Cornell University

Graduate Degree Programs

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Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) New York City, Degree Program Policy

  1. Objectives of the Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) New York City, Degree Program
  2. Administration of the Program
  3. Admissions
  4. Special Graduate Committee
  5. Residency Requirements: Registration Units
  6. Course Requirements
  7. Grades
  8. Language Requirements
  9. Teaching Requirements
  10. Thesis/Dissertation
  11. Examinations
  12. Recommendations for the Degree

1. Objectives of the Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) ILR, New York City, Degree Program

The Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.), New York City, Degree is designed for mid-career professionals who have practical knowledge and work-based skills but have not had the opportunity to study the theory and history of industrial and labor relations in depth or at the graduate level. The program falls between the M.S. (which is fundamentally a research degree) and the M.I.L.R. (fundamentally a practitioner degree).

2. Administration of the Program

The ILR Graduate Committee administers the general requirements for the degree of M.P.S. in accordance with the policies of the Code of Legislation of the Graduate Faculty. This Committee processes applications for admission to the M.P.S. degree program, 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. Degree Program include:

  • Baccalaureate degree or, for students with foreign credentials, the equivalent from a college or university of recognized standing, with adequate preparation for graduate work in Industrial and Labor Relations. An official certification of each degree earned is required
  • 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.

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; at least 2 letters of recommendation, and 2 essays (3-4 pages, describing career trajectory, work experience, workplace issues, experiences influencing decision to apply to the MPS program and what student hopes to gain from this course of study, insight and perspective student could contribute to class discussions and a second 3-4 page essay on a substantive issue related to the workplace).


*Foreign 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). Foreign students whose native language is other than English must submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the GRE analytical writing section.

NOTE: the GRE or GMAT is not required for applicants who have 5 years of relevant work experience. Other applicants are required to submit test scores.

4. Special Graduate Committee

A student's course of study, including a project, will be supervised by one faculty member who will act as Chairman of the Special Graduate Committee.

5. Credit Requirements

Study is undertaken on a part-time basis mainly at the New York City ILR campus. Successful completion of the program requires a two-year commitment, including attendance at two two-week summer sessions in Ithaca. Students will be expected to complete thirty (30) credit hours of coursework, including a research project. The curriculum is structured around six four-credit courses.

6. Course Requirements

All students take a standardized, interdisciplinary curriculum, which is structured around six core courses and the research project. Students are registered for all courses by the program office.

MPS/NYC Curriculum

  • ILROB 5250—Organizational Behavior (4 credits)
  • ILRHR 5640—Human Resource Management (4 credits)
  • ILRST 5150—Statistical Research Methods (4 credits)
  • ILRLE 5440—Labor Economics (4 credits)
  • ILRLR 5040—Labor Relations (4 credits)
  • ILRID 5680—Labor and Employment Law/Policy (4 credits)
  • ILRID 7590—Directed Reading (2 credits; S/U)
  • ILRID 7595—Research Project – semester 1 (2 credits)
  • ILRID 7595—Research Project – semester 2 (2 credits)

7. Grades

Candidates for the MPS degree are expected to maintain a grade average of not less than B- and no single course or seminar grade shall be below C. Failure to maintain these standards may be grounds for dismissal from the program. At the end of each term, the Chair of the student's Special Committee, or the Director of Graduate Studies, will review the grade records and issue warning notices or recommendations for dismissal, as appropriate.

8. Language Requirements

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

9. Teaching Requirements

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

10. Thesis/Dissertation

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

11. Examinations

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

12. Recommendations for the Degree

The ILR 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.