The Union Leadership and Activism (ULA) program is an innovative limited-residency track for our master’s degree in Labor Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Designed for union officers, staff, and activists who work full-time, courses are offered during ten-day residencies in January and July. Participants enroll in two courses in each residency and complete writing assignments upon returning home. Their degree can be completed in two and a half years. Join other labor leaders, staff and activists in camaraderie and solidarity to explore the labor movement — where we’ve been, where we are today, and where we need to be.
For over fifty years, we have built one of the premiere graduate programs in Labor Studies in the United States. With a near 100% placement record, our graduates join over 1,000 alumni in key position in the labor movement and other social justice organizations.
Earning your master’s degree in Labor Studies at the UMass Labor Center puts you right at the center of the issues and debates around labor, work, and social justice. Labor is changing. As the attacks on labor have intensified, unions have been taking bold new directions. They have also combined efforts with a wide variety of alt-labor organizations, building strong connections with new social movements in broad-based coalitions for justice. Become one of our graduate who are at the forefront of many of these new and exciting developments to build justice and dignity in the workplace and the community, here and abroad.
We provide skills that activists need — hands-on skills in organizing, strategic corporate research, and bargaining — as well as the theory and analytical frameworks to think critically about issues facing working people and their movements today. Our curriculum provides an important grounding in the economic, political, and legal thinking as we interrogate issues around race, immigration, gender and the working class in a global economy. Our faculty are respected scholars with union experience that allows them to create courses that are both academically strong and practically based.
Many unions cover all or some of the costs of attending the ULA program and a limited number of scholarship may be available.
How the Limited Residency Tracks Works
The ULA program is based around ten-day residencies held in January and July at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst campus. Students must attend four residencies to complete the program and earn their master’s degree. During each residency, participants take two four-credit courses, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The course syllabi, a list of required books, and links to electronic copies of readings are sent to students in advance of each residency. Students complete course final papers after returning home.