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University Bulletin

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Labor Studies and Employment Relations

University Park, College of the Liberal Arts (LERBS)
World Campus

PROFESSOR PAUL CLARK, Head

This major permits students to undertake a study of work and the employment relationship in the context of a liberal arts education. A broad foundation of theoretical and professional knowledge is provided through a multidisciplinary approach. The B.A. and B.S. degrees draw on the perspectives of disciplines such as industrial relations, economics, history, law, sociology, and psychology. This focus includes the nature and functions of the institutions involved in the employment relationship. The B.S. degree requires more course work in quantification than the B.A. degree.

Graduates of Labor Studies and Employment Relations are equipped for employment in business, government, and labor organizations as labor relations specialists, personnel and human resource specialists, researchers, organizers, consultants, and professionals in mediation and arbitration. The degree is also appropriate preparation for graduate study and law school.

For the B.S. degree in Labor Studies and Employment Relations, a minimum of 123 credits is required.

Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. For more information, check the Recommended Academic Plan for your intended program.

Scheduling Recommendation by Semester Standing given like (Sem: 1-2)

GENERAL EDUCATION: 45 credits
(6-10 of these 45 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
(See description of General Education in this bulletin.)

FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR:
(Included in ELECTIVES or GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)

UNITED STATES CULTURES AND INTERNATIONAL CULTURES:
(Included in ELECTIVES, GENERAL EDUCATION course selection, or REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM:
(Included in ELECTIVES, GENERAL EDUCATION course selection, or REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

ELECTIVES: 21-26 credits

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR: 62-63 credits[1]
(This includes 6-10 credits of General Education courses: 6 credits of GS courses; 0-4 credits of GQ courses.)

PRESCRIBED COURSES (16 credits)
(Some courses in this category have prerequisites that are not included in the major.)
ECON 102 GS(3), ECON 315 GS(3), PSYCH 281 GS(3) (Sem: 1-8)
LER 100 GS(3), LER 312(4) (Sem: 3-8)

ADDITIONAL COURSES (13 credits)
(Some courses in this category have prerequisites that are not included in the major.)
LER 201 GS(3) or LER 401(3) [law] (Sem: 3-8)
SCM 200(4) or STAT 200 GQ(4) (Sem: 3-8)
LER 136 US(3) or WMNST 136 US(3) or LER 400 IL(3) (diversity) (Sem: 5-8)
LER 458Y US(3) or HIST 458Y US(3) or LER 414W(3) (analytical writing) (Sem: 5-8)

SUPPORTING COURSES AND RELATED AREAS (33-34 credits)
(LER courses that are used in the Additional Courses category may not be double-counted to satisfy this requirement. Some courses in this category have prerequisites that are not included in the major.)

Select 15-21 credits from appropriate LER courses, at least 9 at the 400 level (only 3 credits of LER 495 or 3 credits of LER 496 may be used to satisfy this requirement) (Sem: 5-8)

Select 12-19 credits in consultation with adviser from the department list, at least 6 at the 400 level, 3 each from 3 categories:
--a. ECON 342 GS(3), ECON 370 GS(3), ECON 412(3), ECON 436W US(3), ECON 445(3) (Sem: 5-8)
--b. MGMT 100(3), MGMT 321(3), MGMT 331(3), MGMT 341(3), MGMT 424(3) (Sem: 3-8)
--c. PL SC 424(3), PL SC 471(3), PL SC 474(3) (Sem: 5-8)
--d. PSYCH 482(3), PSYCH 484(3), PSYCH 485(3) (Sem: 5-8)
--e. SOC 119 GS;US(4), SOC 409 US(3), SOC 444(3), SOC 455(3), SOC 456(3) (Sem: 3-8)
--f. ACCTG 211(4), CAS 352(3), H P A 460(3), HD FS 425 US(3), HIST 155 GH;US(3), PHIL(S T S) 407(3) (Sem: 5-8)

Integrated B.S. in Labor Studies and Employment Relations and M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations (LRHRER)

PROFESSOR PAUL F. CLARK, Head

The integrated LER B.S. and HRER M.S. is a five-year program designed for academically talented baccalaureate students to obtain both the B.S. and the M.S. degrees in LER and HRER with five years of study. Students will develop expertise in the human resources and labor relations fields beyond the B.S. degree. The undergraduate curriculum educates students about (1) the roles of employers, employees, employee organizations and public policy makers play in the employment relationship, (2) the complex personal and organizational issues inherent in the employment relationship (3) and how to systematically analyze those complex issues and evaluate research relevant to those analyses. The graduate curriculum provides for more individualized, focused learning in a concentrated sub-area of the HRER field. The program culminates with an M.S. research paper. Upon completion of the integrated degree, students will enter the workforce with advanced knowledge and expertise gained from conducting and analyzing empirical work and participating in seminar-style classes.

