Labor Studies

Labor studies is an interdisciplinary program that examines the nature and meaning of human work. Topics include workers’ rights, social and economic justice, the history and role of labor unions, fair trade, human resource management, and workplace ethics.

Why Choose Labor Studies?

Due to the rapid pace of change in technology and the global economy, understanding the labor movement, labor law, and current workforce problems has never been more vital.

Work is a fundamental part of the human experience. How people understand work has many cultural, political, economic, and historical dimensions. As a labor studies major, you will examine work as a human right and learn about the implications for workers, business, and law.

The Classes

The labor studies major includes courses in humanities, social sciences, business and education. In addition to learning about the history and social policy of labor, you can take courses in topics including:

  • Industrial psychology
  • Negotiation and conflict management
  • Social inequalities
  • Catholic social teaching
  • Labor economics
  • Philosophers on race, class and gender

The Faculty

Faculty members have strong relationships with many international corporations and organizations, including the United Nations, the International Labor Organization, and the International Young Catholic Workers. Small class sizes and a robust calendar of campus events allow you to develop a close connection with your professors.

The City

Labor history is especially rich in New York City — in fact, the earliest documented labor movement in the U.S. happened in NYC in 1768. Visit the historic site of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, discovery the history of the labor movement at the Tamiment Library and witness deliberations on labor issues at the United Nations — these sites are all just a subway ride away.

New York City also is home to many national and international organizations involved in contemporary questions of work in a global economy. Our students get real-life experience as interns for governmental agencies, labor unions, law firms, and international non-governmental organizations.

What Will You Learn?

You will develop skills that are well suited for 21st century careers in a global economy. In addition to excellent critical thinking and communication skills, you will:

  • Learn the history and present role of unions and the labor movement
  • Discover the role of fair trade goods in a global economy
  • Discuss contemporary forms of slavery and economic inequalities
  • Develop an understanding of ethical and religious perspectives of work
  • Develop an understanding of workplace health and safety

Labor Studies is also offered as a minor.

See degree requirements

What Will You Do?

A major or minor in labor studies prepares students for civic and professional success.