ILR M.S. and Ph.D. Degree Program Policy
- Objectives of the M.S. and Ph.D. Degree Program
- Administration of the Program
- Special Graduate Committee
- Residency Requirements: Registration Units
- Course Requirements
- Language Requirements
- Teaching Requirements
- Recommendations for the Degree
1. Objectives of the M.S. and Ph.D. Degree Program
The Master of Science (M.S.), Master's/Doctor of Philosophy (M.S./Ph.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) are general research degrees. The Ph.D. degree program is designed for individuals who demonstrate the potential to perform original research under guidance, with a view to various careers, especially in independent research and teaching.
2. Administration of the Program
Ph.D. study at Cornell University is regulated by the General Committee of the Graduate school and the policies are set forth in the Code of Legislation. This Code of Legislation sets forth the rules governing graduate education as established by the graduate faculty of Cornell University. Faculty and staff in the graduate fields and the Graduate School are responsible for making these regulations available to students and prospective students. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the various regulations that apply to their programs.
Applicants may apply to the Ph.D. program or M.S./Ph.D. degree program. ILR Ph.D. applicants have typically received advanced academic training in the social sciences, generally in one or more of the following fields: anthropology, economics, government, history, psychology, sociology, and statistics. Many have a master's degree in a subject related to their intended program. In cases of demonstrated exceptional capacity for study at the Ph.D. level, applicants may be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program in the Field of Industrial and Labor Relations without a Master's degree in hand. In the case of applicants currently enrolled in a Master's degree program in the School, application must be made to the ILR Graduate Committee by petition for change of status, accompanied by appropriate evidence in support of the petition. Criteria used by the ILR Graduate Committee in evaluating applicants for direct admission to Ph. D. status are:
- Applicants must meet the general Cornell Graduate School and ILR Field criteria for admission to the Ph.D. program.
- Applicants must provide evidence of superior academic performance.
- The undergraduate major of applicants should be in one of the social or behavioral sciences, and the work should have been done in an institution with a strong reputation in that Field.
- Students already in residence at Cornell are required to have completed at least two terms of residence at the time of application. Outstanding performance and a particularly strong record in the student''s proposed major will be expected.
- Most importantly applicants must present evidence of research ability commensurate with the quality expected of Ph. D. candidates. Research papers, judged by a supervising faculty member to demonstrate exceptional research ability, may be offered as evidence.
M.S. degree candidates in the Field of Industrial and Labor Relations who wish to be considered for admission to the Ph D. program upon completion of the M.S. degree should inform the chairman of their Special Committee well in advance of the final examination for the M.S. degree. If the Special Committee wishes to use the M.S. final examination to determine the suitability of a graduate student for the Ph.D. program, the oral examination must be conducted with an additional member of the Graduate Field Faculty, appointed by the ILR Graduate Committee, present. The additional member shall not have a vote on awarding the M.S. degree, although his opinion may be registered. He shall have a vote in recommending admission to the Ph.D. program, to the ILR Graduate Committee. Decision on admission to the Ph.D. program remains with the ILR Graduate Committee (as representative of the entire Field).
Applicants must submit a completed Cornell Graduate Application and application fee, a statement of purpose, complete transcripts from all institutions attended, GRE or GMAT Test scores (TOEFL Scores from international applicants) and a minimum of 2 academic letters of recommendation (up to 2 additional professional recommendations are allowed). Inclusion of a resume or CV is detailing work experience is strongly encouraged.
*Foreign graduate students are admitted with the same criteria as US citizens, including the results 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).
4. Special Graduate Committee
Graduate School legislation provides that each M.S. or Ph.D. student must indicate his or her major and minor subjects and submit a form* signed by the Faculty members who have agreed to serve as the Special Graduate Committee, within three weeks of registration in the Graduate School (*submission of Special Graduate Committee form can now be done on-line, see the Graduate School web site). Members of Special Graduate Committees may also agree to serve temporarily until the student becomes acquainted with the Faculty and their work and makes a permanent choice. The Field of Industrial and Labor Relations will designate temporary Special Graduate Committee members, if the student chooses. Such an arrangement is limited to the student's first term in residence, after which selection and tenure of his Special Graduate Committee will be in accordance with Graduate School legislation. A graduate student whose Special Graduate Committee member leaves the Faculty may ask the ILR Graduate Committee to appoint an interim temporary replacement until he has chosen a replacement, but not for longer than one term.
Ph.D. students are required to select one of the two required minor subjects outside the Field of Industrial and Labor Relations. In accordance with Graduate School legislation, under special circumstances students may petition to register a single minor subject, provided: (1) the minor subject is in a Field other than Industrial and Labor Relations and (2) the petition for a single minor is approved by the Chairman of the student's Special Graduate Committee, the member representing the minor subject, and by a majority of the ILR Graduate Committee. Following approval of the petition, the ILR Graduate Committee appoints an ILR Field Faculty member, who represents a subject area other than the students major, as the third member of the student’s Special Graduate Committee.
