The backbone and brain of any business organization is its workforce or human resource, without which there would be no business to conduct. Therefore, managing human resources is one of the most vital functions for business leaders to take up but is, more often than not, easier said than done. Good business leaders need to effectively communicate, collaborate, solve problems, build relationships to strengthen their human resources, and build upon each employee’s strengths. Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs are tailored for students and professionals who desire to understand how humans think and act and capitalize on human behavior in the workplace and beyond. Continue to read the various options in Human Resource Management, the MSHRM (Master of Science in Human Resource Management) in particular, and get a detailed insight on all things related to a Master’s in Human Resources.

Human Resources

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online MS in Human Resource Management

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Online Masters in Human Resources Programs

The best online master’s in Human Resources Programs are ones that artfully combine both the subjective and objective facades of the subject while checking for key factors such as the quality of teaching, level of expertise of the faculty, curriculum, timelines, cost-effectiveness, and recognition in the job market. The Rankings Table below that lists out the best Human Resources Master’s Programs is based on these very factors, for easy short-listing or decision making.

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
Clemson University
201 Sikes Hall, Clemson, South Carolina 29634
The University of Scranton
800 Linden Street, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18510
Rutgers University
83 Somerset St, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
Saint Joseph’s University
5600 City Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19131
George Washington University
1918 F Street, NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20052
University of Connecticut
352 Mansfield Road, Storrs, Connecticut 06269
University of Southern California
University Park, Los Angeles, California 90089
Boston University
One Silber Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02215
West Chester University of Pennsylvania
University Avenue and High Street, West Chester, Pennsylvania 19383
Stony Brook University
310 Administration Building, Stony Brook, New York 11794
American University
4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20016
McDaniel College
2 College Hill, Westminster, Maryland 21157
Indiana Wesleyan Universit
4201 South Washington Street, Marion, Indiana 46953
Moravian College
1200 Main St, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018
Florida International University
11200 S. W. 8 Street, Miami, Florida 33199
Western Carolina University
Highway 107, Cullowhee, North Carolina 28723
Regis University
3333 Regis Blvd, Denver, Colorado 80221
University of Louisville
2301 S 3rd St, Louisville, Kentucky 40292
Belhaven University
1500 Peachtree St, Jackson, Mississippi 39202
Franklin University
201 S Grant Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43215

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Most Affordable Online Masters in Human Resources Programs

To qualify as the ‘most affordable online Human Resources degree’, the program should not only be easy on the pocket but also strike a good balance with the quality of education as well. One must also bear in mind the duration of the course, the reputation of the College, and the actual program in question, to arrive at a reasonable conclusion of what ‘affordable’ would mean in context. Here is a list of some affordable online Masters in Human Resources Programs:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
Wayne State College
1111 Main St, Wayne, Nebraska 68787
Tarleton State University
1333 W. Washington, Stephenville, Texas 76401
Western Carolina University
Highway 107, Cullowhee, North Carolina 28723
Wichita State University
1845 N. Fairmount, Wichita, Kansas 67260
The University of Texas
3900 University Blvd, Tyler, Texas 75799
University of South Dakota
414 E Clark St, Vermillion, South Dakota 57069
Pittsburg State University
1701 S Broadway, Pittsburg, Kansas 66762
Amberton University
1700 Eastgate Dr, Garland, Texas 75041
Troy University
University Avenue, Troy, Alabama 36082
University of Houston, Clear Lake
2700 Bay Area Blvd, Houston, Texas 77058
Concordia University-Saint Paul
1282 Concordia Ave, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104
Wilmington University
320 Dupont Hwy, New Castle, Delaware 19720
Florida International University
11200 S. W. 8 Street, Miami, Florida 33199
Colorado State University, Global Campus
585 Salida Way, Aurora, Colorado 80011
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd, Nashville, Tennessee 37209
West Chester University of Pennsylvania
University Avenue and High Street, West Chester, Pennsylvania 19383
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
700 Terrace Heights, Winona, Minnesota 55987
Clemson University
201 Sikes Hall, Clemson, South Carolina 29634
Bellevue University
1000 Galvin Rd S, Bellevue, Nebraska 68005
Spalding University
901 S Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40203

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Masters in Human Resources Programs

Fundamentally, Master’s in Human Resources online programs deal with all aspects of a business or organization that have to do with people. These programs train students on various HR topics, from hiring to firing to compliance and optimal use of human resources. An advanced degree in Human Resources provides the ability to strategize, plan and manage workforce-related issues and solve any problems thereof with ease.

