Degree Options and Requirements

Work and Labour Studies offers several degree options:

Important Notes

Honours BA GPA: To continue in the Honours program, students must maintain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 5.0 (C+). Students whose CGPA falls below 5.0 during the course of their studies may proceed in the Honours program, on warning, provided they meet the year level progression requirements as follows:

Year Level Cumulative Credits Completed CGPA
1 Fewer than 24 credits 4
2 24 to 53 credits 4.25
3 54 to 83 credits 4.8

Students in this situation must achieve a CGPA of 5.0 by the time they complete their 90th credit in order to graduate in Honours.

  • BA GPA: To pursue a three-year BA program, students must maintain a CGPA of 4.0 (C).
  • For the purposes of meeting program requirements AP/SOSC 1510 6.0 will count as six credits towards the major or minor but not towards the General Education requirements.
  • All WKLS degree options allow you to take relevant courses offered outside the Department of Social Science for degree credit, in the Faculties of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, Education, Environmental Studies and Health, the Schulich School of Business, and Glendon College. However, courses not designated in the Work and Labour Studies lists of courses cannot normally be substituted for degree requirements in the program.
  • 4000-Level Credits: Faculty legislation requires that, in order to obtain an Honours BA (120 credits), students must take a total of at least 18 credits at the 4000 level, including at least 12 credits at the 4000 level in each Honours major or Specialized Honours major.
  • Students pursuing a BA Honours in Work and Labour Studies in combination with any other Major or Minor must consult the other relevant program (and its Undergraduate Program Director, Program Coordinator or Program Assistant) to ensure that the other program’s requirements are being met.
  • Please refer to the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Student Handbook for a detailed list of all complete BA requirements.


Why Study Work & Labour Studies?

Most of us will spend an enormous portion of our lives working. Our identities, our material security, our ability to fulfil our personal goals and contribute to community life all depend upon the kinds of work we get and the relationships we engage in once there. Today, in a globalizing world, the availability and organization of work are being dramatically transformed. Given how important work is to the quality of our lives, it only makes sense to study these changes.

Work and Labour Studies (WKLS) is an interdisciplinary program focused on this rapidly changing world of work and its impact on workers. Placing contemporary developments into historical perspective, Work and Labour Studies critically examines the organization and experience of paid and unpaid labour, labour markets, education and training, labour and employment law, collective bargaining, public policies on work and the economy, occupational health and safety, workplace equity, working-class culture and communities, and the labour movement. Given its location in Toronto, Canada’s most diverse city, the program pays special attention to the experiences of different groups of workers.

Work and Labour Studies also places particular emphasis on the role that workers, unions, and other social justice movements have played in making workplaces, communities, and political and economic life, in general, more democratic, representative and egalitarian. By critically exploring both historical and contemporary efforts to improve work, Work and Labour Studies hopes to inspire students to intervene in their workplaces and communities, so that everyone can benefit from the world of work.

Study in the program opens students up to multiple opportunities for research and engagement.  Within York, Work and Labour Studies faculty have active research programs and are linked to a number of programs and research centres throughout the University. Beyond York, Work and Labour Studies faculty maintain active links with Canadian trade unions, skills training bodies, government departments, non-governmental and community-based organizations, and international advocacy networks, broadening the world of study and employment opportunities for WKLS students. The program also combines the strengths of academic study with experiential forms of learning: our 4th year Labour Relations Simulation and Labour Studies Placement courses allow students to extend and apply knowledge from classroom study in practical ways that deepen their understanding of the dynamics of work and labour.


Career Paths: What do I do with a degree in Work and Labour Studies?

The Work and Labour Studies Program prepares students for employment in the labour movement, private industry, community and advocacy groups, government service in Canada and internationally, journalism, public or private administration, social work, law, or teaching.  Work and Labour Studies students who have earned an Honours degree often continue studies in graduate school or professional programs. Depending on the student's academic background, a graduate degree may be pursued in Labour Studies or a variety of professional fields and disciplines such as law, industrial relations, occupational health and safety, public policy, global studies, human resource management, political science, sociology, history, environment studies, women's studies, communications or psychology.

York University Career Centre

Related Graduate Programs in Canada
Many Work and Labour Studies students have gone on to one of these graduate programs:

York University: Master of Arts
Faculty teaching in the Work and Labour Studies Program are also affiliated with graduate programs at York, namely History, Geography, Political Science, Socio-Legal Studies, Sociology, Social and Political Thought, and Women’s Studies. These departments all offer MA programs in which a specialization in labour issues is possible.

McMaster University, School of Labour Studies: Master of Arts, Work and Society
Graduate Program

University of Toronto, Centre for Industrial Relations: Master of Industrial Relations and Human Resources

University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education: Master of Arts and Master of Education, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, focus on Workplace Learning and Social Change

Queen’s University: Master of Industrial Relations

Related Graduate Programs Outside Canada
The American Sociological Association’s Section on Labor Movements maintains a very thorough list of labour-related academic programs around the world. To get to this list, click on “Links” and then on “Labor Academics”.

The Global Labour University
The Global Labour University offers Masters degrees at campuses in Germany, Brazil, South Africa and India; each campus has a unique issue focus. Universities and workers’ organizations from around the world have jointly developed the curriculum. The GLU is aimed at candidates who have experience working in labour and social movements, and who intend to work in these organizations upon graduation. The program also usually involves an internship for one term at a labour organization or federation. For more information, see:

Law School
Many Work and Labour Studies graduates pursue a law degree, specializing in labour and employment law. Applications to law school are run centrally through the Ontario Law School Application Service (OLSAS): Osgoode Hall Law School and Queen’s University’s Law School are particularly noted for their strengths in labour law.

Internships: International Labour Organization
The ILO offers internships for senior undergraduate and graduate students from between two to six months, either in the Geneva or field offices. These internships are located in the various ILO departments, and applicants must apply directly to the department they are interested in working in.

Ontario Ministry of Labour: Job Opportunities Page:

Government of Canada: Careers in the Federal Public Service:

Labour Movement / Voluntary / Non-Profit Sector Jobs
Union Jobs Clearinghouse: A comprehensive listing of job postings for union organizers and educators, primarily in the United States

Charity Village Jobs Database: This site includes many positions within union, social justice, and not-for-profit organizations.