Milwaukee Online PhD in Human Resources

While pursuing a PhD in human resources online, programs use critical analysis and research to look at current workplace issues, compensation management systems, and training and development, as well as ethics and best practices. This may help you add your own findings to the field of human resources management. Plus, by choosing to earn your PhD online, you may have the ability to perform coursework when it’s convenient for you and around your busy schedule.

How to earn a phd in human resources management

Did You Know?

88% of all U.S. employees reported overall satisfaction with their current job, the highest level of satisfaction over the last decade.

PhD in Human Resources Online: What You’ll Learn

The human resources department of many organizations continues to grow and take on new responsibilities. Gone are the days when HR only screened prospective candidates. For instance, in many organizations the human resources department is responsible for the productivity and development of workers at all levels. As a result, many companies feel as though HR should have access to and support key decision makers and influence strategic decisions.

Therefore, while earning a PhD in human resources online, programs look at the different functions of the modern human resources department. These may include:

  • Recruiting, hiring, and training new employees
  • Continuous training and development
  • Compensation and benefits plans
  • Organizational behavior
  • Measurement and appraisal of workforce performance

These topics provide the fundamental components that make up human resources management. As a result, online doctorate programs analyze the different theories and concepts of these topics, and attempt to prepare you to provide your own new analysis to the field.

Important Human Resources Management Topics

Online human resources PhD programs teach a complete understanding of the principles of effective leadership through the analysis of modern research and the study of the progression of concepts throughout the history of human resources. Typically, this involves topics such as:

  • Evaluating the evolution of the field of management
  • Analyzing current methods and research in recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new employees
  • Exploring global perspectives in human resources management
  • Enhancing your communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills through evaluating business principles

These are just some of the key topics that you may study while pursuing your PhD in human resources online. However, each school is different and has a unique design. Therefore, check with a few schools to find a perfect match for you.

Common Online Courses in Human Resources Management

While pursuing your PhD in human resources online, in addition to having the freedom to perform coursework whenever it is convenient for you, classes may also offer more in depth discussions. This is a result of students feeling comfortable sharing their true feelings online, rather than in face-to-face settings.

You may also have access to your professors and classmates outside of normal office or class meetings through email and online chat. As many online courses while earning your doctorates degree in human resources focus on critical analysis and research, this type of access may help you better understand topics and help with coursework and understanding research.

Some of the courses you may take while earning your PhD include those listed below.

  • Mechanics of Individual and Group Decision Making
  • Organizational Behavior and Effective Human Resources Management
  • The Development of Human Capital Within Organizations
  • Ethics and Leadership in Global Environments
  • Foundations of Human Resource Theory and Practice
  • Human Resource Practices for Developing Talent
  • Legal Issues in Human Resources Management
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Supervising in the 21st Century
  • Labor Relations

Choosing to pursue your degree online may provide you the freedom and flexibility to perform coursework around your professional and personal responsibilities. However, remember that all programs are different. Therefore, specific names of courses, and the main topics you may study while pursuing your degree, may vary from school to school. For instance, many schools also teach common software programs used in human resources.

Human Resources Management: Definition

Human resources management is the term used to describe the systems created for the management of people inside of an organization. Typically, human resources management is responsible for the three tasks listed below.

  1. Staffing
  2. Employee compensation and benefits
  3. Defining and designing work

Though the role of human resources continues to change in the modern workplace, these three tasks will always be the essential aspects of the HR. In essence, human resources sets out to maximize the productivity of an organization by optimizing the effectiveness of its employees.

What’s the Difference Between Human Resources and Organizational Behavior?

Human resources is the part of an organization that focuses on the recruitment of, management of, and providing direction for the people who work for that organization. On the other hand, organizational behavior is the study of the way people interact within an organization, typically in an attempt to create more efficient business organizations.

As a result, the main idea of organizational behavior is that a scientific approach can be applied to the management of people. In fact, many human resource managers use organizational behavior analysis to improve job training and increase job satisfaction.

While pursuing your PhD in human resources online, programs study organizational behavior to find ways to shape the perceptions and behavior of employees in an organization, which may result in an improved attitude of workers towards their jobs. This type of research and analysis may focus on how to entitle employees to make them feel part of the overall success of the organization.

