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Combined Honours BA in Labour Studies

Students graduate with a double major in Labour Studies and another subject.

Hons.B.A.Combined Honours BA in Labour Studies

Students graduate with a double major in Labour Studies and another subject.

We offer innovative, interdisciplinary undergraduate and degree programs in Labour Studies and Work and Society that are widely recognized as among the best in the world. Our students enjoy learning in a cooperative, intellectually exciting environment.  In their classes they engage with the many and varied issues that animate our contemporary worlds of work: What are the barriers to gender and racial equality at work?  Are our workplaces safe and healthy?  What are the reasons for the growth of precarious forms of work?  Can we 'green' the economy? What are the solutions to these issues?  As they were in decades past, are unions a part of the solutions? We are a small program. Students get to know their professors. Teaching is very important to us. In the classroom we seek to inform, challenge and learn from our students. Our faculty are at the forefront of research and critical labour issues in Canada and around the world. Our staff is committed to providing excellent and friendly advice and service to our students.

Our undergraduate and graduate students have high rates of success in securing careers in labour law, community development, Industrial relations, health & safety, lawyer, mediator,  disability case worker, civil servant, community development, policy analysis, teaching, occupational health and safety, labour research and labour organizing.


120 units total (Levels I to IV), of which 48 units may be Level I

30 units


  • the Level I program completed prior to admission to the program
    (See Admission above.)

18 units


  • Course List, where at least nine units must be selected from Levels III or IV
    (See above.)

36 units

  • courses specified for the other subject

3 units


0-3 units


12-15 units

  • Electives

Enrolment in this program is limited. Selection is based on academic achievement but requires, as a minimum, completion of any Level I program with a Grade Point Average of at least 5.0 including a grade of at least C in one of LABRST 1D031E03, 1A03 or 1C03 (see Notes 3 and 8 below), and satisfaction of admission requirements for the Honours program in the other B.A. subject. For continuation in the program, see the section on Minimum Requirements for Entering and Continuing in a Program Beyond Level I in the Faculty of Social Sciences Academic Regulations.


Subject to meeting admission requirements, students may combine two subjects and be graduated with a combined honours B.A. degree. These combinations are available within the Faculty, with programs in the Faculty of Humanities and with the Arts and Science Program



  1. See Admission to Level II Programs in Academic Regulations in this section of the Calendar
  2. Students who have who have completed only 3 units of Level I Labour Studies will be required to complete 3 more units of Level I Labour Studies during their Level II year.
  3. Students may not transfer to another Labour Studies program except by the normal application process.
  4. Students who complete a six unit Research Methods/Statistics course will reduce their elective component by three units.
  5. Students combining Labour Studies with a Humanities subject or with Religious Studies must complete LABRST 4A06 A/B and SOCSCI 2J03. Students in other Combined Honours Programs may complete the Honours Seminar requirement as specified by the other Department and replace LABRST 4A06 A/B with six units Level III Labour Studies courses.
  6. Students who have completed LABRST 4D03 need not complete LABRST 4C03 or 4E03.
  7. Students who have completed LABRST 1C03 and 1A03 need not complete LABRST 1E03 or 1D03 
  8. Students are encouraged to consult the Labour Studies web site at:

Undergraduate Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards

All undergraduate students accepted for admission to McMaster University are automatically considered for a McMaster University entrance award. Additional entrance awards, in-course scholarships, bursaries and other forms of financial assistance is available to you at various stages of their undergraduate careers.

Each scholarship, bursary, Government Aid or Work Study Program a has its own unique application process and requirements. More information on financial aid visit the Student Financial Aid & Scholarship (SFAS) Office.

Labour Studies: Scholarships, Awards and Bursaries

Inspired by a career studying labour issues and a grandfather who supported his extended family by working a blue-collar job, Professor Emeritus Graham Knight has established the Alice and Walter Day Scholarship.

The scholarship is named in honour of Dr. Knight’s grandparents, who helped raise him as a youth in England. The $500 scholarship will be awarded to a student who is entering his or her fourth year in the labour studies program and has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement.

“It’s a small gesture to reward and encourage others,” says Dr. Knight, who was a professor in both the sociology and communications departments and dedicated his 37-year career to studying labour issues. “I had an opportunity to offer maybe not a helping hand, but a helping finger.”

Dr. Knight says he donated the scholarship in the memory of his grandparents because they represented a period of time where there were limited opportunities for people from blue-collar households to advance in society.

“My grandfather was a man who, had the opportunity been presented, would have become a professional. He was a very bright man,” says Dr. Knight, who recognizes he was fortunate to be part of a generation that was presented several opportunities for social mobilization.

Dr. Knight says he hopes the scholarship helps a new generation of students that now face unique economic and social mobility challenges.

In 2009, The Association of Management, administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario (AMAPCEO) in honour of Mr. Tony Dean, M.A. (Labour Studies Class of '80) established an award (value $1,000) to recognize his distinguished thirty-year career in public service in the Province of Ontario. The Tony Dean Scholarship, to be awarded to a Labour Studies student who has completed Level I and an additional 30-75 units of a Labour Studies program and who, in the judgment of the School of Labour Studies, has attained notable academic standing and has demonstrated qualities of leadership at McMaster University or in the community. Preference will normally be given to a student who displays a commitment to social justice. This award is not open to students in their graduating session. A student may receive this award only once. Students who wish to be considered for this award are encouraged to submit their resume to the School of Labour Studies by April 15th each year.

The United Steelworkers of America has graciously made available over 20 new bursaries for Labour Studies students (please see below for a full listing). Students can apply for these bursaries at the Student Financial Aid & Scholarship office or by visiting their website:

In addition to many general University awards, there are particular Labour Studies scholarships named in memory of Larry Sefton provided by the Hamilton Steelworkers Area Council. These are separate awards ($500 each) for full-time and part-time Labour Studies students at any level.

The Melinda Wapshaw Achievement Award, established by her friends and fellow students, is given to the student who has completed Level III with the highest Sessional Average in an Honours programme in Labour Studies

Academic Advising

The Academic Advising office is run through the Office of the Associate Dean. The primary goal of the Advising Office is to provide all Social Sciences undergraduate students with the information and guidance they need to succeed in their academic careers.

Advisors can help you make the right academic decisions by explaining policies and regulations as well as presenting different options and supports available in your studies.

An academic advisor can assist you with:

  • Course requirements, dropping and adding courses
  • Program selection, application and changes
  • Studying abroad
  • Transfer credits
  • Petitions for missed term work, deferred examinations and special consideration
  • Appeals procedures
  • Referral to other campus services

Learn more about Academic Advising in the Social Sciences.

For more information:
Krysta Blanche
Kenneth Taylor Hall, Room 717
(905) 525-9140 ext. 27723
4 years
Required Credential:
completion of any Level I program with a Grade Point Average of at least 5.0 including a grade of at least C in one of LABRST 1D03, 1E03, 1A03 or 1C03 (see Notes 3 and 8 below), and satisfaction of admission requirements for the Honours program in the other B.A. subject.
Program Type:
Course based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
Current Deadline: