The Master of Labor and Employment Relations (MLER) program produces graduates who are thoughtful professionals, informed leaders, and/or researchers grounded in contemporary reality. Graduates have careers in many types of organizations, ranging from corporations to non-profits, from unions to other social justice organizations, and from state or federal government agencies to public policy institutes. With our degree, you might:

  • Manage employment relations for employers
  • Build a career as a union professional
  • Specialize in diversity, globalization, or other hot topics
  • Get a great job in a government agency like the NLRB
  • Lead a community or non-profit organization
  • Combine labor relations with human resources
  • Manage people well in many types of organizations

Explore Exciting Ideas with Top Instructors

  • Classes both build skills and expand intellectual horizons
  • Engaging real-world courses are taught by nationally-known scholars
  • Part-time or full-time student is available
  • Online courses increase your options
  • Get both the employee and the employer perspective

It’s a Professional Program Helping You to:

  • Be a role model for your family
  • Move up at your current employer
  • Teach others what you have learned
  • Advance justice, diversity, or your other ideas

What Sets the MLER Program Apart?

  • Expand your intellectual horizons from both the employee and employer perspective.
  • Understand employment relations from a range of different perspectives, such as: labor, management, employees, citizen activists, and that of society as a whole.
  • Acquire current, leadership skills needed to maximize your future professional employment opportunities in a work world of constant change.
  • Build professional skills that are appropriate for multiple and varied career goals.
  • Join a supportive learning environment that values critical thinking and intellectual exchange and will connect you to a community of active scholars, teachers, learners, and involved citizens.
  • Network with employment relations professionals in New Jersey.
  • Courses are scheduled at times convenient for working adults. You may complete the MLER program on either a full-time or part-time basis.


To earn the Master of Labor and Employment Relations (MLER) degree, students successfully complete 39 graduate credits in a variety of areas.

Specific Required Courses
  • Introductory Seminar in Labor and Employment Relations (Taken in your first or second semester in the program)
  • Collective Bargaining
  • Economics and Demographics of Labor Markets, or Economics and Public Policy in a Global Context

Require Areas

Law (Choose at least one)

  • Labor Law
  • Employment Law
  • Public Sector Collective Bargaining

Workforce Diversity (Choose at least one)

  • Women & Work
  • Identity and Discrimination at Work and in the U.S. Labor Market
  • Immigration, Public Policy, and Worker Rights
  • The Inclusive Workplace

Institutional Diversity (Choose at least one)

  • Seminar in International/Comparative Employment Relations
  • Globalization & the Future of Employment
  • Globalization, Corporate Restructuring and Employment
  • Labor/Employment History

Finance (Choose at least one)

  • Financial Analysis & Corporate Governance
  • HR Decision Making: Financial Decisions

Research Methods (Choose at least one)

  • Research Methods in Labor & Employment Relations
  • Problem Solving Tools & Analysis in Employment Relations
  • HR Decision Making: Data-Based Decisions
  • Strategic Corporate and Industry Research
Additional Requirements

In addition, students take 15 credits of graduate-level elective courses offered through the School of Management and Labor Relations, or other Rutgers graduate programs in related areas such as sociology, public policy, or human resource management.

Six of those elective credits must be from the Labor Studies and Employment Relations Department.

Program Choices

The MLER program is one that allows graduates to gain employment as professionals in a variety of related employment relations careers. Since work constantly changes and evolves, the program focuses on developing a set of core competencies useful in multiple jobs. It is a broad program that prepares students not just for one position, but for a broad range of positions in which having an advanced degree is an advantage in the labor market.

Core Competencies:

A set of required courses foster clear, professional writing; analytic skills; knowledge of research methods; and the acquisition of financial information. Negotiation skills, leadership techniques, emotional intelligence, and group process/teamwork skills are developed in additional courses.

Specializations and Electives:

Since students come from different backgrounds and have different occupational goals, the MLER program allows students to specialize by combining required classes with carefully selected electives. All students have five electives out of thirteen required courses. Students with an interest in combining employer-side labor relations with human resource management are encouraged to take up to three electives from the MHRM program.

