Master’s in Human Resources (HR) Management Programs Online

One of the benefits of earning a master’s degree in human resources (HR) management is that the knowledge and skills you gain could help you progress in your career. Some employers, including many well-known companies, often seek out applicants with a graduate degree, especially if you’re applying for a high-level human resources position. These types of positions involve a range of duties from ensuring employee benefit packages are fair and competitive to overseeing large and small business projects. Your graduate degree will prepare you to take on such responsibilities.

You can earn a master’s degree in HR management in as little as 12 months. But if you want to juggle your studies with your day job, many colleges offer degree programs that can be completed over two years. Some schools have even more flexible options that combine part-time and online courses so that you can take as long as five years to get your master’s.

Learn more about the scope of human resources work and what it takes to begin practicing in the field.

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41 Accredited Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs That Don’t Require GRE

As an online Master’s in Human Resources Management student, you will have numerous opportunities to engage with instructors and fellow classmates through dynamic, real-time sessions. Before applying to an online HR management program, there are a number of factors to consider. You’ll want to do some research to find out if your desired school has a good reputation and regional accreditation. You’ll also want to find out if GRE test scores are required of you, and how long it will take you to complete the program.

To get you started, here is a list of accredited schools that offer online programs that don’t require GRE scores for you to be considered for admission. Learn about each school and program by visiting their websites.

1. Amberton University

Location: San Francisco, CA
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: 1.5 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 semester hours


2. American Public University

Location: Charles Town, WV
Program offered: Master of Arts in Management with a concentration in Human Resource Management
Program length: 2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 semester hours


3. Azusa Pacific University

Location: Azusa, CA
Program offered: Master of Arts in Management with a concentration in Human Resource Management
Program length: 12 months or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 39-40 units


4. Bellevue University

Location: Bellevue, NE
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Strategic Management
Program length: 1-2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credit hours


5. Capella University

Location: Minneapolis, MN
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: 1-3 years
Credit/course/hour requirement: 48 quarter credits


6. City University of Seattle

Location: Seattle, WA
Program offered: Master of Business Administration with emphasis on Human Resource Management
Program length: 2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 48-54 credits


7. Concordia University

Location: St. Paul, MN
Program offered: Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
Program length: 1 year or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credit hours


8. Cornell University

Location: Ithaca, NY
Program offered: Executive Master of Human Resource Management
(Designed for people with eight or more years of HR experience)
Program length: 15 months
Credit/course/hour requirement: 30 credits


9. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Location:
Program offered: Master of Science in Management with Human Resources Management specialization
Program length: 1-2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 30 credits


10. Franklin University

Location: Columbus, OH
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: 1-2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 hours


11. Georgetown University

Location: Washington, D.C.
Program offered: Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources Management
Program length: 2-5 years
Credit/course/hour requirement: 33 credits


12. Golden Gate University

Location: San Francisco, CA
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: 1 year or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 27 units


13. Indiana Wesleyan University

Location: Marion, IN
Program offered: Master of Science with a major in Human Resource Management
Program length: 1-2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credit hours


14. LaSalle University

Location: Philadelphia, PA
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Capital Development
Program length: 2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credits


15. Marshall University

Location: South Charleston, WV
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: 1-2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 30 hours


16. McDaniel College

Location: Westminster, MD
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resources Development
Program length: 2.5-3 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credits


17. Mercy College

Location: Dobbs Ferry, NY
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: 2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credits


18. Moravian College

Location: Bethlehem, PA
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: 2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credits


19. National University

Location: La Jolla, CA
Program offered: Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
Program length: 1 year or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 54 quarter units


20. New England College of Business

Location: Boston, MA
Program offered: Master of Human Resource Management
Program length:
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credits


21. New York Institute of Technology

Location: NYC and Old Westbury, N.Y.
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management and Labor Relations
Program length: 2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 33-36 credits


22. Ottawa University

Location: Ottawa, KS
Program offered: Master of Arts in Human Resources
Program length: 1-2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credit hours


23. Pennsylvania State University

Location: University Park, PA
Program offered: Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations
Program length: 2-4 years
Credit/course/hour requirement: 33 credits


24. Pepperdine University

Location: Malibu, CA
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resources
Program length: 1 year or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 39 units
This program is sponsored by 2U.


