IAM Partnership Program and the Master of Arts in Work and Labor Policy

Empire State University School for Graduate Studies has partnered with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) to provide students a path towards the Master of Arts in Work and Labor Policy degree. This program is offered in cooperation with the William W. Winpisinger Education Center and offers a curriculum focused on the historical and contemporary role of organized labor in the United States and American labor within a broader global context. Students will graduate with the knowledge and skills to more effectively assume leadership roles in their union – from the local to the international levels.

Participants will analyze theories behind labor movement organizing and action, labor and the political process, the development and significance of collective bargaining and the wider labor relations process, and the manner in which labor and employment law has developed in the United States. The different roles occupied by the state, capital and labor will be analyzed in detail, including the changing nature of the American economy.

Concentration Areas

Students of the work and labor policy program create an emphasis in one of three concentrations, or they can incorporate an advanced certificate into their degree program through the general concentration. Concentration areas are:

  • Workforce Development
  • General track

Program Design

The Work and Labor Policy program is a 30-credit hour master’s degree incorporating online courses with two required virtual or face-to-face residencies. The in-person residencies are held at the William W. Winpisinger Education Center in Hollywood, Maryland.

As with other classes held at the William W. Winpisinger Education Center, there is no cost to IAM members for room and board or transportation to and from the residency.


The initial residency introduces students to work and labor policy and will focus on graduate level reading, writing and research. Content focus is on labor and policy and the policy process. This residency features individual and group work, and initiates thinking on how final projects will be integrated into their studies. Students meet faculty and staff supporting the program and have individual advising sessions.

The remaining residencies are thematic and focus on current labor topics.

Required Courses

All concentrations require the following courses as well as an additional 15 credit hours of concentration courses.

  • Policy Process 3 cr.
  • Work and Labor Studies 3 cr.
  • Labor Policy in America 3 cr.
  • Research Methods 3 cr.
  • Final Project 3 cr.

Elective Courses and Final Project

The elective courses are intended to reflect personal interests and to reinforce the individual focus of one's degree. Students are encouraged to apply their electives to a concentration around the final project topic. Many students also choose to incorporate an advanced certificate into their master’s degree.

In addition to completing the required courses, students must successfully defend an approved final project. The final project focuses on a topic of your interest that draws upon your prior coursework and allows for a meaningful contribution to your field of study and/or practice. This is done through a professional project in the form of a policy memorandum.

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