Publicly-funded union activism in NYC

Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies

Empire State College offers an opportunity to work towards a degree through studies that focuses on work, workers and the “working-class presence”- social, cultural, and institutional in an historical and a contemporary context. Labor Studies is an interdisciplinary inquiry into the working-class presence and its forms that draws upon both the social sciences and the humanities.

Labor Studies students are largely union members, staff, or officers, as well as human resource professionals, managers, and those with an interest in labor/management relations in both the public and the private sectors. The emerging sub-field of “working-class studies” has also drawn increasing numbers of students interested in the working-class experience, broadly defined, and in the popular arts.


Students can pursue degrees in five areas: labor studies; cultural studies; social theory, social structure and social change; historical studies; and interdisciplinary studies.

* Associate of Arts
* Associate of Science
* Bachelor of Arts
* Bachelor of Science
* Bachelor of Professional Studies
* Master of Arts
* A certificate program in labor studies is also available

The Van Arsdale Center also provides degree completion opportunities for wage earners and union members in their chosen field, whether electrical construction, paraeducation, or anything in between.

Onsite and Online Options

You can plan undergraduate degrees in labor studies through our Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies (325 Hudson Street, Sixth Floor New York, NY) which includes one-to-one work with a faculty mentor and group study, or take advantage of flexible online learning through the Center for Distance Learning.

The Master of Arts in Labor and Policy Studies is designed for unionists, human resource professionals, arbitrators, educators, journalists, political activists, lawyers, and those involved in government for private industry. The primary concentration for this program is on current problems and policies generated by changes in the global economy, technology, the workforce and the workplace.This degree is only offered through our Center for Graduate Programs and requires a combination of online study, weekend residencies, and one-to-one work with a faculty mentor.


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