Best Online Master's In Human Resources Degrees

Updated January 13, 2023

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Earning a master's degree in human resources can lead to new career opportunities. Here, we list the best online programs.

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Discover the Best Online Master's in Human Resources

Experienced human resources professionals can earn an online master's in human resources to advance their career. Graduates often work as human resources managers or compensation and benefits managers. Curricula cover workforce planning, ethics in the workplace, and performance management. Learners also master industry software and workplace safety guidelines.

Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. Some master's in human resources programs require a minimum GPA. This guide explores the benefits and cost of earning an online human resources degree. The following sections also cover career options for graduates.

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Questions About Human Resources

What can I do with a master's in human resources?

A master's degree in human resources qualifies graduates to work as benefits managers and compensation directors. Job candidates may need professional experience.

Is human resources a stable career?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for human resources managers to increase 9% from 2020-2030. This is about the same as the average job growth projection for all occupations.

What is the difference between human resources and organizational leadership?

Both human resources and organizational leadership professionals attract and retain talented employees. However, organizational leadership professionals focus on their employer's overall development and success.

Why Get a Degree in Human Resources?

Online master's in human resources programs prepare learners to enter the growing HR field. Flexible online programs appeal to workers from various backgrounds, such as veterans. Veterans often succeed in human resources, as the career requires many of the same skills as military careers. Earning a master's degree in human resources can help graduates qualify for lucrative positions.

Online learning can benefit recent college graduates and working professionals. Students with personal or professional responsibilities can research asynchronous programs. These programs do not require degree-seekers to attend virtual lectures at specific times.

How Much Does a Human Resources Degree Cost?

According to the Education Data Initiative, a master's degree cost an average of $66,340 in 2021. Tuition rates vary by school. In-state public institutions typically offer the most affordable online master's in human resources programs. However, many schools charge all online learners in-state tuition rates. Private institutions generally charge the highest tuition rates.

Degree-seekers can minimize student debt by applying for institutional scholarships and grants. Some schools consider all incoming students for financial aid, while others require a separate application. Learners with financial need may also qualify for federal grants and loans. Degree-seekers submit the FAFSA annually to maintain eligibility for federal funding.

Additional Online Student Fees

In addition to tuition, degree-seekers should budget for fees. Many schools charge online students a per-class, per-credit, or per-semester technology fee. Learners in hybrid programs pay to commute to campus or internship sites. Online students also purchase textbooks and pay a graduation fee.

Graduates may need professional certification to launch or advance their career. The Society for Human Resource Management administers a certification for early-career professionals. Candidates must pass an exam and pay certification fees. Members receive a discount.

How Much Do Human Resources Majors Make?

Human resources managers earn a median salary of $121,220 per year, according to the BLS. However, many factors impact an individuals' earning potential. Professional, scientific, and technical services companies pay the highest median salary. HR managers in New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia earn the highest average salaries, ranging from $167,190-$177,960 per year.

HR specialists can enroll in master's in human resources programs to qualify for promotions to managers. According to the BLS, human resources managers earn a median salary about double that of HR specialists. Professionals can also qualify for promotions and raises by pursuing certifications.

Courses in Human Resources

Students pursuing an online human resources degree learn to create HR strategies, research the latest trends, and develop inclusive and diverse workplaces. Some programs offer specialization options. Degree-seekers typically complete a thesis or capstone project.

Many online master's in human resources programs feature the following classes. However, course availability varies by school. Curricula can impact students' learning experiences and career options. Learners can contact an admissions advisor for information about their prospective program.

  • Human Resources Strategy

    This course introduces human resources professionals' role in companies and organizations. Coursework explores organizational resources, holistic frameworks, and effectiveness best practices. Degree-seekers analyze challenges unique to multinational employers. This class prepares learners to promote workers' growth in HR roles.
  • Leadership in Human Resources

    Master's degree-holders often pursue management positions. Applicants to these roles need advanced leadership skills. This class trains students to develop leadership plans, maintain professional networks, and persuade others to change their actions or thinking. Learners practice self-reflection, an essential managerial skill.
  • Talent Management

    Human resources managers use talent management strategies to attract and retain employees. Students in this course learn to develop and evaluate these strategies, make data-based decisions, and coach other managers on retention best practices. Degree-seekers explore how group-level decisions impact promotions and performance reviews.

