College Courses: The Industrial And Labor Relations Major

What is the Industrial and Labor Relations major about?  Industrial and Labor Relations majors examine the relationship between workers and employers. In this college course, the economic basis and the psychological and sociological dimensions of the employment relationship are analyzed. Particular focus is given to government policies, labor unions, and human resources management.

Typical courses in the major are:

Human Resources Management

Collective Bargaining

Industrial Psychology

Public Policy

Labor Economics

Labor History

Employment/labor Law

The major in Industrial and Labor Relations employs study of fields like economics, psychology, and sociology to understand relationships between workers and their employers. Government policies, labor unions, and human resources management are accentuated. Majors learn how governments try to influence the employment relationship through regulation of areas like safety and health, wages and hours, and international trade. Students specializing in human resources management utilize principles from the basic social science disciplines to understand how to attract, keep, and motivate employees. When employees group themselves together into labor unions and bargain collectively with employers, the employment relationship takes on several unique and important features that warrant separate study.

In several universities the major is offered through the business school and is similar to the major in personnel / human resources management. Many universities have a separate school of Industrial and Labor Relations, and some colleges offer the major within arts and sciences.

The multidisciplinary nature of this major grants the student a wide perspective, offering excellent preparation for employment or for postgraduate education in, for instance, law or business.

The study of Industrial and Labor Relations prepares students for positions in labor unions, industry, or government. Typical duties in private industry—still the most substantial source of jobs for majors—include recruitment, training, and compensation. With a few experience, people in this field can become responsible for relations with labor unions and interaction with government agencies. A few graduates work for labor unions, generally as union organizers or office administrators. Government agencies are a source of jobs in their role as regulators of the private employment relationship, and government organizations hire employees and then require professionals to manage that function.

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