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Major in Community, Youth, and Education Studies (B.A.)


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Justice is what love looks like in public.

The community, youth, and education Studies (CYES) major provides you with a strong background in youth, urban studies, and education. You will become an effective voice for social justice. You will examine how school and community programs can transform current inequities by engaging young people and their families, and help to change their social reality through educational spaces and youth programs.

CYES recognizes that activism begins at home, and prepares you to merge your classroom learning with action — on Clark’s campus and in the Worcester community. With guidance from faculty, you’ll address systemic inequality near and far, while examining your own identity and place in the world.

Catalog Requirements for:

Why Major in CYES at Clark?

  • Complete a digital portfolio over the course of your major that outlines your accomplishments and work for change, as well as a final reflection and practice project that you’ll present before you graduate.
  • Engage in real, systemic community action the moment you step on campus — whether by participating in an afterschool arts and poetry program or volunteering with English language learners in Worcester.
  • Contribute to new knowledge through your own community-based action research, and work with leading professors to examine critical issues ranging from the achievement gap to mass incarceration.
  • Learn in a program featured as a “Civic Responsibility by Design” case study on the Association of American Colleges & Universities website.

The Community, Youth, and Education Studies Path

As a CYES major, you’ll pass through three gateways:

  1. Entrance to the program
  2. Advancing to candidacy
  3. A praxis (reflection and action) project and portfolio defense

Admission into the program is based on your commitment to work alongside members of the community and/or youth, enact change in community contexts, and explore the relationships between theory and practice.

The major requires a series of 11 courses, which are drawn from the departments of education; history; international development, community, and environment; and sociology. These courses will guide you to critically interrogate your social world, reflexively examine your social location within that world, and actively engage in social change. The curriculum includes:

  • One foundation course
  • Three theories of understanding courses
  • One participatory action research methods course
  • Three elective courses
  • Three courses that support your praxis project and portfolio defense

Your portfolio can be used as part of a digital résumé.

Read the Community, Youth, and Education Studies Handbook (PDF).

Skills you will learn include how to:

  • Evaluate social, cultural, political and educational inequities
  • Theorize identity and reflexively examine your personal location within varied social contexts
  • Develop theories of social change
  • Construct knowledge with community members through action research
  • Engage in collaborative community organizing

The community, youth, and education studies program has a different way of awarding honors. All students majoring in CYES will complete a senior thesis and portfolio through the required three “praxis” courses. Student work will be given a final assessment of incomplete/not pass (with instructions for revision), pass, or pass with honors.

Building your foundation

The Clark Experience

We structure our curriculum around Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP), which connects classroom learning with action through world and workplace experiences.

Learn More

Faculty and Programs in the Department of Education