Human Resources and Employment Relations

Graduate Program HeadPaul F. Clark
Program CodeHRER
Campus(es)

University Park (M.S.)

World Campus (M.P.S.)

Degrees Conferred

Master of Science (M.S.)

Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.)

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

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

Integrated B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations

Integrated B.S. in Spanish and M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations

Integrated B.S. in Communication Arts and Sciences and M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations

Integrated B.A. in Communication Arts and Sciences and M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations

Joint J.D./M.S. with Penn State Law

The Graduate Faculty

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Master of Science in Human Resources and Employment Relations

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER) is a two-year program designed for students anticipating careers in some aspect of human resource management or employment relations.

After completing the program:

  • Students will have and be able to demonstrate the necessary advanced knowledge and competence in the fields to excel in Human Resource Management and Employment Relations careers.
  • Students will be able to effectively communicate knowledge of current topics in the fields both verbally and in writing to excel as Human Resource Management and Employment Relations professionals.
  • Students will be able to recognize and analyze practical, legal, and ethical challenges in domestic and global workplaces.
  • Students will be able to respond appropriately to practical, legal, and ethical challenges in domestic and global workplaces using both theoretical and practical approaches and in accordance with the standards, values and best practices of their discipline.
  • Students will be able to interact effectively with other organizational leaders in helping to develop and implement organizational strategies.

Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations

The M.P.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER) is a 33 credit program of study for professionals working in human resources/employment relations or considering a career in some aspect of human resources and employment relations. The program will prepare students to:

  • understand the roles that employers, employees, employee organizations and unions, and public policy makers play in the employment relationship;
  • analyze the complex personal, legal, and organizational issues inherent in the employment relationship;
  • understand the ethical dimensions of human resource and employment relations; and
  • analyze complex issues and evaluate research results in the process of administering labor and human resource systems;

Courses include the study of employment law, labor and employment relations, human resources, workplace organization, labor markets, ethics, the employment relationship, recruiting/selection, compensation and benefits, workforce development, and diversity in the workplace.

The program highlights the changing nature of the HRER field, including the impact of the globalization of private and public organizations and the growing importance of diversity in the workforce. It culminates in a capstone project in which students will demonstrate their understanding of the curriculum and apply it to their professional areas of interest. Upon completion of the M.P.S. HRER, students will be equipped to work as professionals in human resource management, employment relations, and general management with private employers, unions, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.)

Students who do not have a GPA of at least 3.0 will be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the quality of their overall application. One year of full-time work experience (or its equivalent) is preferred; however, students who meet all other requirements will be considered with less than the preferred minimum.

Admissions decisions for the program are based on the quality of the applicant's credentials. The decisions are based on a review of the complete application portfolio. During the admission process, students who are better suited for another graduate program will be encouraged to apply to the appropriate program. Applicants to the M.P.S. HRER must submit the following materials:

  • Short Answer Questions: Applicants will be asked to respond to the following 5 questions within the graduate application. The answers to these questions will allow the admissions committee to get to know more about you, your goals, and experiences.
    • What are your short term and long-term career goals and how do you expect this program to impact those career goals?
    • Discuss your strategy of how you will shape the program to support your professional aspirations.
    • Tell us about your leadership style and provide a supporting example.
    • Explain how you are prepared/preparing to succeed in a rigorous graduate program. Discuss your strategies, and perceived challenges, that you may have related to time management, and plans for how you will handle unexpected changes/interruptions to your schedule.
    • Give an example of a time in which you received professional constructive criticism. What was it, who did it come from, and how did you apply it going forward?
  • Documentation of a minimum of 1 year of full-time work and a resume should be attached as a supplement;
  • One letter of recommendation that attests to the applicant's readiness for graduate study and documents the requisite minimum of one year of work experience;
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required.

Master of Science (M.S.)

