Best Online Master’s in Human Resources

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Discover the Best Online Master’s in Human Resources

Online human resources master’s programs allow working professionals to earn an advanced degree at their own pace.

Human resources managers can work in mid- to large-sized companies in diverse industries. These professionals manage a company or organization’s administrative tasks. They also often direct the hiring of new employees and handle any workplace disputes.

On this page, we feature our ranking of the best online master’s in human resources degrees. We also cover salary and career data and why students should select an online degree.

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How Much Do You Make With an Online Master’s Degree in Human Resources?

A bachelor’s degree in human resources is the minimum education requirement for many jobs in the field. However, some jobs require a master’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resources managers earn a median annual salary of $121,220. The BLS projects jobs for these managers to grow 9% from 2020-2030, about as fast as average.

What Get An Online Human Resources Master’s Degree?

Prospective students can pursue an online master’s degree in human resources from anywhere. Distance learning allows working adults to advance their careers or pursue a new role in the field without relocating. Online degrees provide flexibility and the education students need without requiring them to relocate. Many courses run asynchronously, so students can do coursework around their schedules.

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

Graduates of online human resources master’s programs can become human resources managers. These managers serve as the direct line of communication between a company’s upper management and its employees. They handle many of the logistical details of employing a workforce, such as contracts, benefits, compensation, and workplace policies.

These professionals also help mitigate conflict, provide support, and work to make sure an organization operates efficiently. Students considering online master’s programs should browse our ranking of the best online colleges and universities.

What Are the Best Online Master’s Degrees in Human Resources?

Our ranking’s first source is actual first-year college students polled during a nationwide survey published by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. These students rated academic reputation, financial aid offerings and the overall cost of school. The survey also factored in graduate success rates in the post-college job market. We weighed these factors equally alongside data from other publicly available sources, including U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and Payscale.com.

Rankings

Check out our rankings for the best online master’s in human resources degrees below.

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
    Location

    State College, PA

    Tuition

    $18766

    Overview

    Penn State World Campus offers working professionals a graduate human resources management degree. Here, students can earn a master’s in human resources and employment relations without leaving the comfort of their home. This school is also an HRCI approved provider and in complete alignment with the SHRM’s HR Guidebook and Templates.

    Program Features

    The school is unique in that the HRER program is provided in partnership with the school’s internationally recognized School of Labor and Employment Relations. Online students receive the same education as on-campus students, and the same instructors teach the courses. This ensures that the high standard of excellence at Penn State is achieved by all students, regardless of how they study. The program requires 33 credits to graduate. The degree also comes with its own concentrations, including:

    • International Human Resources and Employment Relations
    • Ethics and Leadership
    • Employment and Labor Law
    Notables

    The degree culminates in a capstone project where students demonstrate their mastery of HR issues in a written report that covers their professional interests. This project, which is personalized for each student, allows learners to showcase their knowledge of HR issues. Students can also show their ability to research and create HR strategies.

  2. Villanova University
    Location

    Villanova, PA

    Tuition

    $15925

    Overview

    Villanova University is one of the best-known schools from which to get an online human resources management degree. This school is an HR Certification Institute-approved provider as well as an SHRM preferred provider. It currently has one of the highest-rated master of science in human resource development programs in the country.

    Program Features

    At Villanova, students receive a world-class educational experience, right from the comfort of their own home. The program caters to working professionals. The degree requires 30 credit hours for completion and up to six credits can be transferred to Villanova from another accredited university. Enrollees take classes like:

    • Strategic Workforce Planning
    • HR Analytics
    • Financial and Human Capital
    Notables

    Students are encouraged to study full-time, which allows them to graduate in less than two years. However, students may also choose to study part time. Students must also take and pass the SHRM Certification Exam, the SHRM Assurance of Learning Assessment, or the HRCI Certification Exam before graduating. This ensures that students who earn the master's degree at Villanova enter the workforce with the added benefit of either an HRCI or SHRM certificate.

