Labor Resource Center

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Labor Studies Programs

BA and Minor in Labor Studies (In Process and Opening Soon) and the Professional Certificate in Labor Studies

Students in Labor Studies class

What is Labor Studies?
Labor studies is an interdisciplinary academic field encompassing labor and worker history, organizational development, international relations, organizing, advocacy, adult education and training, understanding of democratic institutions, and leadership development. Students, faculty, and staff in labor studies are often members and active participants in the organized labor movement. Labor studies practitioners and students are uniquely placed to provide critical analysis of historic controversies and strategic barriers to social, political, and organizational change.

What are the study options?

  • The Certificate in Labor Studies is a valuable professional credential for emerging leaders in the labor movement. This is a cohort program that fosters group learning across different unions, communities, and economic sectors. Students may enroll in the certificate program as either a pre-baccalaureate or postbaccalaureate option.

The labor studies curriculum equips graduates for work in unions, labor organizations, community-based organizations, and government and public service, and prepares students for graduate education in these fields. This certificate provides excellent career advancement opportunities for rank-and-file union members who aspire to leadership positions, for current union staff seeking greater skills and credentials for career advancement, and for younger workers and activists seeking entry into the sector of organized labor.

For more information, contact the Labor Resource Center:


phone: 617.287.7267

Labor Studies Learning Goals

Students should be able to:

  • Describe and analyze organized labor's context and role in society and culture.
  • Describe and analyze the contemporary opportunities and challenges facing working people and the labor movement in the U.S. and internationally.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history of work and the labor movement's origins and history.
  • Compare and contrast the role of labor and workers’ organizations in national economies.
  • Demonstrate potential and/or ability to take on and effectively carry out significant leadership functions in or related to the labor movement and workers’ organization.
  • Explain the changing nature of work in the global economy and the emerging responses from organized labor internationally.
  • Communicate clearly a broad-based understanding of labor's context and opportunities.
  • Demonstrate the ability to utilize advanced research and technological tools necessary to analyze and participate in the contemporary labor movement.