Cornell University

Graduate Degree Programs

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Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) ILR Degree Program Policy

  1. Objectives of the M.P.S. ILR Degree Program
  2. Administration of the Program
  3. Admissions
  4. Advisor
  5. Course and Credit Requirements
  6. Grades
  7. Language Requirements
  8. Teaching Requirements
  9. Thesis/Dissertation
  10. Examinations
  11. Recommendations for the Degree

1. Objectives of the M.P.S. ILR Degree Program

The ILR Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) Degree is designed for individuals who are already practitioners, have a minimum of 8-10 years of work experience, and want to retool or redirect their efforts to a specific competency. It is appropriate for international students who wish to obtain training in the general area of industrial and labor relations and for domestic students who are employed in the human resources field and wish to upgrade their skills and understanding. This is an unstructured program, without specific prescribed courses, which requires a research project. The on-campus M.P.S. degree is a one-year, full-time residential program intended for mid-career professionals with extensive experience in the field. No financial aid is provided for the M.P.S. An employee degree candidate who is admitted to the M.P.S. program must meet these conditions; in particular the employer must pay standard M.P.S. tuition to the ILR School. A part-time ILR M.P.S. program is available in New York City (see our Graduate Degree Programs page for details).

2. Administration of the Program

The Graduate Field Faculty of Industrial and Labor Relations administers the general requirements for the M.P.S. degree through the ILR Graduate Committee. This Committee reviews applications, administers the program of study, and recommends the degree for those who satisfactorily meet the requirements.

3. Admissions

Requirements for admission to the M.P.S. ILR Degree Program include:

  • Aptitude for graduate work as demonstrated by the GRE or GMAT examination and other appropriate criteria, including undergraduate (and previous graduate level) success and academic recommendations. NOTE: there is no specific minimum test score or GPA; applications are considered on all relative merits.
  • A demonstrated desire and goals appropriate to this field of study, especially as expressed in the statement of purpose.
  • A minimum of 8-10 years of work experience in the field.

Applicants are required to submit a completed Cornell Graduate Application (and application fee); statement of purpose; complete transcripts from all institutions attended; GRE or GMAT Test scores; TOEFL Scores from international applicants*; a resume or CV detailing applicant's work experience; and 2 letters of recommendation from a college or university faculty member acquainted with applicant's academic work (academic references are preferred but professional references will be accepted). 

*International graduate students are admitted with the same criteria as US citizens, including the results of the aptitude tests of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). All international applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the English language by submitting official test scores from a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam. 

4. Advisor

A candidate's course of study, including the research project, will be supervised by a Graduate Field Faculty member.

5. Residency Requirements: Registration Units

Satisfactory completion of two residence units is required. A residence unit is defined a semester of full time study completed successfully and approved by the student's advisor.

5. Course and Credit Requirements

2 full-time semesters and 30 credit hours, including a research project are required for successful completion of the degree program. Specific courses are not prescribed so the student, with guidance of their advisor, may select coursework tailored to his or her background, focus of study, and goals.

6. Grades

Course selection and grade requirements are at the discretion of the student's advisor.

7. Language Requirements

There are no language requirements for M.P.S. ILR degree candidates, however, international applicants must submit official TOEFL test scores to qualify for admission to the program.

8. Teaching Requirements

There are no teaching requirements for M.P.S. ILR degree candidates.

9. Thesis/Dissertation

There are no final thesis or dissertation requirements for M.P.S. ILR degree candidates but an M.P.S. research project is required.

10. Examinations

Admission to Candidacy exams and Final Thesis Defense exams are not required by this degree program.

11. Recommendations for the Degree

The Graduate Committee will review each candidate’s program prior to recommending the degree candidate to the Graduate School. The Cornell University Graduate Faculty approves the awarding of all degrees.