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Labour Studies

How are new technologies (like robots) impacting our jobs? How can we achieve gender and racial equity at work?

Can work be organized so it is physically safe and mentally healthy?

Why are so many new jobs temporary or precarious?

What role do trade unions and other forms of collective organization have in promoting our rights at work and democracy in society?

These questions and more will be explored by students in Labour Studies.

As an interdisciplinary and innovative field of study, labour studies integrates: sociology, political science, law, history, economics, geography and health.

Our graduates have successful careers in: labour law, community development, policy analysis, teaching, occupational health and safety and more.


photo of Victoria Muraca

Victoria Muraca

Honours Labour Studies BA, Level IV

“I love the labour studies program because I’ve had the opportunity to learn about the theory and history of labour and society. This is valuable knowledge I can bring to my future career and apply to my everyday life. I’m happy to be a part of such a diverse, vibrant community, not only on campus but in the city of Hamilton.”

Focus of Study

In the Labour Studies program, we examine work as one component of the larger life experience. This includes everything from family life, community relations, gender relations and state policy. The subject is broadly studies those in paid and unpaid work, in traditional and non-traditional workplaces, ranging from medieval roots to modern labour markets.

Labour Studies Degree Options

All Social Sciences students start off in Level I. At the end of first-year, students who meet the requirements outlined below may qualify for one of the following degree options in Labour Studies:

  • Honours B.A.
    Grade Point Average of at least 5.0 (C) including a grade of at least 5.0 (C )in one of LABRST 1A03 or 1C03.

  • Combined Honours B.A. in Labour Studies & Another Subject 
    Grade Point Average of at least 5.0 (C) including a grade of at least 5.0 (C) in one of LABRST 1A03 or 1C03. Satisfaction of admission requirements for the Honours program in the other B.A.

  • B.A.
    Grade Point Average of at least 3.5 including a grade of at least 4.0 (C-) in one of LABRST 1A03 or 1C03.

Please note that enrolment in the honours programs is limited, therefore possession of the published minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.


The School of Labour Studies also offers the following limited enrolment minor that can be taken alongside another degree program, with completion of an application form to be submitted to the Chair, Admissions Committee:

  • Minor in Labour Studies

Labour Studies Program Details

Build Your Skills

Did you know?

  • Students are able to become involved in research projects with faculty. The Labour Studies Online Learning Centre is an example of this student-led project.
  • Research activities of the unit are housed in the Institute on Work in a Global Society.

Projects include:

  • a major study of the relationship between work organization and heart disease
  • the impact of globalization on social cohesion amongst workers
  • examining the treatment of contract workers globally
  • how the reorganization of the public sector has affected workers
  • a study of international campaigns to improve working conditions in less developed economies
  • work reorganization and work/family balance in the public sector

Skills you will cultivate

  • The ability to articulate a clear verbal and written presentation of the research findings and evidence.
  • Experience in writing both descriptive reports and analytical papers.
  • Skills in social research, qualitative interviewing and fieldwork.
  • Strong problem-solving, research, analysis and decision-making skills.
  • The ability to analyze the root causes of social problems, and to work towards solutions with people from a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds.
  • Knowledge of how to solve problems using critical, reasoned thought.
  • A well-rounded, holistic view of the world in all its complexity.
  • Communication skills gained through verbal presentations, discussions and informed debates.
  • Experience writing descriptive reports and analytical papers.

Our graduates have been successful at finding interesting and rewarding careers in a range of fields in both the public and private sectors

Examples of career paths include:

  • Human Resources Managers
  • Lawyers (Human Rights and Labour)
  • Union Representatives (Pensions, Labour Relations, Training, Education & Communications)
  • Teachers & Professors (Elementary, High School, Community College, University)
  • Teachers & Professors (Elementary, High School, Community College, University)
  • Occupational Health & Safety Coordinators
  • Disability / Vocational Managers
  • Arbitrator/Mediators (Government & Private firms)
  • Policy Analysts (Private & Public Sector)
  • Labour Relations Managers
  • International Development Officers
  • Journalists
  • Policy Analysts (Private & Public Sector)
  • Labour Relations Managers

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