Earn your master’s in human resources and industrial relations (MHRIR) by completing 12 courses (48 hours) in three semesters.

The largest class enrolls in the fall and graduates in December of the next year. This allows students to enter the workforce sooner than graduates in other programs, giving them a competitive edge. Spring semester enrollment is also available.

Part-Time Enrollment

Most students attend full time, taking four courses per semester, but students also have the option to enroll part-time. The Graduate College at the University of Illinois allows up to five years to complete a master’s degree. The School of Labor and Employment Relations allows students to take classes on a part-time basis to obtain a degree in compliance with this timeline. Part-time students must meet the same admission requirements as full-time students.

Work Experience

Although prior work experience in human resources and industrial relations is not required, we encourage you to gain some work experience before you enroll.

Statistics Requirement

Students must complete an undergraduate introductory course in statistics. We strongly recommend you complete this course before you enroll at the school. You may take such a course without graduate credit during your first semester in the master’s program, but doing so may delay completion because of course sequencing.

Course Requirements

MHRIR (non-thesis option) – 48 hours

To receive a master’s in human resources and industrial relations (MHRIR), students must complete a 48-hour program. Many of the classes available to LER students are cross-listed with other programs.

Among the 48 hours of coursework, two courses are required:

One course in each of the four subject areas is also required:

The six remaining electives can be tailored to suit particular interests and career aspirations. Below is a sample course sequence for the MHRIR program.

First Semester

LER 591 Employment Relations Systems (required)
LER 593 Quantitative Methods (required)
LER 542 Collective Bargaining
LER 562 Human Resources Planning and Staffing

Second Semester

LER 545 Economics of Human Resources
LER 561 Compensation Systems
LER 566 International Human Resources Management
LER 569 Power and Influence for HRM (8 weeks)
LER 570 Leadership for HR Managers (8 weeks)

Third Semester

LER 522 Government Regulation
LER 568 Firm Performance and Human Resource Management
LER 543 Workplace Dispute Resolution
LER 565 Human Resources Management and Strategy

See all course descriptions.

MHRIR (thesis option) – 40 hours coursework/8 hours thesis

This option substitutes 8 hours of thesis credit for two elective courses, for a total of 48 hours. LER 591 and 593 are required, along with one course from each of the four subject areas. Thesis students are required to defend their thesis in an oral examination. The thesis option is limited (through the advising system) to students who, in the opinion of their advisors, have adequate preparation and are sufficiently motivated to complete a thesis research project in a timely manner (three semesters or two semesters and a summer). Most students also find an internship during the summer.