Applicants to the M.S. HRER program:

  • Must submit a 2-3 page essay articulating career and educational goals that demonstrates the applicant’s written communication skills.
  • Must submit a resume.
  • Must submit a writing sample - Preferably an individually written essay or research paper that the student submitted in a college course (Please note: the resume is not considered to be a writing sample).
  • Must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
  • Must submit official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended. Applicants with a 3.00 junior/senior grade-point average (on a 4.00 scale) will be considered for admission. Exceptions to the minimum grade-point average may be made at the discretion of the program for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests. 
  • Must submit three letters of recommendation sent from people who can adequately assess the student's likelihood of completing the graduate program.

Degree Requirements

Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

Students pursuing the M.P.S. in HRER are required to complete a concentration designed to provide the student an opportunity to develop expertise in a specific area of human resources and employment relations.

Students will choose and complete one concentration which will include 6 credits beyond the 27 required core course credits. Students will be required to complete the capstone project in their area of concentration. For example, students choosing the Benefits and Compensation concentration are required to complete a capstone project that focuses on some aspect of benefits and compensation. The program culminates with a research project which is completed while enrolled in HRER 894

Total Required Credits for the M.P.S.: 33 credits at the 400, 500, or 800 level; at least 18 credits must be at the 500 or 800 level, with at least 6 credits at the 500-level.

Required Courses
HRER 501Labor and Employment Law3
HRER 504Seminar in Employment Relations3
HRER 505Seminar in Human Resources3
HRER 802Human Behavior and Organizational Performance3
HRER 803Human Resources in Multinational Enterprises3
HRER 825Strategic Business Tools for HRER Professionals3
HRER 836Diversity in the Workplace3
HRER 860Ethical Decision Making for HR Practitioners3
Electives
Select 6 credits in one of the following concentration areas:6
Benefits and Compensation
Employee Compensation
Employee Benefits
Employment and Labor Law
Select 6 credits from the following
LER 401
Comparative and International Employment and Labor Law
Labor and Employment Law II
Ethics and Leadership
LER 464
LER 409
or LER 465
HR Analytics and Artificial Intelligence
Research Methods and Analytics in Human Resources and Employment Relations
Human Resource & Employee Relations in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
International Human Resources and Employment Relations
LER 403
Comparative and International Employment and Labor Law
or LER 400
Labor and Collective Bargaining
LER 401
LER 435
Labor Unions: Organization and Strategy
Labor Union Structure, Administration and Governance
American Labor Unions
Staffing, Training, and Development
Talent Management
Talent Development
Culminating Experience
HRER 894Research Topics (Capstone Project)3
Total Credits33

Master of Science (M.S.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

A minimum of 39 credits at the 400, 500, 600, or 800 level is required; with at least 18 credits in the 500 and 600 series. A minimum of 12 credits in course work (400, 500, and 800 series) must be completed in HRER. If the student chooses to write a thesis, at least 6 credits in thesis research (HRER 600) must be completed. The thesis must be accepted by the advisers and/or committee members, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School, and the student must pass a thesis defense. If the student chooses the capstone course track, at least 18 credits must be in 500-level courses.

For the degree, an overall 3.00 (B) grade-point average must be earned in the 400, 500, and 800-level courses, and a grade of B or above must be earned in all 500-level courses. Required courses are offered once per academic year and elective courses at least once every two academic years.

Core Curriculum
HRER 501Labor and Employment Law3
HRER 502Human Behavior at Work3
HRER 504Seminar in Employment Relations3
HRER 505Seminar in Human Resources3
HRER 512Research Methods and Analytics in Human Resources and Employment Relations3
HRER 825Strategic Business Tools for HRER Professionals3
Human Resources and Employment Relations (Base Program)
LER 4803
LER 4373
HRER 536Diversity in the Workplace3
HRER 523Seminar in Work-Life Dilemmas, Practices, and Policies3
Electives
Students who choose the capstone course track must select 6 credits from an approved elective list in consultation with their adviser in addition to the capstone course, HRER 588. Students choosing the thesis track must select 3 credits from an approved elective list in consultation with their adviser in addition to the 6 credits of thesis research (HRER 600). The list of elective courses is maintained by the graduate program office. 3-6
Culminating Experience
Students can choose between the capstone course track or thesis track:
HRER 588Capstone in Human Resources and Employment Relations (Capstone Course)3
HRER 600Thesis Research6
Total Credits39

