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Labour Studies

McMaster’s School of Labour Studies is Canada’s premier Labour Studies program and widely respected as one of the best in the world.

Students in Labour Studies learn about the worlds of work in Canada and around the globe. Labour Studies students enjoy a friendly, cooperative and intellectually engaging learning environment.

Labour Studies is innovative and interdisciplinary. Students study the worlds of work from alternative perspectives, including culture, politics, organization, economics, gender, racialization, and history. Students develop their own critical perspectives using a diverse mix of practical knowledge and theoretical understanding. Labour Studies prepares students for a wide range of jobs and further education in our rapidly changing world.

 

photo of Phyllis Phiri

Phyllis Phiri

B.A. Honours, Labour Studies and Political Science, McMaster University2012


Strategy Analyst, Ontario Ministry of Labour’s Prevention Office

In the labour studies program: work is studied as one component of a larger life experience that includes family life, community relations, gender relations, and state policy. The subject is broadly defined to include those in paid and unpaid work, and in traditional and non-traditional workplaces. Course materials range from medieval roots of modern labour markets to discussions of how to deal with problems related by globalization.

Focus of Study

In the Labour Studies program, work is studied as one component of a larger life experience that includes family life, community relations, gender relations, and state policy. The subject is broadly defined to include those in paid and unpaid work, and in traditional and non-traditional workplaces. Course materials range from medieval roots of modern labour markets to discussions of how to deal with problems related by globalization.

Labour Studies Degree Options

All Social Sciences students start off in Level I. At the end of first-year, students who meet the requirements outlined below may qualify for one of the following degree options in Labour Studies:

  • Honours B.A.
    Level I Grade Point Average of at least 5.0 (C) including a grade of at least C in one of LABRST 1A03 or 1C03.

  • Combined Honours B.A. in Labour Studies & Another Subject 
    Level I Grade Point Average of at least 5.0 (C) including a grade of at least C in one of LABRST 1A03 or 1C03. Satisfaction of admission requirements for the Honours program in the other B.A.

  • B.A.
    Level I Grade Point Average of at least 3.5 including a grade of at least C- in one of LABRST 1A03 or 1C03.

Please note that enrolment in the honours programs is limited, therefore possession of the published minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

Minor

The School of Labour Studies also offers the following limited enrolment Minor that can be taken alongside another degree program, with completion of an application form to be submitted to the Chair, Admissions Committee:

  • Minor in Labour Studies

Labour Studies Program Details

Build Your Skills

Did You Know?

  • Students are able to become involved in research projects with faculty. The Labour Studies Online Learning Centre is one such student-led project
  • Research activities of the unit are housed in the Institute on Work in a Global Society

Projects include:

  • a major study of the relationship between work organization and heart disease
  • the impact of globalization on social cohesion amongst workers
  • examining the treatment of contract workers globally
  • how reorganization of the public sector has affected workers
  • a study of international campaigns to improve working conditions in less developed economies
  • work reorganization and work/family balance in the public sector

Skills you will cultivate include:

  • The ability to articulate a clear verbal and written presentation of the research findings and evidence.
  • Experience in writing both descriptive reports and analytical papers
  • Skills in social research, qualitative interviewing and field workStrong problem-solving, research, analysis and decision-making skills.he ability to analyze the root causes of social problems, and to work towards solutions with people from a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds

Our graduates have been successful at finding interesting and rewarding careers in a range of fields in both the public and private sectors

Examples of career paths include:

  • Human Resources Managers
  • Lawyers (Human Rights and Labour)
  • Union Representatives (Pensions, Labour Relations, Training, Education & Communications)
  • Teachers & Professors (Elementary, High School, Community College, University)
  • Teachers & Professors (Elementary, High School, Community College, University)
  • Occupational Health & Safety Coordinators
  • Disability / Vocational Managers
  • Arbitrator/Mediators (Government & Private firms)
  • Policy Analysts (Private & Public Sector)
  • Labour Relations Managers
  • International Development Officers
  • Journalists
  • Policy Analysts (Private & Public Sector)
  • Labour Relations Managers

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