25. Pittsburg State University

Location: Pittsburg, KS
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Development
Program length: 1-2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 34 credit hours


26. Point University

Location: West Point, GA
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: 2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 42 credits


27. Purdue University (Global)

Location: Online only
Program offered: Master of Science in Management with a concentration in Human Resources
Program length: 2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 56 credits


28. Regis University

Location: Denver, CO
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: 1 year or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 30 credit hours


29. Saint Francis University

Location: Loretto, PA
Program offered: Master’s in Human Resource Management
Program length: Must finish within 5 years of enrollment
Credit/course/hour requirement: 30 credits


30. Saint Joseph’s University

Location: Philadelphia, PA
Program offered: Master of Science in Strategic Human Resource Management
Program length: 2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 33 credit hours


31. Southern New Hampshire University

Location: Manchester, NH
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: 1-2 years or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credits


32. Strayer University

Location: Arlington, VA
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: Varies
Credit/course/hour requirement: 12 courses


33. University of Denver University College

Location: Denver, CO
Program offered: Master’s in Strategic Human Resources
Program length: 18 months or longer
Credit/course/hour requirement: 48 credit hours


34. University of Louisville

Location: Louisville, KY
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resources and Organization Development
Program length: 1.5-6 years
Credit/course/hour requirement: 33-36 hours (thesis option)


35. University of Maryland Global Campus

Location: Adelphi, MD
Program offered: Master’s in Management with Human Resource Management specialization
Program length: Must earn degree within 5 years
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credits


36. University of Southern California

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: 1 or 2 years
Credit/course/hour requirement: 24 units


37. Villanova University

Location: Villanova, PA
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Development
Program length: 2 years
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credit


38. Walden University

Location: Minneapolis, MN
Program offered: Master of Sciences in Human Resource Management
Program length: 1-2 years or more
Credit/course/hour requirement: 30 semester credits


39. Webster University

Location: St. Louis, MO
Program offered: Master of Arts in Human Resources Management
Program length: 1-2 years, or longer if enrolled part time
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credit hours


40. West Chester University

Location: West Chester, PA
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: 1-2 years
Credit/course/hour requirement: 30 credits


41. Western Carolina University

Location: Cullowhee, NC
Program offered: Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Program length: 2-3 years
Credit/course/hour requirement: 36 credit hours

Sponsored Online Master's in HR

Sponsored Online Program Based in California
School Name GRE/GMAT Requirement Credits Required Program Length Accreditation Status
Pepperdine University No GRE/GMAT required 39 12-24 months AACSB accredited

What is Human Resources?

At its core, work within the human resources field is about effectively managing an organization’s most valuable resource – the people – to help both the individuals and their employers thrive. Human resources management (HRM) blends human psychology and organizational behaviors to recruit and retain talent and to promote ethical cultures.

For most enterprises human resources management is an essential function. Public and private companies, government agencies and nonprofit groups across all industries rely on their HR departments for a wide range of needs, from routine matters like disbursing paychecks and reviewing insurance benefits to implementing visionary goals such as building a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

Human resource workers also navigate legal issues including contract negotiations and workplace bias complaints.

What Can You Do With a Master’s Degree in Human Resources?

An advanced degree in HRM could qualify you for a broader range of high-paying positions. It could also open a path for you to specialize in a particular area of human resources.

For example, you could focus on compensation and benefits. Courses within this focus area will provide guidance on how to design benefit packages that are competitive enough to attract the best job applicants but are also cost effective for a company.

Alternatively, you could work as a HR generalist, but in a more strategic capacity or even in a leadership role. A master’s degree could make you a more competitive candidate for those positions.

Your possible career paths include:

  • Human Resource Manager
  • Human Resource Specialist
  • Training and Development Manager
  • Training and Development Specialist
  • Compensation and Benefits Manager
  • Compensation and Benefits Specialist

The Society for Human Resource Managemen is a useful job site to find even more roles within the field or become a member for exclusive access to educational programs, events, newly-released research and more.

Human Resource Managers

These supervisory human resource workers plan and direct the human resources functions for an organization. Human resource managers also coordinate the administrative functions of an organization. They work in every industry, and for companies of all sizes.

The human resource manager role is the most common managerial role in the field of human resources and typically requires five or more years of experience. In 2018, more than 152,000 people in the U.S. were employed as HR managers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That number is expected to grow by 10,800 jobs from 2018 to 2028.

The median annual salary for HR managers in 2018 was $113,300, according to the BLS.

Human Resource Specialists

These are HR generalists with a wide portfolio of tasks: screening job candidates, conducting employee training, handling compensation and benefits matters, among other things. Some human resources specialist jobs are entry level and may require a bachelor’s degree but no previous experience. Some positions may include regular travel to job fairs and college campuses.

In 2018, the BLS recorded more than 625,000 Americans working as human resources specialists. Employment of human resources specialists is projected to grow by 5% between 2018 and 2028, about the same rate as the overall job market. Most of the new jobs for HR specialists likely will come from technical, scientific, or professional service companies. Currently, the highest concentration of these jobs are in areas with strong economies, such as the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Washington state.