Human Resource Management option

Option-Specific Courses
HRER 527Talent Development and Change Management3
HRER 503Seminar in International Human Resources Studies3
HRER 526Managing Talent Flow3
HRER 824Total Rewards3
Total Credits12

Employment Relations Option

Option-Specific Courses
Required
HRER 500Topics in Comparative Industrial Relations3
LER 4013
Select 6 credits from the following:6
American Labor Unions
LER 435
LER 475H
International Labor Law
Global Workers' Rights
Total Credits12

Integrated Undergrad-Grad Programs  

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

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

The integrated Labor and Human Resources 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 Labor and Human Resources 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. 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.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Students apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School, as well as the admission requirements for the Master of Professional Studies degree in HRER. 

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 Labor and Human Resources B.S. program;
  • must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG;
  • must have an overall GPA of 3.4 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate course work 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 (either 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; the approved Plan of Study should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program); and
  • one year of full-time work experience (or its equivalent) is preferred; however, students who meet all other requirements will be considered with less than the preferred minimum.

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

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the B.S. in Labor and Human Resources are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Degree requirements for the M.P.S. degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab. To earn the Master of Professional Studies degree in HRER, students in the IUG program must complete all of the degree requirements for the Master of Professional Studies, with one exception. The requirement for the 3-credit course HRER 860 is waived for students accepted into the IUG degree program, as a course required for the B.S. in Labor and Human Resources covers the same material. Students must choose an additional 3-credit elective in consultation with their advisers to meet the minimum 33 credits required for the M.P.S. degree.

9 credits at the 400, 500, or 800 level can apply to both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students can choose which 9 credits will double-count for both the undergraduate and graduate degrees from the following list:

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
LER 4003
LER 401
LER 4033
or HRER 803 Human Resources in Multinational Enterprises
LER 4273
or HRER 825 Strategic Business Tools for HRER Professionals
LER 460
HRER 501Labor and Employment Law3
HRER 504Seminar in Employment Relations3

A minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted.

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students are expected to complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.P.S. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied. 

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

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

The integrated Labor and Human Resources 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 Labor and Human Resources and HRER with five years of study. Students will develop expertise in the human resources and employment relations fields beyond the B.S. degree. The undergraduate curriculum educates students about:

  1. the roles that 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 a capstone course or thesis. 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

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Students apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School, as well as the admission requirements for the Master of Science degree in HRER. 

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 Labor and Human Resources B.S. program;
  2. must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG;
  3. must have an overall GPA of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate course work and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the major; 
  4. must obtain letters of  recommendation from the chairs of the Department’s undergraduate and graduate committees; and
  5. 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.

In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program. Students must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

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

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the B.S. in Labor and Human Resources are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. To earn the Master of Science degree in HRER, students in the IUG program must complete all of the degree requirements for the Master of Science described on the Degree Requirements tab.

Up to 12 credits may be applied to both undergraduate and graduate degree program requirements. Students can choose which 12 credits will double-count for both the undergraduate and graduate degrees from the following list:

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
LER 4003
or HRER 500 Topics in Comparative Industrial Relations
LER 401
LER 4033
or HRER 503 Seminar in International Human Resources Studies
LER 4273
or HRER 825 Strategic Business Tools for HRER Professionals
LER 4283
or HRER 824 Total Rewards
LER 460
HRER 501Labor and Employment Law3
HRER 502Human Behavior at Work3
HRER 504Seminar in Employment Relations3

A minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted.

