Best Online Human Resources Master's Degrees

By the OnlineU team | Updated 2/22/2021

As the backbone of most mid-size and large business operations, the human resources department provides a positive workplace environment that helps the organization run efficiently and effectively. Human resources professionals are primarily responsible for recruiting and hiring talent, developing compensation and benefits programs, and resolving issues that help retain great employees. Graduates with master’s in human resources degrees will find the advanced business knowledge and leadership skills they acquire will most likely open the door to better-paying employment opportunities.

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Online Master’s in Human Resources with the Highest Return on Investment

2021 Best Online Colleges Offering Master's Degrees in Human Resources Badge

Below are the top online master’s degrees in human resources ranked by their return on investment (ROI). We calculated ROI based on estimated 10-year alumni earnings after paying off student debt to help students determine which programs may be the most profitable in the long term. Pepperdine University has the highest ROI of $1,192,800, which is $601,600 more than the average ROI for all online and in-person programs.

ROI amounts are based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education. Tuitions are manually researched in order to determine tuition amounts specific to online degrees. Read our methodology for more details.

RankSchool Annual Tuition Median Starting Salary Median Debt 10-year ROI
# 1 #1 $52,320 $124,590 $72,160 $1,192,800
# 2 #2 $46,869 $115,339 $36,111 $1,142,400
# 3 #3 $22,714 $97,628 $29,000 $969,000
# 4 #4 $7,840 $89,424 $49,200 $859,300
# 5 #5 $18,630 $85,918 $34,255 $841,900
# 6 #6 $15,260 $79,598 $32,750 $778,700
# 7 #7 $24,497 $82,756 $62,260 $774,400
# 8 #8 $33,123 $81,031 $80,350 $734,100
# 9 #9 $15,708 $74,637 $41,000 $717,300
# 10 #10 $12,060 $72,881 $38,870 $701,900
# 11 #11 $9,000 $68,264 $39,729 $653,300
# 12 #12 $35,300 $68,219 $41,000 $651,300
# 13 #13 $13,500 $63,921 $32,849 $617,200
# 14 #14 $30,030 $64,659 $41,000 $614,600
# 15 #15 $8,475 $61,814 $20,000 $611,500
# 16 #16 $11,934 $63,749 $36,288 $611,100
# 17 #17 $11,880 $63,005 $39,378 $599,600
# 18 #18 $27,390 $63,005 $41,000 $597,600
# 19 #19 $30,000 $61,728 $35,333 $591,500
# 20 #20 $14,875 $62,260 $42,910 $587,500
# 21 #21 $23,360 $62,260 $47,833 $581,400
# 22 #22 $8,550 $58,221 $26,500 $566,400
# 23 #23 $13,826 $59,288 $39,020 $561,800
# 24 #24 $35,000 $59,350 $42,835 $557,700
# 25 #25 $11,466 $59,011 $40,468 $557,100

Best Master's Degrees in Human Resources Rankings Details

#1

Pepperdine University

Malibu (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $1,192,800
  • Median Salary: $124,590
  • Annual Tuition: $52,320
  • Median Debt: $72,160

The online Master of Science in Human Resources degree from the Graziadio Business School at Pepperdine University incorporates topics in human resource management and business practices. Students prepare for leadership roles in strategic planning for businesses and other organizations. The curriculum covers accounting, talent management, leadership, ethics, legal issues, and digital... platforms used in human resource management. Although the coursework is completed online, the program also includes two immersion experiences in the Los Angeles area. The 14-course program requires 39 units to complete. The degree can be completed in one year on an accelerated schedule, or students can study part-time and complete it in two years.

Online learning includes weekly meetings with classmates and instructors in real-time, and students participate in group activities, chats, polls, and surveys. The program also includes web-based videos and class recordings, chats, polls and surveys, and round-the-clock access to coursework as needed. Graduates have access to a host of career resources, including executive coaching, job boards, virtual networking events, and an alumni network.

Applications can be completed and submitted online. Web-based resources in academic advising, writing assistance, and technical support are available for all remote students.

Cost per Credit: $2,180
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: WSCUC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 813

#2

Cornell University

Ithaca (NY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $1,142,400
  • Median Salary: $115,339
  • Annual Tuition: $46,869
  • Median Debt: $36,111

Cornell University offers an online Executive Master of Human Resource Management (EMHRM) degree, instructing students in employment, labor, disability, human resources, management, leadership, and business. This 15-month program requires students to complete residential experiences in their second year. Students are also required to complete a case project in semesters two, four,... and five.

Students taking classes online at Cornell use the Canvas learning management system. Students have access to the school's financial aid office and advisors. Veteran students may be eligible for reduced tuition. Cornell also offers a web portal for veteran students to connect with the school’s military community. Online students also have access to the Cornell Career Services office.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications and necessary information online. Services available to online students include academic advising, career development, remote library services, and more.

