Employment Relations program ranks third in Canada

Feb 26th, 2014

Susan White MacPherson

Employment Relations program ranks third in Canada

A master’s degree program at Memorial has been ranked fifth in Canada among human resource management programs.

The master of employment relations (MER) program was ranked fifth in Canada and 39th in North America in the 2013-14 Eduniversal Best Master's Ranking by Eduniversal Observatory and published at www.best-masters.com. The program is a joint degree offered by the Faculty of Business Administration and the Faculty of Arts. The MER is ranked in the category of top 200 best master’s in human resources management.

Other Canadian schools among the top 40 are McGill University, HEC Montreal, Queen’s University and Wilfrid Laurier University.

“This ranking indicates that our efforts to make the MER a high quality program are being noticed in the human resource management and employment relations communities, both in Canada and internationally,” said Dr. Alan Hall, director of the MER program and a faculty member in the Department of Sociology. “This is also reflected in the significant number of high quality applications that we receive each year and ultimately, in our excellent students.”

The MER degree was established in 2003 with 125 students successfully completing the program to date. The multidisciplinary program provides advanced-level study of all aspects of the employment relationship as well as offers insight into the history and sociology of work cultures. Students are required to complete courses in business, sociology, history and economics and look at topics such as labour market trends, industrial relations research and best practices in human resource management. Full-time students may complete the program in one year.

Heather Peters completed the MER program in 2005 through a combination of full-time and part-time study. Originally engaged in the banking industry following a commerce degree at the University of Ottawa and then as an entrepreneur, Ms. Peters was looking for an opportunity to focus on her innate talents for human resources (HR).

“I was looking for a way to turn my passion for people, leadership and strategy into a career in human resources and noticed an ad in the newspaper for the new MER program,” she said. “The MER elevated my "people" thinking to a strategic level and broadened my understanding of the potential depth of HR influence and impact, its challenges and best practices to drive engagement, talent and ultimately, organizational success.”

Ms. Peters now works as a senior consultant and coach with Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette with a focus on helping clients develop organizational and team effectiveness, leadership development, strategic HR advisory services and career management and transition.

“The program instilled in me the confidence to advise, consult and challenge senior business leaders on human resource strategy, its alignment to organizational objectives, and how to tactically implement HR programs, policies and processes,” she added.

Dr. Hall, who became the program director in 2013, says that one of the strengths of the program is its focus on research.


Dr. Alan Hall is the director of Memorial's master of employment relations program.

“The emphasis placed on research skills and the application of those skills is a core strength of the program, which meets the emerging demands for employment relations professionals who can not only interpret research findings, but also design, collect and analyze complex data,” he said.


Ms. Peters agrees.

“The research focus of the program created in me a forward-thinking approach. To this day, it drives me to think beyond the status quo and push the boundaries of best practice to meet the needs of my clients.”

The Eduniversal Best Master’s Ranking is based on three criteria: reputation of program, career prospects for graduates and salary level of the first employment after graduation. Master’s programs from around the world that belong to the Eduniversal Official Selection as well as those programs belonging to membership schools are considered.

The Faculty of Business Administration at Memorial offers three graduate programs, all of which are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the highest international standard that business schools can achieve. The Faculty of Arts offers 41 graduate programs.