Curriculum

The thirty-credit MPS curriculum is structured around six core courses, taught by full-time faculty from the main Cornell campus, and an individual capstone project. Working with a faculty mentor, students are encouraged to draw on both MPS coursework and their practical work experience in developing their project proposals.

The curriculum answers the following questions:

Organizational Behavior
How does bureaucracy operate across different organizations? What role is played by an organization’s culture? How do leaders make the right decisions? How does change happen?

This course is about how to think analytically about organizational issues by framing and analyzing organizations as systems in which individuals must take action. Areas of study include classical and modern theories of organizations and their underlying assumptions about human nature; the relationship between organizations and their environments; leadership and culture; organizational change; and the role of power, politics, and decision making in organizations.
 

Human Resource Management
How do we make the best use of our talent?

This course presents human resource management as a strategic issue no less significant than the management of any other organizational asset and explores HR decision making with an eye toward understanding the impact on employees, organizational effectiveness, and the broader market and social contexts. Students quantitatively design an entire organization’s compensation structure with real-world data. Topics include comparing and contrasting different approaches to human resources decisions in different environments; alternatives for staffing and development of workers; compensation and reward systems; international HR and culture in management; talent management; and designing and managing teams.
 

Labor and Employee Relations
What does it mean to have a unionized, outsourced, digital, or global workforce?

This course focuses on employee relations, collective representation, labor-management negotiation, and workplace dispute resolution, providing an overview of how employment relationships function domestically and internationally. Analysis of comparative labor relations includes a focus on cross-national differences and similarities, and on how labor relations systems are responding to globalization. Contemporary issues such as labor standards in supply chains, offshoring, and a special focus on labor relations in emerging countries are explored.
 

Labor Economics
How do we make allocation decisions within our organizations?

This course applies economic principles to labor markets, work organizations, and their environments. Topics include the basic elements of supply and demand in the labor market; "new personnel economics" - the economic issues that relate to selecting, training, assigning, motivating, and compensating workers; and key policy and economic security issues such as unemployment, pensions, disability, discrimination, immigration, and globalization. Students also learn the basics of managerial economics and corporate accounting.
 

Labor/Employment Law and Policy
How do laws impact organizations?

A survey of how state policy shapes and reflects changing labor conditions, both in the United States and abroad. Students understand the regulations underpinning the workplace, such as discrimination law. Also considered is the government’s influence on the workplace: the role of public policy in the utilization and preparation of the nation’s human resources for employment; government’s historical role in the labor market; the effect of efficiency, price stability, and economic growth; equity; and immigration policy and its market implications.
 

Statistical Research, Data Science, and Analytics
How can data analytics be used to manage organizations effectively?

Using applicable data from actual organizations, this course provides a foundation for understanding and assessing people analytics and other data, including how to set and define measures and how to communicate the story of the dashboard. The course helps students transform from Excel novices to Excel experts, using statistics to make decisions in the workplace.
 

MPS Project
How do I test new ideas about my workplace?

Every student comes to the MPS program with a range of questions about the workplace and brings with them a variety of work experiences that inform their research interests.

Working with a faculty mentor, students are encouraged to draw on both MPS coursework and their practical work experience in developing their project proposals.