An online Master’s in Human Resources is an excellent way to increase one’s knowledge, further one’s expertise, and advance one’s career. It brings with it the added advantage of straightaway landing a managerial post, in most cases, and an opportunity to be prepared for real-life work scenarios and responsibilities.

Masters in Human Resources Degree Types

There are essentially three types of online Human Resources degrees: an MS or Master of Science, an MBA or Master’s in Business Administration, and an MA or Master of Arts. While all three are broadly similar, some distinguishing factors set them apart.

MS in Human Resource Management

Students who already have a background in business (academically) and want to concentrate more intensely on Human Resource Management are best suited for a Master of Science or MS in Human Resource Management (also commonly referred to as MSHRM). An MS degree will help in developing the skills necessary to lead the HR function and also provide an opportunity to serve as an internal consultant and strategic partner to the business.

MBA in Human Resource Management

A Master’s in Business Administration or MBA in Human Resource Management is generally the preferred option for those who do not already have some form of business background – academically or otherwise, and therefore wish to learn and understand business and its many nuances. An MBA degree typically covers general business skills, operations, finance, marketing, etc. The added concentration of Human Resource Management will provide an all-around understanding of how a business is run.

MA Human Resource Development

Master of Arts or MA in Human Resource Development courses are not too common in the United States. However, a few universities offer an MA program that is best suited for students who wish to work in Governmental Agencies or Non-Governmental Organizations, Charitable Institutions, Training Institutes, Community Development Centers, and such. The program usually requires a Bachelor’s in Arts to have been completed and lasts 1 to 2 years, varying by College and Program.

Difference between HRM Degrees

In general terms, all HR Master’s Programs – MS, MBA, and MA – are similar, with varying subjects at the most. But each of these programs targets a different student and, therefore, also varies in their approach to Human Resources. The table below presents this contrast between MS in HR vs. MBA in HR vs. MA in HR:

Background/Stream (preferred)AnyBusinessArts
Industry (best suited)Government, BusinessBusiness, IndustryGovernment, NGOs

Specializations in Human Resources Programs

In addition to a Master’s in Human Resources online program, one can further study and specialize in a particular field of industry to increase job and career prospects. Specialization brings specific knowledge and improved expertise, thereby creating an adequate potential to land a plum job. Some of the specializations in Human Resources are:

  • Training and Career Development
  • Negotiations
  • Health Care Management
  • Leadership and Management
  • Hospitality Management
  • Global Human Resources Management
  • Compensation & Benefits

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Online Masters in Human Resources Programs

The scope of Human Resources as a subject of study is far and wide. Contrary to popular belief that there is not much to learn in it, there are, in fact, a host of courses, modules, and topics that sometimes dramatically vary, one from the other. The Human Resources course curriculum listed below indicates what one could learn in courses in Human Resources Management. One must also bear in mind that the three online master’s in Human Resources degree types – MS, MBA, or MA would also influence the choice of core subjects and electives. Here is a quick list of typical core subjects:

  • Financial and Human Capital
  • Training and Development
  • Organization Development
  • Employment Law
  • HR Analytics
  • Strategic Workforce Planning
  • Foundations of Strategic Human Resources

Quite naturally and as is the case with most Master’s Programs, students are required to opt for electives, some of which are:

  • Organizational Behavior
  • Human Resource Ethics
  • HR Technology
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Compensation & Benefits
  • Relational Capital
  • Strategic & Global HR Leadership

By the end of a Master’s in Human Resources program, there are many transferable skills one would have acquired, including:

  • Influencing and negotiating skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Research and analytical skills
  • Oral communication skills
  • Written communication skills
  • Organizational and time management skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Use of Information-Technology tools and applications

Additionally, students would have also learned about labor laws, compliance, international labor practices, pay, benefits and compensations, recruitment, appraisal, and a whole lot more.

Accreditation for Online Masters in Human Resources Programs

When looking for work or advancing one’s career, having a recognized degree is very essential. Accreditation is a mark of accomplishment, and a stamp of approval for the qualification one earns. After all, the time and effort to acquire an online Master’s in Human Resources Degree should have enough credibility to secure good jobs.

Several accreditation bodies, such as the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE), recognize the Master’s Programs of several Colleges. It is always prudent to enroll for a course with accreditation from any accreditation council or agency of repute. Read our Accreditation Guide for more information.

