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Become a Leader in Human Resources or the Labor Movement

It's more important than ever for employers to attract, motivate, and retain the most qualified employees. Organizations of all kinds — corporations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, etc. — depend on their human resources staff to not only match employees with the jobs for which they are best suited, but to enhance their productivity and limit turnover.

Increasingly, employers look for college graduates who have majored in human resources, human resources administration, or industrial and labor relations to lead the organization’s workforce in a positive direction.

Why Labor and Employment Relations at Penn State

Penn State World Campus, in partnership with the University's highly regarded School of Labor and Employment Relations, offers two bachelor's degree programs in labor and employment relations to prepare you for careers in human resources as generalists or specialists in compensation, benefits, diversity, labor relations, safety and health, and training and recruitment. They can also prepare you for careers in government, unions, and in dispute resolution.

The School of LER faculty has an extensive range of expertise in fields such as human resources, employment and labor law, international human resources and employment relations, organizational behavior and workforce diversity. In this program, you will also have the opportunity to study with highly regarded faculty from Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts, one of the premier institutions in the world to study and work in the liberal arts disciplines.

Labor and Employment Relations Video

Learn more about the World Campus degrees in labor and employment relations in this video:

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

  • 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, labor relations or other human resources roles within an organization or business.
  • 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 employment law, organizational culture and behavior, workforce diversity, labor relations, 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.

Who Should Apply?

The bachelor’s degrees in labor 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 and employment relations degree program, you can prepare for positions such as:

  • human resources generalist
  • benefits and compensation specialist
  • staffing and placement specialist
  • human resources consultant
  • training and development specialist
  • employee recruiter
  • labor relation specialist
  • union organizer
  • union representative and negotiator
  • arbitrator

Talk to an LER Graduate

If you would like to speak to a graduate of the program, complete this form to be connected with an Alumni Ambassador. These alumni have offered to answer specific questions about the student experience and discuss any concerns you may be having before you apply.