Live in New York City. Defend workers’ rights. Get paid and earn college credits.

New York Union Semester is one of a kind full-time semester-long program that combines rigorous academic study with first-hand experience within the labor movement. Students in the program are paired with unions and worker-rights organizations to gain practical skills and learn first-hand the strategies these organizations use to fight for workers’ rights. During class time, students analyze the experience they gain in the field by studying the history of and current debates within the U.S. labor movement.

As part of the program, students receive a $7,000 financial allowance, to cover tuition and living expenses while working four days a week at their field placement . During the evenings and all-day on Fridays, students take classes with the renowned Labor Studies faculty at the School of Labor and Urban Studies. Upon completion of the program, undergraduate students earn 16 credits and are awarded a Certificate in Labor Studies, and graduate students earn 12 credits and are awarded an Advanced Certificate in Labor Studies. These credits can be applied towards the MA in Labor Studies.

Internship Timeline

Applications for Spring 2021 are due by November 6, 2020. New York Union Semester accepts applicants for Fall and Spring semester ONLY. Each semester consists of a 1-week orientation, fifteen weeks of internship and classes, and a finals week.


The program welcomes undergraduates, recent college graduates, and graduate students. International students can only apply to the program at the graduate level. New York Union Semester is a seventeen-week, full-time commitment. Program participants will not have time for additional classes and/or work a second job.

In order to qualify for admission to New York Union Semester, undergraduate applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, and must have successfully completed 45 college credits before the start of the New York Union Semester. Graduate applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and a GPA of a 3.0 or higher in a post-baccalaureate program. Applicants must also complete the Supplemental_Application. After completion, please upload as an attachment to the Undergraduate/Graduate application.

Contact Us

For questions, please call 212-642-2075 or email

Prospective Students at New York Union Semester

New York Union Semester is a full-time intensive program that provides students with an opportunity to put their passion for social justice to work, both inside and outside the classroom. New York Union Semester helps students develop a deeper understanding of the labor movement, while obtaining professional experience that can help build a career path in labor and social justice.

Applications for Spring 2021 are due by November 6, 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

In order to qualify for admission to Union Semester, undergraduate applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and 45 credits completed before the start of the program. Graduate applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and at least a 3.0 GPA or higher from an accredited undergraduate institution.

Qualified applicants will be contacted by the Program Coordinator for a phone interview.

If you have questions about whether the program is a good fit for you, contact the Union Semester Program Coordinator, Diana Robinson at 212-642-2075 or email at

Early applications for Fall 2019 are due by May 3rd, 2019 and all applications are due by June 3rd, 2019.

Early Applications for Fall 2019 are due by May 3rd, 2019 and all applications are due by June 3rd, 2019. Applications can only be submitted electronically and are accepted on a rolling basis. Early applications are given priority. Placements are limited and the selection process is competitive.

Union Semester has partnerships with a variety of unions, worker organizations and progressive coalitions and campaigns. Recent placements include United Federation of Teachers, Laborer International Union of North America, Retail Action Project, the Fight for 15 campaign, 1199 Service Employees International Union, Writers Guild of America, Transport Workers Union Local 100, and the New York City Central Labor Council. Interns might be placed in a variety of departments, and might do a range of work including organizing workers, planning events, researching corporations, analyzing legislation and policy, facilitating education programs, writing for a union paper or developing social media. We try to pair students’ interests and experience with the needs of our partners.

Students accepted to New York Union Semester receive a stipend of $7,000 to cover living expenses during their semester in the program.

With the exception of currently enrolled CUNY students, all students pay an application fee when submitting their applications ($65 for undergraduates, $125 for graduate students). Students are responsible for the tuition and fees, which is due the first day of class.

Undergraduate Graduate
Application Fee $65 Application Fee $125
Tuition $3,365 Tuition $5,385
Technology Fee $125 Technology Fee $125
Consolidated Fee $15 Consolidated Fee $15
Your Cost $3,570 Your Cost $5,650

All tuition charges and fees are subject to change by action of the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York without prior notice. In the event of any increase in tuition charges and fees, payments already made to the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies will be treated as partial payment, and notification will be given of the additional amount due and the time and method of payment. Students are responsible for their travel to and from New York City, their tuition and fees, housing and other living expenses. Students who have concerns about managing their finances may speak with the New York Union Semester Program Coordinator who can answer questions, give suggestions for finding affordable housing and help students develop a budget.

While room and board are the responsibility of each student, the NY Union Semester Program Coordinator can provide some useful resources and information about how to find appropriate housing. Many students take apartments with friends or roommates or find rooms online. Others reside in non-profit student housing facilities, and the coordinator sends useful postings when they are available. We can also provide advice on neighborhoods and transportation.

Regardless of your interest in labor as a career, our alumni learn a great deal about the history of a social movement and the impacts that people can have on their work and world when acting collectively. Many of our alumni continue to work in the labor movement in a variety of roles including, as organizers, researchers, policy analysts, and as communications staff. The School of Labor and Urban Studies has a large network of connections and we do our best to connect students with job opportunities, serve as references, and support alumni any way we can. Students also get valuable experience for resumes and references from their mentors. Alumni have also gone on to work in a wide range of fields, including as journalism, education, and the law. Some of our students pursue graduate studies in labor and related disciplines.

Students who successfully complete NY Union Semester earn a total of 16 undergraduate credits or 12 graduate credits. It is their responsibility to follow the procedures of their college or university for transferring these credits. Upon acceptance to the program, it is recommended that students consult with their faculty advisor and registrar concerning transfer credit policies. Students who participate in NY Union Semester while they are not attending a college or graduate program will need to discuss transferring credits should they be accepted into such a program at a later date.

In addition to completing the Supplemental_Application, CUNY students can apply for free and are eligible for the E-permit system. The CUNY E-permit allows current CUNY students to register for courses offered at other CUNY colleges, while staying enrolled at their home school. Contact us for more details and before you submit your final application. Current CUNY students can apply for free. Contact the coordinator before submitting the application.

Sure, you have the option of doing either the undergrad or grad program. The undergrad program is less expensive and you will receive a Certificate in Labor Studies. The grad program offers a wider range of classes, including ones like Labor & Globalization and Strategic Corporate Research. In the Master’s program you will earn 12 graduate credits and an Advanced Certificate in Labor Studies.

It does! In the grad program of Union Semester, students earn 12 credits. The MA in Labor Studies at the School of Labor and Urban Studies requires 30 credits, so you are well on your way. If you think you might be interested in the MA, contact Rob Callaghan at