Human resources (HR) professionals help organizations operate effectively. They determine their organization’s human capital needs, recruit qualified job candidates, and manage the hiring process. HR professionals also manage employee benefits programs, ensure organizations follow labor laws, and oversee training and benefits programs.
Here, we list the best human resources bachelor’s programs for 2021. In addition to ranking the top programs, this article provides career and salary data for HR jobs, common courses in HR programs, and scholarships for human resources majors.
What is human resources?
Human resources refers to the department tasked with managing an organization’s employees. HR departments oversee hiring and staffing, employee benefits programs, and training and development.
How long does it take to earn a bachelor's in human resources?
A bachelor’s in human resources degree takes full-time students about four years to complete. Transfer students and those who choose an accelerated program may complete their program sooner.
Can I study human resources online?
Yes. Many colleges offer an online human resources option. Accredited online programs meet the same high standards as on-campus programs.
What human resources graduate degrees are available?
At the graduate level, students can earn a master’s degree in human resources or a master of business administration with a concentration in human resources.
Recommended Online Programs
Career and Salary Outlook for Human Resources
Human resources professionals ensure organizations run smoothly. They hire job candidates, administer employee benefits programs, and resolve disputes. Human resources careers often offer advancement opportunities into management roles.
This section covers common roles and responsibilities of human resources professionals. It also provides salary and job growth data.
Human Resources Specialists
These professionals carry out an organization’s HR tasks, including interviewing job candidates, conducting background checks, and processing paperwork related to employment records. They may also recruit candidates, conduct employment screenings, and contact potential employees to negotiate hiring packages. HR specialists also work on benefits programs, labor relations tasks, and training programs.
Human Resources Managers
These managers oversee an organization’s HR needs. They manage the recruitment and hiring process, work with executives on human capital strategies, and oversee a team of human resources specialists. HR managers may also advise decision-makers on HR issues, mediate disputes, and implement training programs.
Accredited colleges and universities meet the highest standards for educating students and granting degrees. Accreditation benefits students in several ways. For instance, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and transfer credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many employers prefer to hire candidates with an accredited degree.
Therefore, prospective students should only apply to accredited institutions. In addition to the school’s accreditation, applicants can look for accredited programs. Learn more about why accreditation matters in our accreditation guide.
Courses in a Human Resources Bachelor’s Program
The best human resources bachelor’s programs build strong leadership, decision-making, and critical thinking skills. By studying topics like training and development, labor relations, and career management, HR majors learn how to oversee employee benefits programs and manage an organization’s HR needs.
During a bachelor’s in human resources program, majors also take courses in business administration, management, and leadership. Many programs let majors choose electives to customize the degree. HR majors may also complete an internship or capstone project to gain hands-on experience.
This section introduces a sample human resources curriculum. While each program sets its own course requirements, many programs include these classes.
This course covers core HR topics, such as staffing, the hiring process, and employee motivation. Students also learn about the relationship between human resources departments and organizational decision-makers, employee relations, and human resource development.
Human resources professionals oversee employee benefits programs. This course reviews different types of employee benefits, the process of managing benefits programs, and benefits strategies to attract and retain talent. Learners also examine the laws and regulations governing employee benefits, the decision-making process for benefits programs, and changing benefits programs.
Training and development classes explore the theories and practices behind employee training. Learners examine performance management, strategic development, and talent leadership. The course also builds management skills by training students to create, implement, and evaluate training and development programs. Students also learn how to evaluate an organization’s training needs and design programs that align with organizational goals.
Enrollees learn about various employment laws, including federal discrimination protections, wage and hour law, and state employment laws. The course also covers privacy requirements, regulations around the hiring process, and at-will employment. In addition, learners study labor relations and ways to build a strong relationship between an organization and its employees.
In career management courses, HR majors learn how to implement and evaluate career management programs. They learn how to conduct self-assessments, write resumes, and conduct interviews. Learners also study occupational trends and skill development techniques.
