The Murphy Institute’s mission to advocate and support union members and working adults in higher education was founded at Queens College in 1984. Since then, Worker Education at Queens College has continued to serve as a hub for working students and union members, supporting entry into and advancement within all undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

All services will be held virtually until further notice.


Worker Education at the Murphy Institute originated at Queens College as the Labor Education and Advancement Project (LEAP) back in 1984. Since then, the Murphy Institute has expanded and grown into the robust school it is today. Throughout all of these transitions, Worker Education has remained an active hub for union members and adult learners studying at Queens College.

Program Overview

At Queens College, our model of service includes adult-friendly admissions criteria, an extensive academic support system, and special programs like LEAP to Teacher and Urban Leadership. Our Writing Center also offers tutoring and workshops that build academic skills and support academic success.  All of our services are conveniently scheduled to meet the needs of working adults.  Prospective students can also take advantage of the Union Semester and Community Semester programs offered through our School of Labor and Urban Studies in midtown Manhattan by taking a semester via the CUNY Permit system.

We serve many student union members at Queens College who belong to a variety of unions including but not limited to:

Our welcoming, friendly, and supportive environment, combined with our comprehensive services, empower our working students to succeed in achieving their academic and personal goals.

Services at Queens College

The Murphy Institute’s advisors provide pre-admission advisement to adult learners and union members who want to pursue a degree at Queens College. We will assist you in selecting the right program for your career and personal growth.

Queens College offers over 70 undergraduate programs on campus. The most popular majors pursued by our students are Business, Computer Science, Early Childhood Education (Birth – 2), Childhood Education (1 – 6), Economics, English, Graphic Design, History, Mathematics, Media Studies, Psychology, Secondary Education (7 – 12), Sociology, and Spanish.

Explore the Queens College’s 100+ career-building certificate and master’s degree programs. Some of the most popular programs are in Applied Behavior Analysis, Bilingual Education, Childhood Education (1 – 6), Counselor Education, Data Analytics and Applied Social Research, Early Childhood Education (Birth – 2), Library Science, Secondary Education (7 – 12), Special Education, School Psychology, TESOL, and Urban Studies. Whether you are pursuing your master’s degree for professional and career advancement, personal fulfillment, public service, or scholarly interest, we are here to support you as you take the first step.

To learn more about degree programs at Queens College and the Murphy Institute’s services, please register to attend one of our monthly open house events.

Academic Advising

The Murphy Institute for Worker Education at Queens College has dedicated and knowledgeable academic advisors who are available to assist you with all matters regarding your academic success.  Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor each semester.  You can receive information about:

  • Degree requirements
  • Transfer-credit evaluation
  • Program planning
  • Major selection
  • Registration procedures
  • Financial Aid and union tuition benefit information
  • Navigating the college offices, services, and departments
  • Upcoming workshops

The Murphy Institute Writing Center

The Murphy Institute Writing Center at Queens College is a resource for writing support offering a variety of options:

  1. In Person – Meet face to face with a writing consultant.
  2. Online Chat – After sharing your document on the online scheduler, WCOnline, you can chat with a writing consultant.
  3. Telephone appointment – Share your text on WCOnline and discuss your paper with a writing consultant over the phone.

The Murphy Institute Writing Center also provides workshops, writing tips of the week, discussion forums, and newsletters. To make an appointment and obtain more information about our Writing Center, please visit our blog, or contact Jean Soto at or 718-997-3079.

LEAP to Teacher Program

The Murphy Institute LEAP to Teacher (LTT) program enables paraprofessionals and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) members employed with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) to further pursue their education and advance their careers in any field of study, including teaching. The LTT program at Queens College provides a wide range of free, ongoing support services to help our participants succeed academically and to accomplish their career objectives.  To learn more about the LEAP to Teacher program at Queens College, please visit the At Queens College page.  This program is also offered at other CUNY campuses; please click here for more info.

