Masters in Human Resources Management

What Do You Learn in a Masters in Human Resources Management?

A master’s degree in human resources, or a MBA in HR, is an educational path that typically offers students more insight and skill building opportunities in the field of human resources. Students typically focus on skills and topics related to working with other employee within a company or a government agency. They may explore a range of topics related to both managerial positions and leadership skills to work in this field.

Those who earn a master’s degree typically have completed a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related business field. HR is a specific concentration that some students may wish to focus on as they begin working in the business or corporate environment. Coming back to complete a master’s degree may allow a business major to gain the core skills necessary to work in that field.

Human Resources Management Masters Programs

Featured Online Programs in HR Management

Human Resources Courses May Include

Each college or university has specific rules and requirements for gaining access to a master’s degree like this. Many may provide a combination of academic and hands-on practice to help students gain core skills and experience in the field, which some employers may require. Students may choose courses that interest them, too, to gain specific insight into various aspects of labor relations or law. Below are some of the courses students may take in this field.

1st course Managing Through Communication

Managing Through Communication

This course often covers the use of communication as a tool in leading and developing people. Topics covered may include motivating, team building, developing relationships, and active listening. Students may need to construct documents and presentations as a part of this course.

2nd course Strategic Human Resource Management

Strategic Human Resource Management

This course typically covers regulatory procedures as they apply to human resources. The role of a human resource manager and their duties are often covered. Topics may include hiring, training, career development, and the Society for Human Resource Management.

3rd Course Total Rewards

Total Rewards

The subject of this course is often compensation and benefits. How they are applied and how they affect the functions of management may be covered topics. Areas covered may include job analysis. Surveys, incentives, wage scales, and pay delivery.

4th Course Law, Ethics, and Politics in HR

Law, Ethics, and Politics in HR

This course typically looks at the balance between the legal side of human resources and balancing it with what is ethical. Political influence on human resource management is typically a large focus of this course. Employment law, safety, workplace health and corporate social responsibility are often additional topics.

5th Course Talent Development and Workforce Planning

Talent Development and Workforce Planning

This course typically focuses on training and development of a workforce. How to best implement new policies and procedures as well as how to focus on training and development of staff may be discussed. Topics may include forecasting for future employee needs as well as training and development plans.

6th Course Leading Change

Leading Change

This course typically focuses on the leadership aspect of human resources including how to implement change effectively through various techniques and strategies. Organizational development and transformation theory are also common topics.

Top 25 Schools Graduating Students with a Masters in Human Resource Management

Below are the top 25 schools graduating students with a Master in Human Resource Management, according to the NCES for the 2019/2020 school year.

College / University GraduatesAcceptance Rate 
Southern New Hampshire University26888%
Capella University246N/A
University of Southern California21611%
DeVry University-Illinois18511%
Colorado State University-Global Campus18496%
University of Phoenix-Arizona155N/A
Rutgers University-New Brunswick12861%
Central Michigan University12670%
Florida International University12258%
Ashford University106N/A
Troy University10088%
Fitchburg State University9588%
Universidad Ana G. Mendez-Cupey Campus90N/A
George Washington University8041%
New York University7916%
NUC University7649%
National University7489%
Walden University72N/A
DePaul University7168%
Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global70N/A
Stony Brook University6644%
Eastern Michigan University6374%
Golden Gate University-San Francisco59N/A
Grantham University59N/A
Strayer University-Georgia59N/A
  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access

5 Most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about a Masters in Human Resource Management

A person with a masters in human resource management may qualify for a number of career options. This may include working as a labor relationships specialist, compensation and benefits manager, or a human resource manager.

In some situations, completing a master’s degree in human resources may be useful because it could provide a higher level of insight into the field. It may also prepare students to work in different positions from the entry level positions they may have taken after completing a bachelor’s degree.

Completing a human resources MBA may be worth it for those who wish to focus their education in a specific area of HR. It may also be helpful for those whose employer requires a masters to for specific positions. Some people may find completing a masters may be beneficial as it allows them to switch from a related but different field into HR.

A typical master’s degree in HR takes 2 years to complete after completing a bachelor’s degree. Some programs may offer accelerated learning, which could speed up the learning process to as little as 18 months. Others may take part time courses over a much longer period.

Some employers may require a masters degree for some senior positions within HR firms. Many HR management positions may require a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions.

Find Funding for a Masters in HR Management

For students considering a master’s in HR, costs may be a factor. The NCES states that, for the 2019/2020 school year students spent $19,792 on their educational costs. Paying for that out of pocket may be difficult for some students. However, there may be other options available to pay for education. Below are some examples of potential available funding for students looking to complete their master’s degree.


Scholarships are one option that may be available to students. These often do not require repayment. Students may be able to apply to numerous scholarships with the hopes of securing funds to use to cover their tuition and other costs. There may be a number of scholarship opportunities available to those completing a human resources masters degree.

SHRM Graduate Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award is available for current master’s degree students who have completed six or more credit hours of coursework and are clearly pursuing a degree with an emphasis in HR (human resources) or an HR-related program. The student must have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and must be a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: August 14

AfterCollege Business Student Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The AfterCollege Business scholarship is available to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who are majoring in a field of business (including Human Resources).

Amount: $500

Deadline: June 30

ScottMadden Inspire Scholarship

Who Can Apply: his scholarship will assist current African-American undergraduate sophomores who are current residents of Atlanta, Boston, or the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina and are pursuing a major in Business Administration, Consulting, Energy, Finance or Accounting, Human Resources, IT or Technology at an accredited four-year college or university.

