Human resources (HR) is now one of the top business administration priorities at most companies. Thriving businesses need great employees. They require talented and technically skilled employees to gain an edge in the marketplace—that’s why HR professionals play a vital role in the success of companies across an array of industries.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that an advanced degree in the HR field, such as a Master of Human Resources Management, is increasingly preferred for high-level jobs in human resources. The BLS also reports those with a solid background in HR programs, policies, and employment law should have better job opportunities.
Human resources professionals are in demand in private, nonprofit, and government agencies. The BLS forecasts a 21% employment growth rate from 2010 to 2020 for HR specialists—faster than the average for all occupations.
The median annual salary for Human Resources Managers in 2011 was $99,130 (BLS).
Many of the Master in Human Resources degree programs teach subjects on a local and global scale. The programs typically include case studies.
Many of the Human Resources Master’s degree programs allow students to specialize in a specific human resource field. Those seeking a broader grounding in business principles may consider an MBA with a concentration in human resources management. These MBA programs focus on the management and administrative best-practices of corporate HR departments.
Those with an HR Master’s degree may have an edge on the those with an MBA in Human Resources for specialist jobs and consulting roles. However, those with the MBA will have a wide administrative skill set that will allow them to effectively function across a company.
- Maximizing employee output
- Attracting and retaining talented employees
- Coaching and motivating employees to meet goals
- Designing employee incentive packages
- Training employees
- Negotiating contracts
- Arbitrating disputes
- Setting up the organizational structure of a company for maximum benefit
- Facilitating interactions between management and labor
Career options for those with a Human Resources Master’s degree include:
- Placement manager
- Human resources director
- Compensation and benefits manager
- International resources manager
- Labor relations manager
- Workforce planning and development specialist
- Training and development manager
- HR information systems manager
- VP of human resources
Individuals with a Human Resources Master’s degree also have opportunities in HR outsourcing services and management consulting services.
Online Master in Human Resources Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the online Master in Human Resources degree programs based on quality of the program, types of courses offered, faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school’s reputation for effectively providing online degree programs.
Penn State World Campus’s Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations degree program is designed for professionals already working in the human resources/employment relations field and people with a strong fundamental understanding of human resources and labor.
The degree program is provided in partnership with Penn State’s Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations.
The program combines advanced theory with practical knowledge. Besides basic human resource management, the curriculum reviews employment relations, labor and employment law, compensation, staffing, and training, as well as labor and collective bargaining.
In the capstone class, students demonstrate an understanding of the curriculum and apply it to their professional areas in human resources and employment relations.
The Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations degree program includes the following career tracks:
- Labor and collective bargaining
- Benefits and compensation
- Staffing, training, and development
- Employment and labor law
In 2012, Penn State University was ranked #12 by U.S. News & World Report in its “Top Public Schools” list. In 2011, the university was ranked #12 nationally by SmartMoney Magazine in its “Colleges That Help Grads Get Top Salaries” list. And also in 2011, the Sloan Consortium named Penn State the winner of the Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education Award.
Villanova University’s online Master in Human Resource Development degree program provides a strong foundation in core human resource competencies, with a focus on developmental, strategic, and global issues.
The Master’s degree in Human Resource Development program reviews subjects such as human resource planning, organizational change, international human resources, compensation, organizational training, and project management for HR professionals.
The Master in Human Resource Development degree program is ideal for professionals in an array of roles such as:
- HR generalist
- Staffing specialist
- Corporate trainer
- Benefits analyst
- Human resource manager
Villanova University ranked #1 in the 2013 edition of “Best Colleges in Regional Universities (North)” and #2 in “Best Value Schools Regional Universities (North).” The school is included in the Princeton Review‘s 2013 Best 377 Colleges list.
The University of Scranton is a Catholic university, and their online Human Resources Master’s degree program is rooted in the Jesuit liberal arts tradition.
The program prepares students to be proactive in their pursuit of fairness and equity at the workplace, and provides up-to-date research showing how HR professionals achieve organizational goals.