How to Become a Human Resources Professional

A bachelor's degree in human resources qualifies graduates for human resources specialist positions. These professionals interview applicants, check references, and deliver orientations. The job involves extensive recordkeeping. Professionals specializing in recruitment represent their employer at job fairs. HR specialists need advanced communication and interpersonal skills.

Human resources specialists with a master's degree or at least five years of experience often become human resources managers. These professionals oversee specialists' work, develop benefits programs, and resolve staffing issues. HR managers also coordinate with senior managers on long-term recruitment and retention plans.

Best Online Master's in Human Resources 2022

#1 Best Online Master’s In Human Resources Degrees

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

  • University Park, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus offers several graduate programs through its online platform. A notable option is the master's in human resources and employment relations. The program provides the rigorous education expected from a graduate program using a flexible online format.

The curriculum provides learners with advanced training in human resources. Learners develop the knowledge necessary for career advancement or a doctoral degree in this field and related ones.

The school charges $21,682 annually in tuition. The scholarships and grants available to many degree-seekers help them reduce the price of tuition.

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,484
Out-of-state
$13,484
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
Not provided
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Best Online Master’s In Human Resources Degrees

Villanova University

  • Villanova, PA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Villanova University, a private college in Pennsylvania, offers both a strong catalog of academic programs and a learning experience tailored to meet students’ needs. Degree-seekers interested in human resources careers can pursue the master of science in human resource development.

Online education's flexibility and adaptability make it an attractive choice for many graduate students. Caretakers, workers, and other busy enrollees may find it easy to work this master’s degree into their schedules. Strong career preparation is a key feature of the program, which does not sacrifice rigor for convenience.

Degree-seekers need a bachelor’s degree for admission to most master’s programs. The program department can provide more application information, such as what documents to submit and how to provide the materials.

Average Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
Not provided
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 Best Online Master’s In Human Resources Degrees

Colorado State University-Global Campus

  • Aurora, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online

Colorado State University-Global Campus attracts graduate students who want extra flexibility to pursue human resources degrees without significantly interrupting their lives. The Aurora, Colorado, school offers a master's in human resource management among its 12 online master's degrees. Enrollees can complete this degree from anywhere, which adds to the program's appeal.

Applicants to master's programs typically need a bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent. Other criteria vary by program. The master's in human resource management program offers advanced training for careers and other opportunities a bachelor’s alone could not provide. Another benefit of this degree is preparation for a doctoral program or another terminal credential.

The average tuition for students living in Colorado or out of state is $9,000 per year. Learners can explore grants and scholarships to help pay for tuition. Degree-seekers can also consider federal or private loans to help offset the cost of their degree.

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,400
Out-of-state
$8,400
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
99%
Students Enrolled
12,670
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Best Online Master’s In Human Resources Degrees

Stony Brook University

  • Stony Brook, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Many students attend schools such as Stony Brook University to earn degrees from a distance, and the public school develops programs with them in mind. With a total of 13 remote master's degrees, the institution is a leader in online education for graduate students. Among the options is the master of science in human resource management.

The program's adaptability is a big draw for students with a hectic schedule that demands flexibility. Professionals, caretakers, and other busy enrollees can attend virtual sessions and complete assignments at convenient times. Online degree-seekers receive the same advanced education as their on-campus peers in preparation for higher-level occupations.

The admittance rate is 44% per year overall, but applicants may be accepted at varying rates for different programs. In order to receive consideration, master's degree-seekers need a bachelor's degree unless otherwise stated. Consult with the program to learn about entrance and application requirements like transcripts, interviews, and recommendation letters.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,070
Out-of-state
$24,740
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
44%
Students Enrolled
26,814
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#5 Best Online Master’s In Human Resources Degrees

New York University

  • New York, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

New York University, a private college, develops programs that provide a unique learning experience requiring little to no attendance on the New York, New York, campus. Students who need flexibility are drawn to the institution because of 28 master's degrees available online. Among the options is the master's in human resource management and development.

Graduate students can use online education's flexibility and adaptability to accomplish longstanding goals. They can do so by watching video recordings and completing coursework when it fits their schedule. A hallmark of this institution is abundant experience providing degrees that emphasize both rigor and flexible learning.

Applicants receive acceptance letters at a rate of 16% each year, with variations expected across programs. Degree-seekers need a bachelor’s degree for admission to most master’s programs. Contact the school to see how to apply to this program and submit the required documents.

