Graduate Schools for Human Resources Management (HRM) programs analyze how to maximize worker output and help organizations meet their bottom line goals. Students in HR schools learn to understand workplace behavior, effectively recruit and train employees, and manage both people and processes.
Graduate Schools for Human Resources Management confer degrees at the masters and doctoral degrees. A graduate degree in HRM is about much more than who to hire and how to fire. Human resources management tends to be multi-disciplinary and may rely heavily on case study analysis, which could help HR professionals think tactically.
Masters in Human Resource Management programs address practical problems you might face as an HR professional within rapidly changing business, regulatory, and social landscapes. Doctoral programs may build executive leadership skills and usually include research into human resources issues and global perspectives.
Today’s HRM schools might also offer shorter term programs that award Graduate Certificates. They have a narrower focus, so students could either get their feet wet in HR or add on skills in areas such as conflict management and workforce analytics.
DID YOU KNOW?
18 % of Employee Benefits Managers report they have a masters degree, while 9% hold a post-baccalaureate certificate.i
Course plans typically include “soft” subjects such as leadership, communication, and negotiation. But students could also get a firm grounding in “hard” subjects, such as labor economics, finance, and business law.
The more research-focused graduate schools for human resources management might also expect students to understand and apply rigorous quantitative techniques. Review some sample topics below, then compare course lists from human resource graduate schools.
A course in HR strategy could further shed light on how how business strategy, competition, labor markets, technology, labor unions and government regulations affect human resource decision making. See below for a generalized sample of potential topics.
While there is sure to be variance in terms of program length, on average a full-time student might complete a masters degree in HRM in about 2 years; a certificate in about 1 year, and some doctoral programs in about 3 years plus. Time to graduation also includes research and any capstone projects.
Graduate schools with HR Masters programs might award degrees such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Management (MM), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Arts (MA). Which degree option is perfect for you? Let’s take a look at how these programs compare.
A professional masters degree, an MBA is typically set up to provide a holistic view of business and managerial processes. An MBA in human resources could ready students with the organizational leadership skills they need to manage office staff, recruit and hire employees, enhance workplace productivity, supervise compensation, and uphold an organization’s legal or ethical standards.
MBA students usually first take a slew of general classes that may help them as leaders and critical thinkers. These core elements often delve into finance and accounting, public relations, marketing, operations, information systems and business strategy.
Concentration courses then present an opportunity to study HR topics and how to apply overall business skills and analytical problem-solving to support organizational goals. A final capstone project may integrate course content to address a current
Because of the strong administrative core, some MBA in HRM programs require applicants to have some prior knowledge, or to take preliminary courses before they begin their degree plan.
Schools with MS in HRM programs could provide a format whereby students could conduct independent research to produce a final thesis. While the MBA offers HRM as a concentration, MSHR degree programs take a wide lens to cover business and management skills as they relate to human resources.
As such, an MSHR program could expect students to take courses which might help to develop their knowledge of collective bargaining, recruiting techniques and how to select the perfect candidates for available positions. Other courses which might make up the Masters in Human Resources degree program often include ones in management information systems, organizational decision making, leadership and team coaching.
Some MSHR programs require applicants to have work experience in their field, but many do not – it depends on the individual program. That stated, less experienced students might have to take part in an internship.
After graduation with a MS in human resources management, one might go onto pursue a career in the field, but many students instead choose to pursue a doctorate degree and further conduct research in a chosen subject.
A Master of Arts in HRM could cover topics specific to human resources, management skills, ethics and electives similar to a MS. These is often little difference between a MA and MS in human resources management.
In an MA program, one may have to present a thesis paper during the final semester, and there may be less of an emphasis on practical/behavioral research in favor of literature review. Students might also take courses to enhance graduate academic writing skills, and may learn how to analyze and synthesize scholarly articles.
Some graduate schools for human resource management might offer a joint MBA/MSHR program. Students could work towards both credentials and may have more freedom to plan their program of study with an advisor. This type of program could provide both breadth and depth of knowledge across the functional areas of business and also, human resources issues and ways to address them.
A Master of Management in HRM draws on managerial science and may have a strong section of leadership-oriented courses. Students in MM programs could enter with managerial experience under their belt. They may however, want to develop, manage, and evaluate HRM practices that meet the needs of a diverse, globally dispersed workforce.
Graduate schools with doctorate degrees in human resource management might award a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). Applicants to either program may need to have earned a Masters or MBA.
Usually, at this level, students fine tune executive skills and conduct their own research.
PhD students typically perform research to come up with new insights, while DBA students might come to their program with a practitioner’s mind. How could I use my research findings to solve this HR problem? Both programs might offer courses geared to those who want to teach, lead and/or consult.
A PhD in Human Resource Management is a research doctorate, usually in business administration or management. PhD students often focus on research-based leadership strategies to tackle some of the challenges faced in global economy.
This research might lead PhD in HRM students to explore the ways employees, leaders, business goals and external factors are linked and how they impact the policy and decision process.
With its emphasis on research and thought leadership, students often scout schools to see what interesting projects are on tap with various faculty members. Research mentorship is often a major player in a PhD student’s dissertation.
A DBA in Human Resource Management is a professional doctorate which may suit practitioners. Whereas a PhD student may aim to bring innovative practices to the field of HR through scholarship (E.g. a new theory), DBA students may seek to use all available data to solve organizational and HR issues.
Much like an MBA, core DBA coursework often takes students through the functional areas of business with extra focus on demographic, cultural diversity and global markets. Think multi-national and large scale.
A final doctoral applied business research project could highlight a candidate’s ability to perform research that is tied directly to an organization and how they leverage real world problems to develop solutions.
A certificate could those who want either a part-time or shorter way to study human resource management at the graduate level. Students might take a total of about four courses – so think overview in some cases. These could discuss ways to evaluate performance, basic corporate finance, workforce planning and key legal issues for HR.
Applicants may be college grads who want to take some graduate courses -but not a full masters degree. Since they might draw content from a MSHR program, graduates might be able to transfer credits toward that program later. Or, experienced professionals interested in the stand alone credential (diploma in HR).
For those who work towards a human resource graduate degree on campus, factors such as where a school is located could be important. Students may look for a school that is accessible and/or has ties to local businesses. If this is a determinant, set filters for a preferred city or state to find partner graduate schools for human resource management in this area.
On the curriculum front, some HRM schools follow guidelines by agencies such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) or HR Certificate Institute (HRCI). When an individual course plan follows specific criteria, it might prepare a graduate to take a designated certification exam.
Professional human resource certifications could indicate a level of expertise and thus, might provide professional credibility. If this is a goal, make sure to verify with your graduate school for human resources.ii Refer to the mini quiz below to help narrow your search for a HR School down further.
Schools that offer human resources management graduate programs may be regionally accredited and may have individual degree programs that are also accredited by professional agencies such as the AACSB and ACBSP.
Keep in mind that each graduate school for human resources management sets its own standards with respect to prior education, work experience and test scores. A bachelors degree is the customary minimum with most doctoral programs requiring a masters-level education.
Below are some guidelines.
Find a graduate school with the perfect MSHRM, MBA, PhD or DBA in Human Resource Management degree for you. Take a look at partner programs and quickly apply with the on-page form today.
[i] onetonline.org/link/summary/11-3121.00 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm#tab-4
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