Graduate Degree Programs

Front entrance to Ives Hall

For more information about the MS/PhD Degree Program, view the ILR Graduate Policy Handbook.

Master of Science and PhD Program

Students in the ILR graduate student officesThe MS and PhD degrees are appropriate for students considering an academic or research career in human resources or labor relations. Most applicants apply for both the MS/PhD program planning to complete both degrees in ILR. Applicants with an MS may apply directly to the PhD program. Applicants are not admitted to terminal MS study.

Master of Science (MS in Industrial and Labor Relations)

Most applicants have a background in the social sciences. The Master of Science Degree Program (MS) study is concentrated in a specific area within the field of industrial and labor relations. Specialized study in a major subject area and a minor subject culminates with a Master's Thesis. Each candidate for the MS degree works under the direction of a Special Committee of two faculty members: a chairperson from the major area of study and a representative from the minor area. The possible areas for major and minors are

ILR undergraduates may apply for a MS ILR degree option that earns a student the MS degree in 5 years rather than 6.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD in Industrial and Labor Relations)

Advanced academic training (i.e. a master's level degree) in the social sciences, generally in one or more of the following fields: anthropology, economics, government, history, psychology, sociology, or statistics is a prerequisite to admission in the PhD Program. Most applicants have a master's degree in a subject related to their intended program. Students in the PhD program also work under the direction of a Special Committee composed of three faculty members: a chairperson from the major area of study and a representative from each of the two minor areas. The areas of study available are listed above.

Cornell MS and PhD degree programs are governed by the Graduate School. Please visit their website for in depth information and policies relating to MS/PhD studies, including degree requirements, special committees, employment, and examinations.

* Applicants who wish to focus in statistics or economics should apply directly to the Graduate Fields of Statistics or Economics and may chose to minor in the ILR offered areas.

Degree candidates plan their courses, research, and projects in consultation with their Special Graduate Committee. The chairperson, represents the major area, suggests appropriate minor areas and faculty members to serve as minor committee members. Major and minor subject areas in ILR for the MS and PhD are as follows. Click these links to visit the department websites:

Cornell's Graduate School requires six units of residence credit at the graduate level; satisfactory work in the major and the two minor subject areas, as determined by the student's Special Committee; and the successful completion of the admission-to-candidacy examination, which is taken before the start of the seventh semester. A PhD Dissertation must be completed and approved by the Special Graduate Committee members.

In addition to the above requirements, ILR also requires: completion of a master's degree program (waived in extraordinary cases); a qualifying examination before the end of the first semester; selection of one of the two required minors from outside the field of ILR; and teaching experience (either as a teaching assistant or an instructor). For specific MS and PhD degree requirements contact the relevant department.

ILR logo