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Information on Master of Science (MS) Degree Program in Labor Relations

Majors Overview May 29, 2015

Get information about Master of Science (M.S.) degree programs in Labor Relations and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master of Science (M.S.) Programs in Labor Relations

Schools offer master’s degree programs in labor relations as a Master of Science (M.S.) in Industrial and Labor Relations, Master of Science (M.S.) in Labor Relations and Human Resources or a Master of Industrial and Labor Relations (M.I.L.R.). The primary focus of these programs is on all aspects of professional relationships and human interactions within workplace settings. The programs may include concentration options in social statistics, human resources, labor economics, labor relations law, and organizational behavior. Students may have to earn 30-48 credit hours.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a 4-year degree in related field such as business administration or social science. They may also have to submit a personal essay that outlines their educational goals, letters of recommendation and an official college transcript. Students at some schools may also have to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores.


Coursework can vary by the chosen concentration, but typically covers the exploration of every aspect found in the employer-employee relationship. Students enrolled in these programs are required to complete a capstone course and thesis. Core coursework may commonly cover topic areas such as:

•Organizational behavior
•Collective bargaining
•Labor relations law
•Human resource management
•Human resource strategies
•Labor market economics
•Labor relations
•Social science statistical methods

Career Choices

Program graduates may seek work in various settings, including unions, government agencies, community organizations and businesses, covering occupational interests such as grievances, collective bargaining, union and management practices, healthcare, arbitration and labor disputes. Program graduates may seek occupations in positions such as (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics):

•Labor relations manager
•Training specialist
•Labor relations specialist

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2012, labor relations specialists brought in an average annual wage of $55,640. Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth of 7% has been predicted for these workers (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may seek continued education by earning a doctoral degree that could lead to careers in academia or research in labor relations and human resources. Students may also choose to enhance their knowledge of labor relations by completing a certificate program in specialized areas such as contract administration or collective bargaining.

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