Top Online Master's in Human Resources

Become a leader who understands people, processes, and culture. Earn your master's in human resources online and advance your career today.

Published February 8, 2024

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Human resources (HR) leaders oversee all aspects of employee relations, including recruitment, onboarding, training, policymaking, coaching, and termination. Although the field of human resources came into existence in the early 20th century as part of the Industrial Revolution, the industry's role and scope have changed dramatically in the recent past.

Post-COVID, HR has assumed a prominent role in corporate leadership. Work-from-home policies, hybrid workers, and accessible data dashboards are all expanding, and HR is often the team developing and managing policies around these changes. In addition, HR leaders typically help shape and nurture corporate culture, including fast-growing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Earning a master's in human resources can be your ticket to a rewarding and influential career in this field. Explore the guide below to learn more about top online HR degrees, what you can do with a master's in this area, and how to get started as a graduate student.

Online Master’s in Human Resources

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Colleges With an Online Master's in Human Resources Programs

Colleges With an Online Master's in Human Resources Programs
School Location Student Population
Claremont Lincoln University Claremont, California 220
Colorado State University Global Aurora, Colorado 9,565
Excelsior University Albany, New York 15,833
Johnson & Wales University Online Providence, Rhode Island 2,505
National University San Diego, California 11,578
Ottawa University Online Ottawa, Kansas 224
Pennsylvania State University World Campus University Park, Pennsylvania 13,979

Colorado State University Global

CSU-Global offers a 36-credit online master's in human resource management. Students take 24 credits of core courses and 12 credits in an area of specialization, such as strategic innovation and change management, organizational learning and performance, or applied business management.

For standard admission, the program requires students to have a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or a graduate degree. Applicants with lower GPAs can apply for conditional admission.

Johnson & Wales University

JWU's online master of science in human resources offers a career-focused curriculum that takes two years to complete. Students enroll in courses such as organizational change management, strategic compensation and benefits, and human resources metrics and statistical research. Each course lasts eight weeks.

Graduates can pursue Professional in Human Resources or Senior Professional in Human Resources certification. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.85 or higher. JWU does not require prospective students to submit GRE scores.

National University

NU offers a master of arts in human resource management recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management. This degree requires 11 courses, including workforce planning, development, and outsourcing; compensation and benefits; and advanced studies in organizational behavior. Each class lasts four weeks, and the program concludes with a project or thesis.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Human Resources Program?

A master's in human resources can provide advanced training that people management professionals can use to improve their companies and boost their careers. A graduate degree can lead entry-level professionals into leadership roles at top-performing companies.

On average, people with graduate degrees earn higher salaries than people with bachelor's degrees. Payscale reports that professionals with a master's in human resources earned an average of $73,000 annually as of October 2023. The average bachelor's-degree-holder brought in $68,000.

Students can choose a traditional master's in human resources that focuses exclusively on designing, developing, and evaluating the elements of an HR department, or they can pursue an MBA in human resources, which features a business leadership core and an HR concentration.

Online Master’s in Human Resources

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Courses in an Online Master's in Human Resources Program

HR Technology and People Analytics: Students explore human resources information systems and applications that capture and analyze employee data. This course also introduces learners to techniques for pulling and using data for compelling storytelling, decision-making, and people analytics.

Talent Acquisition and Development: This course helps students answer the question: How do we attract, retain, and develop qualified talent? Learners discover how to assess talent needs, onboard new hires, and ensure employee excellence through development and coaching.

Managing in a Global Economy: This class explores globalization's transformational impact on the workplace and the workforce. The course introduces students to the tools and techniques they need to manage team members across ethnolinguistic, geo-political borders.

Foundations of Coaching and Coaching Theory: This interdisciplinary course draws from behavioral science, systems thinking, and change management to help students understand coaching frameworks. Students explore neuro-linguistics, adult learning theory, and cognitive behavioral therapy to develop non-clinical approaches to problem-solving.

Quantitative Methods and Metrics for Decision Making: Students learn the quantitative methodologies they need to know to analyze critical business decisions. This course explores real-world scenarios and presents students with the tools and techniques for making effective decisions and analyzing their outcomes.

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Human Resources?

Each school sets its own admissions requirements, which can vary by different types of programs within a single school. In general, however, applicants should be prepared to submit the following:

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • Proof of meeting minimum GPA requirements
  • Resume
  • Statement of purpose
  • GRE or GMAT scores (if applicable)
  • Application fee (if applicable)

What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Human Resources Degree?

Career Outlook

In 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that human resources manager jobs would grow by 5% between 2022 and 2032. The BLS also projected that other HR-related roles would grow at similar rates — slightly faster than the national average.

For aspiring human resources leaders, that's good news. Professionals with strong problem-solving skills, an affinity for empathetic listening, and a solid set of business skills can thrive as HR professionals.

While a bachelor's degree can lead to many career opportunities, a master's in human resources can advance your career into a leadership position. With enough education and experience, you may even serve on the executive leadership team.

Career Paths

Vice President of Human Resources: In a senior-level position, the VP of human resources develops and implements the people and policies portion of a corporate strategic plan. In some companies, this role may occupy an executive suite office under the title of chief human resources officer.

Recruitment Manager: Recruitment managers oversee a company's hiring processes. These professionals may be responsible for developing recruiting procedures, managing the recruitment team, and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and policies.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director: Tasked with building a supporting and inclusive workplace culture, DEI directors measure and monitor diversity within the workplace. They may develop equity resources or address specific issues for employees.

Learning and Development Manager: Learning and development managers create, implement, and evaluate programs that train and track employee growth and learning. They may design courses, manage vendor relationships, and assess corporate training needs.

Director of People and Culture: A director of people and culture generally helps design HR policies, communicates between management and team members, and coaches and supports employees. These professionals may report to the human resources VP or directly to the executive team.

Employment Law Specialist: Practicing attorneys may pursue a master's in human resources to become specialists in employment law. These attorneys address employment discrimination issues in court and mediation.

Online Master’s in Human Resources

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's In Human Resources Programs

Is human resources better than an MBA?

You can earn either a master of arts in human resources or an MBA with a concentration in human resource management. The MA focuses exclusively on talent management, while the MBA emphasizes broad business leadership.

Is it worth it to get a masters in human resources

In October 2023, Payscale reported that the average person with a master's in human resources earned $73,000 annually. The average salary for someone with a bachelor's in human resources was $68,000.

Is there a demand for human resources?

In 2022, the BLS projected that jobs for human resources specialists would grow 6% between 2022 and 2032 -- faster than the average occupation.

What kind of job can I get with a human resources degree?

A human resources degree can position you for a career as a human resources specialist, talent manager, compensation and benefits manager, labor relations specialist, or training and development manager.

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