Scholarships for Human Resources
Human resources majors can apply for scholarships to help cover the costs of earning a degree. Professional associations, schools, and private foundations all award scholarships to HR students. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for HR students. In addition to the following opportunities, human resources students can research scholarships based on their career plans, institution, or state.
Who Can Apply: The Kansas Hospital Education & Research Foundation offers scholarships to Kansas residents pursuing a degree at any level in human resources. Applicants must intend to work in healthcare after graduation. Amount: Varies
Who Can Apply: The Shenandoah Valley Society for Human Resource Management (SVSHRM) awards this scholarship to full-time undergraduate students residing in the SVSHRM membership area. Applicants must be pursuing a human resources degree from an accredited university and must submit an essay. Amount: $1,000
Best Bachelor’s in Human Resources Degrees 2021
The best human resources bachelor’s programs prepare graduates for competitive roles in diverse organizations. Our list ranks the top bachelor’s programs in human resources for 2021. We also include the most affordable human resources bachelor’s programs to help applicants find the right fit for their budget and career goals.
The University of Nebraska is by far one of the best and most exciting places for human resource majors. The school confers the Bachelor of Arts in Management, Human Resource Option, through the College of Business Administration. The university is accredited by the THLC. The program is further accredited by the AACSB International.
This program’s best feature is the faculty. The university boasts a management faculty that has a combined total of 80 books and over 400 articles that have been written by sitting instructors and faculty members. This will no doubt be of interest for students who are interested in learning from HR professionals with experience in the field. Human resources classes include:
The Regulatory Environment for Employment and Labor
Operations and Supply Chain Management
Strategic Human Resource Management
The BA in Management, Human Resources option, requires 120 total credit hours for completion. A senior assessment is also required and consists of a written and verbal evaluation of the student’s competency in the major.
The University of Pennsylvania is one of the most exciting universities on this list. This Ivy League university gives students the ability to graduate with a degree in human resource management through its world-renown Wharton School of Business. The human resources concentration can be found under the Bachelor of Arts in Management.
The BA in Management with a specialization requires 120 credit hours, including a capstone project, for graduation. One key different in how human resources is taught at the University of Pennsylvania is that instead of having just one concentration, the university has chosen to diversify into four distinct specializations. They include:
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
This school also offers the ability to pursue a dual degree in another college. For anyone who has a human resources major, the most obvious choice would be to get a degree in psychology. Psychology and human resources go hand in hand. However, a student can choose whatever degree they think will best fit in with their goals.
The University of Washington is known for having a robust human resources program. The school confers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a human resources specialization. The Foster School of Business, where this degree is housed, offers admission to the program to students who are already a junior.
This university has one of the most rigorous programs for human resources management. This is the perfect degree for a student who wants a general business background and would like to specialize in human resources. Sample courses include:
Human Resource Management on the International Stage
Managing Diversity in the Workplace
Business Law and Employee Relations
The BSBA — Human Resources specialization requires a total of 180 credit hours and an internship for graduation. While the degree requires a significant number of courses, far more than any other on this list, it is well worth it for students who wish to excel as human resource managers. Space is limited in this competitive program, so students are encouraged to meet with an advisor to ensure they meet all admission requirements.
San Diego State University is perhaps one of the most formidable programs on this list. The College of Business Administration offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resource Management.
This is a fascinating program, one where students are required to spend time learning about all the facets of human resource management. Along with critical thinking and reasoning skills, students are taught about business law, economics, cultural diversity in the workplace, and more. This degree requires a minimum of 124 credit hours for completion. Sample courses that a student will take include:
Legal Issues in Human Resources
International Human Resources Management
This program is led by a faculty that is dedicated to human resources. Instructors have varying degrees of experience within the field, but all were professionals prior to teaching as SDSU. In fact, some faculty continue to do research in human resources and are currently published in HR journals.
