Why earn a master of human resources online?
Network with diverse, knowledgeable professionals.
Connect with HR professionals from different geographic locations and industries, and benefit from a rich diversity of experiences and views.
Learn to use the latest HR technology during hands-on projects.
Gain practical experience with essential HR tools — incorporate the latest HR technologies and HR information systems (HRIS).
Choose specialized tracks aligned with your areas of interest.
Reach your professional goals by focusing on areas like talent management, diversity and inclusion, labor relations, or international HR.
Browse online master’s in human resources programs New
What is a human resource degree?
A graduate-level academic program, an online master’s in human resources prepares learners to take on leadership and strategic roles within HR departments or related areas. Candidates learn organizational behavior, compensation and benefits, talent acquisition, employee development, labor relations, ethics, and legal aspects of HR.
Meanwhile, some online master’s human resources programs offer specialized tracks that allow learners to focus on specific areas within HR, such as talent management, diversity and inclusion, labor relations, or international HR.
Admission requirements for an online HR master’s degree
Although the admission requirements for online master’s in human resources programs differ from university to university, most require at least an undergraduate degree, which may include one of a variety of accredited online bachelor’s degree programs, from a recognized university.
As with most online master’s programs, strong applications include transcripts, a résumé, and a detailed personal statement. Some master’s in human resources online with no GRE requirement will still accept scores, on an optional basis, if an applicant believes it will strengthen their application. Often for graduate programs, a compelling CV may help bolster an application. Review how to write a CV before you apply.
How to apply
Visit the page of different master’s in HR online programs to explore their specific application instructions. Preparing application materials well in advance of submission for a master’s in human resources online program helps streamline the process. For some programs with rolling deadlines, applying early can result in a quicker decision.
Online master’s degree in human resources curriculum
Human resources online master’s programs typically offer a comprehensive curriculum that covers a wide range of topics to prepare students for leadership roles in HR and related fields. Course topics usually encompass:
Foundations of HR management
Learners in an online master’s in HR program may begin their degree with an introduction to HR, exploring its role within organizations, its ethical and legal responsibilities, and its strategic importance in achieving business objectives.
Workforce planning and development
Online master’s in HR courses in this category delve into workforce planning, talent acquisition, recruitment strategies, training and development programs, and succession planning that help HR professionals to ensure organizations have the right talent in place.
Employee relations underlie most of the work HR professionals do. A human resources master’s degree online program teaches topics about employee engagement, conflict resolution, labor relations, and fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Workplace safety and health
Online master’s in human resources programs teach occupational health and safety regulations, risk management, wellness programs, and strategies for ensuring a safe and healthy work environment.
Ethics in the workplace
Ethical decision making, corporate social responsibility, and the importance of ethical leadership in HR management make up the core of master’s in human resources online programs.
Courses in organizational development within a master’s in HR online program focus on change management, shaping organizational culture, promoting employee empowerment, and fostering continuous learning and development.
During their master’s in human resources online, learners study motivation, leadership styles, group dynamics, and team-building strategies, and they subsequently build a greater understanding of human behavior within organizations.
Human resources online master’s programs prepare learners to design and implement performance appraisal systems, goal setting, feedback mechanisms, and performance metrics for continuous work-performance improvement.
In master’s of human resources online programs, learners learn about human resource information systems (HRIS), HR analytics, data-driven decision making, and how to effectively leverage technology for HR processes.
Strategic HR management
Online HR master’s programs teach learners to align HR initiatives with an organization's strategic goals, measure HR's impact, and position HR as a strategic partner in the business.
Employment law and compliance
Courses in master’s of human resources online programs cover various employment laws, including anti-discrimination laws, wage and hour regulations, and family and medical leave policies. Learners also learn about conducting workplace investigations.
Global HR management
In an increasingly globalized world, master’s of human resources online programs help students explore international HR strategies, cross-cultural management, expatriate management, and the complexities of global HR compliance.