The 2018 median salary for HR specialists was $60,880, or $29.27 an hour. That’s well above the national median wage of $38,646.

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers do exactly what their job titles denote – they design and implement training and education for their workforce. The goal is to equip employees with the skills they need to succeed on the job.

BLS data reveals that the U.S. is expected to add about 3,100 training and development manager jobs by 2028. That’s an 8% increase from 37,800 jobs in 2018, and faster than the 5.2% growth rate for the overall labor pool.

The same BLS data shows that the median salary for this position was $111,340 in 2018. Training and development manager jobs usually require a bachelor’s degree and five or more years of work experience.

Training and Development Specialists

This job is among the fastest growing in the field of human resources. Training and development specialists are often the ones who run the employee training sessions. They may give presentations and conduct workshops or discussion groups.

The U.S. expected to gain nearly 30,000 more training and development specialist jobs from 2018 through 2028, according to the BLS. That 9% growth is almost twice as fast as is expected for the rest of the economy. Increasingly, employers will be looking for candidates who know how to develop online and mobile training programs.

Training and development specialists earned a median annual income of $60,870 in 2018, according to the BLS.

Compensation and Benefits Managers

These niche professionals help and guide companies when it comes to their compensation policies. They may design pay-for-performance programs, process payroll and insurance claims, and draft health and wellness plans. Compensation and benefits managers are well paid, with a 2018 median salary of $121,010, according to the BLS.

Some employers are turning to outside consulting firms and automated call centers to handle employee questions in a bid to cut administrative expenses. The number of compensation and benefits managers are projected to grow by only 500 people between 2018 and 2028. That’s a 3% increase , which is much slower than for the growth rate for the overall job market.

Candidates with the best chance for landing these jobs likely are those with a master’s degree, certifications, and deep experience with compensation and benefits administration.

Compensation and Benefits Specialists

Employers continue to rely on compensation and benefits specialists to update their benefits packages, pay plans, and other employee incentive programs. The BLS has reported that the 2018 median annual salary for compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists was $63,000. Even though some companies are turning to outside vendors to handle compensation and benefits matters, the country is projected to add 5,300 more compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists jobs between 2018 and 2028. That’s a 6% increase.

Your job prospects may be better with more experience. You should be able to demonstrate that you

How to Choose a Master’s in HR to Set You Up for Success

Pursuing an advanced degree is a big investment in terms of money and time. So, you may want to take several factors into account before you choose a master’s program in human resources management.

A graduate degree should equip you with the best knowledge and practices in human resources management as well as signal to potential employers that you’re a highly qualified candidate.

Here are some key factors and questions to consider and answer before you select a school or program:

Look for Accreditation

Accreditation is an indication that a school meets the quality standards of education as set by the accrediting body. The most common accrediting body for human resources programs and business schools is the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, commonly called AACSB. Some 840 business schools in more than 50 countries, including almost all the major MBA programs, have AACSB accreditation.

You also can look for master’s programs whose curriculum is recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Meeting the organization’s academic guidelines means you’ll be gaining knowledge needed to pass SHRM’s professional certificate exams.

Find the right Curriculum & Concentrations

The field of human resources management is constantly evolving to reflect shifts in our society and businesses. The growth of remote teleworking, contract employees, and pay equity are all issues that have risen to the forefront of human resources management in recent years.

You could choose to focus your curriculum on specialized segments within HR. Some schools offer you a chance to pick a formal concentration for your master’s degree. You could even earn a related degree, such as an MBA or a master’s in management, with a human resources concentration.

Possible areas of specialization with a Master’s in Human Resources Management include:

  • Labor relations and contract negotiations
  • Training and development
  • Organizational behavior
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Diversity and inclusion management
  • Crisis management
  • Executive coaching

Sample courses for your master’s in HR management might include:

  • Organizational development and change
  • Human capital analytics
  • Workplace ethics
  • Corporate communications
  • Employment law

Would an Online or non-Online Program be best for You?

Studying may allow you to gain hands-on knowledge of human resources principles. For example, instead of learning about employee assessments, you could have a chance to actually conduct one. Plus, being in a room full of classmates who may also be HR professionals is a valuable networking opportunity.

But online master’s programs have advantages too. Flexibility is a top one. Geography is no barrier to enrolling in the best online master’s program for you. There are also opportunities to work toward your online degree part time. This may allow you to continue holding down your job full time. With discipline, you can set your pace for how quickly you finish your master’s online.

Are classes small or large?

The size of graduate classes in human resources vary from school to school. Some programs have classes with as few as a dozen students, and others average fewer than 20 people. Small classes may allow you to engage in more one-on-one interactions with your instructors and classmates.

Are the lectures and discussions live?