The HR Master’s degree program covers the theory and practice of processes utilized to promote development, effective performance, and job satisfaction for employees. Students actively engage in the application of theory and learn how such applications can influence the effectiveness of organizations. In this way, students are prepared to take leadership positions.
Many professional organizations have identified a specified body of knowledge for professionals in the human resources field and provide certification examinations covering this knowledge. The university’s human resources curriculum provides this body of knowledge for students seeking to be certified.
The University of Scranton is ranked among the 10 top universities in the North offering Master’s programs by U.S. News & World Report‘s “Best Colleges” guidebook. The university is also included among the “377 Best Colleges” by Princeton Review. The University of Scranton is also included in “America’s Best Colleges” list by Forbes magazine, as well as in Barron’s “Best Buys in College Education” and in Kiplinger‘s “Best Values in Private Colleges.”
Stony Brook University’s Master of Science in Human Resource Management online degree program incorporates both theory and practice to academically prepare professionals to enter the field or advance in their career.
The curriculum includes foundational courses in HR management, business, and employee relations. Students select from a wide selection of classes, including Human Relations in the Workplace, Job Evaluation and Compensation Systems, Training and Development, Employment Law, New Developments in HR Management, Organizational Change Management, and other courses.
Students in the Human Resource Management Master’s degree program are prepared for jobs in public, private, nonprofit, and government agencies in positions such as:
- HR Generalist
- HR Manager
- Benefits Analyst
- Staffing specialist
Stony Brook University is ranked #40 among public institutions in U.S. News & World Report‘s 2013 edition of America’s Best Colleges. The university is named one of the nation’s “Best Value” colleges and universities by Princeton Review in its “The Best Value Colleges: 2012 Edition.”
Drexel University Online’s Master of Science in Human Resource Development degree program combines theory and current workplace practice.
Students learn how to promote maximum employee performance, while enrolling as a cohort and taking courses together, which allows for interaction and networking among students and local leaders.
The online Master’s in Human Resource Development program includes a two-term Capstone Portfolio Co-op, which provides students with an opportunity to complete a final research project consolidating important competencies learned from the human resources development core.
The online Human Resource Development Master’s degree program covers subjects such as:
- Training and development
- Human capital strategy
- Performance improvement
- Organizational development
- Leadership and management development
- Talent management
- Assessment, measurement, and evaluation
- Coaching and mentoring
Students select from one of the following areas of concentration: Strategic Human Resources; Evaluation & Return on Investment; Instructional Systems Design & Elearning; or Project Management.
The human resources development graduate programs are recognized by The Academy of Human Resource Development: Program Excellence Network, which includes 30 of the nation’s best Human Resource Development programs.
In 2011, Drexel University was ranked among the top 100 colleges and universities by U.S. News and World Report. The university also received the “21st Century Best Practices Award for Distance Learning” from the United States Distance Learning Association, as well as the 2010 Sloan Consortium’s “Award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education.”
The Regis University College for Professional Studies (RUCPS) offers an online Master of Science in Organization Leadership program, which prepares students for an array of areas such as small business, healthcare, nonprofit, government, industry, and service organizations.
The program emphasizes top management practices and cultivating ethical leadership skills. Students gain practical knowledge and skills in leadership, project management, and business strategies.
The program is available in accelerated eight-week terms. Via a partnership between RUCPS and the Universidad del Turabo in Puerto Rico, students can acquire a Master in Organization Leadership degree as part of the university’s online dual-language program.
The Online Master’s in Organization Leadership program includes four degree specializations:
- Human Resource Management and Leadership
- Organizational Leadership and Management
- Enterprise Resource Leadership and Planning
- Project Leadership and Management
Regis University has been named a top university in the West, and one of the best online colleges for 2012, by U.S. News & World Report. RUCPS was named a “Top Military Friendly School” for 2013 by GI Jobs.
Florida International University’s online Master of Human Resource Management degree program was designed with input from HR industry executives, and covers various aspects of management function that a human resources department might address, such as employment law, staffing and performance appraisals, safety and health, training and development, compensation and health, HR information systems, and other subjects.
The Master of Human Resource Management program includes case studies, experimental exercises, and other active forms of applied learning.
