international relations meetings

Graduate Certificate in
International Human Resources and Employment Relations

Program summary

Explore differences in culture, policies, practices, and perspectives as they apply to human resources and employment relations within multinational organizations. The skills learned in this program can make you a valuable asset to companies competing in the increasingly global business landscape.

Application deadline

Apply Now to start January 8

Credits and costs

12 Credits $1,017 per credit

Earn a Certificate in International Human Resources and Employment Relations

Today's increasing globalization of the economy and domestic organizations underscores the importance of a deep understanding of international human resource management. As facilities continue to open in other countries, the need for HRER practitioners who are skilled in international human resources and employment relations (IHRER) continues to grow. Penn State's IHRER certificate equips students with the tools and knowledge they will need to compete in this growing market.

What You Can Expect to Learn

As a student, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of HR–related law, policy, and best practices. The program is designed to help you:

  • recognize how institutions and culture at the national level shape management practices
  • analyze employment relations systems in developed and developing areas
  • explore how different legal regimes affect the formation of compensation, firing or layoff of employees, anti-discrimination measures, works councils, and mergers and acquisitions
  • learn how international labor standards are created and adopted
  • identify and analyze practical, legal, and ethical HR challenges
  • learn why and how it may be different working with colleagues from other cultures
  • compare how legislation, state intervention, trade union influence, education systems, and the respective power of shareholders impact HR practices

Why Study HR Management Online at Penn State?

Reputation for Academic Excellence — Offered in partnership with Penn State's nationally recognized School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER), this online program gives students the opportunity to learn from many of the same faculty who teach on campus. As an online learner, you will engage with subject matter experts in fields such as employment and labor law, international human resources and employment relations, organizational behavior, and workforce diversity.

100% Online Course Work — The flexibility of studying when and where you want can give you the opportunity to gain new skills and knowledge while maintaining your current responsibilities.

Online Courses Deliver a Global Perspective

The focus of the International HRER curriculum is to explore the differences in culture, expectations, law, policies, practices, and perspectives as they apply to human resources and employment relations within multinational organizations.

In addition, you will study contemporary topics like global sweatshops, child labor, the diffusion of human resource practices, and corporate social responsibility.


This is a four-course certificate program. All of the courses listed are required.

Required Courses (12 credits)

  • 3

    Course exploring human resource management from an international perspective.

  • 3

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

    • Prerequisite

      LHR 403

  • 3

    This course examines current human resource management (HRM) systems worldwide and the influence of globalization on HRM practice.

    • Prerequisite

      LHR 403

  • 3

    Analysis of structure and elements of employment relations systems in developed and developing areas.

    • Prerequisite

      LHR 403

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.

Costs and Financial Aid

Graduate Tuition

Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester? Cost
11 or fewer $1,017 per credit
12 or more $12,203 per semester

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester? Cost
11 or fewer $1,027 per credit
12 or more $12,325 per semester

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

Paying for Your Certificate

Students pursuing a certificate are considered "nondegree," a status that is not eligible for federal student aid, including the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program. A private alternative loan may be an option to consider.

Additionally, Penn State offers many ways to pay for your education, including an installment plan and third-party payments. Penn State World Campus also offers an Employer Reimbursement and Tuition Deferment Plan. Learn more about the options for paying for your education.

Students pursuing a degree and meeting all other eligibility requirements may qualify for financial aid.

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

  • Spring DeadlineApply now to start January 8
  • Summer DeadlineApply now to start May 13
  • Fall DeadlineApply by August 21, 2024, to start August 26, 2024

Admissions Help

If you have questions about the admissions process, contact our admissions counselors.

Admission Requirements

For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.

  • To enroll in 400-level courses, you must have completed 60 credits of undergraduate work or the equivalent.
  • All applicants must have at least two years of full-time (or an equivalent period of part-time) work experience either in human resources/employment relations (or with equivalent responsibilities), or in an international role. Alternatively, a student can substitute an undergraduate or graduate degree in human resources, employment relations, or international management for the work requirement.

What You Need

Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.

GPA and Test Scores — Postsecondary (undergraduate), junior/senior (last two years) GPA is required. All applicants are expected to have earned a junior/senior grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.

GRE or GMAT scores are NOT required.

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

Program-Specific Questions/Materials

Résumé — Upload your résumé (one page) to the online application.

Statement of Purpose — A brief statement addressing your reasons for pursuing a certificate in international human resources and employment relations.

Start Your Application

You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.