The University of Michigan at Dearborn provides students with a pathway to getting a bachelors degree in human resources. This program is housed within the College of Business and is conferred as the Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management.
The program was created specifically for students who have a strong interest in human resource management. This is the perfect degree program for a student who enjoys research projects, partaking in an internship, and working with teams. Sample courses include:
International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior
Negotiation and Conflict Management
Labor in the American Economy
This is an interdisciplinary program that teaches students about how employee-employer relations truly work as well as the importance of training and appraisal programs. The degree was designed to put an emphasis on self-directed research work, ensuring that students understand how HR managers operated within the workplace. By combining research with conceptual lecture classes, UMD is giving students the chance to get real experience prior to graduating.
Missouri State University offers students the chance to obtain a human resource management degree. The Bachelor of Science in Management, Human Resources Management Track, is one of the best programs offered by the school. it can be completed in as little as three years.
This degree in human resources has several interesting aspects to it. First, this can be configured to become an online human resources degree, allowing students to have flexibility in their schedule. This makes it a great choice for working professionals. The BS in Management, HRM Track requires 124 credit hours for completion. Sample courses from this degree include:
Direct Compensation System Management
Organizational Behavior and Leadership
Employee Benefits and Social Insurance
Even more, ambitious students can finish all the requirements for the program on the accelerated track. This timetable is more intense, so it’s best for students who do not have a full-time job and can take summer courses. There are no internship or capstone project requirements, so it is also possible to finish within four years.
At New York University, students will be able to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Leadership and Management Studies. This program focuses on how human resource management plays a role in business and organizations and can lead to a concentration in this area.
Students who graduate with this degree will be fully prepared to enter the corporate world as managers, analysts, and consultants. They will be able to work in any industry that requires a human resource team. Students from this program generally go into international business or marketing. Sample courses for the concentration include:
Human Resources Management Principles
International Human Resource Management
Managing Diversity in the Global Workplace
Unlike other programs, this school has allocated the significant amount of its credit hours to a student’s preferred interest. Students will find that this will increase their knowledge of human resources. Additionally, all of the concentration courses required for the HRM core can be found online. This gives students a little bit of flexibility in how they decide to study.
The University of Tennessee offers students the option to get a human resources degree through its College of Business. The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration is available for any undergraduate who is interested in pursuing a career in human resources.
The program at UTK was created to prepare students for the exciting world of human resource management. Here, students will learn the foundation of human resource management, such as acquiring, training, retaining, and negotiating with talent. They will also be taught how to develop and apply training programs in their new careers. Sample courses include:
International Environment and Management
Business Process Analysis
Leading Innovation and Change
This is program provides students with a broad business education. This helps set up the foundation for the dynamics at play between human resources and business. Students can expect to learn everything from financial management to leadership, all within this program.
Florida International University offers the Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Human Resource management. This program, which is becoming the second most popular program within the Business College, focuses on how to improve workplace relations within a business.
At FIU, students will engage in human resource courses that are led by current industry professionals. The core focus of the degree is organizational management and how it can affect businesses. This is the perfect degree for students who are interested in a flexible program that can help them meet their goals. This degree requires 120 credit hours for completion. Sample courses include:
International Human Resources Management
Human Resource Information Systems
This degree was designed for students who are interested in learning how human resources can affect business and want to get the skills needed in order to become an HR manager. Students will learn everything from how to develop human resource information systems, develop and train new recruits, manage labor relations, and more.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a great choice for any student who wishes to work in human resources within the aeronautical industry. The Bachelor of Business Administration houses a human resources minor, giving students the opportunity to get a specialized education in relation to how the aeronautics industry approaches human resources.
