PhD & Master's in Human Resources (HR) Graduate Degree Programs
What is a Masters in HR Management Degree?
PhD and Masters in Human Resource Management (HRM) are advanced business degrees. It studies the ways leaders can coach, train and use personnel to meet a company’s bottom line. Some of the broad themes center around staffing, employee benefits and labor laws. Others cover the skills needed to manage people in the workplace.written by Rana Waxman
What Could You Do with a Human Resource Management Graduate Degree?
It’s a perfect time to pursue a career in HR Management . There are many unique jobs due to the variety of start-ups, global expansion and new labor laws.
Human Resource professionals have skills ranging from technical to motivational and beyond. They work in many industries and for businesses large and small. Earning a PhD or master’s degree in Human Resources Management might boost a career as:
- Employee Relations Manager
- Human Resources Administration Director
- Human Resources VP
- HR Manager
It’s also a great time to earn an HRM master’s degree. The BLS.gov predicts that human resource careers will increase by 9% to 2030. With stiff competition, they say a master’s degree in HRM is one way to push your resume to the top of the pile.
Of the 272,347 people in the human resources management workforce, 45.8% have a master’s degree. Many manage departments like payroll or recruiting.
Others may use their financial skillsets as Compensation and Benefits Managers. This is another area where a master’s degree may help you stand out.
If you’re more of an instructor and enjoy coaching, there is another dynamic area to consider. Training and Development Managers should see a 11% growth in job opportunity to 2030.
Do You Need a Human Resource Management (HRM) Graduate Degree?
One reason to pursue a master’s degree in human resources management is for the potential to earn more. Another is to refine skills and knowledge to pursue executive roles. Let’s take a look at some of the data.
A good place to start is to compare average annual salaries of HR Specialists and HR Managers. Specialists have many of the same duties as managers but aren’t usually administrators.
To begin to qualify for positions like HR director, a Masters in Human Resources or MBA may be useful. Employers often look at a candidate’s experience. But if you lack it, you may want to stand out by having the inside scoop on current trends, theories and practices in HR.
What Jobs can you get with a Human Resource Degree?
Most businesses need people who can plan and oversee hiring staff. HR Managers often wear several hats in smaller companies.
One of these hats is to function as hiring managers. In this role, they may recruit, interview, hire and fire personnel. They’ll also be the ones to help employees fill out benefits and salary paperwork.
As the go-to for personnel, they may also handle disputes and take charge of workplace safety. Wearing this hat, they need to stay abreast of labor laws, union and non-union issues. They’ll also need a solid grasp of company policy. How to set it, follow it and apply it.
Besides these jobs, some companies train their staff to work a certain way. To do this, they’ll often hire someone like a Learning Manager or Training Director.
In larger organizations, there is often a strong need for a broader human resource team. This group of HR professionals might each run a specific department and a staff of their own. As such, there may be opportunities for the following types of HR Managers.
- HR Director or VP
- Employee Relations Manager
- Recruiting Manager
- Payroll Manager
Besides these jobs, some organizations train their staff to work a certain way. To do this, they’ll often hire someone like a Learning Manager or Training Director.
These professionals are instructors and managers. Many have human resource and budgeting skills too. If this is your end game, a master’s degree with one of the following areas may be useful.
- Training & Development
- Human Resources Management
- Organizational Development
- Business Administration
Average Salary for Human Resources Managers
Top States for Employment: Human Resources Managers
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$157,090||1,840|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||$148,720||3,820|
Most HR Managers work full time and may need to travel if their company has branches. The majority (15%) work for professional, scientific, and technical services. Others (14%) work in management of companies and enterprises and (11%) manufacturing. Lesser numbers work in government (9%) and health care (8%).
Human Resource Management Graduate Degrees
Human Resources Management programs are reported by the National Center for Education Statistics under the category of Business, management, marketing, and related services. In fact, in the most recent update of the data (2013), across the U.S., there were 1612 Human Resource degrees awarded to graduate students. The majority (93%) of these programs were at the master’s level.
