South Carolina Online HR Graduate Programs

Online Human Resource Graduate Programs may make it possible to study issues such as complex employee benefit plans, new labor laws, and employee rights for at-work adults. HR online programs often discuss the finer points of recruiting, performance evaluation, and dispute resolution. Web-based formats might follow a self-paced schedule, making them an ideal option for students with family and/or job duties.

Online Human Resource Graduate Programs: Overview

Students could look for Online Human Resource Graduate Programs at the masters, doctorate or certificate levels, depending on prior education and goals. Human resource management – HRM online programs usually meld core classes with electives and research to problem solve or define an area of thought leadership.

Some programs might ready students to pursue a certification process such as a Senior Professionalism in Human Resources (SPHR) exam. A university might follow guidelines set by agencies that cover specific competencies needed by those who want to take credential exams. If this is the case, students may want to follow up with individual agencies to see what any next steps could include. The HRCI and SHRM are two such certification organizations.

What is the meaning of human resources?

Human resources are people (human capital, human assets, employees) within any organization. Human resources management (HRM) is a function within an organization. It has to do with the systems that are in place to maintain a productive workforce, compliant work place all the while maximizing company profit and growth.

How long might it take to earn an online human resources degree?

Keep in mind that there may be accelerated, part-time and full-time options which could affect program length. On average -because it varies – we provide some general guidelines below.

  • Masters/MBA in Human Resources: 2 years full-time
  • Graduate Certificate in Human Resources: 1 year full-time
  • PhD/DBA in Human Resources: 3 – 6 years +

What Could I Learn in HR Online Courses?

While Online Human Resource Graduate Programs do focus on the issues, concepts and practices of today’s HR professional, some programs have more wide-ranging course plans.

These might draw core content from general business and managerial processes with HR as a concentration. It may be helpful to keep this in mind along with any professional plans as you review course lists. We provide a generalized sample below.

Human Resource Management Strategy – Students might examine HRM in the context of business policy and competitive strategy. Topics could include organizational change, labor markets and labor union to help students learn to form HR policies to support business goals.

Organizational Measurement – A course that could include predictive analysis. Students might examine assessment and evaluation tools used to hire, manage employee performance, career development, retention, and termination processes.

Talent Management – An examination of recruitment, appraisal, development and strategies that could optimize employee talent and company success.

Employment Law – A deep look at employment law practices and trends, the statutory framework, major court cases, how the law of contract and tort apply to employment situations, and anti-discrimination laws.

Labor Relations – Students could learn about collective bargaining and how it has adapted to economic, social, political, technical, and sector specific needs. Various ways to resolve disputes negotiation strategies may be examined.

Online Masters in Human Resources Management

An online masters in HRM could ready students to help businesses meet major goals by optimizing staff management. Applicants typically have earned their bachelors degree, and some programs may look for experienced candidates.

This level of program often addresses an organization’s key needs and how to meet them by effectively managing a company’s employees. Participants might also learn how to strategize and collaborate with other business executives.

Masters fall into two categories: a Master of Science, which might focus on technical and career-related subjects; and a Master of Arts, which could offer more liberal arts and humanities (history, theory) studies into the coursework. Additionally, many Master of Business Administration programs allow students to earn a concentration in human resources. We break a few options down below.

Online MBA in Human Resources

Students who pursue an MBA in Human Resources online might appreciate that this professional masters program is somewhat flexible. For instance, core courses typically deal with a broad range of functional business applications from accounting and finance through to information systems, marketing, operations and strategy.

Concentration courses in HRM could cover subjects such as workforce planning, management of employee compensation and organizational behavior. Students might also learn about the recruitment, development, and retention of human capital with an eye to understand how to make managerial decisions about business’ bottom lines.

A final MBA in HRM capstone usually helps students think critically through research and the application of analytical methods that transform raw data into useful information.


Some upper management HR positions might require a master’s degree in human resources, labor relations, or business administration (MBA).i

Online MPS in Human Resources

An online Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER) degree program melds advanced theory with practical knowledge. Of all the programs, it is the one that usually targets professionals already at-work in the human resources/employment relations field or those with a strong, fundamental grasp of HRER.

Coursework could be less introductory and more focused on concepts, processes and real-world issues such as labor law, contract administration, diversity and workplace behavior. Students might be tasked with a final supervised research project.

In schools where the course plan aligns with HRCI guidelines, students might earn credits from their program towards PHR, SPHR, and GPHR re-certifications. If this is a goal, make sure to follow up with your university.

Online MS in Human Resources Management

An online Master of Science in Human Resource Management could provide a holistic course plan which may also include a component of scholarly research. MSHRM online core courses and electives are all about the technical and practical skills needed to manage HR processes.