To learn human resources, professionals rely on master’s of human resources online programs to teach them the knowledge, skills, and ethical principles they need to excel in HR leadership roles, contribute to organizational success, and navigate the dynamic and complex world of human resources.
If you’d like to specifically learn management before enrolling in an online master’s in human resources, it might be worthwhile to look first into any of the available HR executive education programs online. For a more robust understanding of operating an organization, professionals may also choose to learn business administration before applying for a specialized online HR master’s degree.
Human resource careers
What can you do with a human resources degree? The range of potential human resource careers covers many industries, and specific job titles may differ depending on the organization.
Careers in human resource include roles like:
In this role, professionals including those with an online human resources master’s degree oversee the HR department, develop HR strategies, and ensure compliance with labor laws and company policies.
Talent acquisition manager
Professionals in this particular human resource career path recruit top talent by developing recruitment strategies, conducting interviews, and leading hiring efforts.
Compensation and benefits manager
A human resource career in the role of compensation and benefits manager focuses on the design and management of compensation and benefits programs, and in ensuring competitive and attractive packages for employees.
Employee relations specialist
This particular human resource career path focuses on managing workplace conflicts, mediating disputes, and promoting positive employee-employer relationships.
Training and development manager
Graduates of online master’s in human resources programs have the skills to create training programs to enhance employee skills and support career growth within their organization.
Organizational development consultant
An online master’s degree in human resources may equip its learners with the skills they need to work on initiatives meant to improve organizational effectiveness, including change management and leadership development.
HR information systems (HRIS) manager
Graduates of master’s in HR online programs who embark on this human resource career path manage HR technology systems to help ensure efficient data management and reporting.
Diversity and inclusion manager
Professionals who work in this human resource career path are responsible for fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace by developing strategies and programs that promote diversity and equity.
Labor relations specialist
Graduates of online master’s in HR programs who later pursue this particular human resource career path handle negotiations with labor unions, interpret labor contracts, and address labor-related issues.
Employee development specialist
Professionals in careers in human resource that focus on individual growth help create personalized development plans and training programs for employees within their organization.
An online master’s degree in human resources program can also prepare its candidates to deliver training programs to employees and to help employees acquire new skills and knowledge.
Change management specialist
Specialists on this human resource career path guide organizations through periods of change, ensuring smooth transitions and employee buy-in.
HR policy analyst
Professionals in careers in human resources centered around the research, development, and updating of HR policies and procedures — often called HR policy analysts — help to ensure legal compliance and alignment with best practices.
Frequently asked questions
With a master’s in HR, you can pursue various careers in human resource and related fields, including roles such as HR manager, talent acquisition specialist, compensation and benefits manager, employee relations specialist, and HR consultant. This advanced degree equips you with the skills and knowledge you need for leadership positions, strategic HR roles, and other specialized human resource careers.
The duration of an online program can vary by institution, but it generally takes around 1.5 to 2 years to complete. Candidates may be given the opportunity to complete a 1-year online master’s in human resources by applying transfer credits at accepting institutions or by enrolling in an accelerated program.
It depends on your career goals, current employment, and industry demand. A master’s in HR can be valuable for human resource career advancement and increased earning potential; it can also be highly valuable when starting a career in HR altogether.
The answer depends on your career goals and interests. An online MBA or an on-campus MBA program offers broad business knowledge and flexibility, suitable for leadership roles in various fields. Meanwhile, an online master’s in HR provides specialized expertise in human resources, ideal for HR-focused career advancement.
The main difference lies in the scope and specialization of the degrees. An MBA provides a broader education in business management, suitable for various leadership roles across industries. In contrast, an online HR master’s degree prepares professionals for work in the field of human resources, a crucial component of any business or organization.
Professionals interested in working in HR may need at least a bachelor's degree in HR, business administration, or a related field. However, for more advanced roles and specialized positions with HR, they may need to complete an on-campus or an online master’s of human resources management.