Average Tuition
In-state
$50,684
Out-of-state
$50,684
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
16%
Students Enrolled
52,885
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#6 Best Online Master’s In Human Resources Degrees

University of Houston-Clear Lake

  • Houston, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Houston, Texas-based University of Houston-Clear Lake is a public college that offers eight online master's degrees. One of these is the master's in human resource management.

Logistics is no barrier to earning this degree, which was designed with adaptability and flexibility in mind. Professionals, caretakers, and other workers can schedule their studies on the evenings, weekends, and other convenient times. This format does not come at the expense of academic rigor or advanced career preparation.

While some variations exist, the rate of acceptance is 74% of applicants on average per year. In order to receive consideration, master's degree-seekers need a bachelor's degree unless otherwise stated. All of the application details are available on the program web page or from the admissions department.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,740
Out-of-state
$19,176
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
9,082
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Best Online Master’s In Human Resources Degrees

Florida International University

  • Miami, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Many students want to attend graduate school online, and Florida International University offers that privilege from the Miami, Florida, campus. Learners interested in graduate programs they can pursue from a distance can choose from 31 master's degrees available online. One option includes a master of science in human resource management.

Graduate students can use online education such as this program to accomplish a goal that may otherwise seem unachievable because of logistical issues. Caretakers, workers, and other busy enrollees appreciate the ability to schedule instruction and coursework in a way that works with their schedules. A hallmark of this institution is ample experience providing degrees that emphasize both rigor and flexible learning.

Based on their latest statistics, the school accepts about 58% of applicants each year. In order to receive consideration, master's degree-seekers need a bachelor's degree unless otherwise stated. They may also need to submit official transcripts and  recommendation letters.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,721
Out-of-state
$16,529
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
58,711
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Best Online Master’s In Human Resources Degrees

Western Carolina University

  • Cullowhee, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in human resources program at Western Carolina University maintains high ranking among similar online programs for human resources students. The program prepares learners for high-level careers not always available to those with a bachelor’s alone. Graduates leave the program prepared for more advanced careers or doctoral programs.

The school’s online format is a big draw for students who need adaptability. Degree-seekers can fit in other responsibilities such as work, caregiving, and family life because of the program’s flexibility. Enrollees also benefit from a learning environment that is student-focused, thereby giving them the attention they need for academic success.

Applicants usually need a bachelor’s in order to be considered for this program. The school accepts around 69% of all who apply, though different programs post different averages. Tuition stands at around $4,435 annually for North Carolina residents. Students can help fund their education with grants, loans, and scholarships.

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,000
Out-of-state
$5,000
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
12,167
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Best Online Master’s In Human Resources Degrees

The Catholic University of America

  • Washington, DC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Prospective graduate students should consider The Catholic University of America for flexible programs that let them earn an advanced degree while they work. The school, located in Washington, D.C., offers several top-ranked degrees, including a master's in human resources management. The program’s appeal includes a flexible online format that lets degree-seekers work and pursue other interests.

Applicants usually need a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in the same field or a related one. What the program provides is advanced preparation through an intensive curriculum that may involve research opportunities and other hands-on experience. The degree may satisfy the entry requirements for a Ph.D. program in this field.

The school charges all enrollees, regardless of residency, $48,000 per year in tuition. Many learners pay for their education using grants and scholarships from the institution and outside sources. Students can also help pay for a graduate degree with federal loans.

Average Tuition
In-state
$46,950
Out-of-state
$46,950
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
5,771
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
13% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#10 Best Online Master’s In Human Resources Degrees

Florida Institute of Technology

  • Melbourne, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Florida Institute of Technology is home to numerous quality online graduate programs. Learners with a bachelor's degree in human resources may find the master's in human resources management especially appealing. Enrollees gain more control over their schedules by completing the rigorous graduate curriculum remotely.

Master's degree-seekers study in classes with a 14-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio that is conducive to personalized learning. The biggest attraction is the educational attainment acquired when learners complete a rigorous curriculum delivered by human resources experts. The program provides an academic preparation that makes graduates stand out to prospective employers.

All enrollees pay a yearly average of $22,338 in tuition. Financial aid such as grants and scholarships helps many degree-seekers afford their education. Student loans are another option, with about 36% of enrollees using them to afford their education.

Average Tuition
In-state
$41,720
Out-of-state
$41,720
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
66%
Students Enrolled
6,022
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

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