Students in an online MSHR program might (as with the MPS) have some prior experience and may want to advance in their career, though there are programs where work history may not be a determinant of admissions.

Courses may have a strong emphasis on hands-on, real-world projects that provide direct application to the field. Different schools might offer concentrations in related areas. Some examples are provided below.

  • Human Resource Leadership
  • Workplace Learning and Performance
  • Negotiations and Conflict Resolution

Online Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management

A graduate certificate is a stand-alone, credential that showcases student proficiency in a specific subject. Certificates could also stack onto a graduate degree for much the same reason – to add some level of expertise.

Some programs entail about 4 courses (12 credits). Because of its shorter course plan, a certificate in HR might stress the key skills to strategically manage, train, and develop human resources for enhanced organizational performance.

Online Doctorate in Human Resource Management

Online Doctorate in Human Resource Management programs are terminal degrees which may ready students to teach, consult or lead. Most programs at this level require students to have a bachelors and masters degree, and some also expect applicants to have experience in business and human resources.

Two of the commonly conferred degrees at this level are the PhD and DBA in Human Resource Management. Below is a brief synopsis of what might be required of students in each program. Refer to individual course plans to learn more and see below for a few examples of doctoral topics.

Strategic Partnership – Students might evaluate buy-build alternatives and B2B partnerships. They might also explore a range of alternatives, such as service agreements, contract negotiations, and management of fully outsourced services .

Business Strategy and Innovation – A course that may be devoted to the ins and outs of how business strategies are created and implemented to maximize competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Advanced Topics in Performance Management – A deeper look at the strategic issues and approved practices in employee engagement, leadership development, succession planning, evaluative performance feedback, and compensation models

Online PhD in Human Resources

An online PhD is a research doctorate which may be offered in business administration with a focus in HR research initiatives. Because of this, applicants might need to have a general career trajectory that frames their scholarly interest and lines up with a program faculty’s active pursuits to gain admission.

Some online PhD human resources programs may be more focused on teaching and research methods. This research might include the observation of business systems, leadership, financial management, accounting, economics, strategy, and social responsibility.

Or, students might strive to develop a deep and broad grasp of organizational behavior to anticipate the impact of strategic initiatives and organizational change. Whatever the program emphasis, core courses usually discuss them from a wide angle and may ready students with presentation skills and the methods to test a hypothesis. A final dissertation usually tasks students with thought leadership – an original contribution to their field.

Online DBA in Human Resources

An online Doctor of Business Administration is a practitioner doctorate. While students are tasked with research it is applied in nature which means a student might want to address a real issue to study all the ways it might be solved through executive decisions, strategy and an extensive review of management theories.

Since business practice is the focus, online DBA students might study all the functional areas of business – like an MBA – only with an eye to establish a global mindset and the tools to apply theory to practical issues.

Coursework might examine modern organizational issues such as succession planning, processes to create and manage strategic partnerships, and HR planning for the organization’s strategic business direction.

This usually through topics such as managerial finance, global marketing strategy and business operations from a systems point of view. Graduates may thus be able to analyze the impact of business decisions on the quality of the deliverables and the risk impact on both the HR department and the organization.

Apart from seminars, online DBA students might learn how to conduct extensive literature reviews, analyze case studies, write and present. A final capstone dissertation usually tasks students to problem solve and they may need to create an annual HR operating plan (AHROP) as part of the degree requirements.

Why Earn a Graduate Degree in HRM Online?

Do you need to schedule study as if it were a business meeting? Are you unavailable at set hours but have time and the self-motivation to study on your own? Online Human Resources Graduate Programs may be 100% online or ask students to come to campus periodically.

Frequently, classes meet asynchronously – no set log ins. Study when you are able. Other times, students might take part in live, online class sessions using a headset and/or webcam. These synchronous online sessions could meet at a designated time each week (e.g. in the evening).

This way students could interact and discuss material as if they were all in the same place. Sessions are usually recorded, though and might be downloaded off a user-friendly platform. This system – and Blackboard is one example – may allow students to read the required course materials, submit papers and assignments, view grades and more.

  • Discuss case studies or course content with classmates on a discussion board
  • Watch and listen to short lectures from the instructor
  • Participate in case study simulations

Accreditation for Online HR Graduate Programs

Both regionally-accredited traditional and exclusively online universities offer online HR graduate programs. Accreditation is seen as a way to maintain a high standard of education through a distinction between accredited schools and those that have not met a minimum standard.

Specific business-centered programs have their own accreditation bodies, such as the ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs) and the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).

Apply to Online HR Graduate Programs

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Capella University's online Master's in Human Resource Management program helps you develop the engagement skills necessary to become an effective...
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