Popular schools with Human Resource Management Graduate Degrees
M.S. in Human Resources vs M.B.A. in Human Resources
What is the difference between an MBA in human resources and a Master of Science in human resources? Actually, quite a bit.
An MBA in Human Resources is a business graduate degree with a handful of courses in HRM. Because of this focus you’ll take a broad array of core business and managerial themes. These often touch on strategy, information systems and decision making. As such, an MBA program may provide the flexibility to pursue other business positions than HR.
The business skills you build may apply to many areas. With extra courses in HRM, you may learn how to manage and keep a talented and productive workforce. Such topics may provide you with a working knowledge of employment law and HR strategy.
A MS-HRM is a graduate degree in human resources. As such, it has a singular focus. The heart of the program covers managerial topics related to human resource divisions. You’ll likely study things like strategic hiring, workplace diversity and organizational change.
Within an MS, there may also be room to tailor the program to your specific HR goals and interests. This may be a good move if you plan to devote your career to human resources.
- Human resource analytics
- Performance Improvement
- Organization Development
- Strategic HRM
To sum it up, an MBA degree offers general business skills that may get you ahead in any area. A MS-HR M may suit you if you have a business background and want to focus on human resources. The degree you choose depends on your career goals.
|Human Resources Degree Guide|
|MS in Human Resource Management*||MBA in Human Resource Management*|
|Master of Science in Human Resource Management||MBA: Human Resource Management|
|Length of Program: 26 months, 39 credits||Length of Program: 12 months, 36 credits|
|This program aligns with SHRM’s curriculum standards. It covers practical issues in the workplace and ethical conflict resolution. There’s also a strong focus on staffing as a strategic aspect of building a business.||This program offers a well-rounded business core. It also exposes students to the decision processes related to managing human resources. Themes include training, selection, compensation, and legal issues|
|Employee and Labor Relations Ethics in HR Organizational Behavior & Leadership Workplace Learning & Performance Applied Human Resources||Managerial Economics Organizational Behavior Financial & Managerial Accounting Administrative & Personnel Law Recruitment, Selection, Placement|
|Regional accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) SHRM-aligned program||Regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC) Program accredited by the Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP)|
Can’t decide? Want solid executive skills plus an in-depth understanding of HR? There’s another option. Study to earn an MBA with a specialization in human resource management and an MSHR degree. Check into schools like Loyola University Chicago who offer a dual MBA/MSHRM degree.
What Requirements Are Needed for a Human Resource Grad Degree?
A typical MS-HR M program thus studies how to manage, support and train employees. Often, part of the study plan focuses on a wide range of human resource themes:
- Developing Human Capital
- Reward Systems
- Internal Consulting in HR
- Employment Law
- Personnel Psychology
- Finance for HR Professionals
- HR Analytics
Managing people often requires a knowledge of labor relations and laws. Side topics may include how to negotiate salary in a competitive marketplace. You’ll also study the finer points of acquiring talent.
You may also come to understand how to mediate conflicts. These types of classes often look at workplace behavior and ethics. Plus, you’ll likely study some of today’s hot button topics. Unequal pay, harassment, overtime and labor unions are examples.
Apart from managing people, you may learn some methods of assessing employees. This may expose you to HR software tools. These may have several uses. For one, how to achieve better results through training programs. Also, how to forecast staff needs.
Other topics may cover general leadership and managerial principles. As such, your classes may help you make informed decisions about your workforce. You may also get to select electives and finally, work on a capstone project. Or complete an internship.
Wondering about admissions to graduate human resources programs? Common requirements include:
- Bachelor’s degree
- A minimum GPA
- GMAt or GRe scores
- Related work experience
Request information from your prospective school to learn more.
What Classes Will I Take?
