Industrial Relations and Human Resources Management

Study in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management (IR&HRM) equips students with essential skills, knowledge and behaviours to build a career in the ‘people’ function in organisations. Students examine the major HR functions and roles across the employment lifecycle including recruitment and selection, remuneration and reward, performance management and employee training and development. This is balanced with the study of industrial (or employment) relations, covering important topics such as employment contracts, labour markets, employment legislation and policies and collective bargaining and trade unions.

Options for studying Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management

Students not enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce or related combined Bachelor of Commerce degrees can complete either an Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management major or minor as a Table S (shared pool) option for their degree.

Commerce students can only complete an Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management major or minor as a Table A option for their degree.

Pathways through major and minor

The requirements for a major/minor in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management are spread out over three years of the degree (possibly four years if students are completing a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degree).

(i) Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management major

To achieve a major in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management, students must complete 48 credit points comprising:

  • 12 credit points of 1000-level core units of study;
  • 12 credit points of 2000-level core units of study;
  • 6 credit points of 3000-level core units of study; and
  • 18 credit points of 3000-level selective units of study.

A sample pathway for the Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management major (over three years of a degree) is listed below.

Please Note. This sample progression is meant as an example only. Depending on unit prerequisites, students may be able to complete these units in a different sequence to that displayed in the following table.

Year Session Units of study
First Semester 1 Core: WORK1003 Foundations of Work and Employment
Semester 2 Core: WORK1004 Foundations of Management
Second Semester 1 Core: WORK2203 IR Policy and Processes
Semester 2 Core: WORK2205 HR Strategies and Processes
Third Semester 1 Selective: 3000-level unit listed for major Selective: 3000-level unit listed for major
Semester 2 Core: WORK3600 IR & HRM in Practice ** Selective: 3000-level unit listed for major

** Capstone unit for major – completed in final semester of study

For details of the core and selective units of study required for the major or minor please refer to the Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management section of the unit of study table, Table S, in this handbook.

(ii) Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management minor

To achieve a minor in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management, students must complete 36 credit points comprising:

  • 12 credit points of 1000-level core units of study;
  • 12 credit points of 2000-level core units of study; and
  • 12 credit points of 3000-level selective units of study.

A sample pathway for the Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management minor (over three years of a degree) is listed below.

Please Note. This sample progression is meant as an example only. Depending on unit prerequisites, students may be able to complete these units in a different sequence to that displayed in the following table.

Year Session Units of study
First Semester 1 Core: WORK1003 Foundations of Work and Employment
Semester 2 Core: WORK1004 Foundations of Management
Second Semester 1 Core: WORK2203 IR Policy and Processes
Semester 2 Core: WORK2205 HR Strategies and Processes
Third Semester 1 Selective: 3000-level unit listed for minor
Semester 2 Selective: 3000-level unit listed for minor

For details of the core and selective units of study required for the major or minor please refer to the Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management section of the unit of study table, Table S, in this handbook.

Bachelor of Advanced Studies with Honours in Work and Organisational Studies

Students enrolled in a degree combined with the Bachelor of Advanced studies who complete a major in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management with a weighted average mark of 70% (within the first three years of their degree) may be eligible to complete honours in Work and Organisational Studies as their fourth year of study in this combined degree program. Students will need to have completed any requirements of their degree not satisfied with the completion of honours (including both majors, all core units, all Open Learning Environment units, and any elective units as necessary to ensure they meet degree requirements) by the end of their third year of study to proceed to honours in their fourth year of study. The available units of study for Honours in Work and Organisational Studies are listed in Table A Honours units of study in the Business School handbook.

For details of the requirements for admission, completion and the criteria for the awarding of honours, please refer to the Degree and Faculty resolutions.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management major students will be able to:

No. Mid-Level Learning Outcomes
1 Apply key theories, models, concepts, and approaches to industrial relations and human resource management.
2 Evaluate the different frameworks used to assess industrial relations and human resource management issues and assess their implications for professional practice.
3 Analyse the implications of workplace relations and human resources strategies and techniques for different groups in organisations as well as determine their impact on broader society.
4 Appraise the economic, political, and social factors that influence employment relationships in contemporary workplaces.
5 Appraise current trends and developments in industrial relations and human resource management and their implications for managers, organisations, employees, and other relevant actors and parties.
6 Invent solutions to real-life employment relations and human resource management issues, while recognising the economic, cultural, historical and geographical complexities that shape them.
7 Apply different oral and written communication techniques to address different audiences.
8 Critically reflect on individual and team performance and evaluate feedback to develop industry-relevant skills and competencies.

Further information

For further information regarding study in industrial relations and human resource management at the University of Sydney, please refer to the Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies.