Online Master’s Programs In Human Resources

Advertisement is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Search for online colleges by subject.

Affordable Colleges Online Badge

Pursue a Master’s in Human Resources

Human resources, or HR, continues to be an in-demand career field as new businesses form and existing startups grow their operations both domestically and globally. Organizations across all industries, including corporations, nonprofits and government agencies, need highly skilled human resource experts who can ensure that they adhere to today’s complex and constantly changing employment laws. An excellent way to enhance your skillset and advance in your career is to earn an online master’s degree in HR. Find out what this type of degree program covers and which schools offer the best online HR master’s degree programs.

Advertisement is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Take a look at our rankings below to see which one of the top-ranking master’s degree programs in HR would suit you best. For these rankings, we obtained our data from the United States Department of Education, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and the universities’ own published materials. All of the schools in our list are accredited.

See Our Rankings Methodology

Top 10 Online Master’s in Human Resources

Best Online Master’s in Human Resources

  1. Fontbonne University

    Saint Louis, MO



    With an impressive employment rate and low student to faculty ratio, Fontbonne University is a promising option for students who want a personalized education that leads to a positive career outlook. While Fontbonne doesn't have a program strictly for human resources, its Master of Management and Leadership gives students the skills and knowledge to manage both people and projects. The program is available in a hybrid format, so students will be required to take at least half of their courses on-campus. Each course is offered in 8-week periods and a total of 31 credits are required to graduate. This consists of 10 courses related to management, human resources and organizational leadership, as well as a capstone course. There are concentrations available through this program, although they will require an additional 12-18 credits. Because Fontbonne charges a flat rate per credit for tuition, choosing a concentration would mean increasing the time and cost it takes to earn the degree. Transfer students can bring in up to 6 credits for the program, although the standards for accepting transfer credits are strict. On average, students can expect to finish this degree in 18-24 months. Prior to applying to the master's program, students will need to have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Work experience is not required for admission, but students should submit a resume to show their previous experience.

  2. Saint Leo University

    St. Leo, FL



    Saint Leo University is a private Catholic school with over 13,000 students. It offers a Master of Business Administration with a Human Resource Management Specialization specifically for online learners. In this program, you will acquire the skills to handle management positions in the HR field and work effectively in changing business environments. Focusing on current issues and challenges in the field, this curriculum will help you learn foundation theories and methods and apply them in modern business contexts. Employee training, selection, compensation and legal issues take precedence as the main topics of study. After completing the 36 required credit hours, graduates can explain and enforce effective HR practices while following practical and ethical guidelines. They will also have expert-level knowledge of employment laws and be able to articulate their importance and function in HR scenarios. Saint Leo MBA students may take an optional 3-credit internship to supplement their core curriculum. The internship can consist of a full- or part-time job in the HR field or related industry. These are typically paid positions and must be approved by the department faculty. Saint Leo also offers an academic achievement scholarship for online MBA students. To be competitive for the $6,000 award, students must be new, in their first term, with a 3.25 GPA in their previous undergraduate program. All scholarship candidates must submit an application for which the deadline changes with each term throughout the year. Incoming MBA students may be able to obtain credit for transfer courses, credit by exam, prior learning experiences and military service. The appropriate official documentation must be submitted to the registrar for evaluation. In most cases, up to 6 transfer credits may be applied toward the MBA. Applicants should also submit official transcripts, a resume, 2 letter of recommendation and official GMAT scores.

  3. Concordia University-Saint Paul

    Saint Paul, MN



    Established in 1974, Concordia University is a public university with over 45,000 students. Offered entirely online and in a hybrid format, itsMaster of Arts in Human Resource Managementhelps distance learners acquire the essential financial, critical thinking and leadership skills to pursue upper-level careers in the HR field. The curriculum aligns with the Society of Human Resource Management's (SHRM) guidebooks and curricula templates. Throughout 36 credit hours of study, you will engage in a practical approach to learning HR competencies in today's organizations. The program focuses on preparing you to be a strategic partner within businesses and organizations. You will learn financial and strategic thinking skills and understand how to maximize the return on investment from a company's human capital. The program's course schedule is sequential and completed in a synchronous online format. As an MA student at Concordia, you will explore the foundational and innovative skill sets required by working professionals in the HR field through courses like Human Resources Leadership and Ethics, Research Methods and Design, Finance for Human Resources Leaders and Recruitment, Selection and Retention. All prospective online and hybrid students must complete the standard graduate application. Applicants should have a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA or better. The application should also include official transcripts, a personal statement of 300 words or more and current resume. All distance learners pay a flat-rate tuition except for active military, veterans and their spouses, who receive a substantial discount per credit hour.