Timeline for graduation from Online Masters in Human Resources Programs

How long it takes to complete an online Master’s in Human Resources program largely depends on whether the enrollment is part-time or full-time. More often than not, full-time programs are of 36 credits that last three semesters, which is 12 credits per semester. However, completing more credits earlier on in the course will translate to a quick completion. All things considered, though, online master’s in Human Resources Programs usually take anywhere from 1 to 2 years to complete. Further specializations and certifications would add to the duration of the program.

Online Masters in Human Resources Programs Admission Requirements

As with most other Master’s Degrees, online master’s in Human Resources Programs have similar admission requirements. To begin with, there is quite naturally the completed application form with an application fee. Academic Transcripts are required to be submitted, as do References, a Résumé or Statement of Purpose, and in some cases, an Essay or Personal Statement. It is usually a norm for applicants to have a Bachelor’s Degree, preferably related to Human Resources or Business Administration, and a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Some Colleges require a GMAT or GRE score, especially if the applicant’s GPA is below the prescribed limit. Here is a snapshot of typical Masters in Human Resources prerequisites:

  • Completed Application Form & Fee
  • Academic Transcripts
  • Professional of Academic Letters of Recommendation
  • Bachelor’s degree preferably in a field related to Human Resources or Business Administration.
  • Résumé or Statement of Purpose
  • An Essay or Personal Statement describing the applicant’s relevant work experience and ultimate career goals
  • GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • GMAT or GRE score, if required

Online Masters in Human Resources Online No GRE Programs

Many Universities require standardized test scores such as GMAT or GRE to be submitted. However, a good GPA sometimes negates such a requirement, as does relevant work experience in Human Resources. Some schools offer Master’s in Human Resources online no GRE programs, requiring only a good GPA and nothing more. Reading the University Prospectus or Program Guidelines for GMAT/GRE details is highly recommended before applying to a program.

Free Online Masters Degree in Human Resources Management

Free online Master’s Degrees in Human Resources Management are few and far between. Paid ones are available from some universities, with their Degrees on par with traditional on-campus ones, but free Courses are generally Certificate Courses and not Master’s Degrees. Signing up for free online courses is a good way to increase knowledge and widen one’s perspective on specific topics within Human Resources, but they do not usually carry much weight or importance in the job market. Here are a few programs or courses to consider, preferably with a separate online Master’s Degree:

  1. Udemy
    Udemy claims to have over 220,000 learners who have taken up Courses connected with Human Resources at three different levels – Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert.
  2. Coursera
    Coursera boasts of some 400+ courses and some popular course-creators such as the University of Minnesota, Macquarie University, University of California, University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford University. Do note that Courses are either free or paid, depending on the course creator.
  3. Future Learn
    Future Learn also offers Courses in Human Resources, but most come with a requirement of a subscription to the site.

One Year Online Masters in Human Resources

Students who enroll in a full-time online Master’s in Human Resources Program can usually graduate within about 12 months. Part-time and certain other programs can take two years or more to complete. Working professionals can opt for slightly longer courses as they may require to balance their professional duties with their studies, whereas students can opt for a ‘fast-track HR degree’; the fastest online Human Resources degree being of 1 year.

12 Months

How to Pay for Online Masters in Human Resources Programs

More often than not, online master’s in Human Resources Programs can cost skywards. Before applying to any College, students should look for funding options like scholarships, grants, federal loans, and FAFSA.

Here are a few ways to raise money for Human Resource Management fees:


and Grants are generally the first funding options to explore. Several Colleges offer Scholarships either as a lump sum or as a waiver, subject to certain criteria and conditions being met. However, one must be careful of the several scholarship scams doing the rounds.

Employer Sponsorship/Reimbursement

Working professionals can consult with their employers to see if there are any schemes or internal services in place that will help them pay for their advanced education. Some companies pay for the Master’s Degree in full or in part, but they may require some job commitment.

Federal Loans

Federal Loans such as Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans are another good funding option to prospect for qualifying/eligible students.

Payment Plans

Some colleges divide the tuition fee into equated or cumulative payments, allowing students to pay for their education over a longer period than in one lump sum.


(Free Application for Federal Student Aid) could be a viable choice for funding an online Master’s in Human Resources Program. A complete look at FAFSA is available here.

Learn how to finance advanced education by reading the best Financial Guide.