As with most HR programs, this degree can be found within the College of Business. It is not a general program; most of the facets of this degree focus heavily on the aeronautics field and will only be of interest in students who are already passionate about this field. Students are encouraged to speak with an enrollment advisor about the program prior to applying. Sample courses include:
Management of Multicultural Workforce
Introduction to Human Resource Management
The Bachelor of Business Administration — Management is a comprehensive program. Students will be required to fulfill four Cores, including the General Core, the Program Support Core, the Business Core, and the Major Core. Electives will also available to ensure the student gets a well-rounded education. This degree requires at least 120 credit hours in order to graduate.
The University of North Carolina has an interesting approach to human resources. Instead of housing an HR program within its business school, the university has elected to design a Management and Society degree within the College of Arts and Sciences. It is one of the only programs on this list not to be directly associated with a business program.
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to this interesting degree, which takes an interdisciplinary approach to management for any type of organization. For this reason, the program is very popular with students who would like to work in human resources at the government level, or within non-profit and charity organizations. In fact, the Management and Society program is one of the largest within the university. Courses include:
Employment Law and Labor Relations
Introduction to Human Resources
Management and Ethics in an Organization
This degree is a social science program. This makes it different from most other programs on this list in that it does not provide a professional education aimed solely at human resources within business. Instead, the major provides a general background in the science behind management, leading students to be better prepared to take on a masters degree in human resources.
Michigan State University offers a Human Resource Management undergraduate degree through the Eli Broad College of Business. This degree was designed to prepare students for an entry-level position in business and can be used as a stepping stone towards graduate study within the realm of human resources.
The BSBA — Human Resource Management has a requirement of at least 120 credit hours for completion. Students will also be expected to complete a management capstone project, which could be a self-directed project or a team project, prior to graduation. Sample courses include:
Personnel Training and Development
Diversity in the Workplace
International Business Management
The Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration — Human Resource Management is a strong program that enables students to get a firm understanding of how business, the law, employment relations, and human resources all work together. Courses within the program are designed to reflect the new and changing attitudes about human resources within the context of business, ensuring students stay relevant on important topics.
Students at the University of Alabama at Huntsville have the option to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management with a Human Resource Management track. This degree is one of the most popular offerings at this university.
Like many other business programs, the human resources program at UAH requires students to undergo an experiential requirement. This could be a special project, a practicum, or an internship. Students can also elect to go on a study abroad trip, provided that it has been approved by the college. This experiential learning requirement allows students to experience human resources as a real career prior to graduating. Sample courses include:
Employment Law for Managers
Human Resources and Labor Relations Management
Teamwork and Team Processes
The human resources concentration at UAH focuses on how HR managers guide and improve a company or organization when recruiting new employees. This provides students with a strong foundation in the required skills needed in order to become an effective HR manager or consultant. It is also important to note that this degree is an interdisciplinary program, allowing students to see how human resources is affected by sociology, psychology, business, law, and more.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham has one of the best programs for human resources in the South. This school provides the opportunity for working professionals and new college students to gain their degree through online or on-campus classes, an option that cannot be overlooked for students of all background.
The Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management requires a minimum of 134 credit hours for graduation, as well as an internship. Courses come from the General Core, the Business Core and the HRM Core. Sample courses include but are not limited to:
Human Resource Management
Organizational Behavior and Decision Making
At UAB, human resources are taken seriously. Students who take on this degree will find that it is as comprehensive as it is demanding, with courses regularly running the gamut of business, law, economics, human resources, management, and more. The degree was crafted to ensure that students would also be eligible to sit for the SHRM’s certification exams after graduation.
The University of Iowa confers the Bachelor of Business Administration in Management with a Human Resources concentration. This degree was created for management students who are interested in a strong educational foundation.
At UI, students will experience the Tippie College of Business difference. This business school is nationally ranked among the top 25 best public universities in the country and is known for its commitment to experiential learning. In fact, all Tippie students are required to participate in a hands-on learning experience. This includes, but is not limited to, an internship, a research project, or a study abroad program. This degree requires a minimum of 120 credit hours for graduation. Sample courses include:
Strategic Human Resource Management
Dynamics of Negotiations
Individuals, Teams, and Organizations
Like with many other schools, there are separate curriculums that a student must fulfill. At UI, those include the General Core, the Tippie General Core, and the Concentration Core. Each core is designed to help solidify a student’s understanding a specific set of skills and knowledge before moving on to the next Core.
