Industrial relations students learn how to improve comfort and productivity
in the workplace. They learn how training programs, health solutions and workers'
compensation can meet the needs of both employees and employers.
Industrial relations (sometimes called labor relations) is the study of
companies' relations with their employees and with the public. Grads of these
programs may go on to careers in human resources or arbitration.
Schools offer a variety of paths into this versatile field, and
appropriately so. Some schools have an independent industrial relations or
labor relations department. Others include such programs in their business
management, organizational development, human resources or public administration
Most programs are offered at the bachelor's or master's degree level.
A career can be built on either, depending on your specific goals. Those who
choose to go on to an advanced degree have a broader range of opportunities.
Look for a program that offers a paid internship or co-op component.
Co-op education places a student with an employer for a semester. The student
receives academic credit for the work term, as well as a wage.
Strong verbal and mathematical abilities as well as an awareness
of current events are important, according to James McPherson. He is director
of student services at the school of industrial and labor relations at Cornell
Students should have several courses in math, social sciences, economics,
government and the sciences. Being involved in student organizations,
honor societies, volunteer community service and debate competitions is also
Grads will have a strong foundation in research, writing, legal interpretation,
team project work, speaking and presentation, time management, principles
of organizational behavior, dispute resolution, negotiation, collective bargaining,
corporate and trade union management, and office and statistical software
Tuition and books are the two main expenses.
Occupational Outlook HandbookFor more information related to this field of study, see: Human
Resources, Training and Labor Relations Managers and Specialists
International Industrial Relations AssociationInternational colloboration