Cornell University

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Curriculum Requirements

curriculumNote that the curriculum requirements detailed here apply to students who matriculated in the fall of 2005 or later. Students who entered ILR prior to the fall of 2005 should contact the advising staff for information on graduation requirements.

Eight Semester Residency Requirement

To earn the Cornell Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations, a student must successfully complete 120 credits, and complete eight (8) semesters of full-time study (30 credits a year on average), including work done while on an approved credit internship or study abroad program. Those who enter the school as transfer students will be required to complete four to six semesters of full-time study depending on the number of transferable credit hours completed at other institutions. Exceptions may be made by petitioning the ILR Academic Standards and Scholarships Committee. Those enrolled in the employee degree program, who typically study on a part-time basis, will be exempt from this requirement.

Components of the ILR Curriculum

The learning goals of the ILR curriculum can be summarized as follows:

Upon graduation, students in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations should have the ability to

  1. Engage in critical, reasoned analyses of issues and ideas
  2. Explain ideas and analyses through written and oral communication
  3. Evaluate and apply theories and assumptions of the social science disciplines to workplace issues
  4. Analyze workplace issues from a variety of perspectives, including the historical, cultural, institutional and ethical perspectives
  5. Access, evaluate and analyze qualitative and quantitative data, so as to enhance understanding and inform decision-making
  6. Work independently and in cooperation with others

The ILR curriculum contains four major components:

The required introductory courses cluster in the first four semesters. Advanced ILR electives, including internships, independent research, and some study abroad courses, are customarily taken in the junior and senior years. General electives and courses satisfying the distribution requirements can be taken at any time during the four years.

Credit Hour Requirements

Candidates for the Bachelor of Science degree in ILR must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours.

Transfer Credit

Students may transfer a maximum of 60 credit hours of course work completed at another accredited university.  Courses must be taken for a letter grade and a grade of C or better is necessary for credit to transfer.  In addition, credit will transfer if the course syllabus indicates the equivalency of a Cornell course, as judged by:

  • course content (at least 80% of material covered in similar Cornell course)
  • the use of a textbook similar to that used in the parallel Cornell course
  • the use of examinations, writing assignments, projects or other submitted work that is substantially similar to those required in a similar Cornell course
  • substantial similarity in meeting hours of the Cornell and non-Cornell course


The summary of requirements page displays the graduation requirements in tabular format.