Graduate Certificate in Work and Public Policy

Want to understand why labor and employment relations in the public sector are unique? Working in the public sector involves labor and employment issues that are considerably different than the issues found in the private sector. Empire State College’s advanced graduate certificate in public-sector labor and employment policy will familiarize you with topics such as the role of government as an employer, technological change, the historical development of the public sector and current issues and trends in public-sector labor and employment policy. The focus is on learning to understand how and why policy is formulated. It is a program that will be of value to people working at all levels of the public sector, from local, state and federal levels to people with a desire to learn more about how the public sector operates.

Program Design

Courses are taught online and students may begin the certificate program in the fall, spring, or summer terms.

Required Courses and Suggested Sequence

Citizen and State: Contemporary American Politics (3 credits)

This course explores the political ideas that have affected and continue to affect American society, politics and public policy from the end of World War II to the present. The emphasis will be on the fundamental changes that have occurred in the way key social groups have come to view their relationships to the state and the role that the state should play in their private and public lives.


Public Sector Labor Law (3 credits)

This course considers the history and principles of federal labor relations law and its relevancy to both private and public-sector labor relations. The text is prepared by the Labor Law Section of the American Bar Association and is the standard authority in the field. We will gain an overview of the labor law and the parameters of decision making, as established legislatively and by the National Labor Relations Board and the courts, which have guided the course of labor law in the United States.

followed by:

Collective Bargaining in the Public Sector (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide an overview of bargaining in the public sector. It deals with major policy issues related to public-sector bargaining, environmental factors influencing public-sector bargaining, bargaining techniques and dispute resolution in the public sector.

and one elective course:

New York State Government and Politics (3 credits)

This course explores the structure and function of political institutions in New York state government and political activity at the state and local levels, including the state legislature, the governor, state agencies, the court system and intergovernmental/federalism relationships with particular focus on the policymaking process.

Contemporary Issues in Public-Personnel Management (3 credits)

This course explores current and emerging personnel-management issues in the public sector such as the public-sector budget process, generational change, differences within the public-sector workforce and training and workforce development issues.

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 completed application. Advising will be provided by the certificate program coordinator, Dr. Jason Russell.

While the 12 credits are fully transferable into the M.A. in work and labor policy, acceptance to the master’s degree will require candidates to apply to the program and complete the full admission process. Completion of the graduate certificate does not guarantee admission to the master’s degree 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 Work and Public Policy.

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.