Master of Arts in Employment and Labor Relations

Among the leading graduate programs of industrial relations, Wayne State's master's in employment and labor relations (MAELR) program provides a challenging and rich educational experience for students pursuing careers in human resource management and labor-management relations. Emphasizing the development of professional competencies, the MAELR curriculum is prepares students to master the requisite analytical and practical skills for attaining leadership positions in business, labor organizations, government and not-for-profit organizations.

From an extensive offering of courses, students receive classroom training in human resource management (strategy, compensation, staffing, selection, training, work team systems and interested-based problem solving), union-management relations (contract negotiations, administration and arbitration, union organizations and union management's joint decision-making), dispute resolution, labor market analysis, international business and labor relations and in employment and labor law.

Grounded in a long tradition of multidisciplinary study, the MAELR program exposes students to nationally and internationally recognized scholars and practitioners from labor relations, management, history, psychology, economics, political science, sociology and law. Bringing a wealth of professional and consulting experience to the classroom, instructors integrate cutting-edge research and theory and real case examples and exercises so that students learn about the most current workplace innovations and emerging trends and issues.


MAELR program admission is based on the following:

  • Undergraduate GPA
  • Personal statement of purpose for seeking a graduate degree
  • Letters of recommendation

Learn more about

  • Program learning objectives

    Knowledge and skills

    Students master the knowledge and skills to become professional leaders in the field of employment and labor relations and human resource management to earn successful careers in business, labor, or government. They will demonstrate knowledge of basic concepts in the areas of human resource management, collective bargaining and the role of unions and the state in employment and labor relations. Such knowledge will be assessed through a short answer assessment instrument.

    Verbal and oral presentation skills

    Students will improve their verbal and communication skills. They will be able to make clear, professional, substantively meaningful presentations that address questions and problems relevant to the audience. Their proficiency in oral presentations will be assessed through an evaluative instrument applied to their class presentations on their career development plans.

    Career development

    Students develop plans for career enhancement and work toward acquiring relevant knowledge and skills. These plans will identify realistic goals, steps that can be taken to realize the goals and how the ELR program can help them meet the goals. Students will also monitor their progress and report on progress as part of their plans of study to their academic advisor.

    Apply critical thinking

    Students will apply critical thinking to analyze important problems in the field of employment and labor relations. Such thinking involves specifying important problems or questions (e.g., what impact do human resource management compensation policies have on pay equity?); framing how you would collect data to analyze the question and analyzing the data and reporting the results.

  • Prerequisites

    Economics 2010: Principles of Microeconomics: Supply, demand and price at the level of the firm and industry; business institutions and their operation; determinants of wage and salary levels, interest rates, rent, profits, income distribution; public policy in relation to the business and labor.

    Psychology 2100: Psychology and the Workplace: Psychology as applied to business and industry. Major areas of industrial psychology; selection, placement and training procedures; human factors research. Industrial social psychology, motivational and organizational research and theory.

    Fundamentals of Statistics (ECO 5100/PS 5100/PSY 3010/EER 7630 or SOC 6280 or SOC 3220): Review of mathematics essential for statistics, sampling and computer use. Basic patterns of statistical inference, confidence estimation and significance testing regarding measures of averages, dispersion, correlation and selected non-parametric statistics. One-way and two-way analysis of variance.

    If a student has an equivalency from another university with a passing grade, the prerequisite may be waived.

    View all required courses

  • Directed study and plan of work

Career insights

This tool provides a broad overview of how major selection can lead to careers and is provided without any implied promise of employment. Some careers will require further education, skills, or competencies. Actual salaries may vary significantly between similar employers and could change by graduation, as could employment opportunities and job titles.

Contact 💬

Jacqueline Daugherty, program coordinator | 313-577-5769