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Undergraduate Certificate in
Labor and Human Resources

Program summary

Build a foundation in human resources — with a particular emphasis on course work that examines related policies, legal issues, and employment law — with this online certificate program in labor and human resources.

Application deadline

Apply by August 14 to start August 21

Credits and costs

12 Credits $620/$664 per credit

Learn about Labor Relations and Human Resources

Penn State's Undergraduate Certificate in Labor and Human Resources examines the relationship between employers and employees in the context of labor/management and human resources policies and practices. It examines the law and policies surrounding these critical workplace subjects. This program can help you understand employment relationships in the workplace, as well as how to recognize and resolve employment issues. You can customize your course work by choosing from a variety of electives.

Why an Online Certificate at Penn State?

Comprehensive course work — The knowledge you gain in this program can immediately increase your understanding of workplace labor and human resource issues from the employee, labor union, and employer perspectives. Introductory course work includes the analysis of the employment relationship and the interrelated interests of management, workers, unions, and the public, as well as an examination of basic legal principles underlying the employment relationship.

Broaden your experience — Take 6 credits of electives in an area of your choice; some options include labor force issues of racial and gender inequality, labor relations in the public sector, or leadership in work settings. This certificate program can be used as an important first step in your education or as a recognized stand-alone credential. If you are interested in continuing your education, you can work with an academic adviser to determine how some of the credits earned in this certificate may be applied toward a degree, such as the Bachelor of Arts in Labor and Employment Relations. If you already have a degree, this certificate program is an excellent complement; it can provide you with the human resource fundamentals valued in virtually any industry.

Who Should Apply?

If you aspire to work in labor, human resources, or a related field, the certificate in Labor and Human Resources can help you acquire a foundation in a range of subjects, including employment law, collective bargaining, and human resource management, as well as issues with workplace ethics.

The Penn State Difference

In this program, you will 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.


Applications are now being accepted for Penn State’s Undergraduate Certificate in Labor and Human Resources. This certificate provides students with foundational information regarding labor/management and human resources policies and practices. The courses are taught by Penn State faculty using Penn State World Campus’ online learning platform. Upon your successful completion of the program, Penn State will award you a Certificate of Academic Accomplishment.

Required Courses (6 credits)

  • 3

    Introductory analysis of the employment relationship and the interrelated interests of management, workers, unions, and the public.

    • GS

      The credits earned in this course may be applied toward the Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS) requirement.

  • 3

    Examination of basic legal principles underlying the employment relationship, and their social, political, and economic bases.

    • GS

      The credits earned in this course may be applied toward the Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS) requirement.

Elective Courses (select 6 credits)

  • 3

    The course surveys the main elements of modern labor and employment relations systems in the U.S. and beyond.

    • Prerequisite

      LHR 100

  • 3

    This course will help students understand the manner in which employees and employers interact at work.

    • Prerequisite

      LHR 100

  • 3

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

  • 3

    Course exploring human resource management from an international perspective.

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

Undergraduate Tuition

Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2022–23 Academic Year Rates

How many credits do you plan to take per semester? If you have 59 or fewer credits If you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer $620 per credit $664 per credit
12 or more $7,527 per semester $8,125 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

  • Fall DeadlineApply by August 14 to start August 21
  • Spring DeadlineApply by January 1 to start January 8
  • Summer DeadlineApply by May 5, 2024, to start May 13, 2024

All supporting materials should be sent following the submission of your application.

For current and future course registration deadlines, visit the Registrar's website to view the academic calendar by semester

Admissions Help

If you have questions about the admissions process, contact [email protected].

Admission Requirements

To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate, or have completed your GED.

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.

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

Apply by August 14 to start August 21. How to Apply

Start or Advance Your Career

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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.

Job Titles Related to This Degree

By completing this program, you can be prepared for a variety of positions, including:

  • benefits associate
  • labor relations assistant
  • recruitment and placement assistant
  • human resources assistant

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

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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 Degree

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

Degree Programs Related to This Certificate

Some or all credits earned for this certificate can be applied to the following Penn State World Campus degree programs:

This 100% online HR bachelor's degree program is SHRM–aligned, making it an ideal choice for those preparing for professional certification. Gain the quantitative and analytical skills to work in staffing, recruitment, compensation, benefits, and other human resource management roles.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Labor and Human Resources  

Build a solid foundation in human resources, labor, and employment relations while focusing on humanities and social sciences. This online degree program is designed for students who want to pursue careers in organizational culture, workforce diversity, labor relations, and other HR areas.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Arts in Labor and Human Resources  

Develop a practical skill set that is applicable to virtually any industry. This associate degree can build your knowledge of human resources, economics, law, sociology, and employment relations to help you excel in your current role or transition to a new career.

Learn more about the Associate in Science in Labor and Human Resources  

Contact Us

For questions about admissions and applications, please contact World Campus Central:

World Campus Central
Phone: 814-865-1146
[email protected]

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

Apply by August 14 to start August 21. How to Apply