  4. Charleston Southern University

    Charleston, SC



    Founded in 1964, Charleston Southern University is a Baptist college with over 3,700 students. The graduate school offers the Master of Science in Human Resource Management. The degree must be completed in a hybrid format, which follows a regular, synchronous schedule of class meeting times. In-person classes take place 1 night a week from 6-9 p.m. In total, you will complete 11 courses or 33 credit hours for graduation. Throughout the program, you will learn the necessary skills to be an effective leader in the HRM field. Students focus on communication skills, including writing academic papers, completing research projects and developing informational presentations. Core classes such as Staffing, Training and Development and Organizational Behavior cover basic HRM responsibilities. You will also get to choose 4 different electives to tailor your degree to fit your academic needs and career goals. Popular electives for students pursuing the MBA with a HRM concentration include Fundamentals of Leadership, Entrepreneurship, International Business and Trade and Information Systems Concepts. All students must take a pass/fail exit assessment that tests your knowledge and ensures your mastery of the material. A passing mark is required to graduate. Upon graduation, Charleston Southern students are prepared to sit for several professional certification exams, including the exam to become a Certified Professional in Human Resources. Prospective students must complete a standard online application and submit official transcripts, a resume, a 500-word essay/academic statement, GMAT scores and 2 signed letters of recommendation. Incoming graduate students may transfer up to 6 credits toward their MBA as long as they were earned with a "B" or better. All MBA students must complete their degree within 6 years of their oldest Charleston Southern or transfer credit.

  5. Belhaven University

    Jackson, MS



    Belhaven University's Master of Business Administration with a Human Resources Concentration is available entirely online. This master's curriculum aligns with the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and focuses heavily on the study and application of human resource principles. You will explore the standard practices required of human resources professional working in today's modern workforce, including employee relations, compensation and benefits, organizational development and other current challenges in the field. This program includes some cohort learning, wherein you will join your classmates and work on online group projects and activities to enhance the learning process and work on team-player skills. Incoming students may transfer up to 6 hours of accredited graduate work with a "B" or better. You should have a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative 2.8 GPA. Your undergraduate transcripts should indicate successful completion of a college algebra or higher mathematics course with a "C" or better. Prospective students who don't meet the standard admission requirements may still be admitted on a conditional basis. In those cases, you must submit an essay and 2 letters of recommendation with your application. In order to remain in the program, those accepted on a conditional basis have to maintain a 3.0 GPA in the first 6 semester hours of graduate work. All required courses are 8 weeks in duration, and you will need 42 credits in total for graduation. Full-time students can often complete this program in 2 years. As a Christian university, Belhaven strives to create enjoyable service-learning opportunities for its students. Distance learners who live close to campus may engage in these activities in-person. Alternatively, Belhaven's spiritual outreach programs include far away distance learners as well. Prospective students who wish to earn an MBA with an HR concentration while actively practicing their faith among a Christian student body may find Belhaven to be a good fit.

  6. University of Valley Forge

    Phoenixville, PA



    Founded in 1939, the University of Valley Forge's accelerated online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership can be completed in as few as 18 months. Through a curriculum of 7-week courses and 33 credit hours, you will acquire the leadership principles and practices that will serve your current employment scenario or maximize your potential for success in the future. This program is structured around teaching leadership skills to effectively lead organizations. This includes understanding the dynamics of global and multicultural environments. You will gain useful day-to-day skills such as budgeting and financial planning, financial management and risk management, decision-making and business strategies, all of which are necessary for success in the HR field. There is a secondary emphasis on communication skills, including writing and presentation skills, that will help you articulate your agenda and strategies while working in the field. As a Christian school, the curriculum is taught with a biblical, Christ-centered worldview. As an MBA master's student, you must complete required program courses such as Effective Organization, Human Resource Leadership, Communications and Marketing, Ethics and Branding and Critical Issues for Leading People. Distance learners must also complete a capstone paper, a culminating project that offers a self-reflective, critical analysis of one's skills acquired through the program and an outline of career plans following graduation. The Student Success and Career Services Center provides 1-on-1 career counseling, mock interviews, career and internship exploration and resume assistance. You don't have to take the GRE or GMAT for admission to the online master's degree program.