School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: MSCHE
Graduate Online Enrollment: 204

#3

Texas A&M University-College Station

College Station (TX)
  • 10-Year ROI: $969,000
  • Median Salary: $97,628
  • Annual Tuition: $22,714
  • Median Debt: $29,000

Texas A&M University offers a 37-credit hour online Master of Science in Educational Human Resource Development. The program focuses on training and development, strategic planning, evaluation models, research and development, adult learning, career development, applied theoretical foundations, and change theory. Graduates are prepared for positions as trainers, administrators,... consultants, and directors in the human resource field.

Online students can attend group classes via video conference and have access to lectures, course work, and faculty from the internet. Students may choose between a completely asynchronous path and one that incorporates onsite learning. If desired, students can earn their degrees entirely through Texas A&M’s online platform and can receive and submit all of their assignments via the internet. Students can work directly with the university to secure scholarships and financial aid via its Division of Enrollment & Academic Services.

Spring and fall programs are available, with application deadlines in August and December. Applicants may complete their applications online or contact the university to complete and mail the necessary forms. Once enrolled, students have access to online library resources, tutors, and IT support.

School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: SACS COC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 927

#4

University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign

Champaign (IL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $859,300
  • Median Salary: $89,424
  • Annual Tuition: $7,840
  • Median Debt: $49,200

The University of Illinois (U of I) offers an online, 48-credit hour Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations (MHRIR) and 32-credit hour Master of Education in Human Resource Development (HRD). The MHRIR program focuses on employment relations systems, collective bargaining, the economics of human resources, managing diversity, and statistics. In contrast, the HRD program... covers topics in education, work analysis, organizational development, project management, facilitation skills, and HRD strategy.

The MHRIR and HRD programs provide a blended learning experience with the ability to complete projects remotely on a set schedule. Students have the opportunity to meet face to face with faculty and classmates if they desire. Both programs can be accessed through the Illinois Compass 2G online learning management system. This system allows students to receive and complete assignments, access course materials, connect with faculty, and track their progress and grades. Discussion boards also allow students to communicate with each other and participate in group assignments over the internet. The U of I’s Office of Student Financial Aid helps students find ways to manage tuition costs. Opportunities for scholarships, grants, and financial aid may be available for online students.

Application deadlines for each semester are in November, April, and July, and applicants may create an account and apply online. Online students have access to the school library, career coaching, and tutoring services.

Cost per Credit: $490
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: HLC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 4,348

#5

Villanova University

Villanova (PA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $841,900
  • Median Salary: $85,918
  • Annual Tuition: $18,630
  • Median Debt: $34,255

Villanova University's online Master of Science in Human Resource Development program provides a broad overview of the human resource field. The curriculum consists of ten courses that cover critical evaluation and research writing, financial and human capital, employment law, management of talent, training, and organizational development. A capstone project must also be completed... to graduate. Working professionals can finish the program in about two years, but students have up to four years. A graduate certificate can be earned simultaneously within the degree program (no additional credits) or as a stand-alone credential.

The online program features the same faculty and curriculum as the on-campus version. Students must attend one virtual evening class per week. A total of 36 credits are needed to complete the degree, but students with specific work or educational experience may be able to waive six credits of prerequisites. Veteran and active-duty military members are eligible for significant tuition savings and other benefits.

Classes start every eight weeks. Applications can be submitted online, and an enrollment services representative will help students through the process. Online students have access to academic support, writing and research assistance, technical support, and career counseling.

Cost per Credit: $1,035
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: MSCHE
Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,435

#6

Golden Gate University

San Francisco (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $778,700
  • Median Salary: $79,598
  • Annual Tuition: $15,260
  • Median Debt: $32,750

Golden Gate University (GGU) offers an online Master of Business Administration-Human Resource Management and Master of Science in Human Resource Management (MSHRM). The MSHRM program focuses strongly on workforce trends, learning and development in the workplace, ethics, technology, and workplace law. The average class size for this program is 17 students. GGU’s curriculum for... the 27-unit program meets the requirements of the Society for Human Resource Management. Graduates will know how to effectively manage the needs of workers while meeting the expectations of managers and shareholders.

The MSHRM program is a blended learning experience. Students have the option to take an internship for credit. They also have access to faculty who are HR professionals. Military and veteran students may qualify for special grants and are provided with assistance in obtaining financial aid. GGU accepts eligible transfer credit from other academic institutions.

Prospective students can apply online for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Distance learners at GGU have access to advising, tutoring, wellness services, and career resources.