  3. Colorado State University-Global Campus
    Location

    Aurora, CO

    Tuition

    $9000

    Overview

    Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) is one of the three separate campuses in the Colorado State University System. This online school houses business programs, such as the human resources certification online program as well as graduate degrees. The CSU-Global master of human resource management degree is one of the best in the country.

    Program Features

    The program focuses on research, employee behavioral expectations, and strategies for resolving HR workplace issues. It was designed for working business professionals who need to get a graduate degree part-time. The degree requires 36 credit hours, which includes a capstone project, for completion. Students can finish this degree, depending on their studying schedule, within 2-5 years. This program also allows for transfer credits from a regionally accredited institution. Below we list some classes:

    • Effective Organizations: Theory and Practice
    • Managing Human Resources
    • Strategic Labor Relations
    Notables

    The CSU-Global HRM capstone project is a culmination of the student’s entire educational journey at the school. Students create a written report that outlines, examines, and researches current HR issues in a business environment and drafts HR strategies to resolve those issues. Some students gain job opportunities based on their capstone project before graduating.

  4. Stony Brook University
    Location

    Stony Brook, NY

    Tuition

    $19666

    Overview

    Online adult education is taken seriously at the School of Professional Development, which is housed at Stony Brook University. The school is a pioneer in creating graduate HRM programs that are aligned with the SHRM’s HR Guidebook and Templates and has since been nationally recognized for its academic excellence.

    Program Features

    The master of science in human resource management at Stony Brook has currently gone through an update. It has been refined to reflect the six key areas as defined by the SHRM and is further improved by the rigorous standards the university sets for itself and its faculty. Take a look at a few of the stand-out classes:

    • Employee Relations and Labor Management
    • Job Evaluation, Compensation, and Benefits
    • Diversity and Global Issues in the Workplace
    • Employment Law and Policy
    Notables

    The program requires 30 credit hours. There is also an optional opportunity for an internship. Students do not need to complete an internship to graduate, but it does give them 45 hours of real-world HR work experience. The internship may provide learners with a competitive advantage upon graduating from the program.

  5. Central Michigan University
    Location

    Mount Pleasant, MI

    Tuition

    $18936

    Overview

    Central Michigan University has one of the best online human resources master's degrees in the country. CMU offers an MBA with a concentration in human resource management. This program is best for business professionals who are interested in moving into an HR leadership position and want an MBA to help reach that goal.

    Program Features

    World-class faculty teach the classes, and instructors have terminal degrees and HR experience. The degree requires 36 credits, with nine credit hours comprising the human resource management concentration. Courses for the core curriculum include some of the following:

    • Global Economic Environment
    • Marketing-Based Management
    • Global Business and Sustainability
    Notables

    Online students are treated to a nationally recognized virtual school, called Global Campus. MBA students, who take all of their courses online, are supported virtually by a dedicated online staff that can help them with all of their needs, including advising them on courses, setting a degree path, and finding a tutor.

  6. New York University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $38228

    Overview

    New York University, known as NYU, is an innovator of online education. The school’s internet portal has dozens of degrees available online, including the master of science in human resource management and development. This school is one of the few schools on this list that have a human resource online degree that comes with its own specializations. Students can complete the degree with no on-campus requirements.

    Program Features

    There are 24 core credits required for completion, and each specialization requires 16 credits. Students have up to five years to complete the degree, although many finish in as little as two years. This master of science in human resource management and development degree has four specializations:

    • Human Resource Management
    • Organizational Effectiveness
    • Learning, Development, and Executive Coaching
    • Global Talent Management
    Notables

    An online degree from NYU features a similar educational experience an on-campus degree. The school strives to impart the same education to each of its students, which is why nearly all of its online courses are taught by the same instructors who teach it on campus. Along with tutoring and student services available online, working professionals receive a world-class education from home.

  7. University of Houston-Clear Lake
    Location

    Houston, TX

    Tuition

    $14802

    Overview

    The University of Houston at Clear Lake is one of the South’s best online schools for people interested in getting a graduate degree in human resources. The school, which has regional accreditation by the SACSCOC, is also accredited by AACSB for its business programs. Additionally, UHCL’s online graduate HR programs are certified by SHRM, a distinction only given to 150 institutions worldwide.