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students are expected to complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.S. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

Integrated B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

The integrated Psychology (PSYBS) B.S. and Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER) M.S. is a five-year program designed for academically-talented undergraduate Psychology baccalaureate students to obtain both the B.S. degree in Psychology and the M.S. degree in HRER in an intense, accelerated program of study. Students will develop expertise in the human resources and employment relations field beyond that provided by their Psychology B.S. degree. The undergraduate psychology curriculum potentially introduces students to:

  1. personnel selection,
  2. training and development, and
  3. organizational psychology.

The graduate curriculum provides for a more intensive, individualized, and focused examination of the human resources and employment relations field, including:

  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,
  4. the tools needed to systematically analyze those complex issues and evaluate research relevant to those analyses, and
  5. human resource management policies and practices that contribute to individual and organizational success.

It also provides an opportunity for students to explore a concentrated sub-area of the HRER field in depth. The program culminates with the student either completing a thesis or capstone course. Upon completion of the integrated degree, students will be well-positioned to assume positions of greater responsibility in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Human Resource Management, Employment Relations, and related careers as a result of the advanced knowledge and expertise gained through the program.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Students apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School, as well as the admission requirements for the Master of Science degree in HRER.

Admission decisions for the B.S. Psychology /M.S. Human Resources and Employment Relations 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.S. program will be limited to highly-talented undergraduates. Applicants to the integrated program:

  • Must be enrolled in the PSYBS program, pursuing the Business Option, with the successful completion of PSYCH 281, and one of the following: PSYCH 482, PSYCH 484 or PSYCH 485
  • Must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG;
  • Must have an overall GPA of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate course work and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the major;
  • Must submit three letters of recommendation; and
  • Must submit a writing sample, a resume, and a 2-3 page essay articulating career and educational goals that demonstrates the applicant’s written communication skills.

In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program. Students must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

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

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below.  Degree requirements for the B.S. in Psychology are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. To earn the Master of Science degree in HRER, students in the IUG program must complete all of the degree requirements for the Master of Science described on the Degree Requirements tab, with one exception. Students are not required to complete HRER 502 Human Behavior at Work. Instead, students will choose one additional 3-credit 500 or 800 level elective in consultation with their adviser.

Up to 12 credits may be applied to both undergraduate and graduate degree program requirements. Students can choose which 12 credits will double-count for both the undergraduate and graduate degrees from the following list:

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
One of the following:3
Work Attitudes and Motivation
Leadership in Work Settings
Selection and Assessment in Organizations
LER 460
HRER 500Topics in Comparative Industrial Relations3
or LER 400
HRER 501Labor and Employment Law3
HRER 503Seminar in International Human Resources Studies3
or LER 403

A minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800-level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted.

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students are expected to complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.S. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

Integrated B.S. in Spanish and M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

The integrated Spanish B.S. and HRER M.S. is a five-year program designed for highly qualified and motivated students seeking employment within a culturally diverse workplace. Students will develop basic skills in speaking, understanding, reading, and writing Spanish. Students will gain familiarity with Hispanic cultures through literature and the University's international education program, if they choose to have that experience. Students also will learn about:

  1. the roles that 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, and
  3. how to systematically analyze those complex issues and evaluate research relevant to those analyses.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Students apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School, as well as the admission requirements for the Master of Science degree in HRER.

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:

  • must be enrolled in the Spanish B.S. Applied Spanish Option
  • must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree.Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG;
  • must have an overall GPA of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate course work and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the major; 
  • must obtain letters of recommendation from the chairs of the Spanish undergraduate committee and the HRER graduate committee; and 
  • 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.

In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program. Students must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

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

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the B.S. in Spanish are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Degree requirements for the M.S. degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab.

Up to 12 credits may be applied to both undergraduate and graduate degree program requirements.  Students can choose which 12 credits will double-count for both the undergraduate and graduate degrees from the following list:

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
LER 460
HRER 500Topics in Comparative Industrial Relations3
HRER 501Labor and Employment Law3
HRER 502Human Behavior at Work3
HRER 503Seminar in International Human Resources Studies3
HRER 504Seminar in Employment Relations3

A minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted.

