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Postgraduate Industrial Relations

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  • Objectives
    There is a Masters course which has four different part-time streams depending upon the module choice and award title. The stream chosen will depend upon your interests and career path. However, all courses are designed to prepare students for working in organisations in a senior role related to staff and employment, whether in personnel or in trade union functions. There is a European stream which focuses on European aspects of human resource management. Drawing on wide research interests and long-term links with practitioners, our courses are ideally suited both to new graduates and those with some professional experience. A critical approach to both the literature and practice provides a solid academic foundation for those wanting a career in the field, whether as practitioners or academics.
  • Entry requirements
    Applicants are normally required to hold at least a second class honours degree (2.1 or 2.2) or overseas equivalent. Students who have appropriate professional qualifications or relevant work experience may also be considered. Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to show competency in English (IELTS 6.0 with 5 in each sub-test or equivalent).
  • Academic Title
    MA, Postgraduate Diploma Industrial Relations
  • Course description
    Full-Time & Part-Time study


    The teaching of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations at Keele has its roots in adult education. It is dedicated to the widest possible access for potential students and was pursuing the system of lifelong learning long before the term became popular.

    We are a main provider of Human Resource Management/Industrial Relations courses and research in the UK with over 250 full-time undergraduates and over 100 part-time and full-time postgraduates. Students come from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines, and from Europe, Africa and the Far East, as well as the UK. We have a number of full-time and

    part-time doctoral students. Most of the students on the part-time programmes have a practical knowledge of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations and are drawn from a wide range of institutions such as ACAS, trade unions, public and private sector organisations, and other educational establishments.

    The School is active in research and publication, with an emphasis on contributions useful to practitioners. Research interests and publications include public sector pay and industrial relations, trade union organisation, and industrial relations in the European Union.

    Course Structure and Content

    The Masters courses are delivered in seven parts, each of 20 credits, (totalling 1 0 credits) plus a dissertation (60 credits). Students who successfully complete only the taught modules will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma. The part-time courses start in September each year and are designed to be taken over two years, though there is flexibility in the time allowed to complete the dissertation. It is also possible to start the full-time course in February.

    Our courses are designed to be both practicable and accessible to those in full-time employment who want to build on their own experience to gain an academic qualification. Our part-time Masters courses are therefore available by distance learning with residential study periods at Keele, and extensive learning support. They are flexible enough to allow completion by students anywhere in the UK and Ireland, or wider afield, and from any occupation. Three of our part-time courses (Industrial Relations, Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management) are offered in Dublin, though the first residential period is spent at Keele.

    Course Modules

    Taught Modules (140 credits)

    All students take the following three parts:

    • The employment relationship
    • Workers and their organisations
    • Collective bargaining and the state Stream parts

    The next three or four parts depend on which stream you are taking:

    Industrial Relations

    • Industrial action
    • Pay determination
    • Comparative European industrial relations

    Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations

    • Employee resourcing
    • Pay determination
    • Employee development

    Industrial Relations and Employment Law

    • Individual labour law
    • Collective labour law
    • European employment law

    European Industrial Relations and HRM (no option part)

    • Employee resourcing
    • European law and social policy
    • Comparative European industrial relations
    • Globalisation Option

    The final part can be chosen from those on offer in any year, such as the following:

    Industrial Relations and HRM in the public sector
    • Globalisation
    • Equality at work
    • Health and safety
    • Labour history

    Dissertation (60 credits)

    The dissertation is 15,000-20,000 words. Where applicable, students are encouraged to undertake research connected with their current or previous industrial relations or HRM experience. Students are required to produce a written research proposal, material is supplied on research methods, and all students are allocated a supervisor.

    Teaching and Assessment

    Each taught part is assessed through an essay of 3,000 words, with a pass mark of 50%. For those taking the Masters course there is a dissertation of 15,000-20,000 words.

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