Labor and Employment Relations

Dean: Fritz Drasgow
504 East Armory Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 333-1482
Contact: Becky Barker, On-campus programs

Katherine Eriksen, Online program

Major: Human Resources and Industrial Relations
Degrees Offered: M.H.R.I.R., Ph.D.

Joint Degree Program: The Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations can be earned jointly with the following
Degrees Offered (on-campus program only):
Law, J.D.
Business Administration, M.B.A.

Graduate Degree Programs

The School of Labor and Employment Relations offers graduate work leading to both a master's and a doctoral degree. Graduate study in Human Resources and Industrial Relations (HRIR) is based on a multidisciplinary approach to human resources/industrial relations problems and a flexible curriculum. To achieve this, the School has joint faculty appointments or course cross-listings with economics, psychology, law, business administration, history, and finance.


Students must meet the general admission requirements of the Graduate College, as well as the specific requirements of the School. Admission to the master's program in either the fall or spring semester is based on an applicant's undergraduate record, letters of reference, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) scores, a resume and a statement of interest and career goals. The minimum requirements for admission are a course in statistics and an average grade of B in the last two years of a four year undergraduate program. A deficiency in statistics may be made up by taking the required course without graduate credit during the first semester of graduate study. International applicants must provide Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) test results with a recommended minimum score of 96 on the internet-based IBT (590 on the written test) or IELTS with minimum overall score of 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each subsection. 

Students applying to the online program will have the same admissions criteria as the on-campus MHRIR program. However, a waiver of the GRE or GMAT requirement may be available to applicants with 3 or more years of direct HR/IR experience or 5 years of related managerial experience. Eligibility of this waiver will be assessed by the Assistant Director, Online Programs. Admission decisions for the online program are made in all semesters (Fall, Spring, and Summer).

Students with outstanding academic credentials, with or without a master's degree, are encouraged to apply to the Ph.D. program. Applicants to the doctoral program must submit evidence of research ability, such as a master's thesis, an undergraduate thesis, special reports, or published articles. This is in addition to the other required application materials as indicated for the on-campus master's program. Admission to the doctoral program is made for the fall semester only. An exception is made for current HRIR master's degree students at Illinois, who may submit an internal application in the spring.

Graduate Teaching Experience

Although the School has no teaching requirement, doctoral students are encouraged to gain teaching experience in this program.

Financial Aid

The School offers research assistantships, scholarships, and fellowships to graduate students with superior academic credentials in the on-campus MHRIR and Ph.D. programs. A School research/teaching assistant receives a stipend plus waiver of resident or non-resident tuition and some fees. The Graduate College also awards minority fellowships that carry stipends plus tuition and service fee waivers. The School seeks reimbursement from appointing units of the value of the tuition waivers associated with assistantship appointments made to HRIR master's students in other campus units. However, this restriction does not apply to students in the doctoral program. 

The online program is self-supporting and DOES NOT accept the following tuition and fee waivers (TFWs):  Non-Academic waivers (including UIUC employees and employees of other state institutions), Academic waivers from UIUC, UIC and UIS employees, Related Agency waivers, waivers granted through fellowships/assistantships as governed by the Graduate College at UIUC, or Retiree waivers.   This program DOES accept statutory waivers (veteran grants, etc.)

The master’s program can lead to a professional, terminal master’s degree, or it can prepare students to continue their graduate study toward a Ph.D. or other doctoral degrees in law and other professional areas.

Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations

Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations-Online

Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resources and Industrial Relations

The Ph.D. is an interdisciplinary degree, which typically leads to a career in teaching and research, especially at business schools or industrial relations schools. Research-oriented careers outside the academic world are also available. The program can be completed in five years beyond the baccalaureate degree or four years beyond the master's degree. Doctoral students are required to complete 96 graduate hours of credit beyond the baccalaureate degree. Coursework is usually completed in two years. There is a second year paper requirement, one examination that focuses on the candidate's selected area of specialization, and the preliminary and final exams.  Examples of areas of specialization include the effects of technological change on the human resource function; motivation, morale, and job satisfaction; labor-management relations in the public sector; labor markets and employment; and international comparative labor problems. Each student's program of study is chosen in consultation with the Ph.D. Advisory Committee at the School.

LER 542Collective Bargaining4
LER 556Industrial Relations Theory4
LER 557Human Resources Theory4
LER 558Faculty-Student Workshop4
LER 540Labor Economics I4
or LER 541 Labor Economics II
or LER 545 Economics of Human Resources
One year sequence in statistics8
Research Methods8
Micro Research Methods
Individual Topics (Macro - Section X)
Two theory courses in a social science discipline (one macro, one micro)8
Two related courses outside discipline8
LER 599Thesis Seminar (min/max applied toward degree)32-48
Total Hours64

Other Requirements1

Other requirements may overlap
Masters Degree Required for Admission to PhD? No, but M.S. equivalent hours are required, in addition. Contact department for details
Qualifying Exam Required Yes
Preliminary Exam Required Yes
Final Exam/Dissertation Defense Required Yes
Dissertation Deposit Required Yes
Minimum GPA: 3.0

The master’s program can lead to a professional, terminal master’s degree, or it can prepare students to continue their graduate study toward a Ph.D. or other doctoral degrees in law and other professional areas.

Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations - Online