Geneva College is one of the few programs on this list that has a degree that is fully dedicated to human resources. The school’s Bachelors of Professional Studies in Human Resources was made specifically for students who are interested in a human resources career. The school has been nationally ranked as one of the most affordable small colleges to get an HR degree by Human Resources MBA.
This human resources management degree is the perfect foundation to enter the workforce. It can also make a great launching pad for getting a human resources masters degree. Students will also be interested to learn that it is possible to get an online human resources degree, taught by the same great faculty, in an accelerated format. Sample courses include:
Principles of Management and Supervision
Business and Interpersonal Communication
Theory and Practice of Human Resources
This program focuses on interpersonal and critical thinking skills, communication methods, and more. All of these skills are necessary and indeed required of any human resource manager, making Geneva a great pick for ambitious students.
The human resource management degree at the Loyola University of Chicago can be found at the Quinlan School of Business. The school confers the BBA in Human Resource Management, and the program focuses students on the skills needed to become effective HR managers.
The BBA in Human Resource at Loyola University Chicago focuses first and foremost on interpersonal skills and the theory and practice of hiring, training and retaining talent for businesses. This is taught in an experiential format, offering students the chance to put their new skills to the test before graduating. It is also one of the best ways to get experience in human resources for a resume. Sample courses include:
Law and the Regulatory Environment of Business
Human Resource Management
It is important to note that this program fully aligns with SHRM’s guidelines. It is also a pathway to sit for the SHRM’s certification examination, an honor given to students who participate in a program that is recognized by the society. Students will find that the degree is comprehensive, focusing on the needs and issues that face human resource managers in the field today.
The University of Miami offers an HR degree that comes with options. Students can choose between a BBA or a BSBA to best suit their needs. This makes this one of the most flexible programs on this list. The BBA or the BSBA have the same number of required credit hours, which stands at 120 hours, but the required courses may different.
At UM, students are restricted from taking part in any human resource major courses until they reach their junior year. This is to ensure that students complete the General Core requirements and allows them to focus fully on the major. It also gives the world-renown faculty the chance to delve deeply into the concepts and issues that concern human resource managers and consultants in the real world. Sample courses include:
Organizational Development and Change
Wage and Salary Administration
This program also features another intriguing aspect. Ambitious students can choose to take on a second major within the business school to align with their interests. This gives students the opportunity to specialize in two areas, making them highly valuable to employers once they graduate. Additionally, if a student chooses to dual-major in another subject, they will be required to complete more credit hours.
At Harding University, students will find a vigorous human resources major within the Carter College of Business Administration. This program differs from others on this list in that it requires students to take a variety of psychology classes as part of the interdisciplinary nature of the degree.
Harding’s BBA in Human Resources requires a minimum of 128 credit hours. There are no internships, practicums, or capstone projects needed to get this degree. Courses range from finance to world economics, and everything in between. Some of the major courses include:
Psychology of Personality
Advanced Human Resource Management
This university teaches from a Christian worldview and does require bible courses as part of the General Core. This requirement will suit students who wish to become stewards of Christianity within the business world, allowing them to grow in faith and their education at the same time. It is strongly recommended that students look over all the required courses prior to applying to ensure the school meets their needs.
Virginia Commonwealth University offers a strong human resource degree program within its business school. The Bachelor of Science in Business with a Concentration in Human Resource Management is fast becoming one of the most popular programs at the school.
