Master of Arts in Youth Studies

Format: On Campus

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 researches 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.  The program provides a sound theoretical grounding and highly applicable skills to its students by integrating crucial areas of study, such as adolescent psychology; legal construction of adolescence; social work; cross-cultural studies; representation of youth in pop culture; and 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

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

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.

Scholarship Opportunities

The Youth Studies Scholarship provides financial and career support to workers in the human services field pursuing the Master's Degree or Advanced Certificate in Youth Studies at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. Selection criteria include: admission to the Master's Degree or Advanced Certificate in Youth Studies; prior or current employment in the youth-serving field or graduation from an undergraduate youth related degree; an overall GPA of 3.0; successful academic progression; and registration for at least 6 credits each funded semester. Award amounts may vary based on financial need, but will not exceed $1,275 each semester.

Applicants to the program can apply for the scholarship via the AwardSpring prospective student page at which time a prompt will be given to create login credentials. Current students can apply for the scholarship using their CUNY SPS username and password to login to the application system.

Additional resources for scholarship opportunities include:

Meet our Faculty

Course Schedule

Courses for the MA in Youth Studies are offered on weekday evenings as well as online. We anticipate offering daytime sections in Spring 2018.

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

Applications for Spring 2018 are due by December 1, 2017

Apply Now

Recent News About Master of Arts in Youth Studies

Three girls reading a book

The CUNY School of Professional Studies Launches MA in Youth Studies

August 03, 2016

New York, NY -- August 3, 2016 -- In response to the ongoing expansion of this pivotal sector, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS), in collaboration with the John F. Kennedy, Jr. Institute for Worker Education, will launch an MA in Youth Studies in spring 2017.