IAM Partnership Program and the Master of Arts in Work and Labor Policy

SUNY Empire State College School for Graduate Studies has partnered with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) to provide students a path towards the Master of Arts in Work and Labor Policy degree. This program is offered in cooperation with the William W. Winpisinger Education Center and offers a curriculum focused on the historical and contemporary role of organized labor in the United States and American labor within a broader global context. Students will graduate with the knowledge and skills to more effectively assume leadership roles in their union – from the local to the international levels.

Participants will analyze theories behind labor movement organizing and action, labor and the political process, the development and significance of collective bargaining and the wider labor relations process, and the manner in which labor and employment law has developed in the United States. The different roles occupied by the state, capital and labor will be analyzed in detail, including the changing nature of the American economy.

Emphasis Areas

Students of the work and labor policy program create an emphasis in one of two areas, or they can incorporate an advanced certificate into their degree program. Emphasis areas include:

  • Work, workers and labor organizations
  • Public-sector employment relations

Program Design

Work and Labor Policy is a 36-credit hour master’s degree incorporating online courses with three required face-to-face residencies held at the William W. Winpisinger Education Center in Hollywood, Maryland.

As with other classes held at the William W. Winpisinger Education Center, there is no cost to IAM members for room and board or transportation to and from the residency.


Six of the required courses have required residency components in conjunction with online course delivery. Residencies are divided into three sessions, and serve to anchor students in the major aspects of their program while addressing the most significant hurdles they may face. Residencies run approximately three days and usually occur four weeks into the term, allowing students to begin their reading and first written assignments. They also include course seminars and guest speakers to add dimension to course work.

First Residency:
Students are introduced to work and labor policy and will focus on graduate level reading, writing and research. Content focus is on labor and policy and the policy process. This residency features individual and group work, and initiates thinking on how final projects will be integrated into their studies. Students meet faculty and staff supporting the program and have individual advising sessions.

Second Residency:
Students focus on research design and leadership and will work both individually and in a group to focus on defining and articulating a problem then situating the problem in a larger context. Students will enroll no later than the 4th term for this residency.

Third Residency:
This capstone residency includes student presentations of early findings from their final project to peers and faculty, and the significance of what they are learning for labor leadership.


R1-R3 are required courses included in a residency. The R2-R3 residencies will also include content-based courses.These will be identified based on the needs of the students and the themes that emerge.

  • Policy Process R1 3 cr.
  • Work and Labor Studies R1 3 cr.
  • History of Labor and Policy 3 cr.
  • Research Methods 3 cr.
  • Current Issues Facing Labor 3 cr.
  • Labor Law 3 cr.
  • Policy Formation in Unions 3 cr.
  • Final Project I R2 3 cr.
  • 3 Electives 9 cr. (Economics, Leadership, Politics)
  • Final Project II R3 3 cr.

Elective Courses and Final Project

In addition to completing the required courses, students can choose three elective courses (9 credits) and must successfully defend an approved final project. The elective courses are intended to reflect personal interests and to reinforce the individual focus of one's degree. Students are encouraged to apply their electives to a concentration around the final project topic. Many students also choose to incorporate an advanced certificate option into their master’s degree.

The final project focuses on a topic of interest that draws upon prior course work and allows for a meaningful contribution to a student's field of study and/or practice. The student has the option of doing either a professional project or an academic thesis.

More Information

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

For more information, please contact:

Evan Reese, Graduate Admissions Advisor
518-587-2100 x2904


Jason Russell, Ph.D.
Chair, Policy Programs
Coordinator, M.A. Work and Labor Policy
800-847-3000, ext. 3823


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