By choosing electives wisely, students can create a program that meets their own individual needs. The following are examples of the specializations possible:

Diversity and Workplace Inclusion Specialization

In addition to the required course in Employment Law, potential classes include:

  • The Inclusive Workplace (online class)
  • Immigration, Public Policy, and Worker Rights
  • Women and Work
  • Seminar in Minorities and Work
  • Disability, Work, and Society (taken for graduate credit)
  • Latino Workers in the United States (taken for graduate credit)
  • Asian American Workers in Global Context (taken for graduate credit)
Organizational Leadership and Change Specialization

Potential classes include:

  • Organizational Leadership and Change Management
  • Organizational Design and Structure
  • Group Process and Team Dynamics
  • Conflict Resolution in the Workplace
  • Globalization, Corporate Restructuring, and Employment
  • Creating and Sustaining a Learning Organization
Labor Relations Specialization (Employer or Employee Representative)

In addition to the required course in Collective Bargaining, potential classes include:

  • Labor Law
  • Public Sector Employment Issues
  • Conflict Resolution in the Workplace
  • Strategic Corporate and Industry Research
  • Negotiation
  • Seminar in International/Comparative Labor and Employment Relations
Labor and Community Leadership Specialization

Potential classes include:

  • Enforcing Worker Rights
  • Organizing for Social Change
  • Immigration, Public Policy, and Worker Rights
  • Globalization, Corporate Restructuring, and Employment
  • Organizational Leadership and Change Management
  • Public Policy Advocacy (taken in Public Policy School)

Learning Objectives

An MLER student will be sure to meet all the SMLR objectives by taking required courses, which together, encompass the seven areas of learning established as important for our students:

  • Introductory Seminar (I, IV)
  • Research Methods (II, III)
  • Workforce Diversity choice among courses (V)
  • Collective Bargaining (VI, VII)

SMLR learning objectives have been established for each MLER course. By taking additional courses to round out their program of study, MLER student will have additional opportunities to excel in important areas of learning.

MLER Has the Same Three Core Areas for Success as SMLR
  1. Cognitive Skills and Processes
  2. Knowledge of Theory, Practice, and Application
  3. Professional Development

The MLER Program also has the same seven goals that are nested under these overarching areas of success. The specific subgoals listed here are those which are appropriate for the MLER program. They are the sub-set of the specific sub-goals for SMLR as a whole.

Cognitive Skills and Processes

The goals here involve skills students need for lifelong learning, participation in society, and success in the workplace.

I) Written & Oral Communication – Communicate effectively at a level and in modes appropriate to an entry-level professional.

  • Communicate complex ideas effectively, in standard written English
  • Analyze and synthesize information and ideas from multiple sources to generate new insights
  • Make an argument using contemporary and/or historical evidence either orally or in writing

II) Quantitative, Qualitative, and Analytical Skills – Apply appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods for analyzing employment relations or workplace issues.

  • Analyze employment relations or workplace issues using appropriate methods: qualitative, quantitative or a combination of the two
  • Formulate, evaluate, and communicate conclusions and inferences from quantitative information

III) Research Skills – Demonstrate an ability to collect, analyze and synthesize information to make logical and informed decisions. Use evidence to evaluate hypotheses, theories and approaches to employment relations or workplace issues.

  • Employ current technologies to access information, to conduct research, and to communicate findings
  • Evaluate the quality and relevance of evidence and research findings
  • Use evidence-based analysis to appraise the validity of various hypotheses, theories, and approaches to workplace issues
Knowledge of Theory, Practice and Application

The goals here involve the key theoretical and foundation areas of study in the employment relations field and the ability to apply that knowledge.

IV) Theoretical Perspectives - Demonstrate an understanding of relevant theories and apply them given the background context of a particular work situation.

  • Demonstrate an understanding of various perspectives, theories and concepts in Employment Relations
  • Evaluate and apply theories from multiple science disciplines to employment relations or workplace issues

V) Understanding Context - Evaluate the context of workplace issues, public policies, and management decisions.

