Program Summary

Credits Required

123

Tuition per Credit

$555/$596
Best Online Programs Bachelors

Nationally Recognized

Ranked in the top ten for online bachelor's degrees by U.S. News & World Report.
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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. Similarly, the labor movement requires highly educated staff to best represent the interests of their members, particularly in global markets that have created new challenges for all of the labor movement’s stakeholders.

The Bachelor of Science in Labor and Human Resources is designed for students who want to learn about human resources from a more quantitative perspective. Graduates will be equipped for various positions in human resources, recruitment, placement management, compensation and benefits, and other labor environments. Others may continue their education and work toward a master's or doctoral degree.

The bachelor of science (B.S.) degree allows students to specialize by choosing one of two options:

  • The Human Resources (HR) option focuses on the various functions that human resource management plays in helping organizations achieve the strategic objectives they choose to pursue.
  • The Labor and Employment Relations (LER) option provides the same opportunity for those choosing to focus on the labor movement as a career interest.

Whichever choice a student makes that specialization will appear on the Penn State diploma that the University awards upon completion of the program.

Why Labor and Human Resources at Penn State

In this program, you will have the opportunity to study with highly regarded faculty from the School of Labor and Employment Relations, part of the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts, one of the premier liberal arts institutions in the world. The School of Labor and Employment Relations has offered undergraduate degree programs since its founding in 1942, including one of the largest undergraduate programs for labor and human resources in the United States. Our 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 and can help you gain the comprehensive knowledge you need to address today’s most important employment issues.

Choose the Online Labor and Human Resources Program That Fits Your Career

  • The bachelor of science program offers the prescribed curriculum in labor and human resources, 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, or benefits. This degree offers two options: Human Resources or Labor and Employment Relations.
  • 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 human resources 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, or workforce diversity.

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, or 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. Outstanding students in the B.S. degree program also have the opportunity to participate in the integrated undergraduate/graduate (IUG) program. This allows students to earn a Bachelor of Science in Labor and Human Resources and the Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations in less time than it would traditionally take to earn both degrees independently.

Who Should Apply?

The bachelor’s degrees in labor and human resources are designed for people who are 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 careers 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 or mediators, or in labor unions as a employee representative in the workplace.

As a graduate of the Bachelor of Science in Labor and Human Resources 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 a 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.