Amount: $20,000

Deadline: January 14

Federal Loans

Federal loans are a common option for covering the cost of master’s degree education. These are loans often backed by the U.S. government. They come with numerous rules and, in some cases, stipulations. For many people, they may provide a new level of financial support. Keep in mind that there are typically fewer options available in federal loan programs than could be expected by undergraduate students. Still some options exist.

Here is a look at some of the options for graduate degree programs through federal student loans:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These are available to graduate schools and professional students. Unlike direct subsidized loans, which are made available to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, direct unsubsidized loans do not have a need based requirement. More students may be eligible for them.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: These are made available to professional or graduate level students. They are designed to pay for educational expenses that are typically not paid for through other loans. Eligibility for these loans is not based on financial need. However, some require a credit check to be performed, and borrowers may not qualify without meeting other requirements in some cases.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans: These loans enable a student to combine all of their undergraduate and graduate level federal debt into one new loan. This consolidation loan is typically provided after a student completes their education.

Students may wish to compare several options to determine which type of federal loan may be applicable to their unique needs.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans are similar in that they are funding often to cover the costs of education. However, these loans typically use non-government lenders. Each lender sets their own terms and conditions for the loan, which may mean differences in everything from interest rates to available funding. Individuals thinking about a private student loan for their master’s degree may need to factor in aspects such as:

  • Credit score requirements
  • Borrowing limits
  • Repayment limitations and requirements
  • Work history or educational history (including GPA)
  • Repayment factors related to forbearance

Is human resource manager a good career?

Working as a human resource manager may mean working as the intermediate between the management team in a company and the employees in it. This may involve interpreting and administering contracts, managing questions from all parties, and resolving work-related concerns. They may advise managers on policy matters, ensure equal employment opportunity is met, manage legal requirements in terms of hiring, and meet all federal and state compliance requirements.

Human Resources Management Masters , important skills for Human Resource Managers
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Human resource managers may also perform other duties, including dealing with understaffing, hiring, administering disciplinary procedures, and terminating employees. They may also have to represent the organization in any hearings and investigations related to personnel. Work activities may also include communicating with supervisors, peers, and subordinates on a daily basis. They may have to work to establish and maintain relationships and work to resolve conflict that arises over time, which may include negotiating with others to settle disputes or manage complaints. Many times, they are decision makers and problem solvers.

Those who wish to work as a human resource manager may need at least a four-year bachelor’s degree. Some companies may require more education or experience for some positions. There is a significant amount of work-related skill and knowledge needed to perform this type of job. Employees may receive some on-the-job training, but much of their skill comes from education.

2022 Median Salary for Human Resources Managers

The median salary for a human resource manager in 2022 is the following in each state, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

New Jersey$183,060Missouri$124,630
New York$190,340Nebraska$119,850
North Dakota$130,640New Hampshire$141,770
Oklahoma$116,010New Mexico$115,270
Pennsylvania$130,190North Carolina$134,090
South Carolina$110,340Ohio$136,090
Utah$124,140Rhode Island$159,080
Virginia$156,150South Dakota$109,280
West Virginia$112,590Wyoming$102,350

Is labor relations specialist a good career?

Working as a labor relations specialist may including spending a significant amount of time negotiating and resolving disputes between groups of people. Typically, this type of work includes working to resolve disputes between employees and managers. It may include negotiating collective bargaining agreements and handling grievances.

Those that work as a labor relations specialist may monitor the company’s or the workforce’s adherence to existing labor agreements. They may negotiate terms with all parties involved. In addition, they may present the position of the company they work for or the labor party they represent during arbitration or other significant labor negotiations. Often, this may involve communicating relating to all labor relations activities including dispute or conciliation, letters to amend collective bargaining agreements, or to seek clarification on terms.  They may also draft or counter proposals in these types of negotiations.

Typical work activities may include resolving conflicts and negotiating between groups of people. This includes settling disputes, resolving conflicts, and handling complaints from all parties. They may also make decisions and solve problems related to employment or management. They may establish and maintain interpersonal relationships, work to gather information for decision making, and communicate with peers, supervisors, and subordinates on all aspects of the work to be done.

Those who work as a labor relations specialist typically need to have ample skill in these areas. That often requires at least a bachelor’s degree, though some employers may prefer someone with more experience or a master’s degree. Some do not have educational requirements. The amount of work involved takes time to learn and limited on the job education is typically provided. Some work related experience may be necessary for some employers.

Human Resources Management Masters , Important Skills for Labor Relations Specialists
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

2022 Median Salary for Labor Relations Specialists

The following are the median salaries for those working as a labor relations specialist in each state during 2022, as provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

New Jersey$102,160Missouri$93,030
New York$99,190Nebraska$79,440
North Dakota$101,970New Hampshire$91,180
Oklahoma$83,880New Mexico$83,270
Pennsylvania$89,130North Carolina$76,680
South Carolina$58,960Ohio$81,890
Utah$77,530Rhode Island$82,480
Virginia$81,030South Dakota$54,600
West Virginia$66,790Wyoming$90,050

Sandy Baker


Sandy has extensive experience writing educational articles for topics ranging from online education to college degrees. She’s worked with several Ivy League colleges to create blogs, newsletters, sales material for recruiting as well as “how to manage” college lifestyle pieces. Additionally, she’s written for well-respected study abroad programs helping students to find international opportunities spanning the globe from South America to Africa and Asia.

Sandy’s experience also includes writing about financial aid, FAFSA, scholarship searches, and managing college loans and grants. This includes aiding both students and parents in managing the application and financial aid process from start to finish. Her writing in this area has been featured in The New York Times, Cleveland Magazine, and several blogs.

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