Admission Requirements

The number of openings in the integrated B.S./M.S. program will be limited to undergraduates with strong academic records. Applicants to the integrated program:

  1. must be enrolled in the LER B.S. program;
  2. must complete the Penn State graduate degree application form and pay the application fee
  3. must have completed 60 credits of the undergraduate degree program when they officially apply for the M.S. (it is stronlgy suggested that students apply to the program prior to completing 100 credits)
  4. should have an overall GPA of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the major;
  5. must obtain letters of recommendation from the chairs of the Department's undergraduate and graduate committees, and
  6. must submit a writing sample, 2 transcripts, 1 letter of recommendation (in addition to those from the chairs of the Department's undergraduate and graduate committees), and a career statement.

No GRE or GMAT scores are required for admission to the program.

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Science

Scheduling Recommendation by Semester Standing given like (Sem: 1-2)

GENERAL EDUCATION: 45 credits
(10 of these 45 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR:
(Included in ELECTIVES or GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)

UNITED STATES CULTURES AND INTERNATIONAL CULTURES:
(Included in ELECTIVES or GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)

WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM:
(Included in REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

ELECTIVES: 18 credits

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR: 98-99 credits
[12 credits may be double counted, 6 must be at the 500 level]

B.S. REQUIREMENTS: 62-63 credits
(This includes 10 credits of General Education courses)

PRESCRIBED COURSES: (16 credits)
(Some courses in this category have prerequisites that are not included in the major)
ECON 102 GS(3), ECON 315 GS(3), PSYCH 281 GS(3) (Sem: 1-8)
LER 100 GS(3), LER 312(4) (Sem: 3-8)

ADDITIONAL COURSES: (13 credits)
(Some courses in this category have prerequisites that are not included in the major)
LER 201 GS(3) or LER 401(3) (Sem: 3-8)
SCM 200(4) or STAT 200 GQ(4) (Sem: 3-8)
LER 136 US(3) or WMNST 136 US(3) or LER 400 IL(3) (Sem: 5-8)
LER 458Y US(3) or HIST 458Y US(3) or LER 414W(3) (Sem: 5-8)

SUPPORTING COURSES AND RELATED AREAS: (33-34 credits)

(LER courses that are used in the Additional Courses category may not be double counted to satisfy this requirement. Some courses in this category have prerequisites that are not included in the major.)

Select 15-21 credits from appropriate LER courses, at least 9 must be at the 400 level (only 3 credits of LER 495 or 3 credits of LER 496 may be used to satisfy this requirement) (Sem: 5-8)

Select 12-19 credits from the department list in consultation with an adviser, at least 6 credits must be at the 400 level, 3 each from 3 categories:

  1. ECON 342 GS(3), ECON 370 GS(3), ECON 412(3), ECON 436(3), ECON 445(3) (Sem: 5-8)
  2. MGMT 100(3), MGMT 321(3), MGMT 331(3), MGMT 341(3), MGMT 424(3) (Sem: 3-8)
  3. PL SC 424(3), PL SC 471(3), PL SC 474(3) (Sem: 5-8)
  4. PSYCH 482(3), PSYCH 484(3), PSYCH 485(3) (Sem: 5-8)
  5. SOC 119 GS;US(4), SOC 409 US(3), SOC 444(3), SOC 455(3), SOC 456(3) (Sem: 3-8)
  6. ACCTG 211(4), CAS 352(3), H P A 460(3), HD FS 425 US(3), HIST 155 GH(3), S T S 407(3) (Sem: 5-8)

M.S. REQUIREMENTS: 36 credits
[12 credits may be double counted, 6 must be at the 500 level]

PRESCRIBED COURSES: (21 credits)
HRER 501(3), HRER 502(3), HRER 504(3), HRER 505(3), HRER 512(3)*, HRER 513(3)**, HRER 516(3)
*or other statistics course approved in advance by graduate director
**or other methods course approved in advance by graduate director

ADDITIONAL COURSES: (15 credits)
Select 15 credits from the following list in consultation with adviser (only 6 credits may be at the 400 level).
LER 400 IL(3), LER 401(3), LER 414W(3), LER 424(3), LER 434(3), LER 435(3), LER 437(3), LER 444(3), LER 458Y US(3), LER 460(3), LER 465(3), LER 470(3), HRER 500(3), HRER 535(3), HRER 536(3), HRER 594(1-6), HRER 595(1-6), HRER 596(1-6), HRER 597(1-3), HRER 600(3-6)

Emphasis Courses (6 credits)
An emphasis is an area of study related to a particular aspect or domain of industrial relations and human resources. Select 6 credits from the M.S. prescribed or additional courses in consultation with their adviser.

Masters Research Paper or a Masters Thesis (6 credits)
Students must complete either a Masters Research Paper or a Masters Thesis. Students choosing the Thesis option must complete 6 thesis credits (HRER 600). These credits can be counted towards the 15 credits required from the M.S. Additional Courses section above.