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students are expected to complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.S. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

INTEGRATED B.A. IN COMMUNICATION ARTS AND SCIENCES AND M.S. IN HUMAN RESOURCES AND EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

The integrated Communication Arts and Sciences (CASBA) B.A. and Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER) M.S. is a five-year program designed for academically-talented undergraduate Communication Arts and Sciences baccalaureate students to obtain both the B.A. degree in CAS and the M.S. degree in HRER in an intense, accelerated program of study. Students will develop expertise in the human resources and employment relations field beyond that provided by their CAS B.A. degree.

The undergraduate communication arts and sciences curriculum potentially introduces students to (1) fundamental facets of human communication, (2) practical applications of communication research to organizational contexts, and (3) effective communication in personal, social, professional, and multicultural situations. The graduate curriculum provides for a more intensive, individualized, and focused examination of the human resources and employment relations field, including  (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, (4) the tools needed to systematically analyze those complex issues and evaluate research relevant to those analyses, and (5) human resource management policies and practices that contribute to individual and organizational success. It also provides an opportunity for students to explore a concentrated sub-area of the HRER field in depth, choosing between an HR and an ER option. The program culminates with the student either completing a thesis or capstone course. Upon completion of the integrated degree, students will be well-positioned to assume positions of greater responsibility in Communications, Human Resource Management, Employment Relations, and related careers as a result of the advanced knowledge and expertise gained through the program.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Students apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School, as well as the admission requirements for the Master of Science degree in HRER.

Admission is selective based on criteria established by the leadership of LER and CAS. Though exceptions are possible, student applicants will generally have a minimum overall GPA of 3.5 in their major and have an overall GPA of 3.2 in undergraduate course work at the time of application (on a 4.0 scale). Applications for the program will be considered in the fall and spring semesters for admission to the program the following semester.

Applicants to the integrated program:

  • Must be enrolled in the B.A. program in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences
  • Must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG. 
  • Must provide a narrative statement explaining why they want to participate in this program and why they are qualified to do so.
  • Must arrange for three letters of recommendation (at least one from a Department of Communication Arts and Sciences faculty member).
  • Must submit a writing sample, a resume, and a 2-3 page essay articulating career and educational goals that demonstrates the applicant’s written communication skills.

In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program. Students must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

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

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below.  Degree requirements for the B.A. in Communication Arts and Sciences are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. To earn the Master of Science degree in HRER, students in the IUG program must complete all the degree requirements for the Master of Science described on the Degree Requirements tab.

M.S. Requirements

Up to 12 credits may be applied to both undergraduate and graduate degree program requirements. Students can choose which 12 credits will double-count for both the undergraduate and graduate degrees from the following list:

COURSES ELIGIBLE TO DOUBLE COUNT FOR BOTH DEGREES
CAS 403Interpersonal Communication Theory and Research Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 404Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 422Contemporary African American Communication3
CAS 426WCommunication Ethics3
CAS 450WGroup Communication Theory and Research3
CAS 452WOrganizational Communication Theory and Research Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 453Health Communication Theory and Research3
CAS 455Gender Roles in Communication3
CAS 471Intercultural Communication Theory and Research3
CAS 483Communication and Information Technology II3
HRER 502Human Behavior at Work3
HRER 504Seminar in Employment Relations3
HRER 523Seminar in Work-Life Dilemmas, Practices, and Policies3
HRER 536Diversity in the Workplace3

A minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800-level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted.

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students must complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.S. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

INTEGRATED B.S. IN COMMUNICATION ARTS AND SCIENCES AND M.S. IN HUMAN RESOURCES AND EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

The integrated Communication Arts and Sciences (CASBS) B.S. and Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER) M.S. is a five-year program designed for academically-talented undergraduate Communication Arts and Sciences baccalaureate students to obtain both the B.S. degree in CAS and the M.S. degree in HRER in an intense, accelerated program of study. Students will develop expertise in the human resources and employment relations field beyond that provided by their CAS B.S. degree.