Admissions Requirements for PhD in Human Resources Online Programs

The specific admissions requirements for online PhD programs in human resources management vary from school to school. Therefore, it’s important to check with a few schools to find one that matches your goals and qualifications. However, some of the most common requirements include:

  • Masters degree from an accredited university
  • 3.0 GPA while earning masters degree
  • Recommendation letters
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume
  • Copy of transcripts

Some schools are stricter than others when it comes to admissions requirements. For instance, some schools ask that you have a number of years of professional experience, while other schools don’t. Check the admissions requirements of a few schools so you have a good idea of what programs you have to pick from..

What Are the Human Resources Management PhD Degree Requirements?

In order to earn your PhD in human resources online, every school has unique requirements. However, most students research, and defend a dissertation upon completing all required courses. This is an opportunity for you to develop and contribute your own research to the field of human resources and to apply the critical analysis you’ve studied while pursuing your degree so current concepts and theories.

Many schools have additional requirements in order for you to earn your PhD in human resources online. Some of these may include:

  • An exam
  • Completed portfolio
  • A maintained GPA of 3.0

Remember that every school may have different requirements. For instance, some online schools allow you to perform the majority of your coursework "asynchronously," or whenever is the most convenient for you. However, some schools also require you to attend on-campus residencies while pursuing your degree.

Length of Online Human Resources PhD Programs

Typically it takes full-time students three to five years to earn a PhD in human resources. Usually, three years is the minimum time it takes to get through all of your degree requirements, such as courses, exams, and your dissertation. As a result, many students take four to five years to earn their degree. Plus, the exact length of time may vary depending on the course of study and when courses are available. Also, it usually takes part-time students longer to earn their PhD as their .

What Are the 5 Key Steps in Recruiting?

Typically, the key steps in recruiting can be boiled down to the following:

  1. Develop Hiring Strategy: This normally includes identifying the vacancy and evaluating the need of an organization. This step also includes aligning the recruitment process with the strategic goals of an organization.
  2. Develop Position Description: Job descriptions do not need to include every task that might ever need to be done. However, it should include the most critical components of the position in a concise manner. A proper description will help with the recruitment process, as well as help with creating interview questions.
  3. Develop and Implement Recruitment Plan: During this stage, organizations focus on where to find applicants, review resumes, and create a short list of candidates to invite to an interview.
  4. Conduct Interviews: Those performing the interview should introduce the description of the role at the beginning of the interview, ask a number of questions about experience and education, and follow-up on any issues on their resume.
  5. Hire the Right Candidate: After performing background checks and following up with references, an organization then chooses the best candidate and makes an offer. 

What Are the Responsibilities of Human Resources?

The human resources department is typically responsible for managing all aspects of the employee relationship to an organization. This may help align an employee with a company’s values, culture, and mission, as well as how an employee fits into the overall success of the organization.

Some of these responsibilities may include:

  • Recruiting and Hiring
  • Onboarding
  • Continuous Training and Development
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Employee Relations
  • Advise Management on HR Issuesi

As more organizations include human resources in the development of long-term strategies, some HR departments are taking on more responsibilities. This may involve being an active part of managerial decisions and creating strategies for the future success of a company in line with the overall mission and goals. These added responsibilities have helped some organizations implement an employee-focused culture.

Common Careers in Human Resources

Upon earning your PhD in human resources online, one of the careers you may pursue is a human resources manager. Typically, candidates are only required to have a bachelors degree, though some positions and some companies look for candidates who have earned a masters degree.ii The 2016 median annual salary for a human resources manager was $106,910.iii

Another position you may pursue is as a postsecondary teacher in human resources, which most schools require that you have earned a doctorates degree.iv Typically, postsecondary teachers develop curriculum, create lesson plans, and conduct research.v In 2016, the median annual salary was $75,430 for postsecondary teachers.vi

Additional Certifications and Licenses in Human Resources Management

There are a number of additional certifications that many professionals in the field of human resources management choose to pursue. While these are not required in order to gain employment or to earn your PhD, they can show creditability and professional expertise, which is why many candidates choose to earn a certification or license.

The most common human resources certifications are:

  • Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)
  • WorldatWork
  • Human Resources Certification Institute
  • International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

There may be many other certifications and licenses available in the field of human resources. Therefore, check with your school to find which may be the best for you.ii

Learn More About Online Human Resources Doctorate Programs

Are you looking to develop your research and critical analysis skills to provide your own theories in human resources? Then click on any of the sponsored listings on this page for more information about each of the schools.

There, you can read program descriptions and see specific requirements. You can even reach out to your favorite schools directly to request more information and apply today.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm#tab-2 [ii] bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm#tab-4 [iii] bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm#tab-5 [iv] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-4 [v] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-2 [vi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-5

Find Schools