Be a leader. Put your passion for social justice to work inside and outside the classroom. Earn credits and financial support toward your educational expenses.
Community Semester is a full-time, intensive academic and service learning program that provides students with an opportunity to put their passion for social justice to work. Students learn first-hand how community-based organizations fight for environmental justice, housing rights, immigrant rights, tenants’ rights, economic justice, youth engagement, neighborhood resilience, civic justice, and community empowerment by contributing to the movement themselves. Students analyze the experience they gain in the field by studying community organizing, community development, government, and non-profit leadership, and by sharing their work experiences with fellow Community Semester students and with students in the School of Labor and Urban Studies sister program, Union Semester.
As part of the program, students receive a $7,000 financial award toward educational expenses. Upon completion of the program, undergraduate students earn 16 credits and are awarded a Certificate in Community Leadership, and graduate students earn 12 credits and are awarded an Advanced Certificate in Community Leadership. These credits can be applied toward the BA in Urban and Community Studies and the MA in Urban Studies, if admitted to either program.
Students participate in Community Semester to:
- Develop a deeper understanding of social movements
- Gain experience working for a community-based organization
- Receive financial support toward educational expenses.
- Sharpen their analytic skills in order to be more effective in their studies or on the job
- Obtain professional experience that can help build a career path in social justice
- Develop leadership skills
- Begin building a lifelong professional network
- Earn credits that may apply towards a baccalaureate or graduate degree
At the beginning of the semester, students meet with mentors from several organizations to determine the best placement for them.
Service Learning Timeline
**Applications for Spring 2021
Applications for Spring 2021 will continue to be reviewed on a rolling basis until mid-December. Classes begin on January 29, 2021.
Community Semester NYC accepts applicants for Fall and Spring semester ONLY. Each semester consists of a one-week orientation, fifteen weeks of a service learning experience and classes, and a finals week.
The program welcomes undergraduate, recent college graduates, and graduate students from New York State. Community Semester is a 17-week, full-time commitment. Community Semester students will not have time for additional classes and/or a second job.
In order to qualify for admission to Community Semester, undergraduate applicants must have earned at least 24 credits at an accredited college or university; maintained a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.5; and met the University’s College Readiness Requirements in reading, writing, and mathematics. Graduate applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and at least a 2.5 GPA or higher from an accredited undergraduate institution. Applicants must also complete the Community_Semester_Supplement_Application . After completion, please upload as an attachment to the Undergraduate/Graduate application.
If you have questions about whether the program is a good fit for you, contact the Program Coordinator at CommunitySemester@slu.cuny.edu.
Nominating a student for Community Semester
If you are a CUNY professor, academic advisor, or program coordinator, you may nominate a student who would be an ideal Community Semester program candidate.
If you are a Community Semester advocate or Community group partner, you may also nominate a student who you think would be an ideal program candidate.
*All Nominators, please download and complete the Recommendation Form.
Please make sure you provide the name(s) and email addresses(s) of your nominee(s) so that the student(s) may be contacted by the Program Coordinator.
For more information about Community Semester, email CommunitySemester@slu.cuny.edu.
In order to qualify for admission to Community Semester, undergraduate applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.0; and meet the University’s College Readiness Requirements in reading, writing, and mathematics. Graduate applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and at least a 2.5 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, email the Community Semester Program Coordinator at CommunitySemester@slu.cuny.edu.
Applications for Spring 2021 are due by December 15, 2021 – Apply Now
In addition to completing the Community_Semester_Supplement_Application, CUNY students must apply via e-permit and spend one semester at the School of Labor and Urban Studies. Prospective applicants must be working toward a degree at a CUNY campus, have earned 24 credits, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5.
As a nominated candidate, your nominee’s letter serves as your first of two required letters of recommendation. In addition to completing the supplemental application, if you are a new applicant, please refer to “How do I apply for Community Semester?” If you are a current CUNY student, refer to “What if I’m already a CUNY Student?”
Applications for Spring 2021 are due by December 15, 2021 – Apply Now
Applications can only be submitted electronically and are accepted on a rolling basis. Early applications are given priority. There are a select number of placements and the program coordinator will match the student with the best-fit for their service learning placement.
Community Semester students work alongside a NYC community-based organization for 28 hours each week. Examples of community-based organization include: a multi-organizational, issue-based campaign or; city agencies or political offices focused on constituent services, legislative policy and community outreach.
Placements vary by semester and are contingent upon the needs of the organizations. Current host organizations work on a range of issues including:
- Economic justice and job creation
- Community empowerment
- Racial justice
- Immigrants’ rights and education
- Housing rights
- Neighborhood housing and preservation
- Youth development
- Cultural revitalization
Students accepted to Community Semester receive a $7,000 financial award to use toward educational expenses. This is paid out in two checks during the semester.
With the exception of currently enrolled CUNY students, all students pay an application fee when submitting their applications ($70 for undergraduates, $75 for graduate students). Students are responsible for the tuition and fees, which are due the first day of class.
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 Community Semester NYC Program Coordinator who can answer questions, give suggestions and help students develop a budget.
Students who successfully complete Community 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 Community Semester while they are not attending a college or graduate program will need to discuss transferring credits should they be accepted into a program.
Yes, you have the option of doing either the undergraduate or graduate certificate program. However, the Advanced Certificate program will give you the option of transferring credits into a graduate program, should you decide to pursue graduate studies.
Absolutely! In the graduate program of Community Semester, students earn 12 credits. The MA in Urban Studies at the School of Labor and Urban Studies requires 30 credits and earned credits can be applied to this program. If you are interested in the MA, contact Cherise Mullings, Enrollment Specialist.