Master of Science (MS): Labor Relations Degree Overview

Master's degrees in labor relations are available as Master of Science in Labor Relations and Human Resources or Master of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations, in addition to Master of Industrial and Labor Relations. A thesis and capstone project may be required for students to complete.

Essential Information

Master's degree programs in labor relations may include concentration options in human resources, social statistics, labor relations law, labor economics, and organizational behavior. They prepare graduates for work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, unions, businesses, and community organizations. Occupational interests may include collective bargaining, grievances, healthcare, union and management practices, arbitration, and labor disputes.

Schools may require the submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Program Specializations include human resources, labor law, social statistics, labor economics, and organizational behavior. Other Requirements include a thesis and capstone course.

Master of Science in Labor Relations

Applicants to the program are required to have a 4-year degree in a related field, such as social science or business administration. They are often required to submit a personal essay outlining educational goals. An official college transcript and letters of recommendation are required. Topics covered depend on the concentration chosen by the student, but typically explore all aspects found in the employment relationship. Credit hours earned can vary from 30-48 hours. Common course topics covered include:

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

Popular Career Options

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( reported that individuals with advanced training in labor relations are qualified for positions such as:

  • Training specialists
  • Labor relations managers
  • Labor relations specialists
  • Mediators

Employment Outlook and Salary

In 2015, labor relations specialists earned a mean annual salary of $60,930. While the BLS projected that the broad category of human resources specialists would see a 5% overall increase in jobs from 2014-2024.

Continuing Education

Graduates of master's degree programs often go on to complete a doctoral degree that prepares them for careers within research or academia in labor relations and human resources. Additionally, students may choose to further their labor relations knowledge through completion of certificate programs in specialized areas, such as collective bargaining or contract administration.

A Master of Science in labor relations covers information about human resources and course topics in this program include organizational behavior and labor market economics. Graduates will be eligible for positions such as mediators and training specialists.

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