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The Labor Studies Certificate Program gives current and students, union members future union leaders, representatives, activists and workers a basic background and history along with the skills needed to deal with the ever-changing U.S. workplace and economy.

This course is grounded in U.S. history and has roots in political science, law and economics. This will give students have the opportunity to develop skills of analyzing and organizing policy, economic, workplace issues and leadership skills needed to understand and provide an equal footing with counterparts in the corporate and political world. Completion of the program earns 18 credit hours toward a degree and a Certificate in Labor Studies.

Six three-hour courses are offered, two per semester. All courses are asynchronous allowing students to fit their studies around their work and other obligations. Courses are offered through course share agreements with UMKC allowing UMSL and UMKC students to study collaboratively.

For more information on schedules, registration and fees, call Douglas Swanson, the UMSL Labor Studies Program Coordinator at 314-516-6698 or email him directly at swansondj@missouri.edu.


The Labor Studies Certificate is designed for students who are interested in the study of Labor and work in the U.S. The 18-credit hour curriculum consists of six credit courses offered over a rotating three-semester period.

Certificate Requirements

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, a certificate earner will be able to:

  • Identify and apply techniques to research and analyze power relations, organizational structures, and effective action in workplace settings.

  • Demonstrate knowledge about the economy, including wage, tax, and trade policy; historical disparities; and the role of corporations, unions, and other organizations.

  • Assess, analyze and apply the skills of building cooperation and collaboration needed in negotiations and in alternative dispute resolution.

  • Locate and clearly explain the laws and regulations affecting workers, workplaces, labor and community organizations.


doug swansonDouglas Swanson, Ed.D.
Coordinator for Labor Studies

Doug Swanson joined the University of Missouri in February of 2017 after a quarter of a century of working as a worker advocate with Labor Unions, such as member activist, elected officer, professional staff, and administrator. He is an Associate Extension Professional where he is a Field Specialist in Labor and Workforce Development with the University of Missouri Extension and the Labor Studies Program Coordinator at UMSL. In 2021 Swanson added an Ed.D. in Education from UMSL’s College of Education to an associate degree in Management from Sauk Valley Community College, a bachelor’s in Union Leadership and Administration from the National Labor College, and a Master’s in Labor Studies from the University of Massachusetts. He is an Impact Fellow with FOCUS St. Louis where he co-authored the ‘Just Talent playbook, a toolkit for Missouri companies wanting to learn more about second chance employment’. Swanson has been a member of Board of Directors for Bread and Roses Missouri, is currently on the Workers’ Rights Board with Jobs with Justice and continues to work with the GLERA board coordinating programing for the LERA Gateway Chapter.

Email: swansondj@missouri.edu 
Office: 811 Tower 
Phone: 314-516-5521

Contact Us

Mailing Address

Douglas Swanson, Labor Studies Coordinator
Department of Political Science
University of Missouri-St. Louis
One University Boulevard 
347 SSB
St. Louis MO 63121-4400


(314) 516-6698 (Office)
(314) 516-7236 (Fax)