The school reports that its faculty includes many well-known scholars in the field and members of the editorial boards of the most prestigious human resource journals.
The HR Master’s degree program prepares students to take valuable professional certification exams provided by the Society for Human Resource Management’s Certification Institute.
U.S. News & World Report named Florida International University a “Best Buy” in higher education. FIU has also been listed among the best values in public higher education in the nation in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” 2011 survey.
Abilene Christian University (ACU) offers a faith-based, online Master of Science in Organizational and Human Resource Development degree program embraces cultural systems, organizational systems, and human issues as they apply toward administrating, leading, and managing human resources in organizations.
ACU’s Online Master of Science in Organizational and Human Resource Development degree includes courses covering subjects such as:
- Conflict resolution and theory
- Intercultural communication
- Organizational behavior
- Teams and team leadership
- Human resources
- Social change and persuasion
The program applies the study of individual, group, and cultural issues to meet the special needs of managers, administrators, military officers, trainers, government leaders, and others in the professional community.
Neither the GRE nor the GMAT is not required for admission. Students can obtain their degree in 18 months.
Abilene Christian University was ranked #19 in the 2013 edition of “Best Colleges and Regional Universities (West),” by U.S. News & World Report, and was named one of the “Best in the West” by Princeton Review.
Gannon University’s online Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resource Management curriculum covers the vital fundamentals of business, as well as employee relations and management theory.
Students explore techniques of resource analysis, recruiting, testing, selection, appraisal, and compensation planning. The curriculum reviews the impact of various local, state, and federal laws on the workplace. Also, faculty members have extensive real-world experience.
Students in the MBA in Human Resource Management degree program learn how to provide leadership in the workplace. They also learn to develop and motivate employees and to communicate effectively.
Gannon University, a private co-educational Catholic University, was ranked as a Top Tier Master’s University in the northern section of the United States in its “Americas’s Best Colleges” list by U.S. News & World Report.
Brenau University’s online Master of Business Administration in Human Resources Management degree program covers the important human resource management (HRM) principles.
The program reviews subjects such as mediation, recruitment, and labor relations, and includes courses such as Employment Law, Human Resource Management, HRM Total Rewards, Talent Acquisition & Management, and Human Resources Strategy.
Princeton Review named Brenau University one of the best universities in the Southeast. In 2012, Brenau University was listed among the Top 15 Best Higher Education Values in the Southeast, and its online programs were also scored high in national rankings, by U.S. News & World Report.
Lasell College offers an online Master of Science in Management with a concentration in Human Resources Management degree program, which focuses on subjects such as staffing of management including recruiting, training, and motivation.
The curriculum includes courses such as Human Resources Management, Conflict Resolution by Negotiation, and Human Resource Law.
The program reviews subjects including:
- Organizational development
- Human rights legislation in the workplace
- Developing policies and procedures
- Termination of employment
- Designing creative strategies to improve organizational effectiveness
Lasell College was ranked #25 in the 2013 edition of “Best Colleges in Regional Colleges (North)” by U.S. News & World Report.
The University of Texas at Tyler provides an online Master of Science degree in Human Resource Development program, which allows students to build analytical skills by working on projects requiring research and data analysis in the workplace.
Students also learn how to connect the role and function of human resource development to a company’s business strategy. The curriculum covers various perspectives on organizational development at the individual, group, and organization levels of analysis. Also, students study practice-oriented models and techniques, as well as approaches to performance consulting in organizational settings.
Students work with faculty members to design course projects relating to their current job. The Master’s degree in Human Resource Development program does not require a thesis.
The University of Texas at Tyler has been ranked as tied for 27th in the “Top Public Schools Regional Universities (West)” list, by U.S. News & World Report.
Indiana Wesleyan University’s online Master of Business Administration degree with a specialization in Human Resource Management program provides an understanding of compensation and benefits, compensation system design, and selecting and effectively administrating employee benefits.
Students have the opportunity to develop a compensation system, utilizing a simulation aid.
The MBA in Human Resource Management program also reviews employment law with an emphasis on modern legislation, relating court decisions in numerous areas of employment law and their applicabition to everyday human resource issues. The program also covers motivation and training.