The approved major and minor subjects for advanced study in Industrial and Labor Relations are as follows:
- Collective Bargaining, Labor Law, and Labor History
- Economic and Social Statistics - Minor ONLY
- International and Comparative Labor
- Labor Economics - Minor ONLY
- Human Resource Studies
- Organizational Behavior
- Industrial and Labor Relations Problems - Minor ONLY for candidates majoring in Fields of study other than Industrial and Labor Relations).
- NOTE: Students wishing a Ph.D. with a major in Economics, Social Statistics or Labor Economics must apply directly to the Field of Economics or Field of Statistics, respectively.
It is the responsibility of the Chairman of a student's Special Graduate Committee to advise, guide and supervise the student's course work, independent reading, training in research techniques and field work. It is the responsibility of the Chairman to convene the Special Graduate Committee when joint consultation is required in program planning and in thesis and research activities. The student may request such conferences if the need arises. All Committee members should read, appraise, and criticize the student’s thesis at the Master's and Ph. D. levels. All members must approve the final thesis prior to binding and final submission.
5. Residency Requirements: Registration Units
Full-time graduate study at Cornell is measured in terms of registration units. One term of satisfactory, full-time, graduate study normally earns a full registration unit, but the number of courses and the level of performance required are left to the judgment of the members of the student's Special Graduate Committee, consistent with the requirements which may be established in the subject areas which they represent. The Graduate School requires six registration units, i.e.: 6 terms of full-time graduate study for the Ph.D. degree. A Ph.D. student may petition to have study in other graduate schools counted toward the registration unit requirement. Upon recommendation of the special committee and approval of the Dean, a maximum of two registration units may be awarded for a master's degree completed at another university. Requests will not be formally considered until the student is registered in the Graduate School.
The Graduate School requires four registration units for a M.S. degree. Master's degree students may not count study in other graduate schools toward the registration unit requirement. They are, however, eligible for registration units for work completed at Cornell in provisional or non-degree status, with the approval of the Special Graduate Committee. With approval of the Special Graduate Committee students may also earn registration units while registered in-absentia. See the Code of Legislation for further regulations regarding registration units.
6. Course Requirements
The student's Special Graduate Committee is the sole judge of whether the student can efficiently prepare to fulfill degree requirements through formal or informal participation in courses. The graduate faculty does not differentiate between undergraduate and graduate courses, nor does it regulate the type or number of courses that a graduate student should take. In principle, graduate students may enroll for any course offered by Cornell University. Students not enrolling in specific courses must enroll for thesis or dissertation research.
The student's Special Graduate Committee reviews his or her degree progress and determines if warning or action is needed. In general students at this level of study are expected to maintain no less than a B average.
8. Language Requirements
In accordance with Graduate School legislation, each Field may set its own foreign language requirements, if any, for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. The Field of Industrial and Labor Relations, generally, does not impose language requirements for either degree. Special Committees, however, may impose such requirements at their discretion. Ph.D. candidates who select International and Comparative Labor Relations as a major or minor subject will be required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language, as determined by the candidate's Special Committee.
9. Teaching Requirements
Teaching is a requirement for the Ph. D. degree in this Field, the specifics to be determined by the candidate's Special Committee.
For the M.S. degree, the graduate faculty requires the Final Examination for the Master's Degree. For the Ph.D. degree, the graduate faculty requires the Examination for Admission to Candidacy (the "A Exam") and the Final Examination for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree (the "B Exam"). A master’s student takes the final exam upon completion of all requirements for the degree but no earlier than one month before completion of the minimum registration unit requirement. This oral exam covers the topic of the master's thesis. If the M.S. degree is a prerequisite for the Ph.D. program, the Final Examination for the Master's Degree may be combined with the Examination for Admission to Candidacy, subject to special committee approval. On the recommendation of the special committee, a doctoral student who has earned at least four registration units may be awarded a terminal master's degree after he or she has passed a terminal master's exam established for this purpose. Performance should be at least at the level of a passed master's exam.
In addition to the Ph. D. examinations required by Graduate School legislation, the Field of Industrial and Labor Relations requires a qualifying examination for candidates for the Ph. D. degree. The qualifying examination should be administered as early in the period of residence as possible, preferably in the first semester after admission to the doctoral program. The examination serves to assist the Special Committee to determine the academic strengths and weaknesses of the candidate in his major and minor subjects and on the basis of its assessment to plan the content and sequence of the candidate's program of study. To achieve these purposes, the following procedures should prevail:
- The qualifying examination should be rigorous and be designed to explore the potential competence of the candidate as well as knowledge of this Field. One part of the qualifying examination should be designed to determine the research capacity of the candidate.
