Master of Arts in Labor Studies

Format: On Campus

Effective Fall 2018, the Murphy Institute will become the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies and the MA in Labor Studies will no longer be offered at the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

The MA in Labor Studies degree program draws from the fields of sociology, law, history, economics, political science and labor relations to examine the opportunities and challenges facing workers and their organizations.  The program strengthens the ability of students to advocate for equity and social justice in their communities and workplaces.  Students develop critical thinking, analytical and leadership skills, while learning about labor law, organizing, collective bargaining, international perspectives, labor relations and strategic research. 

Courses are offered at the Murphy Institute, which sponsors frequent events that provide students with opportunities for networking with today’s leading intellectuals and activists.

The program is offered through CUNY SPS's Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies.

Career and Academic Prospects

Students and graduates of the MA in Labor Studies degree work in many areas, including labor and community organizing, labor law enforcement, labor relations, social action research, human rights, public policy, and non-profit and government service.  Some students pursue graduate studies in labor and related disciplines.

Diversity Scholarship

The Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor Program is dedicated to the purpose of fostering diverse leadership in the labor movement and in the academic discipline of labor studies. MA in Labor Studies applicants are eligible to apply to the Diversity Scholarship and receive a two-year scholarship of up to $30,000, pro-rated on the basis of enrollment status.  Click here to learn more about the scholarship, eligibility requirements, and application process.

Admissions Criteria

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Applicants are required to write a personal statement, upload a resume, and provide two letters of recommendation. An individual interview may be necessary.

Application Deadlines

Apply Now

Student/Alumni Profiles

Pam Galpern

MA in Labor Studies 2014

"The Murphy Institute is a valuable resource for local unions and members. It is a place to gain confidence, to further your education, and assume a more informed and active role in the future of the labor movement."

Recent News About Master of Arts in Labor Studies

Award ceremony

The Murphy Institute Founder and Director Gregory Mantsios Receives Corporate Social Responsibility Distinction from City & State New York

October 30, 2017

Gregory Mantsios, founder and director of the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, was recognized by City & State New York with the Corporate Social Responsibility Award for Labor and Law.

The City is the Factory book cover

Dr. Penny Lewis Publishes The City Is the Factory

June 12, 2017

Cornell University Press

Dr. Penny Lewis, academic director and associate professor of Labor Studies, co-edited the recently published book, The City Is The Factory: New Solidarities and Spatial Strategies in an Urban Age, which speaks to the ways in which urban public spaces have become the emblematic sites of contentious politics in the 21st Century. Labor Studies professor Stephanie Luce was also a contributor.

Should the Minimum Wage Be Raised? Experts Pick Sides

September 06, 2016


Professor Stephanie Luce was featured in a WalletHub debate about raising the minimum wage.

The Last Hurrah of the Silent Majority

July 29, 2016

The Last Hurrah of the Silent Majority

Richard Nixon found electoral victory by appealing to the racial, economic, and moral anxieties of white Americans—a strategy Trump is seemingly trying to replicate. But will it work?