  • Analyze the degree to which forms of human difference shape a person’s experience of, and perspectives on work
  • Analyze issues related to business strategies, organizational structures, and work systems
  • Analyze issues of social justice related to work both in local and global contexts

VI) Application – Demonstrate an understanding of how to apply knowledge necessary for effective work performance.

  • Apply concepts and substantive institutional knowledge, to understanding contemporary developments related to work
  • Understand the legal, regulatory and ethical issues related to Employment Relations
Professional Development

VII) Professional Development – Demonstrate an ability to interact with and influence others in a professional manner, and to effectively present ideas and recommendations.

  • Develop effective presentation skills appropriate for different settings and audiences
  • Develop career management skills to navigate one’s career
  • Understand cultural differences and how to work in a multicultural environment
  • Work productively in teams, in social networks, and on an individual basis
  • Demonstrate lifelong personal & professional development skills


Available scholarships and awards for the 2018-2019 academic school year are listed below. Please contact Divine Tabios, Director of Development, if you are interested in applying to be considered for a scholarship or fellowship.

*Limited funding available*

Harry and Vera Stark Fellowship

The Harry and Vera Stark Fellowship aims to encourage and support International Students, enrolled in a SMLR graduate program with either the Human Resource Management Department or the Labor Studies and Employment Relations Department, to gain exposure to U.S. culture and values and educational experiences in labor relations and human resource management. All international students must be enrolled in a Master's Degree program.

Labor Studies Alumni Scholarship

Awarded to students enrolled in the Labor Studies and Employment Relations program based on academic need and merit as determined by the program director.

Levine Trade Union Education Fund

Awarded to students involved with the trade union and who are enrolled within the School of Management and Labor Relations, Labor Studies and Employment Relations Department.

Lowenthal Memorial Fund

Scholarship is given to new students in the Master of Labor and Employment Relations Program (MLER).

Pamela Sue Schmidt Award for Outstanding Service to the Community

Pamela Sue Schmidt was a bright and energetic undergraduate at Rutgers’ School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR). Pamela epitomized an image of a remarkable SMLR student with her impending graduation from the SMLR Human Resource Management Undergraduate Program and enrollment in SMLR’s Human Resource Management Graduate program. In Pam’s honor, friends, family, and members of the local and university community came together to create the Pamela Sue Schmidt Award for Outstanding Service to the Community. This scholarship provides much-needed support to SMLR students who embody Pam’s legacy of outstanding service to the community.

Sam Kinsora Memorial Labor Studies Scholarship

In honor of Samuel Kinsora, former president of by the United Food and Commercial Workers Unions, this fund provides annual scholarship support for Labor Studies graduate students at SMLR.

School of Management and Labor Relations Alumni Association Scholarship & Fellowship

Created by various alumni of the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, students enrolled full-time in the undergraduate or Masters program from either the HR or LSER departments are eligible.

The School of Management and Labor Relations Annual Fund Scholarship

Eligible students must be working towards any of the degree-granting programs at the Rutgers’ School of Management and Labor Relations.

Tuition and Fees

Graduate Programs (Fall 2018 - Spring 2019)

Full-time Tuition & Fees

  • New Jersey Residents (12 credits or more): $10,248.00
  • Out-of-state Residents (12 credits or more): $17,244.00
  • Campus fee (9 credits or more): $840.00
  • School fee: $85.50
  • Computer fees (9 or more credits): $166.50

Part-time Tuition & Fees

Nondegree students are considered part-time because they may take up to 6 credits per term. They are not eligible for federal aid but can apply for a bank loan if they are registered for 6 credits. Many of our students participate in their employers' tuition assistance programs.

  • per credit, New Jersey Residents: $854.00
  • per credit, Out-of-state Residents: $1,437.00
  • Campus fee: $248.50
  • School fee: $46.00
  • Computer fees are based on the total number of credits per semester: 3 credit $99.00 or 6 credit $121.50
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Last updated March 11, 2019
This course is Campus based, Online & Campus Combined
Start Date
Sep 2019
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10,248 USD
New Jersey Residents (12 credits or more): $10,248.00; Out-of-state Residents (12 credits or more): $17,244.00
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