UMass Amherst Home
 [Home]  [Programs and Courses]  [Degree Requirements]  [Application Procedures]  [Financing Your Degree]  [Site Index]  [Apply Now]
Program Listings:  [Program Listing: A-D]  [Program Listings: E-L]  [Program Listings: M-Z]  [Program Listings: Show All]

Labor Studies Master's Degree Requirements

Faculty | Master's | Courses

Master of Science in Labor Studies Degree Programs

Master of Science in Labor Studies
This unique program is designed to equip students for careers in the labor movement, related social justice organizations, or further academic work. The multidisciplinary program combines coursework, labor research, and an internship in which students gain experiential knowledge of the field. Graduate courses provide not only the skills necesary to work in and with the labor movement­—expertise in research, organizing, collective bargaining, and union leadership­—but also an opportunity to examine the larger theoretical and strategic issues confronting workers and their unions. Students have the option of concentrating in areas including globalization, labor and communities, women and work, labor education, and strategic corporate research, in order to explore in depth these cutting-edge issues.

The requirements for the degree are:
1. Forty-two graduate credits of which no more than six may be transferred from other accredited institutions, and no more than six may be in departments other than Labor Studies.
2. An internship with a labor organization, related organization, or agency. A thesis can be substituted for the internship. Six credits are granted upon completion of the internship seminar.

Students admitted to the Master of Science in Labor Studies degree program come from a wide range of undergraduate majors in the social sciences and humanities. They also bring different kinds and levels of experience, including work in the labor movement, campus organizing, organizing against sweatshops, and other types of community-based work experience.

The core curriculum includes the following required courses: 605 Labor Research, 741 Introduction to Labor Studies, 742 Labor Law, 697 Special Topics —U.S. Labor History, Labor in the U.S. Economy, Organizing, and Collective Bargaining and Contract Administration. Electives are offered in a wide range of fields within the Labor Center. In addition, many students take up to six credits with affiliated faculty in Economics, Sociology, History, Public Health, and other departments and programs within the University. Full-time students typically complete the program in two years. Most students do an internship in the summer between their first and second years. Students’ courses of study are planned in consultation with their advisers, to fit their individual needs and interests.

The Union Leadership and Administration Limited Residency Program
The Union Leadership and Administration (ULA) Master of Science in Labor Studies is an innovative program tailored to the needs of working union officers, staff, and activists. It offers a nonresidential degree program giving trade unionists the opportunity to study and explore the labor movement from a union perspective.

The requirements for the ULA program are the same as the core curriculum for the residential program already described, with the exception of the internship or thesis requirement. Students with extensive experience in the labor movement may waive this requirement, and receive the degree upon completion of thirty-six graduate credits. Courses are taught during ten-day sessions in the summer and winter. Participants take two intensive courses during each session, including a reasonable amount of reading, writing, and other participatory exercises. Students complete a written project upon returning home. Six credits are earned by completing a final paper in the last semester of the program, and students may transfer up to six credits from other graduate programs. Full-time students typically take classes twice a year for two and a half years, and complete the degree in three years.