Best Online Master’s in Human Resources

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Discover the Best Online Master’s in Human Resources

Online human resources masters programs allow working professionals to work toward a career milestone at their own pace.

Human resource managers can be found in just about any mid to large-sized company… and in just about every conceivable industry. If a company is big enough to have employees, it’s big enough to need a human resource manager.

How much do you make with an online master’s degree in human resources?

A bachelor’s degree in Human Resources is the minimum requirement for excelling in this highly competitive field, and a master’s degree will give you a leg up on your peers. According to The Occupational Outlook Handbook in 2015, the median pay for a person with a Human Resource Management Degree is over $104,000. With a degree in human resources and five years of experience, you can enter an occupation that’s undergoing a faster than average growth rate at 9% until 2024. And the most efficient way to get there is to invest the time necessary for a master’s degree in the field.

As the demand for both advanced training in human resources and online education increases, you’re in luck: many of the best schools in the country now offer the training you need without your having to uproot and move.

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What kind of online master’s in human resources degree should you get?

With the growth of these online offerings comes an additional layer of complication: how to separate the good from the best? How do you balance quality with affordability?

Top 10 Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Degrees


That’s where we come in. In this list of the 40 best online master’s degrees in human resources, we have done the legwork for you and have consulted a variety of resources to bring you the decisive ranking of programs in the field.

What can you do with an online master’s degree in human resources?

Human resource managers are 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.

They also help mitigate conflict, provide support, and work to make sure an organization operates efficiently and pleasantly. If you’re considering other online master’s programs, look at our ranking of the best online colleges and universities in order to get the fuller picture.

What are the best online master’s degrees in human resources?

The first source is actual college freshman polled during a nationwide survey published by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. These students rated academic reputation, financial aid offerings, overall cost of school, and the survey also took into account graduate success rates on the post-college job market. These factors were weighed equally alongside data from other publicly available sources, including U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and PayScale.com.

Happy hunting, and good luck!

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
    Location

    State College, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    For working professionals who are looking for a graduate human resources management degree, nothing beats the Penn State World Campus. 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. The online program is the exact same as what students experience on campus, including the same instructors. This ensures that the high standard of excellence at Penn State is achieved by all students, regardless of how they study. There are 33 credits required to graduate, and students will find the curriculum to be challenging and interesting. This 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 that sees students demonstrate their mastery of HR issues in a written report that covers their individual professional interests. This project, which is personalized for each student, allows them to showcase their knowledge of HR issues and their ability to research and create HR strategies for the case study their project is based on. This project is one of the reasons students choose to come to Penn State for their graduate HR education needs.

  2. Villanova University
    Location

    Villanova, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Villanova University is perhaps one of the best-known schools from which to get an online human resources management degree from. 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 are provided with a world-class educational experience, right from the comfort of their own home. The MSHRD is a rigorous program that is best suited for working professionals. The degree requires 30 credit hours for completion and up to six credits can be transferred to Villanova from another accredited university. You'll 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, part-time study is also available. Students are also required to take and pass the SHRM Certification Exam, the SHRM Assurance of Learning Assessment or the HRCI Certification Exam prior to graduating. This ensures that students who earn the MSHRD through Villanova enter the workforce with the added benefit of either an HRCI or SHRM certificate, something that is increasingly in demand.

  3. Colorado State University-Global Campus
    Location

    Aurora, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) is one of the three separate campuses in the Colorado State University System. It is the country’s first and only 100 percent online, independently accredited, state, nonprofit university. 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 program is one of the best in the country.

    Program Features

    The program focuses on research, employee behavioral expectations, and strategies as it pertains to HR issues in the workplace. It was designed for working professionals already working in business who need to get a graduate degree part-time. This degree requires 36 credit hours, which includes a capstone project, for completion. Students can finish this degree, depending on their studying schedule, within two to five years. This program also allows for transfer credits from a regionally accredited institution. Here's a look at a few 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. It is composed of a written report that outlines, examines and researches current HR issues in a business environment and creates HR strategies to be implemented to resolve those issues. Some students have even been given job opportunities based on their capstone project prior to even graduating.

  4. Stony Brook University
    Location

    Stony Brook, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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 degree 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 has a requirement of 30 credit hours. There is also an optional opportunity for an internship for interested students. This internship is not required for graduation but does give students 45 hours of work experience as an HR professional in the organization, which may provide an advantage to working professionals upon graduating from the program.

  5. Central Michigan University
    Location

    Mount Pleasant, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Central Michigan University has one of the best online human resources masters degree programs in the country. Its online MBA program has been nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report. CMU offers the 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 them in that goal.

    Program Features

    Classes are taught by a world-class faculty that has terminal degrees in their field as well as experience as HR professionals. The degree requires 36 credits, with nine credit hours being devoted to 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 to help them with difficult subjects.

  6. New York University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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. This degree can be found completely online with no on-campus requirements.

    Program Features

    There are 24 core credits required for completion, and each specialization requires a further 16 credits. There is no internship requirement and students have up to five years to complete the degree, although many finishes in as little as two years. This Master of Science in Human Resource Management and Development has four different specializations:

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

    An online degree from NYU has no distinction from 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 in this degree 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 right in the comfort of their own home.

  7. University of Houston-Clear Lake
    Location

    Houston, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Houston at Clear Lake is one of the South’s best online schools for working professionals who are interested in getting a graduate degree in human resources. The school, which has regional accreditation by the SACS COC, 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 its world-renown faculty. The program requires 42 total credit hours and can be completed in as little as 18 months. Part-time students have up to five years to complete the requirements. You 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

    $$$$$

    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

    $$$$$

    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

    $$$$$

    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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