Human Resources & Industrial Relations, PhD

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Major in Human Resources and Industrial Relations

dean: Ingrid Fulmer

overview of school admissions & requirements: Labor & Employment Relations

overview of grad college admissions & requirements:

school website:

school faculty: Labor & Employment Relations Faculty

graduate office: 504 East Armory Avenue, Champaign, IL 61820

on-campus program contact: Becky Barker


online program contact: Eden Haycraft


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.

Graduate Degree Programs in Labor & Employment Relations

Human Resources and Industrial Relations, MHRIR (on campus & online)

Human Resources and Industrial Relations, PhD  

Joint Degree Programs with Human Resources and Industrial Relations, MHRIR (on campus only):

Law, JD

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. 

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 Associate 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 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.)

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Major in Human Resources and Industrial Relations

For additional details and requirements refer to the department's Student Handbook and the Graduate College Handbook.   

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
Statistical Methods I
and Statistical Methods II
Econometric Analysis I
and Econometric Analysis II
Or another approved sequence
Research Methods8
Micro Research Methods
Individual Topics (Macro - Section X)
Two theory courses in a social science discipline, one micro
Founds of Organizational Behav
Found of Ind Org Psych
and one macro
Seminar in Business Admin (section MK1)
Seminar in Organizational Behavior and Theory
Recent Developments in Soc (section EM)
Or another approved micro/macro sequence
Two related courses outside discipline. See Course List tab.8
LER 599Thesis Seminar (min/max applied toward degree)32-48
Total Hours64

Other Requirements

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

Courses outside of discipline

ACE 562Applied Regression Models I2
ACE 564Applied Regression Models II2
BADM 504Phil of Science and Bus Admin2
BADM 545Found of Strategy Research2
BADM 546Strategy Content Research (Entrepreneurship)2
BADM 549Current Strategy Research (Management of Technology)2
BADM 549Current Strategy Research (Economic Foundations of Strat )2
BADM 549Current Strategy Research (Corporate Strat Research )2
BADM 549Current Strategy Research (Empirical Meth in Strat Res)2
CMN 529Seminar Communication Theory (Social Sci Theory Construction)4
PSYC 594Multivar Anlys in Psych and Ed4
PSYC 587Hierarchical Linear Models4
PSYC 588Covar Struct and Factor Models4
PSYC 501Best Psych Research Practices (Applied Structural Eq Modeling )2 to 4
PSYC 581Applied Regression Analysis4
SOC 581Survey Research Methods (Survey Research Methods I)4
EPSY 586Theories of Measurement II4
EPSY 590Advanced Seminar in Educational Psychology (section BAY)0 to 4
EPSY 590Advanced Seminar in Educational Psychology (section GCM)0 to 4
EPSY 590Advanced Seminar in Educational Psychology (section SEM)0 to 4
EPSY 582Advanced Statistical Methods4
PSYC 541Personality and Behav Dynamics2 or 4
PSYC 593Seminar (Multilevel & Networks in Orgs)2 or 4
PSYC 490Measurement & Test Develop Lab (section AL1)4
STAT 542Statistical Learning4