  7. Central Michigan University

    Mount Pleasant, MI



    Central Michigan University is a public research institution, established in 1892, with over 23,000 students. It is one of the nation's 100 largest public universities. Its Master of Business Administration in Human Resource Management degree focuses on making you the vital link between employees and management in virtually any kind of business or human resources scenario. CMU graduates of this program seek out careers as labor relations directors, employee relations managers, payroll managers, recruiting managers, directors of employee benefits, training and development managers and human resource directors. This MBA program requires an extensive set of core business classes, including Data Analysis for Managers, Global Economic Environment, Marketing-Based Management and Managerial Accounting. With a focus on human resources management, you will take 3 courses in that area: Human Resource Management, Employee Selection and Evaluation and Seminar in Organizational Development. Competitive applicants have a bachelor's degree with a 2.7 GPA or higher and GMAT scores of 450 or higher from within the last 5 years. Incoming students are expected to have already taken foundational undergraduate-level courses in economics, statistics, accounting and finance. You don't have to submit GMAT scores if you have a 3.0 GPA or higher in addition to 5 years of work experience in the field. CMU's Online Learning Resource Center can help incoming students prepare for the demands of the online classroom experience. From video tutorials on using the course delivery program, Blackboard, to time management tips, online study tools and technological assistance, this is an invaluable resource for getting the most out of your online education.

  8. Lincoln Memorial University

    Harrogate, TN



    Lincoln Memorial University is a private 4-year liberal arts institution where online students can earn the Master of Business Administration - Human Resource Management Concentration. This fully online program consists of 36 required credits and features a rigorous curriculum in an asynchronous format. Degree seekers will take courses like Human Resource Management, Marketing Management, International Business and Organizational Leadership. The department prides itself on having a student-centered approach to teaching and strives to foster a comfortable interactive learning environment. With LMU's program, you will study with professors who have real-world business experience and prepare for leadership roles in virtually any position in the human resources field. Under their guidance, you will explore cases studies and participate in group projects, presentations and online class discussions to get the full experience of this MBA program. There are also learning opportunities for you outside of the classroom. In many cases, MBA students offer free business consulting for for-profit and nonprofit businesses in their communities. In addition to pursuing human resources job with businesses and organizations, some LMU students find careers teaching at college and universities as adjunct professors. Prospective students must submit an online application, 500-word essay, professional resume, official transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation and a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. LMU provides career counseling, career exploration classes and personality assessments to help students locate the right career. The Office of Career Services can also direct recent graduates to open jobs for which they qualify. You can receive help constructing your resume and cover letters in addition to interview preparation instruction. Online students also have access to anonymous online health screenings and counseling.

  9. Davenport University

    Grand Rapids, MI



    At Davenport University, online students can earn theMaster of Business Administration - Human Resource Management Concentrationin an online, asynchronous format. Over the span of 39 credit hours in a series of 7-week courses, you will explore the essential systemic and strategic problem-solving strategies for human resources professionals in today's challenging business environment. The curriculum is aligned with the Society of Human Resource Management's education standards and prepares students to sit for the SHRM Certified Professional exam upon graduation. As a business degree, online learners will take 24 credits of business training including courses like Corporate Finance, Managerial Economics, Marketing Strategies and Managerial Accounting. Only 12 credit hours focus on the human resources concentration. From classes in compensation and benefits to organizational development and training, you will learn the foundational knowledge necessary for leadership roles in virtually any human resources or business environment. DU serves those professionals early in their business careers and other working adults who wish to sharpen their professional skills. To save those students time and money, you can earn credit for prior learning experiences and potentially transfer some previously earned credits toward your master's degree. You can even earn your MBA in a 12-month, accelerated format. Prospective students should already hold a bachelor's degree in a business-related field. Applicants who have a 2.75 GPA or above aren't required to take the Foundations of Business courses, which consists of 4 classes that function as undergraduate classes for non-business majors or remedial graduate courses for students with lower GPAs. All MBA degree candidates in the human resources management concentration must complete a capstone project. All degree candidates have access to DU's career services office, tutoring services and online library access to full-text documents, study materials and online course tutorials.

  10. Tiffin University

    Tiffin, OH



    The Master of Business Administration in Human Resource Management program at Tiffin University is ideal for online students looking for maximum scheduling flexibility. This private university offers 6 convenient start dates throughout the year to accommodate even the busiest of schedules. For distance learners, there are 2, 7-week terms per semester starting in January, March, May, July, August and October. As an MBA program, you can expect to acquire solid foundational knowledge of business practices, spanning topics from economics and finance to strategic marketing and quantitative analysis. With such courses as Conflict Resolution and Talent Acquisition in the human resources concentration curriculum, you will also explore the theories and practices involved in developing a base of strong, talented employees, learn how to manage business relationships and use strategic human resource policies and practices to provide leadership in your place of employment. This is an accelerated program that full-time students can complete in as few as 14 months. Online students who take classes part-time can expect to spend about 2.5 years completing the degree. Prospective students must have a bachelor's degree with a recommended minimum GPA of 3.0. Incoming students with a 3.0 GPA or higher don't have to take 2 of the entry-level, no-credit business courses: Managerial Business Foundations and Fundamentals of Quantitative Business Models. Transfer credits may be accepted toward your master's degree. A Transfer Admissions Counselor will examine your transcripts and consider any previous academic work with a 2.0 GPA or higher. As an online student at Tiffin, you will also have academic support and career mentoring through the Career Services Office, as well as online technical support and library access.