The undergraduate communication arts and sciences curriculum potentially introduces students to (1) fundamental facets of human communication, (2) practical applications of communication research to organizational contexts, and (3) effective communication in personal, social, professional, and multicultural situations. The graduate curriculum provides for a more intensive, individualized, and focused examination of the human resources and employment relations field, including  (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, (4) the tools needed to systematically analyze those complex issues and evaluate research relevant to those analyses, and (5) human resource management policies and practices that contribute to individual and organizational success. It also provides an opportunity for students to explore a concentrated sub-area of the HRER field in depth, choosing between an HR and an ER option. The program culminates with the student either completing a thesis or capstone course. Upon completion of the integrated degree, students will be well-positioned to assume positions of greater responsibility in Communications, Human Resource Management, Employment Relations, and related careers as a result of the advanced knowledge and expertise gained through the program.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Students apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School, as well as the admission requirements for the Master of Science degree in HRER.

Admission is selective based on criteria established by the leadership of LER and CAS. Though exceptions are possible, student applicants will generally have a minimum overall GPA of 3.5 in their major and have an overall GPA of 3.2 in undergraduate course work at the time of application (on a 4.0 scale). Applications for the program will be considered in the fall and spring semesters for admission to the program the following semester.

Applicants to the integrated program:

  • Must be enrolled in the B.S. program in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences
  • Must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG. 
  • Must provide a narrative statement explaining why they want to participate in this program and why they are qualified to do so.
  • Must arrange for three letters of recommendation (at least one from a Department of Communication Arts and Sciences faculty member).
  • Must submit a writing sample, a resume, and a 2-3 page essay articulating career and educational goals that demonstrates the applicant’s written communication skills.

In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program. Students must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

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

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below.  Degree requirements for the B.S. in Communication Arts and Sciences are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. To earn the Master of Science degree in HRER, students in the IUG program must complete all the degree requirements for the Master of Science described on the Degree Requirements tab.

M.S. Requirements

Up to 12 credits may be applied to both undergraduate and graduate degree program requirements. Students can choose which 12 credits will double-count for both the undergraduate and graduate degrees from the following list:

COURSES ELIGIBLE TO DOUBLE COUNT FOR BOTH DEGREES
CAS 403Interpersonal Communication Theory and Research Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 404Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 422Contemporary African American Communication3
CAS 426WCommunication Ethics3
CAS 450WGroup Communication Theory and Research3
CAS 452WOrganizational Communication Theory and Research Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 453Health Communication Theory and Research3
CAS 455Gender Roles in Communication3
CAS 471Intercultural Communication Theory and Research3
CAS 483Communication and Information Technology II3
HRER 502Human Behavior at Work3
HRER 504Seminar in Employment Relations3
HRER 512Research Methods and Analytics in Human Resources and Employment Relations3
HRER 523Seminar in Work-Life Dilemmas, Practices, and Policies3
HRER 536Diversity in the Workplace3

A minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800-level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted.

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students must complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.S. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

Joint Degrees  

Joint J.D. / M.S. with Penn State Law

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-211 Joint Degree Programs.

Penn State Law and the Human Resources and Employment Relations graduate program (HRER) offer a joint degree program leading to a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Human Resources and Employment Relations.

Admission Requirements

The number of openings in the joint degree J.D./M.S. program will be limited to students with an outstanding academic record who have successfully completed the first-year curriculum at Penn State Law. Admissions requirements and applications for admission for Penn State Law are available at the J.D. Admissions section of the Penn State Law website.

Students apply to the joint degree program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School, as well as the admission requirements for the Master of Science degree in HRER.

