This section outlines the degree requirements for students entering in Fall 2012 or later. Students who began an NLC program prior to Fall 2012 should consult their academic advisor for course equivalences and options for completing their degree requirements.

The School of Labor Studies currently offers four majors:

  • Labor Education
  • Labor Safety and Health
  • Labor Studies (with an area of concentration)
  • Union Leadership and Administration

These programs are specifically designed to help working people advance in their careers, develop leadership skills, and deepen their knowledge of the labor movement.

The course Living Labor History and the Capstone Writing Seminar in the major are designed to be taken at the beginning and end of students’ SLS programs respectively.

Students should note that the NLC’s Union Skills courses are assessed for credit and may be taken as elective courses. With permission of their academic advisor, one Union Skills course may be used to fulfill a major program requirement.

Learning Outcomes for the School of Labor Studies

A graduate of the National Labor College School for Labor Studies should have a basic understanding of:

  • Building solidarity within labor and among community and coalition partners
  • Labor history
  • Race and gender and their influence on work and labor
  • Union structure and governance in the US and other countries
  • The collective bargaining process in the US and other countries
  • Relevance and application of labor and employment law
  • Labor and the American political system
  • Fundamental role of labor in the domestic and global economy
  • Social science research methods


The NLC offers affordable tuition rates:

  • $297.00 per credit hour for AFL-CIO affiliated union members, their family, and members of Working America, the AFL-CIO’s community affiliate.
  • $358.00 per credit hour for non AFL-CIO affiliated union members and their family.


School of Labor Studies Major
Requires students to complete 36 credits – 12 required courses of 3 credits each.

Required Core Courses for All School of Labor Studies Degrees
All courses earn 3 credit hours.

LBCC-4100 Living Labor History
This course introduces students to the major developments of working people, their organizations, and their communities over the course of American history. Special emphasis will be placed on understanding the formation of the modern labor movement as a transition from 19th century “producers” organizations to the founding of the early American Federation of Labor, the rise of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, and the social economic, and political forces shaping labor since 1945. Required for students in SLS majors. (Course has a Residency component)

NLCC-4200 Labor and Work in the United States
This course is designed to provide students with an advanced understanding of issues related to what unions do (with a specific focus on the rights and responsibilities of union members, organizing, and bargaining), labor-management relations (including conflict resolution, labor law and contract administration), the structure of the contemporary labor movement and labor’s contributions to American society. Students will explore issues in political economy, globalization and the lingering economic crisis, and the course will conclude with an overview of comparative labor relations. Students in this course will become familiar with the required writing and analytical standards of the College. [7-week format] Required for all major programs in SLS and SPS

LBCC-4300 Research Methods
Research Methods is an advanced course designed to provide SLS students with the tools necessary to conduct social science research related to their courses and assignments. In this course, students will devise and write a research design for the required Capstone Project in their program. The course examines and compares various strategies for data collection and analysis, and provides an understanding of the appropriate use of various research methods for addressing different research problems. [A student may not receive credit for both this course and LBCR-4700]

LBCC-4400 Labor and Politics
This course provides an overview of the institutions and processes of the American political system as they relate to organized labor and working people. Students will engage in critical analysis of selections from American political thought, important milestones in American political development, and organized labor’s role in the political process from the Workingmen’s Associations to labor’s contemporary engagement in campaigns and elections, lobbying and coalition politics.

NLCC-4500 Labor and Work in the Global Economy
This course offers students an overview of comparative industrial relations systems and practices within the context of a globalized economy. In addition to looking at broader debates surrounding globalization and change, this course will explore the employment relationship from a comparative perspective, including but not limited to Canada, the U.S., Great Britain, Germany, France, and China. [7-week format] Required for all major programs in SLS and SPS

LBCC-4600 Labor and Employment Law
This course examines the broad range of issues related to the law, workers and unions. Students critically examine the evolution of labor and employment law, different types of law that apply to workers and unions (statutes, common law, administrative law, etc.), the limits of the law and general rules that workers confront on the job (such as the employment-at-will rule and its exceptions). Specific topics also include the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which covers many (but not all) private sector workers, how most public sector bargaining statutes draw upon the NLRA, and how various state and local labor laws vary from the NLRA and how administrative agencies enforcing these state laws sometimes function differently from the National Labor Relations Board.