Some online master’s HR management programs feature live lectures and discussions. The advantages of synchronous learning are that you can participate in class discussions in real time. But if you have a scheduling conflict, you may have the option of catching up later by watching the recorded session.

Will you receive help with internship placement?

You may be able to earn academic credit for internships with some online master’s programs. Some online programs might allow you to complete an internship in lieu of taking an elective course.

You want to be sure to find a company that offers you the best chance for hands-on learning. Help from experienced professionals in the field like your professors or even mentors, can help you do that.

Enrollment and Admissions Options

Typically, you can enroll in an online master’s program at different points during the academic year. For example, you might submit your application for the spring semester a couple of months before it starts.

Admissions requirements vary from program to program. Most online master’s programs in human resources do not require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) but you’ll likely need at least a 3.0 GPA. Letters of recommendation are commonly required.

Tuition and Financial Aid

A master’s in HR management can be a big financial investment. Cost per credit hour can vary greatly from school to school. Most of them require 30 to 36 credit hours for graduation. Research the programs thoroughly to ensure that you attend a school that is both affordable for you and will lead to a quality degree that will pay dividends for your career.

There are schools that offer financial aid. Some also offer scholarships, although it may be limited to full-time students. You need to be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) in order to qualify for federal student aid, including grants, loans, and work study opportunities.

Does the program offer other perks?

Your school may offer extra benefits. Pepperdine University’s online master’s program, a 2U-powered program, comes with free access to WeWork shared offices around the globe. It also comes with a LinkedIn Premium membership. Other schools may give students membership to the SHRM.

Guide to Licensure and Certifications

A license is not required to work as a human resources professional. But you have a chance to earn many different types of certification to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. Depending on your work experience and education level, you can take the test for SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) or Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). Having a master’s rather than a bachelor’s degree counts for about one more year of work experience.

You can also specialized credentials through the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist Program, HR Certification Institute or Association for Talent Development.

Here are some of the specialty certifications available to you:

  • Professional in Human Resources
  • Global Professional in Human Resources
  • Certified Employee Benefit Specialist
  • Retirement Plans Associate
  • Group Benefits Associate
  • Change Management Certificate
  • Coaching Certificate

Job Outlook and Salaries of HR Professionals

Employers will continue to look to hire human resources professionals over the next couple of years, as they are key members of any business or organization. For the 2018 to 2028 time period, the BLS projects job growth rates between 3% and 9% for human resources managers, human resources specialists, training and development managers, training and development specialists, compensation and benefits managers and compensation and benefits specialists.

Human resources specialists, who make up the largest group of HR workers, earned a median salary of almost $61,000 in 2018, according to BLS salary data from that year. The lowest 10% earned less than $36,270, while the top 10% made more than $104,390. The best-paid jobs in HR tend to be in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector, such as law firms and technology companies. HR jobs with health-care providers and social services agencies on average pay the least.

With job growth comes stiff competition, particularly for high-paying managerial roles. Candidates with the best job prospects will be those who have deep relevant work experience, top-tier degrees, the latest credentials, and a strategic mindset.

There are degrees other than a master’s in HR management that can be useful in your career in human resources. Foremost among them is a master’s in business administration (MBA). Some MBA programs allow for a concentration in human resources management.

Another alternative is a master’s in industrial and organizational psychology. That would be particularly relevant if you’re focused on employee training and development.

Other related degrees include graduate studies in labor or industrial relations, a master’s in management and leadership with an HR focus, and a master’s in business analytics.

FAQs

These basic questions can help you determine whether you’re ready to pursue a master’s in human resources management.

Is a master’s degree in human resources worth it?

An advanced degree from a strong program could give you an edge for the best jobs in human resources, especially for high-paying senior positions in sectors of the economy that are exceling. The key is to attend an accredited school with a robust network of well-placed alumni.

Is human resource management a good degree?

It can be the right degree for you if you enjoy working with people and are passionate about helping companies succeed. Human resources professionals are increasingly becoming a part of many organizations’ strategic leadership.

What degree is needed to become a human resource manager?

Most jobs in human resources, both entry level and managerial positions, require a BA degree. But there are advantages to having an MA or MS degree in human resources management. Some employers prefer candidates with a master’s, especially for higher-level positions.

How long does it take to get a master’s in HR?

It typically takes two years to complete the degree. But it’s possible to do it in as little as a year. Or it could take as long as five or six years, if you attend school part time while working full time.

How much does a master’s in HR cost on average?

There is no typical cost for this degree. Even among online-only master’s programs, total tuition can range from around $10,000 to $30,000 or more. Schools generally require 30 to 36 credit hours for a degree. To know the cost per credit hour for the program you’d like to enroll in, visit the program page on the school’s website. Schools generally require 30 to 36 credit hours for a degree.