McMicken College of Arts & Sciences
Center for Organizational Leadership
Master of Arts in Labor & Employment Relations (MA LER)
In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, business leaders know that people are a company’s most critical resource and that bottom-line success depends on effective employee relations. In fact, human resources (HR) professionals are key members of any executive team. In a recent survey, the job of an HR Manager was ranked as the fourth best job in the United States with an average salary of over $70,000 per annum and a 23% growth rate over a 10-year period. Read more about the survey.
About the Program
The MA LER program prepares students for professional HR positions in all sectors of the economy. Classes are conveniently scheduled during evenings and weekends so you can continue to earn a living while earning your degree. Students gain practical experience through internships and field research projects, and graduates are well prepared for the challenges of the workplace or further academic study.
View the MA LER Video.
- Students choose one of two degree options:
- The managerial track covers functional areas of HR
- More experienced students may focus on issues faced by upper-level HR professionals in the strategic track.
- Degrees can be earned on a full-time or part-time basis (as approximately half of the MA LER students choose).
- Classes are small and promote interaction between faculty, students and peers.
- Full-time faculty have expertise in both the theory and practice of human resource management.
- Adjunct faculty members are practicing human resource managers, or other labor and employment-relations professionals with strong academic credentials.
- Students may participate in student chapters of the Society for Human Resource Management and other professional associations.
- Teaching methods include lecture, discussion, collaborative learning, presentations, cases, service learning, and problem-based learning.
The MA LER program continues to evolve after four decades of success , reflecting trends in the field as it prepares students for challenging positions in private and public sector organizations.
Much has changed, from broader course offerings to higher admission standards, since 1967. During that year, MA LER – the Master of Arts in Labor and Employment Relations – was born as a degree titled Masters of Arts in Industrial Relations, MAIR. Originally housed in the Economics Department of the Business School, the program was transferred in 2003 to the newly established Center for Organizational Leadership.
Initially, the curriculum stressed labor relations, collective bargaining, labor economics, the history of trade unions, and labor relations legislation.
The current program stresses the functional areas of HR management, and the importance of the strategic aspect as well. Students have the option of two tracks: managerial or strategic.
The student population has changed as well. Evening and weekend courses have been added over the years to meet the needs of older and more professionally experienced students, including human resource and labor relations managers.
The MA LER program has a long, successful history and will continue to evolve and grow over time to meet the changing needs and challenges facing the field of Labor Relations and Human Resources Management.