Degrees in Human Resources



Whether in small start-ups or multinational corporations, a company’s human capital is its soul source of progress and innovation. From talent acquisition to labor relations, HR teams are central to finding and retaining the talent a business needs to achieve its objectives. Find out more about earning an undergraduate or advanced degree in human resources or human resource management (HRM) today.

Masters in Human Resource Management (HRM)

New standards for conduct and compliance in the workplace, a decentralized workforce, and issues such as offshoring and outsourcing all add to the complexity of human resource management in today’s business environment. This new landscape requires HR managers to possess an in-depth knowledge of business along with a mastery of HR management skills— all of which can be gained through a master’s degree program in human resource management.

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Grand Canyon University
M.B.A. in Strategic Human Resource Management
Pepperdine
Online master's in HR. Aligns with SHRM requirements - No GRE/GMAT required
Purdue University Global
Online Graduate Certificate in Human Resources
Rasmussen College
Online Human Resources and Organizational Leadership Associate's/Bachelor's
Capella University
100% online DBA, PhD, MS, and BS degrees in Human Resources Management
Southern New Hampshire University
MS and BS in Human Resource Management
Benedictine University
Online Bachelor of Arts in Management in Human Resources Management
University of Scranton's
Online Master of Science in Human Resources Program
Saint Joseph's University
MS in Strategic Human Resource Management Program

Serving as senior-level managers, directors and company executives, today’s master’s-prepared human resources professionals are responsible for shaping key policies and focusing on talent as a strategic resource for a business’s overall success.

Content and Standards for Master’s Programs in Human Resource Management

For the past decade and a half, HRM programs have been moving toward a more defined business foundation in response to the needs of the marketplace.

In an initiative designed to strengthen HRM programs and align them with management programs that meet accreditation standards set by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) published the SHRM Human Resource Curriculum Guidebook and Templates for Undergraduate and Graduate Programs detailing standards for advanced HRM education.

These guidelines are flexible and focused on outcomes. This allows educators to realign existing curricula and effectively measure the results of their programs.

One of the most important features of these guidelines is that they offer academic institutions the flexibility to devise their own HR courses, while still providing a level of content standardization. This modular approach has been effective, with nearly 300 HRM programs now aligned with the guidelines.

SHRM guidelines for minimum required HRM content areas in undergraduate and graduate programs are (Set forth below, with slight modifications, are content areas developed by SHRM and originally published in the SHRM Human Resource Curriculum Guidebook and Templates for Undergraduate and Graduate Programs):

  • Change Management
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Employee and Labor Relations
  • Employment Law
  • Globalization
  • HR Career Planning
  • Role of HR in Organizations
  • Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS)
  • Job Analysis and Design
  • Managing Diverse Workplaces
  • HR Metrics and Measurement
  • Organizational Development
  • Performance Management
  • Recruiting and Selecting Staff

Additionally, SHRM identifies eight behavioral competencies valuable to human resource management graduate students, which it has recently integrated into it’s curriculum guidelines (Set forth below, with slight modifications, are focus areas and competencies recommended by academicians and senior professionals originally published in the SHRM Human Resource Curriculum Guidebook and Templates for Undergraduate and Graduate Programs):

  • Business Acumen
  • Communication
  • Consultation
  • Critical Evaluation
  • Ethical Practice
  • Global and Cultural Effectiveness
  • Leadership and Navigation
  • Relationship Management

Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resource Management

A legacy study of graduate and undergraduate HR curricula conducted by SHRM found that senior HR professionals overwhelmingly indicated the need for students to develop business knowledge beyond human resources. In addition, senior HR professionals believed that a degree in business with a concentration in HRM was more valuable than a degree in HRM without a business emphasis.

The results of this study support current research that shows business-based HR degrees are becoming increasingly important in the marketplace. Both students and employers are becoming increasingly aware that business knowledge is critically important because it allows HR professionals to make better decisions regarding where, how, and when to integrate HR strategies that improve business performance.

One of the more well-recognized graduate programs is the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resource Management.

The SHRM details a sample curriculum for an MBA in Human Resource Management, which generally includes 5 or 6 HR-specific courses, including an introductory course and a capstone course (Set forth below, with slight modifications, is the sample curriculum for MBA-HRM programs developed by SHRM and originally published in the SHRM Human Resource Curriculum Guidebook and Templates for Undergraduate and Graduate Programs).

