Graduate Certificate in Labor Studies

The Advanced Graduate Certificate in Labor Studies is intended for people interested in learning about work and labor in historical and contemporary contexts. The program will encompass a range of work and labor topics including the development of free market capital in the United States and how it has shaped work and labor, the role of the state in forming work and labor policy, the role of workers movements, and work and labor issues in historical and contemporary perspectives. The certificate may be of particular interest to those with experience or career goals in the labor movement, labor relations, public advocacy, social justice, or non-profits. The certificate is comprised of 4 courses, each worth 3 credits, and can be completed in one to two academic terms. Students will be able to enroll in the certificate in any of Empire State College’s three term graduate study terms. 

Program Design

The Labor Studies Certificate consists of 12 credits (four, 3-credit courses). Courses are taught through online instruction. 

Required Courses and Suggested Sequence

LABR 6010 Work and Labor Studies (3 Credits)

This is a required course available for matriculated Labor Policy students only. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the study of labor and policy. First, it will introduce students to some of the fundamental characteristics of the American working class and unions. Secondly, it will introduce students to a variety of labor problems that have arisen in the past twenty years due to the global economy, new technology and other developments. Thirdly, the course will develop the students’ skills in writing at the graduate level, in doing academic book reviews, and in doing policy analyses.

LABR 6020 Working in America (3 Credits)

How is labor dealing with the new challenges it faces in organizing, bargaining, servicing members, and acting politically? Among the challenges are those posed by increasing numbers of immigrants, women, and young workers in the workforce. At the bargaining table, the challenges include demands for wage cuts, two-tiered wages and benefits, cuts in healthcare and other benefits. There are new demands from employers and employees for family care and flex-time. There are bargaining partners who face bankruptcy and government and union-sponsored bailouts. The labor movement and its partners thus face a range of new and emerging issues.

LABR 6075 Global Work (3 Credits)

This is an elective course which studies the place of labor within the international economy and the history, development, and formation of that economy since 1945. We will examine the historical development and then look at the consequences for labor of economic development especially as this involves the place of manufacturing in national economics and global investing, especially the current expansion of foreign investment within the United States.

LABR 6034 American Capitalism (3 Credits)

This course examines the rise of business and free market capital in the United States from the time of European colonization to the twenty-first century. It covers key themes including the role of the US Constitution in shaping private property rights, the role of slavery in American capitalism, expansion from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans, the development of management, the shift from artisan to industrial productions methods, the creation of consumer culture, and the ongoing relationship between capital and the state. The course will also reveal how those themes were further shaped by gender, race, class, and ethnicity.

Admission and Advisement

Admission to the certificate program requires the applicant to submit an official transcript of his or her bachelor’s degree along with a complete application. Advising will be provided by the certificate program coordinator.

While the 12 credits of this certificate may be transferred into the M.A. in work and labor policy, acceptance will require candidates to apply to the master’s degree program and complete the full admission process. Completion of the graduate certificate does not guarantee admission to the master’s program.

Advanced certificates may be incorporated into a related master's degree for those meeting the program admission requirements.

Apply online or request information for more details on the certificate in Labor Studies.

Tuition and Fees

Students completing this certificate pay the following tuition and fees:

Federal financial aid is not available unless concurrently matriculated in a master’s degree program.