- The qualifying examination may be oral or oral and written, at the discretion of the Special Committee.
- The Special Committee is encouraged to use the assistance of non-committee members in the qualifying examination, whether or not such persons are members of the University Faculty.
- The candidate will be advised of deficiencies and of what is expected in future work.
- The M.S. final examination MAY NOT be substituted for the Ph.D. qualifying examination or the Ph.D. "A" examination because of the different purposes of these examinations.
- In appropriate instances the qualifying examination may terminate a candidate's enrollment in the Ph.D. program if it is determined the student does not meet the qualifications at this point.
Admission to Candidacy Exam
The Admission to Candidacy Examination is intended to be a comprehensive examination administered by the Special Graduate Committee. Successful completion certifies the student is eligible to prepare and present a thesis to the Graduate Faculty. It is expected that the Admission to Candidacy Examination will probe deeply into the student's competence in his major and minor Fields.
- The examination may not be taken until at least two units of registration unit at Cornell University have been accumulated. This means that it will usually be scheduled after the student has completed all or a major portion of his course program but before the start of the seventh unit of registration. Students taking leave of absence after the sixth term must take the exam before leaving or exam must be scheduled within one month of return.
- In this Field, the Admission to Candidacy Examination for doctoral candidates will be both oral and written.
- Announcement of the Admission to Candidacy Examination should be given to the ILR Faculty by the Chairman of the Special Committee at least 15 days in advance of the scheduled date.
- The Chair of the Special Committee should make every effort to invite Graduate Faculty members who are not members of the Special Committee to participate.
- In the oral portion of the Admission to Candidacy Examination determination of pass or fail rests exclusively with members of the Special Graduate Committee, but Graduate Faculty visitors who disagree with the Committee's conclusion may so inform the Dean of the Graduate School and request a review of the case in question.
- For a student to pass the Examination, all members of the Committee must approve.
The Final Examination for the Ph.D. degree is oral and covers the general subject of the thesis. A candidate for the M.S. or Ph.D. degree must submit a complete draft of the thesis to all members of the special committee at least six weeks before the Final Examination, unless the special committee modifies this requirement. At least five business days before a Final Examination, a student must give each member of the special committee a typed copy of the thesis or dissertation, complete in all respects and editorially acceptable for final approval.
- The Final Examination may not be scheduled until the candidate has accumulated two units of registration credit following passage of the Admission to Candidacy Examination.
- Announcement of the Final Examination should include a statement of the candidate's Field of study, thesis subject, and a summary of work done by way of preparation.
- The Chairman of the Special Committee should make every effort to secure the presence of Graduate Faculty members who are not members of the candidate's Special Committee to be present at the examination.
- Determination of pass or fail rests exclusively with members of the Special Committee, but Graduate Faculty visitors who disagree with the Committee's conclusion may so inform the Dean of the Graduate School and request a review of the case in question.
- For a student to pass the examination, all members of the Committee must approve.
- The Final Examination must be passed within four years after completion of required registration units, or after seven years from the date of first registration, whichever is sooner.
The award of all research degrees is contingent upon the completion and submission of a thesis or dissertation constituting an original contribution to knowledge.
As a means of improving thesis form and of assuring uniform thesis style, the Graduate School has regulations concerning the preparation of theses. Doctoral candidates must follow these regulations and meet with the Graduate Thesis Secretary, since the Graduate School will insist on strict compliance with these regulations.
A candidate for the M.S., or Ph.D. degree must submit a complete draft of the thesis to all members of the special committee at least six weeks before the Final Examination, unless the special committee modifies this requirement. Students submit a complete readable copy of their thesis to the ILR Library 15 days prior to the final examination making it available for Faculty perusal. At least 5 business days before a Final Examination, a student must give each member of the special committee a final typed copy of the thesis or dissertation, complete in all respects and editorially acceptable for final approval.
After the degree is awarded, rights to publication of the thesis, dissertation, or related material belong to the author. The graduate is expected to acknowledge in the publication that the thesis or dissertation on which the publication was based was accepted by the graduate faculty in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree. One copy of the thesis becomes an official record of the University, held in the University Library.
12. Recommendations for the Degree
Submission of the final approved and bound thesis to the Graduate School signifies that the student has satisfactorily completed the degree requirements. The graduate faculty meets to vote on degrees in August, January, and May, immediately following the degree deadlines. The graduate faculty recommends degrees for all students who have fulfilled the academic requirements. A majority vote suffices for granting a degree.