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Labor and Industrial Relations


Labor and industrial relations programs prepare people to work with unions and managers. They deal with issues such as working conditions and wages.

Labor and industrial relations programs prepare people to mediate and resolve labor disputes. Students learn about labor laws and how to negotiate contracts.

Labor and industrial relations programs cover topics such as:

Students also study general business subjects.


Internships allow students to develop skills at companies or organizations. A labor union or large business would be a relevant place to intern for this program.


In labor and industrial relations programs, students may be able to specialize in:


Colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in labor and industrial relations. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Universities also offer graduate degrees in labor and industrial relations. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

Students who are interested in negotiating contracts may want to get a law degree. This requires three years beyond the bachelor's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Related Careers

Careers Directly Related to this Program of Study

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs or to law school is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores. Your bachelor's degree should be in labor and industrial relations or another business field. If your undergraduate major was not business-related, you should complete several courses in labor relations. You should also take courses in accounting, economics, and statistics. Other recommended courses are business law, management information systems, and management.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Things to Know

You should take courses in non-business subjects. Good skills in writing, speaking, and critical thinking are needed for advancement in the business world, and especially if you intend to get a law degree.

Business courses in high school can be useful preparation for a career in labor and industrial relations. You should take only a few, so that your high school transcript shows that you are preparing for a demanding college-level program.


Tacoma Area

University of Washington - Tacoma