Bachelor of Arts in Labor Studies and Employment Relations

A foreman speaks to a labor relations worker

Advance your Career in HR and Labor Relations

Globalization, growing workforce diversity, and the changing role of unions are just some of the challenges facing employees and employers in the dynamic field of human resources. An education in labor and employment relations can help you understand all aspects of the employment relationship in order to help your organization value its most important asset — its workforce.

Why Labor and Employment Relations at Penn State

Penn State's School of Labor Studies and Employment Relations has offered undergraduate degree programs since its founding in 1942. As a student in one of the United States' largest undergraduate programs for labor studies and employment relations, you can acquire the comprehensive knowledge you need to address today's most important issues in human resources and employment relations. The School of LSER faculty has an extensive range of expertise in fields such as employment and labor law, international human resources and employment relations, organizational behavior, and workforce diversity.

Choose the Online Labor Studies and Employment Relations Degree That Fits Your Career

  • The bachelor of arts program relies on a curriculum steeped in the social sciences, humanities, and language as a supplement to the prescribed labor and employment relations courses. It helps you explore the world of work from the perspectives of sociology, rhetoric, and literature. This option is best suited for you if you wish to focus your human resources career in the fields of labor relations, employment law, organizational culture and behavior, workforce diversity, or if you wish to engage in social work.
  • The bachelor of science program offers the prescribed curriculum in labor and employment relations, with additional course electives in management, communications, and accounting to prepare you for the more quantitative aspects of a career in human resources. This degree may be your best choice if you wish to work in training and development, staffing, recruitment, compensation, benefits or other human resources roles within an organization or business.

Both degree programs are excellent pre-law majors and can also prepare you to pursue a graduate degree in human resources management, industrial and labor relations, social sciences, and public administration. One such graduate degree opportunity is the Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations that is also offered online through Penn State World Campus and can help you advance your career into top management positions.

Who Should Apply?

The bachelor's degrees in labor studies and employment relations are designed for people who are either currently working in human resources or labor relations, or who are interested in pursuing a career in these areas.

Career Opportunities for HR Graduates

Most of our graduates pursue a career in human resources working with private companies, health care facilities, educational institutions, or other nonprofit organizations. Others may choose instead to work with government agencies such as the Department of Labor or the National Labor Relations Board to administer and enforce labor and employment laws. Still others have used their new skills in dispute resolution to pursue careers as arbitrators, mediators, or in labor unions as a representative of the interests of employees in the workplace.

As a graduate of a labor studies and employment relations degree program, you can prepare for positions such as:

  • human resources specialist
  • field agent, National Labor Relations Board
  • administrator, U.S. Department of Labor
  • union organizer
  • union representative and negotiator
  • mediator, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
  • arbitrator

Online Education at Penn State

Penn State has a history of 100+ years of distance education and more than a decade of experience in online learning. We create an online learning environment that offers you the same quality education our residential students experience in a face-to-face setting. Learn more about Penn State World Campus.