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North America's Premier Labour Studies PhD Program

Knowledge for Transforming the World of Work

The Only Labour Studies PhD in North America

The PhD in Labour Studies is the newest component of McMaster University’s School of Labour Studies. The only such degree in North America, this program engages closely and critically with the issues of work and labour in contemporary and historical perspective. The program aims to develop a new generation of scholars prepared to contribute to research leadership in the academy, the community, policy arenas and organizations representing working people. As a small interdisciplinary program, students will enjoy strong mentorship from leading scholars in the field and benefit from the strong union and community connections of faculty.

Degree Details

Work in a Global Society Research Group

The Work in a Global Society (WIGS) Research Group brings a social sciences perspective to issues of direct concern to paid and unpaid workers, and the institutions representing their interests. We have established links with researchers in the trade union community and at universities in a number of countries. Learn more about WIGS and download our working papers.

The Program

The program, which normally takes four years of full-time study, consists of course work, a comprehensive examination and a Dissertation. Students are required to take four courses, of which Methods and Advanced Labour Studies Theory are required. Additional courses are chosen from a list of core Labour Studies courses as well as from the disciplines such as Sociology, Political Science, Geography, Social Work, and History. Students can take the PhD on a full-time or part-time basis.

  • Program Length: 4 years full-time
  • Required Credential: Master’s degree or equivalent from any discipline
  • Program Type: Dissertation and Course based
  • Program Options: Full-time, Part-time
  • Typical Entry: September
  • Current Deadline:  January 31st


Future Paths

PhD graduates will be ready to undertake academic employment as well as research jobs, senior administrative and leadership positions in a range of public, private and non-profit organizations with a focus on work and social justice, such as labour organizations, policy research institutes and think tanks.

McMaster Labour Studies Archives

McMaster’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections and Lloyd Reeds Maps Collection, house extensive labour studies collections and historical maps.

The City of Hamilton has traditionally been a leader in workers rights and the preservation of culture & history of all working people. It is the home of the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre, a museum and a contemporary multi-disciplinary arts centre that showcases the contributions of working people – not only in Canadian history but worldwide through art, exhibits, and performances.

Leaders in our field

Our Faculty conduct cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on domestic and international labour issues and are leaders in community-engaged scholarship, collaborating with unions, community organizations and policy-makers on research that will help make work better for everyone.

Take a Listen

Mac Labour Studies Podcast:

Audio from the student and faculty at McMaster University's School of Labour Studies, Canada's leading program studying contemporary work, workers and social justice movements.

Faculty Expertise

  • Precarious employment
  • Unions and social movements
  • Equity and diversity
  • Labour politics and strategy
  • Immigrant worker rights
  • Health and safety
  • Sexuality and gender
  • Resource workers and workplaces

More on our researchers

Learn More

For more information about the program contact:

Megan Stokes, School of Labour Studies Graduate Admissions Assistant
1280 Main St. West, KTH-717, Hamilton ON  CANADA
905-525-9140 ext. 24692