Begin the graduate school application

  • Choose Enrollment Type: "Certificate Admission"
  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
  • Choose "International Human Resources and Employment Relations" for certificate 

Checking Your Status

You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this program.

Ready to Learn More?

Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.

* required 1/3

I agree to be contacted via phone, email, and text by Penn State World Campus and affiliates. I understand my information may also be shared with select providers to offer ads that may be of interest to me. Privacy Policy. reCAPTCHA protected. Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Learn more about this program

Download Program Brochure All my programs 

Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State graduate certificate?

Apply now to start January 8. How to Apply

Start or Advance Your Career

Hiring manager reviewing a resume or CV with a job candidate

You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

Student having a virtual meeting on a laptop with a career counselor

From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 

A Head Start toward a Master’s Degree

A figure standing halfway up a set of stairs leading towards a graduation cap

Not only can this program help create opportunities in your career, it can also give you a solid head start toward a full master’s degree.

Degree Program Related to This Certificate

9 of the 12 credits from the certificate program may also count toward the following program, should you apply and be accepted:

Learn to factor human resources into the strategic plans of organizations. This comprehensive online degree program balances advanced theory with practical knowledge that can be used right away in your current HR position and as a foundation for future career growth.

Learn more about the Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations  

Contact Us

To learn more about the International HRER graduate certificate, offered in partnership with the Penn State School of Labor and Employment Relations, please contact:

World Campus Admissions Counselors
Phone: 814-863-5386
Email: [email protected]

School Director

Elaine Farndale

Director, School of Labor and Employment Relations

  • Degree
    Ph.D., Cranfield University of Management, United Kingdom
  • Degree
    M.A., Personnel Management, Kingston University, United Kingdom
  • Degree
    B.A., French and Modern Dutch Studies, University of Hull, United Kingdom

Dr. Elaine Farndale ​is director of the School of Labor and Employment Relations and a professor of human resource management. Dr. Farndale's areas of specialization and research include international and comparative human resource management (HRM); the power, professionalism, and roles of the HR department; HRM and firm performance; change management and HRM; eHRM and new HR delivery mechanisms; and HRM and employee engagement. She has presented numerous papers at international conferences and has published articles and chapters in both the practitioner and academic press. Dr. Farndale has also worked as an HR specialist for several years.


  • Akram Al Ariss

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia
    • Degree
      B.S., Engineering, Lebanese American University

    Dr. Akram Al Ariss lectures at Champagne School of Management, ESC Troyes in France. His research focuses on international human resource management (IHRM). He has written several book chapters, book reviews, and journal articles — in English, French, and Arabic — on interdisciplinary issues related to IHRM, including articles in British Journal of Management; Thunderbird International Business Review; Career Development International; Work, Employment and Society; and Personnel Review.

  • Jackie Brova, MBA

    Jackie Brova is executive vice president, human resources at Church & Dwight, Co. Inc., a $2.5 billion consumer products company headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey. Jackie’s more than 30-year career spans three industries (mining, steel, and consumer products), and she has worked in both union (UMWA, USWA, Teamsters, IAM) and non-union settings. Her experience includes support of acquisitions, divestitures, shutdowns, and start-ups, and it encompasses all aspects of the human resource function. In her role at Church & Dwight, she has corporate-wide responsibility for global HR matters. Jackie received her B.A. in labor studies from Penn State and her MBA from Moravian College, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

  • Robert Ostrov

    • Degree
      J.D., Chicago-Kent College of Law
    • Degree
      MBA, Finance and Strategic Planning, Roosevelt University
    • Degree
      B.S., Labor and Industrial Relations, Cornell University

    Robert Ostrov's most recent position was senior vice president of human resources for Central Parking System, Inc. He previously served as senior vice president, chief human resources officer at the former ArvinMeritor, Inc.; vice president of human resources and labor relations, FedEx Corporation; senior vice president of human resources for True Value Company; and senior vice president of human resources at GE.

  • Paul Whitehead

    • Degree
      J.D., Harvard Law School
    • Degree
      M.S., Industrial Relations, University of Wisconsin
    • Degree
      B.S., Labor Studies, University of Wisconsin

    Paul Whitehead is a professor of practice specializing in labor and employment law. He practiced labor, bankruptcy, and benefits law for more than 30 years for the United Steelworkers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, serving as general counsel from 2001 to 2009. His career has included, in addition to years of collective bargaining, the representation of workers and retirees affected by corporate restructurings, foreign trade disputes, and the design of benefit programs.

Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State graduate certificate?

Apply now to start January 8. How to Apply