Business core courses in an MBA in Human Resource Management are likely to include the following as part of the degree program’s general education requirements:

  • Accounting
  • Business law
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • General management
  • Statistics
  • Strategic management

Some of the above courses may be prerequisites to admission, depending on specific university requirements.

Sample course outline for an MBA in Human Resource Management:

Human Resource Management

  • Analyzing HR Metrics
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Employment Law
  • The Role of HR in an Organization
  • The Role of HR in Global Business
  • Strategic Human Resource Management
  • Workforce Planning and Talent Management

Managing Individual and Team Performance

  • Communicating Performance Expectations
  • Leadership Development
  • Managing Performance of Unionized Employees
  • Relationship Management

Change Management to Remain Competitive

  • Leadership in Change Management
  • Ethical Considerations
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Legal Considerations when Expanding a Workforce
  • Managing he Process of Transitioning a Workforce
  • Assessing the Value of an Organization’s Human Resources

Managing Risk

  • Disaster preparedness
  • Risk Management and Its Affect on the Bottom Line
  • Auditing HR Records
  • Legal Compliance

Training and Development

  • Ho to Conduct Training
  • Theory Behind How People Learn
  • Outsourcing

Strategic HRM

  • Organizational Effectiveness
  • Strategic Management
  • Trends in the Missions and Values of HR

Master of Science (MS)/Master of Arts (MA) in Human Resource Management

A Master of Science (MS) or a Master of Arts (MA) in Human Resource Management (or in another business discipline, such as management, with HRM as a major or area of concentration, emphasis, or focus) is typically a 30- to 42-credit hour program. These programs are comprised of a wide array of HR-specific courses and may also include an introductory and capstone course (Set forth below, with slight modifications, are course outlines developed by SHRM for MS/MA-HRM programs and originally published in the SHRM Human Resource Curriculum Guidebook and Templates for Undergraduate and Graduate Programs).

The business core courses are likely to cover the same core areas as an MBA as part of the program’s general education requirements (in addition to courses in the major area of study or concentration):

  • Accounting
  • Business law
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • General management
  • Statistics
  • Strategic management

Some of the above courses may be prerequisites to admission based on university requirements.

A sample course outline of an MS or MA in Human Resource Management will vary depending on areas of specialization, such as:

Compensation

  • Developing a Total Rewards Strategy
  • Incentive Compensation
  • Legal Considerations in Compensation and Workforce Adjustments
  • Management Changes to Compensation Structure
  • Merit and Performance Pay Systems
  • Situations where Special Compensation is Warranted
  • Managing compensation and benefits in employee separations
  • Controlling benefits costs

Global Human Resources

  • Global Legal Environment
  • How to Be Effective in a Global Business Environment
  • Strategic Staffing in Multinationals
  • Green Management Issues

Employment Law

  • Overview of employment law (ADA, FLSA, FMLA, OSHA, etc.)
  • Staffing, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Immigration Reform and Control Act
  • Civil Rights Act and Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act
  • Unlawful Harassment

Labor Management Relations

  • Collective Bargaining Issues and Processes
  • Strategies for Engaging Employees
  • Dealing with Grievances Related to Labor Practices
  • Managing Union Organizing Policies
  • Union-Related and Labor Relations Law
  • Union Management and Relations
  • Union Decertification and De-authorization

Staffing, Performance Management, Training, and Workforce Planning and Talent Management

  • Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications (BFOQs)
  • Creating an Employment Brand
  • Environmental Considerations
  • External and internal recruitments strategies
  • Job Offers Including At-Will Employees and Contractors
  • Performance Appraisals
  • Career Development, Including On-the-Job Training and Succession Planning
  • Workforce Planning and Talent Development

Analytics, Metrics, and Problem-Solving in HRM

  • Balanced Scorecard, Including Forecasting, Interpreting Yield Ratios and ROI
  • Business Acumen
  • Research Design, Methodology and Theory
  • Trend and Ratio Analysis
  • Reputation and Brand Enhancement
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Risk management

Leadership, Organizational Behavior, and Change Management

  • Change Management
  • Consulting
  • Equity, Ethics, and Rairness in the Workplace
  • Productive work environments
  • Theories and strategies for developing an organizational behavior model
  • Leadership, Including Communication Styles and Motivation and Individual Behavior
  • Decision-Making
  • Managing Diverse Groups and Work Teams
  • Role of Power and Influence in HR
  • Organizational Development
  • Workplace culture and trust building

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