What Can I Learn in an Online Master’s in Human Resources Program?

An online master’s degree program in HR teaches students how to handle a wide range of responsibilities, including how to manage employees and handle workplace disputes. Students also learn how to establish benefit and wage packages as well as handle the hiring and recruitment of employees. Students can expect the same material covered in a traditional HR master’s program to be explored in an online HR master’s program.

What’s the difference between a master’s in human resources and an MBA in human resources?

There are a few key differences between a master’s degree in HR and an MBA in HR. Both provide the training needed to attain higher-level management human resource roles in organizations. However, an MBA goes beyond human resources to also touch on general business topics, such as marketing, operations, strategy, accounting and finance. Therefore, it may be a good option for someone who wishes to pursue business positions in the future along with human resource roles.

Meanwhile, a master’s degree in HR places more focus on the management of human resources. It is most appropriate for someone who prefers to remain in human resources, acting as his or her company’s strategic partner and internal consultant. Both programs can take about one to two years to complete, although they may take longer—between three and four years—for those who complete it part-time.

What common courses are offered in a master’s in Human Resources program?

Check out these five sample courses you might be required to take as part of an online HR master’s degree program.

Human Behavior and Organizational Performance

In this course, students learn about both team and individual behavior in companies and how this behavior impacts effectiveness. This class prepares students for careers in business negotiations, training/development and conflict resolution.

Labor Market Analysis

This course enables students to analyze institutional theoretical and neoclassical economic perspectives on labor policies and wage determination. Students also explore labor supply and demand as well as labor markets.

Diversity in the Workplace

Through this course, students examine the workplace diversity, race and gender challenges that face employees and employers. Students also gain skills related to the management of diversity.

Ethical Decision-Making for HR Practitioners

In this course, students learn about the normative elements related to ethical decision-making. They also explore descriptive ethics, a growing area of interest among human resource managers.

Staffing & Training

This course allows students to study the theory behind staffing in organizations. They also focus on training and staffing practices in the modern-day workplace.

What exams or projects should I expect?

In a master’s degree in HR program, students may take part in on-campus intensive courses over the course of a few days. The immersion experience gives students the chance to dig deep into talent acquisition, mediation and negotiation, and global human resources. During this time, students have the chance to network, collaborate and interact with their faculty and peers.

In addition, a capstone project may be required at the end of the program. With this project, students might have to explore a certain business challenge in their organizations and figure out how to address it in the human resource context. Rather than requiring students to complete a project, some schools require students to complete a thesis, internship or paper as their capstone project.

What specializations are available in a master’s in HR program?

Some online master’s degree programs in HR provide students with the opportunity to specialize in a certain aspect of the field. For starters, students may choose between a Master of Science in HR and a Master of Arts in HR. The former focuses more on the technical side of human resources, whereas the curriculum of the latter includes liberal arts studies.

In addition, many programs allow students to concentrate on areas such as labor law, collective bargaining, staffing/training/development or employee benefits. Other online master’s degree in HR programs allow students to focus on one of a variety of business environments as a concentration, such as international business, finance or accounting, making these programs similar to an MBA in HR program yet still heavier on the HR side.

Take a look at a few common areas of specialization in a master’s degree in HR:

Labor Law

This specialization covers employee regulations, legal and illegal business practices and human rights.

Collective Bargaining

In this specialization, students analyze labor unions/organizations in the United States. They learn how they are structured, governed and administered as they strive to achieve their political, social and economic objectives.

Employee Benefits/Compensation

This specialization allows students to examine the benefits programs that employers use to meet their employees’ welfare needs. Students learn how develop and manage compensation systems for employees.

What Can I do with a Master’s in Human Resources Degree?

An online master’s degree in HR will provide you with the skills you need to succeed in various industry job positions. Take a look at a few of them here.

Human Resource Specialists

These professionals are responsible for overseeing employee relations, with a focus on hiring, recruiting and interviewing employees. These individuals also take part in conflict resolution, training and compensation duties. A master’s degree specialization in benefits/compensation can prepare a student for this role.

