Master of Arts in Youth Studies

Format: Online, On Campus
Application Deadlines
  • Spring 2021 Priority Deadline: November 5, 2020
  • Spring 2021 Regular Deadline: December 3, 2020

Over the past 20 years, the number of youth development programs throughout the country has grown exponentially. This is a result of initiatives led by advocates, policymakers, social service providers, and social science researchers to focus greater attention on the needs of individuals ages 12 to 24. Youth development principles and practices are now acknowledged in afterschool settings, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems as essential programmatic elements that support young people to thrive.

The MA in Youth Studies degree, the first program of its kind in New York, equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to design, run, research, and work in youth settings. Through on campus, hybrid, and online coursework, the program provides a sound theoretical grounding and highly applicable skills to its students by integrating crucial areas of study including:

  • Adolescent psychology
  • Legal construction of adolescence
  • Social work
  • Cross-cultural studies
  • Representation of youth in pop culture
  • Health and sexuality issues

Additionally, the program applies a participatory approach through which students are taught to incorporate young people in shaping the programs, institutions, and policies that impact their lives. This MA promotes youth development principles and practices with a strong emphasis on and commitment to social justice and equity. 

As a student in this program, you will also:

  • Examine how age, gender, gender identity, sexuality, race, class, immigration status, (dis)ability, and region impact youth development
  • Analyze current youth policies, opportunities, and best practices related to the field
  • Apply principles and practices in program management, facilitation, and evaluation
  • Engage multiple stakeholders and partners in order to ensure the positive development of youth, staff, and communities

On Campus Class Schedule

Each course meets once a week in the evening from 6:15 to 9:15 p.m. at our Manhattan campus. Please contact the Academic Director at sarah.zeller-berkman@cuny.edu if you have any questions about the class schedule.

Online and Hybrid Classes

Starting in Fall 2020, we will offer a pathway where students can complete their degree with a combination of fully online and hybrid courses (classes in which students complete most of their coursework online and attend three on campus Saturday classes each semester). This addition to our on campus learning format ensures that youth workers in and outside the NYC metro area have access to our program.

Career Prospects

Graduates of the MA in Youth Studies are better prepared to design and offer programs that exemplify best practices in youth work, to engage in meaningful research with youth, and to develop policy that caters to the needs of youth, communities, and families in the public education, juvenile justice, social welfare, and medical systems. Graduates of the program will also be able to teach in Youth Studies at the undergraduate level.

We invite you to learn more about the program, its students, and its faculty by watching this video:

Scholarship Opportunities

Meet our Faculty

Research Agenda

The CUNY SPS Youth Studies Program has an active research agenda, Intergenerational Change Initiative. With support from the Mayor's Young Men's Initiative and the Ford Foundation, we have launched a youth participatory action research project aimed at involving young people in shaping the policies and institutions that impact their lives. We currently have a project in partnership with the Administration for Children's Services (ACS) and the Department of Education (DOE). As a collective, we are exploring the implications of our findings on policies and practices while collaborating with city agency partners to use youth-generated research to inform their work. ICI recently launched a research tool created by and for youth called Amplify that houses our annual Youth ask Youth (YAY) Census.

With generous support from the New York Community Trust, we launched the Immigrant and Refugee Youth Action Fellowship, an intergenerational group of people that work with or have experience being an immigrant or refugee. This group has created a critical participatory action research project related to the “everyday experiences of immigrant and refugee families during the COVID-19 crisis.”

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 if an applicant meets most but not all requirements.

Application Deadlines

  • Spring 2021 Priority Deadline: November 5, 2020
  • Spring 2021 Regular Deadline: December 3, 2020
Apply Now

Student/Alumni Profiles

Chanira Rojas

MA/Advanced Certificate in Youth Studies

"We are a tight-knit group with a passion for providing youth with the tools they need to become empowered individuals that will change their lives and the lives of others."

Carolina Moquete

Youth Studies

"The most gratifying aspect of my job is having the opportunity to plant seeds of what’s not only possible but realistic for my students to achieve. I get to help students impact their future in a positive way every single day."

Recent News About Master of Arts in Youth Studies

Group of young voters crowded around Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders' promise to turn out young voters is a double-edged sword

February 28, 2020

Business Insider

Dr. Elizabeth Bishop, Youth Studies professor, is quoted in an article about the potential of young voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election.
Allison Cooke

Creating Space for Youth | Meet CUNY SPS Student Allison Cooke

February 25, 2020

Gothamist

Allison Cooke is a multi-hyphenate. She is a student (earning a Master’s degree in Youth Studies at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, an advocate for youth (self-described “youth enthusiast”), a mother, a storyteller, and a policy and program analyst for the Department of Transportation. And she's only getting started. Gothamist spoke with Allison to find out more about her CUNY SPS experience and how she got to where she is today.
Black Youth Development & Organizing Event

CUNY SPS Youth Studies Program Hosts 3-Part Lecture Series on Community & Youth Organizing

February 14, 2020

The CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) youth studies program hosted a three-part lecture series on youth and community organizing in January 2020.

Margaret Reilly - Academic Director, Nursing

Three CUNY SPS Faculty Receive JFK, Jr. Institute Fellowship

January 23, 2020

Dr. Elizabeth Bishop, adjunct faculty, youth studies program; Margaret Reilly, academic director of nursing; and Cassandra Evans, assistant professor, disability studies programs, have been awarded a JFK, Jr. Faculty Fellowship from the John F. Kennedy, Jr. Institute for Worker Education.