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Master of Arts in Labour Studies

The prime objective of this unique program is to introduce students to a variety of theoretical approaches and practical policy debates related to work and workers, both globally, and in Canada. Courses focus on a broad range of topics such as: union organizing; globalization and migration; labour geography; worker health and safety; and gender, racialization and work. The M.A. in Labour Studies approaches work broadly, paying attention to informal work, unpaid work in the home, as well as formal waged work. Regardless of the particular focus, work is studied as one component of life experience, and as influenced by technological change, community relations, the effects of racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism, politics, and state regulation.

M.A.Master of Arts in Labour Studies

The prime objective of this unique program is to introduce students to a variety of theoretical approaches and practical policy debates related to work and workers, both globally, and in Canada. Courses focus on a broad range of topics such as: union organizing; globalization and migration; labour geography; worker health and safety; and gender, racialization and work. The M.A. in Labour Studies approaches work broadly, paying attention to informal work, unpaid work in the home, as well as formal waged work. Regardless of the particular focus, work is studied as one component of life experience, and as influenced by technological change, community relations, the effects of racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism, politics, and state regulation.

Upon graduation, our students are well-prepared either to take up employment in related fields or to pursue further studies in PhD programmes. We take particular note of the placement of a number of our graduates in public sector professional positions and in the trade union movement.  Graduates have found employment working in a wide range of positions including:

  • trade union researchers/educators
  • mediators
  • teachers and professors
  • managers and administrators
  • human resource specialists
  • policy analysts
  • economic development officers

The program consists of two streams:

The Masters Research Paper stream consists of six courses and a Major Research Paper (MRP) and is normally completed in one year.

The Thesis stream consists of five courses and a Thesis with an option to be completed in 20 months.

Courses for both streams are chosen from a list of core Labour Studies graduate courses as well as from the disciplines such as Sociology, Political Science, Geography, Social Work, History, etc.

 

  • Honours Bachelor of Arts degree or equivalent 4-year BA in any discipline with a minimum B+ average (78% from last 10 upper level half-courses) from accredited university
  • Two-page Statement of Research Interest
  • Resume or CV
  • Two (2) academic references from former university professors or in cases of mature applicants, work-related references are acceptable.
  • Official up-to-date Transcript(s) showing degrees completed (unofficial student-generated records are acceptable for application process only, provided student name and institution are visible). 'Conditional Acceptance':  In-process 4-year BA must be completed before September and updated official transcript noting completion must be provided to meet condition.
  • International applicants whose education was not received in English must provide proof of English equivalent to McMaster's School of Graduate Studies acceptance levels:  https://future.mcmaster.ca/admission/language-2/
  • Only Complete applications will be reviewed after the January 31st deadline. Admission decisions will be communicated in February. Incomplete applications cannot be reviewed.

All incoming full-time MA students are offered some funding to assist with their studies from a variety of sources including Teaching Assistantship, scholarships and bursaries and Research Assistantship.

We recommend that incoming students with an average of A- or above apply for a Canada Graduate Scholarship. http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Students-Etudiants/PG-CS/CGSM-BESCM_eng.asp

International applicants:  https://www.educanada.ca/scholarships-bourses/non_can/index.aspx?lang=eng

Each fall, the School of Labour Studies provides a workshop to assist applicants. Please contact the department for further information.

Information about other scholarships is available here: http://sfas.mcmaster.ca/category/scholarships/

The Social Justice Graduate Scholarship for Labour Studies

Established in 2018 to recognize important contributions to social justice. This scholarship will be awarded, by the School of Graduate Studies, to an incoming master's degree student in the School of Labour Studies who, in the judgement of the School of Labour Studies, has demonstrated a deep commitment to social justice and solidarity.

Initial value: $1,000

Additional details for this scholarship:

  • Applicants for admission to the MA in Work and Society who wish to be considered for this scholarship will provide information about their contributions to social justice and solidarity as part of their application. This information will be used by the School of Labour Studies as the main basis for deciding whom to award the scholarship each year. If, based on this information and in the judgement of the School of Labour Studies there is not a suitable candidate for this scholarship in any particular year, the scholarship will not be awarded in that year.

Tips for successful applications:

  • Ensure that all pieces of your application arrive prior to the deadline date.
  • Write an effective research statement. An effective research statement includes:
    • A clear statement of your research interests
    • How your background (including education and work/volunteer experience) prepares you to do the research.
    • Why the School of Labour Studies at McMaster is the right place for you to pursue the above research question.
    • If you need further advice, seek advice from a mentor from your previous school/program, because they know you best.

Graduate Courses in Labour Studies

  • METHODS - mandatory for all Labour Studies graduate students
  • Advanced Labour Theory
  • Contemporary Issues in Labour Studies
  • Class, Gender and Race: Theorizing Work, Home and Society
  • Labour Market, the State and Inequality
  • Work, Workers and their Workplaces
  • Work and Democracy in the Global Society
  • Bodies at Work: Politics, Science Law & Occupational Health
  • Selected Topics in Work and Society
  • Independent Study
the School of Graduate Studies Awards and Funding Labour Studies Graduate Handbook MRP Thesis Alphabetical List of Graduates Graduate FAQ’s Apply Now
For more information:
Graduate Assistant Administrator, School of Labour Studies
KTH-717
905-525-9140 ext. 24692
LSgrad@mcmaster.ca
Length:
1 year full-time (Masters Research Paper) or 20 months full-time (Thesis option). Up to 5 years are allowed for part-time studies.
Required Credential:
Honours Bachelor's degree or equivalent (4-year BA degree) from any discipline with minimum 78% from last 10 upper level courses (i.e. 3rd & 4th year)
Program Type:
Thesis and Course based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
September
Current Deadline:
January 31