    Program Features

    This school is dedicated to excellence among HR professionals. It provides its master of human resource management entirely online and is taught by world-renown faculty. The program requires 42 credit hours and can be completed in as little as 18 months. Part-time students have up to five years to finish the requirements. Learners can look forward to classes like:

    • Employee Planning, Staffing, and Selection
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Legal Environment of Human Resource Management
    • Training and Development
    Notables

    UHCL is also proud to be one of the nation’s first competency-based HRM programs. This means that students move from one course to another after demonstrating competency in a subject. This is perfect for a student who has prior experience in HR issues and is looking to expand their knowledge of advanced subjects.

  8. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $15602

    Overview

    Florida International University has one of the most comprehensive, online graduate HR programs available today. The school, which is accredited by SACS-COC, is known for requiring excellence from both its students and teachers. It is one of the best schools for an HR degree in the country. The Master of Science in Human Resource Management is a substantial and rigorous degree program.

    Program Features

    The school has aligned itself with the SHRM’s HR Guidebook and Templates, ensuring that students have mastery over the subject matter while simultaneously preparing them for SHRM certification. This is a benefit that students who wish to be certified will not be able to pass up. The program requires 39 credits for completion. Seminars are included in the required credit hours and must be passed in order for a student to graduate. Additionally, students are also required to complete an internship, which can be completed in the student’s area of residence pending approval by the faculty. Classes include:

    • Labor Issues and Conflict Management
    • Reward Systems Management
    • Staffing Organizations
    Notables

    The M.S.-HRM is a program that is for self-motivated and ambitious working professionals. It does not offer part-time study, so students are encouraged to apply only if they have the flexibility needed in order to fulfill all degree requirements. Advisors are also available to aid students in deciding if Florida International is right for them.

  9. Western Carolina University
    Location

    Cullowhee, NC

    Tuition

    $16280

    Overview

    Western Carolina University has one of the oldest human resources master’s degree programs in the country, having established its program in 1984. Now the school has brought that respected program online in the form of the M.S. in Human Resources. This school is regionally accredited by SACS-COC. The MSHR is a 36-credit hour program that can be earned entirely online.

    Program Features

    An internship with a designated organization is also required for graduation. It is designed specifically with working HR professionals in mind and so is best suited for students with prior HR knowledge. Students can finish this degree in as little as 18 months with full-time study. Part-time students can take up to two years to finish all the requirements needed. WCU also offers professionals the chance to transfer credits from a regionally accredited university, pending approval by the faculty. The curriculum includes classes such as:

    • Organizational Acumen for HR Leaders
    • HR Consulting
    • Coaching for Performance
    • Talent Acquisition and Retention
    Notables

    At WCU, students will be partaking in a program that has been recognized as being aligned with the SHMR’s HR Guidebook and Templates. This distinction is reserved for only 201 institutions worldwide and is a mark of HR academic excellence. Serious HR professionals who are interested in moving into leadership positions will be well-served by this degree.

  10. The Catholic University of America
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Tuition

    $39400

    Overview

    The Catholic University of America houses its online HRM degree under the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies. This program is well-respected in the human resources field and is currently affiliated with HRA-NCA, SHRM and the Montgomery County Chapter for SHRM. It is regionally accredited by MSCHE.

    Program Features

    This school offers a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management, as well as a free and optional course so students can prepare for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certification exams. The degree is highly sought after both for its first-class faculty and for its alignment to the SHRM’s HR Guidebook and Templates. This is the best degree for working professionals who are looking to move into top management positions in organizations. You'll jump into classes like:

    • Human Resource Management and Strategy
    • Managerial Decision-Making: Finance and Budget
    • Labor-Management Relations
    • Legal Environment of Human Resource Management
    Notables

    Students will find that this degree is a practical and applications-based education. Simulations, lectures, team projects and other activities provide a diverse education that allows students to put into practice the concepts and skills they have learned. While this degree is challenging, it is no doubt a great way for HR professionals to understand how and why human capital affects the workplace.

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