Human resources (HR) professionals keep organizations running smoothly. They recruit and hire new employees, administer employee benefit plans, and train employees. Every industry relies on human resources professionals, making human resources a versatile career path with many routes to career advancement.
Earning a human resources degree prepares graduates for entry-level roles in a growing field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resources specialists earn a median pay of nearly $62,000 per year and enjoy a strong projected job growth rate from 2019-2029.
During a human resources program, majors learn about topics like the hiring process, compensation and benefits systems, and training and development needs. The degree also emphasizes management skills, which can help professionals move into high-paying roles like human resources manager.
Here, we introduce the best human resources programs. This article also covers career and salary information for human resources jobs, common HR courses, and scholarships for human resources majors.
AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Featured Online Programs
Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.
Human Resources Degree Programs 2021
Our list ranks the best human resources programs to help prospective applicants find the right fit to reach their career goals. Our rankings also provide information on the most affordable human resources degrees for students looking for budget-friendly options.
Based in Miami, FIU offers a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in human resource management. Students take courses in business, human resources-specific courses, and a variety of electives.
Students complete 60 credits of general education and elective requirements before moving on to upper-division courses. Notable courses include human resource information systems, managing diversity, happiness at work, and union management relations. Students receive a solid introduction to human resources principles and best practices. They also choose from a variety of business electives.
Students must complete 60 credits of general education core — either at FIU or through another associate degree program — with a minimum GPA of 2.5 to apply to the business school. Students must complete eight business pre-core courses as well.
FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Based in Cullowhee, North Carolina, WCU offers a master of science in human resources. Students complete 36 credits in professional core and topics in human resources online with flexible scheduling. Most students finish in two years or less.
The program begins with human resources research and evaluation methods, human resource development, employee and labor relations, and a field experience with supervision. Notable advanced courses include HR consulting, legal issues in human resources, and organization development. With seminars and training in leadership skills, students leave with an advanced grasp of human resources topics.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 GPA to qualify for admission. Students must also submit GRE scores (minimum 141 quantitative, 150 verbal) to begin the admissions process.
WCU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in Clemson, South Carolina, Clemson offers a master of human resource development. The fully online program allows students to complete 30 credits in convenient eight-week terms. Potential learning outcomes include jobs as human performance improvement consultants, HR generalists, training managers, and organizational development consultants.
Students begin with required courses such as research concepts and skills, concepts of human resource development, and instructional design. Students then choose from two concentrations: athletic leadership or comprehensive human resources development. Concentration course topics include ethical issues in collegiate athletic administration, intercultural workplace learning leadership, and applied research and development.
Students may apply for courses starting in spring, summer, or fall. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to begin the application process. The school does not require standardized tests, but applicants may submit GRE, GMAT, or MAT scores to strengthen an application.
Clemson is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Based in Stony Brook, New York, Stony Brook offers a master of science in human resource management. Students complete 30 credits through ten courses during a year of full-time study or can take one course at a time to finish in just over two years.
All students begin with an introductory course: foundations of human resources. From there, students progress through the curriculum, with course options such as diversity and global issues in the workplace, organizational development and change management, employee relations and labor management, and human relations and workforce planning. Students must also complete a master's project at the end and may opt to take a 45-hour internship for hands-on experience and mentorship in the field.
Learners may apply for one of three start dates per year. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. Stony Brook is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
An Ivy League school based in Ithaca, New York, Cornell offers a master of industrial and labor relations with a concentration in human resource studies. Students complete 48 credits and choose a field advisor to help direct their course of study.
Students begin with required courses in the industrial and labor relations department. These courses include human resource management, labor relations, organizational behavior, and statistical methods for social science. Students then complete six courses specifically for their human resource studies concentration to complete the degree. Learners also take elective courses to handle the breadth of study.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. The school does not specify a minimum GPA requirement and does not require standardized test scores. Cornell is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Career and Salary Outlook for Human Resources
Human resources professionals work in every industry, overseeing the administrative needs of organizations. With an HR degree, graduates can pursue entry-level roles such as human resources specialist. These professionals recruit job candidates, manage employee relations, and hire new employees.
HR professionals can also work as compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists and training and development specialists. These in-demand, growing career paths require strong analytical and interpersonal skills, which HR majors build while pursuing their degree.
With professional experience, human resources specialists can move into supervisory roles such as human resources manager. HR managers oversee the hiring process, manage training and development needs, and coordinate compensation and benefits plans. They also meet with executives to work toward the organization's strategic goals. HR managers earn a median salary of over $116,000 per year, with faster-than-average projected job growth between 2019-2029.
|Career||Lowest 10%||Median Annual Salary||Highest 10%|
|Human Resources Specialists||Less than $37,180||$61,920||More than $105,930|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Accreditation for Human Resources
Prospective HR majors should always research a school's accreditation status before applying. Choosing an accredited degree helps students qualify for professional certifications and licenses, receive federal financial aid, and qualify for graduate programs.
Accredited schools meet high standards for educating students and granting degrees. Regional accreditation remains the gold standard for degree-granting institutions. Regionally accredited colleges and universities boast strong student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and graduation requirements.
Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. Human resources programs often hold programmatic accreditation through the college's business school. Learn more about accreditation through our accreditation guide.
Courses in a Human Resources Program
The best human resources programs build strong analytical and decision-making skills. While earning a human resources degree, majors study topics like human resources management, compensation and benefits planning, and employment law. They also learn how to assess training and development needs, manage the hiring process, and keep organizations running smoothly.
Many programs also let majors specialize their degree through electives. By taking specialized courses in areas like conflict resolution, human resources budgeting, and team-building, majors gain focused knowledge.
While each program sets its own curriculum and requirements, the following list includes courses commonly found in human resources programs.
- Human Resources Management
- Courses in human resources management strengthen leadership and administrative skills. Students learn about the role of human resources in organizations, the responsibilities of HR departments, and the relationship between HR professionals and top executives. The course prepares majors for upper-division courses.
- Compensation and Benefits
- Human resources departments manage employee compensation and benefits plans. This course covers different compensation systems, the legal requirements of benefits plans, and the policy formulation process. Students learn how to analyze salary surveys to set compensation rates, administer benefits plans, and measure the equity of compensation and benefits plans.
- Employment and Labor Law
- Human resources professionals ensure organizations follow employment and labor laws. This course introduces the legal framework for businesses, including employment discrimination protections, equal employment requirements, and reasonable accommodations. Students use case studies and court decisions to study the legal responsibilities of human resources departments.
- Training and Development
- In training and development courses, human resources majors learn to assess an organization's training needs, design programs to meet those needs, and implement training and development programs. Topics also include employee development evaluations, adult learning techniques, and training methods. Instructors may use case studies, simulations, and team projects to build training and development skills.
- Employee Selection
- Courses on employee selection introduce learners to the process of hiring employees and evaluating job candidates. Students explore topics like psychological assessments and methods for selecting candidates. The course prepares graduates for decision-making roles in hiring, recruitment, candidate assessment, and employee retention.
Scholarships for Human Resources
Human resources majors can take advantage of scholarships to help pay for their degree. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment. Professional associations, private foundations, and local organizations all offer scholarships for human resources degree-seekers. In addition to the following scholarships, prospective HR majors can research opportunities based on their school, state, or career goals.