Online Labor Studies Program

The Cornell ILR Online Labor Studies Program provides busy union activists with an opportunity to take college credit courses without regard to their location or work schedules. While there is no physical classroom there is considerable student-to-student and student-to-instructor interaction, making for lively discussions and group learning.

Courses advance students' knowledge about the issues that matter most to their day-to-day roles and include Collective Bargaining, Labor History, Labor/Employment Law, Contemporary Labor Issues and Contract Administration.

Participants can earn a Certificate and an Advanced Certificate of Labor Studies.

Adjunct faculty are proud members of the Cornell Adjunct Faculty Alliance, NYSUT, AFT, AFL-CIO. Courses and credits earned in Extension Division programs are not automatically accepted as transfer credits or as a basis of admission to the resident Cornell-ILR programs in Ithaca. Student applications and course transfers are evaluated by universities and colleges on an individual basis.


A Certificate of Labor Studies can be earned by successfully completing 18 credit course in the following areas

  • Law (Labor Law, Employment Law, or Labor Relations in the Public Sector)- one course
  • History (Labor History or Labor & Film)- one course
  • Bargaining (Collective Bargaining, Contract Administration)
  • Electives (Labor, Government and Politics, , Unions and Diversity, and others)- courses

Additionally, an Advanced Certificate of Labor Studies will be awarded to those who complete an additional 9.0 credits offered in the program in any subject area. Each course carries 3.0 undergraduate college credits.

Our on-line credit classes are structured so that you can log-on at any particular time or day throughout the week.  The system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Each online 3.0 credit course is $625.00. 

To register on-line, click on the course name below or contact Arthur Wheaton at 716.777.0303, for call or TEXT. You can also download the 2020 Course Schedule and Registration Form (PDF, 1 MB) and fax it to (212) 340-2890.

Upcoming Online Courses

Building Effective Unions: Motivating and Organizing Union

 This course, part of the Online Labor Studies Program, will examine the history of workers' efforts to form unions. Of great interest will be discussions on how unions can "unionize" their members so they become participants in the mobilization of other workers to support the values of the labor movement.

Introduction to Collective Bargaining

Part of the Online Labor Studies Program, this course examines the principles of contract bargaining including bargaining environments and structures as well as standards used in negotiations. Students will learn to prepare bargaining demands, cost economic items, draft non-economic language, negotiate economic and non-economic issues, and resolve a bargaining impasse.

Unions Role in Lives of Workers

Part of the Online Labor Studies Program, this course recognizes how unions as an institution protect the interests of workers on the job and in society. Students will focus on Social Movement Unionism that looks at the working conditions of members and also the social issues affecting all working people.

2-month Credit Course

Labor History

Labor History can be understood from the perspectives of both union history and the social, cultural, and political life of workers. To gain insights into labor’s past, it is useful to explore not only union organizing, collective bargaining, and labor legislation, but also what workers thought, how they work and lived, and their impact of workers on the larger society.

2-month Credit Course

Introduction to Occupational Safety and Health

This course is part of the Certificate of Labor Studies and requires no prior familiarity with the subject matter. This online class introduces participants to workplace hazards, their regulations/recommendations, and hazard control measures. An important benefit will be improving your ability to recognize hazards and to use hazard evaluation tools.

2-month Credit Course