Urban Leadership Program

The Urban Leadership program is a unique series of college courses subsidized by CWA Local 1180 for their members who are pursuing studies in labor studies, public administration, public policy, and urban affairs.  At Queens College, the union will cover fees for up to 24 credits in urban studies, urban affairs, and labor studies. Through the Urban Leadership Program, the CWA Local 1180 members will earn higher education credentials, deepen their understanding of urban programs and issues, improve their analytical skills, and expand their knowledge of government agencies, labor relations, urban planning, and legislative and budgetary process. For more information, please contact a Murphy Institute Advisor at 718-997-3060.

ACE Program

Queens College offers adults over age 25 with few transfer credits the opportunity to pursue an accelerated bachelor’s degree program. ACE participants may apply for up to 36 tuition-free, life-achievement credits based on personal or professional experience. Thereafter, these students choose majors and electives.  For more information speak to a Murphy Institute Advisor at 718-997-3060.

Union Semester

The CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies offers Union Semester in midtown Manhattan.  Queens College students can apply using the CUNY e-permit system.

New York Union Semester is a one-of-a-kind, full-time, semester-long program that combines rigorous academic study with first-hand labor movement experience. Students in the program are paired with unions and worker-rights organizations to expand practical skills and learn 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 Murphy Institute. Upon completion of the program, undergraduate students earn 16 credits and graduate students earn 12 credits.

Community Semester

The CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies offers Community Semester in midtown Manhattan. Queens College students can apply using the CUNY e permit system.

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. 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 graduate students earn 12 credits.

Financial Aid Options at Queens College

To learn about the financial aid programs at Queens College, how to apply for these programs each academic year, how to avoid a variety of problems, and how to become an informed consumer, please visit the Queens College Financial Aid page.

LTT Tuition Assistance Scholarship

The CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies is offering tuition assistance scholarships to full-time paraprofessionals who are both continuing and new graduate students in a teacher shortage area at the LEAP to Teacher collaborating CUNY colleges: Brooklyn College, College of Staten Island, Lehman College, and Queens College. Scholarships will be awarded on a semester-by-semester basis by the SLU Scholarships Committee. Employment status, transcripts and financial aid information will be reviewed, and enrollment will be verified to ensure that recipients continue to meet scholarship eligibility requirements. Students must re-apply each semester to be considered for a scholarship for the next term, if the scholarship is still available. Click here more info.

How to utilize your union’s tuition benefit at Queens College

Some union members are eligible to use their employer education benefits. To learn more about your union’s education benefits go to Murphy’s Union Benefits page.

The Murphy Institute advisors help you apply for and process your union tuition benefits. Please contact Heysel Rodas at 718-997-3087 or for all inquiries.

CSEA members should bring their voucher to Heysel Rodas in Kissena Hall Room 227.  Voucher applications can be found on the Tuition Benefits page.

CWA 1180
To utilize your tuition-free benefit, contact Heysel Rodas for a registration form and a Community Service Agreement.

District Council 37
DC37 offers tuition assistance to their members.  The DC37 Education Fund tuition reimbursement application can be found on the DC37 Tuition Reimbursement webpage. Contact Heysel Rodas for assistance with supporting documentation.

Undergraduates should bring their voucher directly to the Bursar’s Office located in Jefferson Hall’s 2nd floor. Vouchers and fee payments are due no later than your bill’s due date. Graduate students enrolled in an education program can apply for tuition reimbursement. Information can be found on the Career Training Program page.

SEIU 1199
SEIU 1199 offers tuition assistance for students pursuing a college degree at the undergraduate or graduate level. Information, such as how to apply, can be found on the Tuition Assistance for Degree Programs page.

If you are a member of a union not listed here, contact Heysel Rodas for further union contact information. Please note that all vouchers and relevant documents must be submitted as noted no later than the tuition and fee due date.

Name Title Phone Email
Heysel Rodas Academic Advisor, Graduate Admissions Coordinator, and Tuition Benefits Coordinator 718 997-3087
Francine Sanchez Undergraduate Admissions Coordinator 718 997-3048
Carol Schwartz LEAP to Teacher Coordinator, Counselor 718 997-3029
Jean Soto Writing Specialist and Workshop Facilitator
Julia Grifferty College Assistant