Indiana Wesleyan University, an evangelical Christian university, was ranked #27 in the 2013 edition of “Best Colleges in Regional Universities (Midwest),” by U.S. News & World Report.
Brandman University’s online Master of Science in Human Resources degree program is designed for mid-career professionals.
Student learn how to design an effective human resource development program. The program uses a knowledge base of organizational leadership, communications, and management.
The Human Resources Master’s degree program reviews subjects such as:
- Strategic human resource management
- Employee-labor relations
- Improving and rewarding performance
Brandman University has been included on the “Honor Roll of Top Online Graduate Business Programs” by U.S. News & World Report.
Tarleton State University’s online Master in Human Resource Management degree program covers subjects including recruitment and selection, research and job analysis, compensations and benefits, training and development, labor relations, and organizational effectiveness.
The program provides knowledge and skills applicable to private business, nonprofit, and government agencies.
The online Human Resource Management Master’s degree program reviews subjects such as:
- Law and regulation in human resources
- Workforce planning and employment
- Managing human resource development
- Employment and labor relations
- Compensation management
Tarleton State University is a member of the Texas A&M University System.
Grand Canyon University’s Ken Blanchard College of Business offers an online MBA degree program with an emphasis in Strategic Human Resource Management.
The program reviews the Society for Human Resource Management’s vital competencies, as well as the link between human resource management and the bottom line and decision-making.
The MBA in Strategic Human Resource Management degree program reviews talent management, succession planning, workforce diversity, employee development and motivation, and performance matrix. It also prepares students for careers as senior human resource specialists and general managers with strong HR acumen.
Grand Canyon University provides an education from the context of its Christian heritage.
Walden University’s online MBA degree with a specialization in Human Resource Management includes the following specializations: Integrating Functional and Strategic Human Resource Management; Functional Human Resource Management; and Organizational Strategy.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) acknowledges that the university’s MBA in Human Resource Management program fully aligns with the SHRM’s 2010 edition of the HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. These materials help to define HR education standards industry-wide, and help business schools to develop degree programs which follow these standards.
The Human Resource Management MBA degree curriculum provides courses such as:
- The Role of Human Resources in Mergers and Acquisitions
- Talent Management
- Human Resource Metrics
- Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
- Budgeting and Resource Allocation
- Performance Management
- Benefits and Compensation
- Strategic Human Resource Management
Northcentral University’s online Master of Business Administration degree with a specialization in Human Resources Management focuses on the interrelationships between human resource capital, leadership, and the business organization.
The program covers all the aspects of HR management, and reviews human resource issues in the global economy.
The MBA degree with a specialization in Human Resources Management program includes courses such as:
- Compensation Issues in Human Resource Management
- Recruitment and Human Resources Information Systems
- Legal Issues in Human Resource Management
- Labor Relations
- Human Resources Management Research Project
Northcentral University is ranked #5 in the “Faculty Credentials and Training” list by U.S. News & World Report.
Herzing University’s online Master of Business Administration degree in Human Resource Development provides a solid understanding of management principles.
The program emphasizes the application of theory and practice using case studies, and reviews subjects relating to labor laws and how they impact managing employees.
Required courses in the MBA in Human Resource Development curriculum includes Training and Development in Organizations, Compensation and Rewards Management, Managing Organizational Performance, and Designing Organizational Change.
Herzing University is ranked #10 in the “Faculty Credentials and Training Top Online Graduate Business programs” list by U.S. News & World Report.
The University of Saint Mary offers an accelerated one-year distance MBA degree with a Human Resource Management Concentration, covering the current ethical and legal business climate.
The curriculum reviews issues related to effective management and the cultivation and training of a company’s workforce. It also prepares students to become managers in the areas of human resources, organizational change, and training and development.
The program covers subjects such as managing workplace conflict and facilitating negotiation, the legal and ethical environment of business (including human rights), environmental regulations, and confidentiality. It also reviews planning, implementing, and managing major changes at a company to improve effectiveness.
The University of Saint Mary has been named a “Best Midwestern” college by Princeton Review.