VCU is an interesting school in that it also offers an online human resources degree that is parallel to the on-campus offerings. The course schedule is virtually the same, ensuring that no matter how a student chooses to learn, they will be granted the same standard of academic excellence by faculty and the same courses. VCU’s BSB in human resources requires a minimum of 120 credits, including an internship. Sample courses include:
International Human Resource Management
Labor and Employment Relations
Human Resource Information Systems
This university believes that a human resources concentration should not be limited to a few select courses and should instead be taught as a viable and integral part of business. Students in the program will learn how law, economics, international business, finance, and accounting all play a role in informing HR decisions at every level. For this reason, it is a perfect fit for students are serious about pursuing a career in human resources.
The human resource management concentration at Gonzaga University is housed under the BBA major within the School of Business Administration. This degree, which focuses on the retention and training of employees, offers students a brilliant introduction into human resources while they gain an in-demand degree from a respected institution.
This degree requires a total of 132 credit hours for completion, including a capstone project. Of those credit hours, 12 are required for the HR concentration. There are no substitutions for the concentration, and space is limited, so students are encouraged to apply early for this program. Sample courses include:
Recruitment and Selection
Compensation and Performance Appraisal
Employment Law and Labor Relations
The human resource concentration focuses on preparing students for jobs as consultants and HR managers at companies and non-profit organizations. At Gonzaga, students are required to take a core of four classes to ensure they understand the dynamics at play between human resources, business, economics, and law.
Boston University does not have an undergraduate human resources management degree or minor available. However, this school does offer a human resources masters degree as well as courses, which can be taken as electives, within the BBA program.
This degree can be completed online or on campus, allowing students to make their own decision about how best to proceed with their degree. This also makes the idea of taking HR classes more attractive, especially if students are looking to gain a CEBS certification in the future. Sample courses include:
Enterprise Risk Management
Managing Employees, Professionals, and Teams
Because the only HR degree that can be found at Boston University is at the graduate level, students at the undergraduate level are often given access to human resources classes as part of the BBA program. This allows them to create a foundational understanding of how human resources works within business.
The human resource degree at the University of St. Thomas is housed at the Opus College of Business. It can be found as a concentration under the BBA in Management.
The overall Bachelor of Business Administration in Management is focused on systems thinking. Students will spend a large portion of their time learning critical thinking and communication skills, along with general business foundational concepts. This degree requires a minimum of 128 credit hours for completion, along with a capstone project. Sample courses include:
Human Resource Strategy
Management and Organizational Behavior
Business Learning Through Service
The University of St. Thomas is a private Catholic school, and as such, students are required to take a number of religion and bible-based courses. For this reason, it is a good school for those strong in the Catholic faith and who believe that their religion can serve them within their chosen career path.
Messiah College offers students the ability to get a human resources degree as a major, a concentration, or a minor. This allows students to choose how much of their schooling deals specifically with human resource management.
This human resource management degree was created to complement the already extensive business education provided to students by the Messiah faculty. Courses are taught with evidence-based teaching methods, allowing students to use their new-found education in simulated and real-world environments. Sample courses include:
Employee and Labor Relations
Information Systems and Managers
This school bases many of its practices in Christian stewardship, making it a great fit for students who already have a strong faith. The degree itself requires 123 credit hours for completion, which requires a variety of Christian and Bible-based courses.
At Taylor University, students can choose from a variety of majors, including the vastly popular human resources major. This is a perfect degree program for students who are interested in moving into obtaining a masters degree in human resources after graduation.
This is a program for hard-working and focused students, as this program tends to be comprehensive and intense. This human resources management degree encompasses all the subject areas that matter to HR managers and will give students a solid foundation in business, law, ethics, employment relations, and more. Sample courses include:
Human Relations and Labor Negotiations
Organizational Behavior and Leadership
Ethics and Management
This degree requires a minimum of 128 credit hours, along with an internship and a capstone project, in order to gain the degree. While the requirements are extensive, it is well worth it. Students who graduate from Taylor University often leave schooling with an employment offer.
Online College Resources
Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.