Integrated B.S. in Labor Studies and Employment Relations and M.P.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations

The integrated LER B.S. and HRER M.P.S is a five-year program designed for academically talented World Campus baccalaureate students to obtain both the B.S. and the M.P.S. degrees in LER and HRER in an intense, accelerated program of study. Students will develop expertise in the human resources and employment relations field beyond the B.S. degree. The undergraduate curriculum introduces students to (1) the roles employers, employees, employee organizations and public policy makers play in the employment relationship, (2) the complex personal and organizational issues inherent in the employment relationship (3) the laws that form the legal framework for the employee-employer relationship, and (4) the tools needed to systematically analyze those complex issues and evaluate research relevant to those analyses. The graduate curriculum provides for a more intensive, individualized, and focused examination of the human resources and employment relations field.  It also provides an opportunity for students to explore a concentrated sub-area of the HRER field in depth. The program culminates with a research project which is completed through the capstone course, HRER 894.  Upon completion of the integrated degree, students will have gained advanced knowledge and expertise from conducting and analyzing empirical work and participating in online classes that can be directly applied to the workplace.

A minimum of 33 credits is needed to complete the MPS degree in HRER. Nine credits (400 level and above) can apply to both undergraduate and graduate degrees; six of these must be at a 500 or 800 level.

Admission Requirements

Admissions decisions for the B.S./M.P.S. program are based on the quality of the applicant's credentials. The decisions are made after a review of the complete application portfolio. The integrated B.S./M.P.S. program will be limited to highly talented undergraduates. Applicants to the integrated program:

  • must be enrolled in the LER B.S. program;
  • must complete the Penn State graduate degree application and pay the application fee
  • shall be admitted no earlier than the beginning of the third semester of undergraduate study at Penn State (regardless of transfer or AP credits accumulated prior to enrollment) and no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree, as specified in the proposed IUG plan of study;
  • must have an overall GPA of 3.4 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.6 in the major;
  • must submit 2 letters of  recommendation from current or previous Penn State instructors and 1 additional letter of recommendation (should be professional or academic);
  • must submit a writing sample, a resume, and 2-3 page essay articulating career and educational goals that demonstrates the applicant’s written communication skills;
  • must present an approved plan of study (to be determined in consultation with the student’s undergraduate adviser and the Graduate Director, and to be signed by both); and
  • must possess the equivalent of two years of full-time work experience prior to admission.

No GRE or GMAT scores are required for admission to the program.

Degree Requirements


The M.P.S. requires 33 credits at the 400 level or higher; at least 6 credits must be at the 500 level.

Nine (9) of 33 credits can be double counted for B.S. and M.P.S. At least 6 of these must be at the 500 or 800 level.

Prescribed Courses (24 credits)

Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER)

  • 501. Labor and Employment Law (3 credits)
  • 504. Seminar in Industrial Relations (3 credits)
  • 505. Seminar in Human Resources (3 credits)
  • 800. International Context of HRER (3 credits)
  • 802. Organizations in the Workplace (3 credits)
  • 816. Labor Market Analysis (3 credits)
  • 836. Diversity in the Workplace (3 credits)
  • 894. Research Project (3 credits)

Areas of Concentration (6 credits)

Select 6 credits in area of concentration.

Benefits and Compensation

  • LER 424. Employment Compensation (3 credits)
  • LER 425. Employment Benefits (3 credits)

Employment and Labor Law

  • LER 401. Law of Labor-Management Relations (3 credits)
  • HRER 811. Labor and Employment Law II (3 credits)

Labor and Collective Bargaining

  • LER 401. Law of Labor-Management Relations (3 credits)
  • LER 435. Labor Relations in the Public Sector (3 credits)

Staffing, Training, and Development

  • LER 426 Staffing and Training (3 credits) or WF ED 471 Training in Industry and Business (3 credits)
  • WF ED 573 Needs Assessment for Industrial Trainers (3 credits)

Elective Courses (3 credits)

Select an additional 3-credit course from the following list of LER, HRER, and WF ED courses.

Labor and Employee Relations (LER)

  • 401. Law of Labor-Management Relations (3 credits)
  • 424. Employment Compensation (3 credits)
  • 425. Employment Benefits (3 credits)
  • 426. Staffing and Training(3 credits)
  • 435. Labor Relations in the Public Sector (3 credits)
  • 444. Occupational Heath: Policy and Practice (3 credits)
  • 445Y. Politics of Affirmative Action (3 credits)
  • 460. Human Resource Ethics (3 credits)
  • 464. Communication Skills for Leaders in Groups and Organizations (3 credits)
  • 465. Collective Decision Making (3 credits)
  • 472. Work-Life Practices and Policies (3 credits)

Human Resources and Employee Relations (HRER)

  • 811. Labor and Employment Law II (3 credits)

Workforce Education and Development (WF ED)

  • 471. Training in Industry and Business (3 credits)
  • 573. Needs Assessment for Industrial Trainers (3 credits)

Student Aid
Fellowships, traineeships, graduate assistantships, and other forms of financial aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

HUMAN RESOURCES AND EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS (HRER) course list
LABOR STUDIES AND EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS (LER) course list

[1] A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better, as specified in Senate Policy 82-44.

Last Revised by the Department: Spring Semester 2013

Blue Sheet Item #: 35-06-463; IUG 41-05-127

Review Date: 02/19/2013

UCA Revision #1: 8/8/06
UCA Revision #2: 7/27/07

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