The coursework you take will vary by school and your interests. Most programs range from 33 to 39 credits. We’ll walk you through some of the common classes and concentrations.
Strategic HR Management:
This course looks at human capital management. Plus, issues that affect HR managers. From unions to labor laws and organizational growth. Other topics look into tactical things. Like:
- Workforce planning
- Talent management
- Employee retention
- Performance management
- And other competencies
This course looks at the links between employees and organizational goals. It will also cover things like incentives. And professional development Looking at current tools and practices, you may learn how to keep employees engaged. This is crucial to maintaining loyalty and productivity.
This course looks at the rules in place for employee-employer relations. It may touch on areas like contracts, privacy and human rights. Some issues may relate to a company policy how to apply it. Others may look at unions and labor laws.
Master of Science in Human Resources and Organization Development
A MS – HROD program may help HR pros who want to enhance their career gain new skills and knowledge. The core courses look at evidence-based research in HROD. You’ll also take a class in organizational analysis. An array of electives allows you to study talent acquisition and more.
Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employee Relations
An MPS degree in Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER) is for those at-work in HR. It may ready you to help top execs factor human resources into their strategic plans.
This type of program often comes with a choice of concentrations. A potential asset for those who want to guide their HR career track. Employment and labor law, staffing, labor unions and benefits are some options.
Master of Business Administration – Strategic Human Resource Management
An MBA may help you build a range of managerial skills. Strategic human resources management is a proactive way to develop talent. With a focus in strategic HRM, you’ll study the ways employees may help a business succeed.
Doctor of Business Administration – Human Resources
A DBA is a terminal business degree with select courses in the HR focus. It often appeals to current execs with a master’s or MBA who want to refine skills as problem-solvers.
Courses usually focus on advanced business topics. As such you may hone leadership and strategy skills. In tandem, a DBA may help you gain expert knowledge of labor markets, legal issues and benefits. But if you prefer research, check out a PhD in HRM to see how the course material stacks up.
Human Resource Management Accreditation
Accreditation is a quality control. Many schools have the initial credential from a regional agency. This means one may apply for federal aid and that the school passed a peer review for standards.
That said, a myriad of schools offer masters and MBA in human resources degrees. So how do you tell them apart? Accrediting agencies look at the curriculum. They assess whether it teaches relevant and up-to-date skills and information.
As HR is a sub-division of business, there are a few agencies who approve business programs.
- e Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
- Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
- Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
The SHRM is an industry leader that sets standards in human resources.
Often, it works with individual schools to help them cover crucial content areas. When this is so, you may learn the things you need to know when you pursue post-degree certification. Many of today’s employers prefer candidates with that extra credential.
To sit for these certification exams, you’ll need to earn your degree at a college or university with approval from SHRM’s Academic Initiatives staff.
How Long is a Masters in Human Resources Management Degree?
A Masters in Human Resources Management may take one or two years to complete, if you study full-time. Many programs ask students to complete from 30 to 39 credits. If you have fewer credits to do, you may need less than 2 years. Some schools also let students earn their degree on a part-time basis. If this sounds like you, find out what time frame the school gives you. Some give 4 years, but it varies. Need more flexibility? Consider earning an online Master in Human Resources Management. Online graduate programs in human resources may let you study on your schedule.
How Much Does it Cost to Get a Masters in Human Resources?
The average cost of a of a graduate degree from a public institution is $11,617 per year. This means you will be able to find HR graduate programs both more affordable and more expensive than the average.
To give specific examples, this visualization shows graduate tuition costs of 4 institutions with Human Resources Management Graduate Programs as reported by the NCES. We have then compared those costs to the typically most affordable and most expensive college options, also as reported by NCES.
Find the best schools for human resources !
GradSchools.com Offers 322 Graduate Schools with Human Resource Management Graduate Programs Here:
Grand Canyon University
Colorado State University Global
Purdue University Global
California State University, Northridge
Seton Hall University
University of North Dakota
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota