Employment law programs explore the regulations established by state and federal governments to protect the rights of employees and employers. A master's degree in employment law is available in graduate schools as a Master of Science (M.S.) and in law schools as a Master of Laws (LL.M.).
An M.S. program prepares students with bachelor's degrees for careers that involve labor relations and the employer/employee relationship, such as human resources management. LL.M. programs are for attorneys. They are usually offered through evening or online classes and cover employment law topics, such as unions, representing clients and international labor regulations.
Master of Science in Employment Law
Students can pursue an M.S. in employment law either online or on-campus. On-campus studies allows for classroom discussion and seminar involvement. Online coursework is more prevalent and requires self-motivation. In an online program, students must have assignments completed by specific deadlines, and students can collaborate with their peers throughout the country.
To apply to an M.S. program, students must hold a bachelor's degree in a related field. Unlike LL.M. degree programs, M.S. programs do not accept law students. Other possible admissions requirements include letters of reference and a personal statement demonstrating the student's knowledge of employment law and proof of work experience relating to the field.
The curriculum involved in a master's degree program in employment law focuses on the key issues employers and employees face in the work environment on a daily basis. Topics of study include labor relations, worker's rights, employer responsibilities and the protection of both parties in the employee-and-employer relationship. Courses may include:
- Employment law foundations
- Legal research techniques
- Workplace privacy
- Federal and state regulations
- Employment contract laws
- Discrimination laws
Master of Laws in Employment Law
An LL.M. degree program may be offered exclusively online or on-campus, with classes in the day or the evening. An LL.M. in employment law can be earned in a year, but students can choose to take up to six years to complete the program. The curriculum is often taught by experienced employment law attorneys who educate students by describing realistic scenarios and exemplifying professional working conduct. Coursework involves current employment law issues, representing clients, union laws, investigation and litigation of employment law cases, upgrading employment law documents and international labor laws.
Admission to an LL.M. in employment law degree program usually requires a student to hold a law degree from an institution accredited by the American Bar Association. Often, a current resume, letters of reference and a statement of intent are also necessary for acceptance to an LL.M. degree program.
The goal of the LL.M. degree program is to prepare students to be successful employment law attorneys. Every employment law subject is related to the regulations and practices upheld by the state and federal government. Courses may include:
- Discrimination laws and issues
- Case studies
- Safety regulations
- Immigration and citizenship laws
- Benefit regulations
Popular Career Options
Employment law has a solid place in corporate environments, whether large or small. A master's degree program in employment law qualifies students to take positions in organizations that are looking to protect themselves and the rights of their employees through labor relations and human resource management. Positions may include:
- Human resource generalist
- Training coordinator
- Employee relations administrator
An LL.M. graduate may work for an employment law firm or open a private practice. The U.S. Department of Labor also offers positions for lawyers who specialize in employment law. Positions may include:
- Supervisory trial labor attorney
- General labor attorney
- In-house corporate lawyer
Depending on your previous educational experience, you can pursue either an M.S. or an LL.M. in employment law at the master's degree level. These programs provide advanced training in the field that is tailored to students' particular career goals.