Applicants to the joint degree program:

  • must have been admitted to Penn State Law;
  • must have successfully completed the first-year curriculum at Penn State Law with a minimum grade point average of 3.0;
  • must complete a plan of study, to be determined in consultation with the student's Law School Adviser and the Director of the HRER Graduate Program;
  • must submit two letters of recommendations from Penn State Law faculty;
  • must submit two transcripts from Penn State Law; and
  • must submit a career statement outlining the student's objectives and reasons for applying to the program.

Please note that applicants to the J.D./M.S. HRER program are not required to submit GRE or GMAT scores.

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the J.D. program are listed on the Penn State Law website. Degree requirements for the M.S. degree in HRER are listed on the Degree Requirements tab.

If students accepted into the joint degree program are unable to complete the J.D. degree, they are still eligible to receive the M.S. degree if all the M.S. degree requirements have been satisfied.

Double-Counting of Credits

Penn State Law: Up to twelve (12) credits of relevant course work for the HRER graduate program can be double-counted towards the requirements for the J.D. degree. The only two HRER courses that will not be credited toward the J.D. degree are HRER 501 and HRER 510.

HRER: Up to twelve (12) credits of relevant course work from Penn State Law can be double-counted toward the degree requirements for the M.S. degree. The twelve credits can be chosen from the courses below:

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
LABR 962The Employment Relationship3
LABR 964Employment Discrimination3
LABR 965Workers' Compensation Law3
LABR 966The Law of Employee Benefits3
LABR 970Labor Law3

Advising

All students in the program will have two advisers, one from Penn State Law and one from the School of Labor and Employment Relations. Periodic interaction between the two advisers is encouraged. A program of study will be developed for each student, taking into account the fact that some courses at both locations are offered on a rotating or intermittent basis.

Minor

A graduate minor is available in any approved graduate major or dual-title program. The default requirements for a graduate minor are stated in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies, depending on the type of degree the student is pursuing:

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

World Campus students in graduate degree programs may be eligible for financial aid. Refer to the Tuition and Financial Aid section of the World Campus website for more information.

Courses

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

Learning Outcomes

Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.)

  1. Graduates will have and be able to demonstrate the necessary advanced knowledge and competence in the fields of human resources and employment relations to excel in their careers.
  2. Graduates will be able to recognize and analyze practical, legal, and ethical challenges related to HRER issues in domestic and global workplaces.
  3. Graduates will be able to effectively apply relevant theories and practices when solving problems in domestic and global workplaces.
  4. Graduates will be able to interact effectively with other organizational leaders in helping to develop and implement organizational strategies in domestic and global workplaces.
  5. Graduates will be able to effectively communicate knowledge of current topics in the fields both verbally and in writing to excel as HRER professionals.
  6. Graduates will be able to conduct independent inquiries to identify current scholarship and best practices when solving problems related to HRER subject areas.

Master of Science (M.S.)

  1. KNOW: Students will have and be able to demonstrate the necessary advanced knowledge and competence in the fields to excel in ER and HRM careers.
  2. COMMUNICATE: Students will be able to effectively communicate knowledge of current topics in the fields both verbally and in writing to excel as ER and HRM professionals.
  3. THINK: Students will be able to recognize and analyze practical, legal, and ethical challenges related to ER and HRM issues in domestic and global workplaces.
  4. PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE: Students will be able to respond appropriately to practical, legal, and ethical challenges in domestic and global workplaces using both theoretical and practical approaches of the field.
  5. APPLY/CREATE: Students will be able to apply their knowledge by interacting effectively with other organizational leaders in helping to develop and implement organizational policies and strategies.

Contact

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Paul Clark
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Paul Clark
Program Contact

Erin Hetzel
506 Keller Building
University Park PA 16802
eab27@psu.edu
(814) 867-4167

Program Website View
Campus World Campus
Graduate Program Head Paul Clark
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Rexford Charles Simpson
Program Contact

Erin Hetzel
506 Keller Building
University Park PA 16802
eab27@psu.edu
(814) 867-4167

Program Website View