The major in labor studies provides students with a curriculum that focuses on the world of work. The purpose of the program is to give students a rigorous framework for analysis of the labor force, workers’ organizational affiliations, and the dynamics of labor-management relations. Drawing on the various social science disciplines, the labor studies major offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of labor and related subjects. The curriculum combines a core sequence of courses with an opportunity to develop a specialization within a particular discipline.
A degree in labor studies prepares students to pursue careers in labor relations, including employment with labor organizations and private industry, as well as with federal, state, and local government agencies. A labor studies major also provides excellent preparation for law school or graduate study.
Nonmajors may enroll in labor studies courses to supplement their own field of concentration, e.g., economics, sociology, political science, urban studies, history.
The labor studies major consists of 36 credits: 18 credits in a core sequence, 9 in a specialization, and 9 in approved electives. Courses in the core sequence provide a foundation for all labor studies majors. These courses are aimed at developing an understanding of the following: the history of the labor movement; the impact of technology on labor and industry; changes in the labor process; labor relations and their economic context; shifts in the composition of the labor force; the social and political role of labor unions; the legal framework of labor-management relations; theories of work, the workplace, and the labor movement.
In addition to the required core sequence, students must complete 9 credits within a specialization. There are three specialization tracks: economics, sociology, and urban studies. Each track provides students with an opportunity to develop their analytical skills from the perspective of the academic discipline selected. The specialization tracks offer an introduction to the discipline, a background in quantitative analysis, and an opportunity to study an aspect of labor within a particular discipline.
Students complete their labor studies major by selecting three labor-related courses from a list of approved electives.