The Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER) is a 33-credit master's degree for professionals already working in human resources/employment relations field or those with a strong, fundamental understanding of HRER. The program consists of nine required courses (27 credits) and two elective courses (6 credits), which will determine your area of concentration for the HRER master's degree.

A typical student will take one or two 3-credit courses per semester.

Your course work culminates in a capstone class in which you will demonstrate an understanding of the curriculum and apply it to your professional areas of interest in human resources and employment relations.

Optional Intensive Courses
Each summer select courses are offered on campus, allowing you to earn credits while enjoying the University Park campus experience. Learn more about our optional intensive courses.

Earn HRCI Recertification Credits

HRCI Approved Seal

The Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations is an Approved Provider of the HR Certification Institute. Completing the entire program can grant you credits toward your PHR, SPHR, and GPHR recertifications.

Course List - Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations 

Required Courses (27 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Labor and Employment Law HRER 501 Legal context of employment in the United States. 3 credits
Seminar in Employment Relations HRER 504 Theory, process, and issues of industrial relations, including collective bargaining and contract administration. 3 credits
Seminar in Human Resources HRER 505 Current human resource topics in the context of organizational strategy, planning, and responsibility. 3 credits
Human Behavior and Organizational Performance HRER 802 This course helps students understand individual and team behavior in organizations and its impact on individual, team, and organizational effectiveness. 3 credits
Human Resources in Multinational Enterprises HRER 803 This course examines current human resource management (HRM) systems worldwide and the influence of globalization on HRM practice. 3 credits
Labor Market Analysis


Strategic Business Tools for HRER Professionals
HRER 816


HRER 825
Neoclassical economic and institutional theoretical perspectives on labor supply, demand for labor, internal labor markets, wage determination and labor policies.
This course connects Business Strategy, Financial Tools, and HR to an organization's strategic business objectives.
3 credits
Diversity in the Workplace HRER 836 This course examines workplace diversity, gender, and race challenges facing employers and employees, and the skills for managing diversity. 3 credits
Ethical Decision Making for HR Practitioners HRER 860 Use of normative elements associated with ethical decision making, as well as the emerging interest in descriptive ethics, to address important problems human resource managers confront. 3 credits
Research Project HRER 894 Supervised student activities on research projects identified on an individual or small-group basis. 3 credits

Elective Courses (6 credits)

Choose a concentration

Benefits and Compensation
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Employment Compensation LER 424 Development and management of employee compensation systems. 3 credits
Employment Benefits LER 425 The examination of employee benefits programs used by employers to meet the welfare needs of employees and their families. 3 credits
Labor and Collective Bargaining
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Law of Labor-Management Relations LER 401 Development of Anglo-American law regulating collective bargaining, with emphasis on American labor-management relations under Wagner, Taft-Hartley, and other acts. 3 credits
Labor Relations in the Public Sector LER 435 Analysis of labor relations problems within different areas of public employment. 3 credits
Employment and Labor Law
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Law of Labor-Management Relations LER 401 Development of Anglo-American law regulating collective bargaining, with emphasis on American labor-management relations under Wagner, Taft-Hartley, and other acts. 3 credits
Labor and Employment Law II HRER 811 Acquire practical knowledge that HR practitioners need to deal with governmental regulation of the U.S. workplace.

Prerequisite: HRER 501
3 credits
Staffing, Training, and Development
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Staffing and Training LER 426 This course focuses on the theory and practice of human resource staffing and training in organizations. 3 credits
Needs Assessment for Industrial Trainers WF ED 573 Acquire skills to identify training and development needs, distinguish problems with management versus training solutions, develop and evaluate training solutions. 3 credits
Ethics and Leadership
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Communication Skills for Leaders in Groups and Organizations LER 464 Theory-and research-based communication skills for leaders dealing with work-related problems in contemporary groups and organizations. 3 credits
Leadership Development: A Life-Long Learning Perspective


Collective Decision Making
LER 409


LER 465
The course examines the continuing influence of social and environmental factors in shaping leadership and leadership development.


Application of theories of decision making to work-related issues in groups and organizations requiring collective resolution and action.
3 credits
International Human Resources and Employment Relations
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
International Human Resource Studies LER 403 Course exploring human resource management from an international perspective. 3 credits
Comparative and International Employment and Labor Law


Comparative Employment Relations Systems
HRER 801


LER 400
Survey of employment and labor laws around the world that shape the practice of international human resource management (IHRM).


Analysis of structure and elements of employment relations systems in developed and developing areas.
3 credits
Labor Unions: Organization and Strategy
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Labor Union Structure, Administration, and Governance LER 466 Comprehensive analysis of American Labor Unions/Labor Organizations: how structured, administered, and governed as they pursue economic, social, political objectives. 3 credits
American Labor Unions LER 468 Students will examine, debate and gain a fundamental understanding of the current state of the American labor movement. 3 credits

Optional Intensive Courses

Each summer, the Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations offers a selection of the core program courses as five-day intensive courses at Penn State's University Park campus in State College, Pennsylvania. This unique blended course experience allows you to fulfill a three-credit course requirement in a condensed format while experiencing campus life at Penn State.

Class activities such as lectures, case studies, and individual and team exercises will be scheduled for six hours each day, and you may also be required to complete additional assignments outside of the classroom. Approximately two-thirds of the course work for a course will be completed during the five days you are on campus, with some preparation work required before arriving on campus, and a follow-up project to be completed after the week concludes. Because of this intensive schedule, you are only permitted to take one in-residence course at a time.

While this is not a required aspect of the master's degree program, students are encouraged to take advantage of this excellent opportunity to interact and network with your peers and the faculty and staff for the program. More information about registration for these intensive courses will be available upon your acceptance to the degree program.

*The use of the HRCI seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program. It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute's criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.