Scholarships for Masters in Human Resources Students

Most Business Schools that offer online master’s in Human Resources programs offer some Scholarship or Grant that helps students alleviate the high cost of education. Depending on the School, Program, and eligibility criteria, Scholarships, Grants and Awards are fairly easy to come by and should always be explored by students. Here is a list of some Scholarships available:+

Susan R. Meisinger Fellowship

The Susan R. Meisinger Fellowship offers $10,000 annually and is renewable for a second year by up to $20,000 total. Application Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Forté Fellowships

The Forté Fellowships are prestigious, competitive awards that are well-known both inside and outside the business school community have awarded $277 million to more than 11,000 Forté Fellows. Application Deadline: TBA.

NYU Stern

New York University-affiliated Leonard N. Stern School of Business offers merit-based Scholarships to students enrolled in full-time MBA programs.  Application Deadline: Varies.

AfterCollege Business Student Scholarship

AfterCollege Business Student Scholarship of $500 is available to MS students who demonstrate professionalism and effectively communicate how they will be exemplary candidates in their field.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Master’s in Human Resources?

Human Resources relates to how a company organizes, develops, and manages its workforce. Executives who have a Master’s in Human Resource are usually trained and equipped to manage a company’s personnel.

Can you get a Master’s in Human Resources?

Should I get a Master’s in Human Resources?

What can you do with a Master’s in Human Resources?

What is MS in Human Resource Management?

Is a Master’s degree in Human Resources worth it?

Careers and Salary Outlook for Masters in Human Resources Graduates

Human Resources Managers are a fair bit in demand, and this demand continues to present a rosy career outlook for the future. Careers in human resources management are said to grow by 7% (faster than average) annually until 2029, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). reports that as of March 2024, the median salary for an Associate Human Resources Director was $155,005. On the whole, an MS Human Resources salary is above the industry average compared to other degrees.

So, what exactly are the career options for online master in Human Resources graduates? One can choose from a variety of roles that include:

  • Human Resources Manager
  • Staffing Director
  • Employee Education Consultant
  • Employee Relations Manager
  • Compensation or Benefits Analyst/Manager
  • Training and Development Manager
  • HR Information Systems Manager (IT)
  • Technical Recruiter
  • Human Resources Consultant

Additionally, there are several emerging HR trends such as HR Artificial Intelligence, HR Analytics, HR Data Analyst, and Performance Analyst.

Certifications and Licensing for Human Resources Graduates

Working in human resources does not necessitate any special licenses or certifications. Additional endorsements, on the other hand, will help gain a competitive advantage in the job market. If one desires to keep progressing in one’s career and stay up to date with industry resources and practices, a Certification will certainly bring in tremendous value when coupled with an online master’s in Human Resources.

Here are a few certifications from among many:

  1. SHRM
    Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has industry-recognized and highly valued Certifications that could definitely accelerate career prospects.
  2. ATD
    Association for Talent Development is another body with Certifications for Human Resource relevant programs, recognized and valued internationally.
  3. HRCI
    HRCI of Human Resource Certification Institute offers a wide range of Certifications that can add immense value to a Master’s in Human Resources degree.
  4. eCornell
    eCornell has 18 Certificate Programs ranging from Conflict Resolution Certificate to Social Media in HR: From Policy to Practice Certificate.

Additional Resources for Human Resources Professionals

Since Human Resources is a vast field, students and working professionals often find the need to know more and keep up with emerging trends in the market. HR professionals should grab every opportunity to stay connected to international HR communities that are sure to help them with best practices, up-to-date knowledge, and problem-solving. The list below are some good resources for graduates of online master’s in Human Resources to start with:

  1. NEHRA
    Membership to North East HR Association (NEHRA) provides access to HR-related events and careers. There is also an online community and professional development resources for members.
  2. SHRM
    Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is arguably a treasure trove for Human Resources Personnel, with its many tools, certifications, and events that cater to both students and working professionals.
  3. offers its members Industry Trends and Research Reports, Blogs and Member Content, Free HR Forms, and access to a network of over 1.88 million+ HR professionals.
  4. HR Morning
    HR Morning has free and premium content and covers major HR topics such as benefits, recruiting, talent management, and performance management.
  5. claims to offer compliance tools for HR professionals. With HR policies, training, leave and disability, job descriptions, HR calculators, and a whole lot more, this portal is an HR swiss-knife, if there ever was one!
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