Training & Development Managers

These professionals create, implement and evaluate training programs. They also oversee the performance of employees and develop special programs aimed at helping their organizations to overcome deficiencies or issues. A master’s degree specialization in staffing, training and development can prepare a student for this role.

Human Resource Managers

These professionals are responsible for coming up with strategies for best using their companies’ finances in the areas of employee insurance, compensation and benefits. They also create and administer company training programs. A master’s degree specialization in benefits/compensation or labor law can prepare a student for this role.

Compensation & Benefits Managers

These professionals are tasked with the coordination, monitoring and evaluation of employees’ wages. They additionally oversee retirement plans, such as 401K, commuter subsidies and health insurance coverage. A master’s degree specialization in benefits/compensation can prepare a student for this role.

In addition to completing an online master’s degree in HR, students may benefit from joining professional organizations to network with others in the field. Here are a few top ones from which to choose.

Human Resources Professionals Association

HRPA serves as an advocate for the human resources profession. It works to advance its members’ careers and to make sure that human resource practices meet standardized and ethical guidelines.

National Human Resources Association

NHRA provides training opportunities. It also gives human resource professionals access to career support and networking programs.

Society for Human Resource Management

SHRM is the biggest professional human resource society in the world. The organization offers its members training opportunities and access to events in the industry. It also administers the SHRM-CP certification for individuals who would like to distinguish themselves in the industry by becoming certified professionals.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Human Resources?

Here is a glimpse at median salaries for human resources career. Keep in mind that some of these positions may require additional experience or certification, in addition to a master’s degree in HR.

Human Resource SpecialistsLess than $35,810$60,350More than $103,570+7%
Training & Development ManagersLess than $59,170$108,250 More than $187,670+10%
Human Resource ManagersLess than $65,040$110,120More than $197,720+9%
Compensation & Benefits ManagersLess than $68,510$119,120More than $202,590+5%
Training and Development SpecialistLess than $33,150$60,360More than $102,340+11%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

As indicated in the above chart, human resource professionals are expected to be in high demand over the next decade. They are needed to deal with today’s increasingly complicated benefit options and employment laws. Also, continuing education is required throughout your career in HR, driving the demand for training specialists/managers.

Note that a difference in salary does exist depending on your degree. The median salary for a professional with a master’s degree in HR is $75,000, whereas the median salary for a professional with a bachelor’s degree in HR is $58,000. Therefore, if you choose to earn a master’s degree in HR, you can expect to earn about $17,000 more a year.

Online Master’s in Human Resources Program Accreditation

Students who want to improve their job prospects in human resources should seek out institutions that are regionally or nationally accredited, as employers often regard them as more reputable.

No national accreditation exists specifically for online master’s degree in HR programs. However, the Human Resources Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management—which offer industry certifications to human resource professionals (the Professional in Human Resources [PHR] and the Society for Human Resource Management – Certified Professional [SHRM-CP] respectively)—both recognize HR master’s degree programs across the United States. Therefore, students interested in completing graduate coursework in human resources may want to choose a school that is recognized by either of these organizations.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Human Resources Degree

In many situations, students in a master’s degree program in HR could use some help covering the cost of their graduate schooling.

  • Scholarships
    Although loans are available through the federal government, financial aid is also available in the form of scholarships. Here are a few scholarship options for those studying HR at the master’s degree level.
  • Drew Young Student Scholarship
    This scholarship is available through the Dallas HR Association. Valued at $2,000, the scholarship is designed for graduate students planning to enter the field of human resource management. Students must have a grade point average of 3.0, attend an accredited school, and take part in the college’s SHRM chapter to qualify.
  • Garden State Council SHRM Leadership Scholarship
    This scholarship is available for $1,000 each year to two students. Graduate students who are pursuing a degree in an area such as labor relations, personnel management or HR management can apply. They must be residents of New Jersey and be enrolled in a Garden State institution.
  • Federal Financial Aid
    All graduate students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students can learn more about financial aid in graduate school from our financial aid guide.

Latest Posts

See All Posts
Common Student Financial Misconceptions

Common Student Financial Misconceptions

April 6, 2021   |   Genevieve Carlton

Student loans, budgeting, and paying off debt can leave students, recent graduates, and their parents feeling lost. Can you appeal for more financial aid? Should you open a credit card?...

Financial Terms Glossary for College Students

Financial Terms Glossary for College Students

April 14, 2021   |   Genevieve Carlton

College students make financial decisions that can shape their future. This financial glossary includes terms related to financial aid, credit, and taxes. By learning financial vocabulary and studying financial literacy...

Advertisement is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Search for Online Colleges by Subject

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.