-based case study research under supervision (Deadline: TBD)


Programme language



A certificate issued by University of Southern Denmark will be provided for students, who complete the full course.


Convenors of onsite and online seminars
  • Vincenzo Pietrogiovanni, JUST SOCIETY, University of Southern Denmark
  • Rasmus Schjødt, JUST SOCIETY, University of Southern Denmark
  • Marianne S. Ulriksen, JUST SOCIETY, University of Southern Denmark
  • Siff Lund Kjærgaard, JUST SOCIETY, University of Southern Denmark

Read more about the JUST SOCIETY team here.

The course includes short video lectures by an international group of professors and scholars of comparative political science, welfare studies, social law and policy as well as constitutional law and theory.

How to apply

All students are required to apply to the course via the registration system.  All applicants will be reviewed to ensure qualification. 

Application is open now. Extended deadline is July 28th, 2024.

Apply here


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at


Listen to Associate Professor Lauren Graham explain why this course is relevant to students from South Africa.

Quote from student

"The platform is working well, and I am loving the course."

Student, spring cohort 2023

"I am very grateful for the course, I've learned a lot from the experience and made friends. It was very interesting to learn about how different jurisdictions approach different challenges regarding equal access to welfare and the rule of law. I've also learned more about South Africa than I thought I would and made friends along the way. I would recommend those who have the opportunity to participate in the course to do so."

- Students, fall cohort 2023

Last Updated 05.07.2024