Cost per Credit: $1,090
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: WSCUC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 629

#7

Georgetown University

Washington D.C.
  • 10-Year ROI: $774,400
  • Median Salary: $82,756
  • Annual Tuition: $24,497
  • Median Debt: $62,260

Georgetown University's Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources Management helps students prepare for management-level roles in human resources (HR). The program blends traditional academics with hands-on experiences such as client engagements and events with experts in the HR field. Georgetown offers full or part-time enrollment. This master's program takes about two... years to complete.

Online students use various tools to access learning materials, video lessons, and interactive activities. The school uses Blackboard and Canvas as its learning management systems, and students may also use Google collaboration tools, TurnItIn, and Zoom. Georgetown's faculty members have expertise in the field, including specialties such as global HR, diversity and inclusion, organizational development, and crisis management. Students can apply for loans to help offset the cost of their education. Georgetown offers special financial aid options for veterans and members of the military through the Yellow Ribbon Program. The school's alumni network hosts networking events and speaking engagements.

Students can apply for this program online, and they can start in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. An admissions recruiter helps students through the process. Resources for online students include online library resources.

Cost per Credit: $1,441
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: MSCHE
Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,142

#8

New York University

New York (NY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $734,100
  • Median Salary: $81,031
  • Annual Tuition: $33,123
  • Median Debt: $80,350

New York University's School of Professional Studies offers an online Master of Science in Human Resource Management and Development degree. Students can select from concentrations in human capital management, organizational effectiveness, global talent management, and executive coaching. Students take eight core courses and one elective. A capstone project featuring a competitive... team endeavor in HR management is required for graduation. Students also have the opportunity to complete an internship for credit.

Online classwork is delivered via the learning management system and includes interactive assignments, quizzes, video-recorded lectures, and required reading. Financial aid is available, including loans, grants, and scholarships. Alumni have established careers with Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Marvel Entertainment, among other employers.

To apply, prospective students should submit an online application. Online learners can take advantage of academic advising, tutoring, NYU library services, and the Wasserman Center for Career Development.

School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: MSCHE
Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,503

#9

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

University Park (PA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $717,300
  • Median Salary: $74,637
  • Annual Tuition: $15,708
  • Median Debt: $41,000

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) offers an online 33-credit hour Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Human Resources and Employment Relations and a 48-credit hour Master of Business Administration (MBA)-Human Resource Management. The MPS program is aligned with the standards set by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Students can choose from concentrations... in benefits and compensation, labor unions, staff training and development, collective bargaining, employment and labor law, ethics and leadership, and international human resources and employment relations in this program. Students must complete a capstone course in their selected concentration. MPS students can participate in a week-long study abroad opportunity in Scotland. MBA students must complete a three-day, on-campus requirement.

Penn State’s online master’s programs offer a blended learning experience that combines flexible online coursework with in-person experiences. Military members may qualify for discounts and special grants. Penn State helps military members and veterans schedule classes around deployments, acquire grants and financial aid, and enroll in classes.

Applications are submitted electronically, and students may apply for the spring, summer, or fall semesters. Online students have access to career coaching, networking opportunities, mentoring, global immersion trips, and more.

Cost per Credit: $924
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: MSCHE
Graduate Online Enrollment: 6,112

#10

Brandman University

Multiple Locations
  • 10-Year ROI: $701,900
  • Median Salary: $72,881
  • Annual Tuition: $12,060
  • Median Debt: $38,870

Brandman University offers two online programs in human resources: a Master of Science in Human Resources and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resources. The MBA program provides students with an understanding of modern business practices related to recruiting, hiring, promoting, and retaining talent. Students will take classes in business administration, business... law, accounting, management, and ethics. The online MBA program requires 36 credits to graduate.

Brandman delivers online MBA courses asynchronously through the Blackboard learning management platform, where students can access course schedules, content, and assignments. Brandman recommends that MBA students pursue several scholarship opportunities to help offset tuition costs, including the NFIB Young Entrepreneur award, which provides $1000 to $10000 based on previous academic excellence; the $500 MBA Insight scholarship for incoming students; and the $1500 CLIA Academic Scholarship. Graduates can pursue leadership positions in human resources administration, management, or finance.

Rolling admissions offer multiple enrollment opportunities each year. Prospective students must submit an online application and related materials at least two weeks before starting their desired course session. Online students have access to resources like an online bookstore, extended education staff who assist with registration, and career counseling.

Cost per Credit: $670
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: WSCUC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 5,782

#11

Colorado State University Global

Greenwood Village (CO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $653,300
  • Median Salary: $68,264
  • Annual Tuition: $9,000
  • Median Debt: $39,729

The online Master in Human Resource Management from Colorado State University (CSU) Global prepares students for various leadership positions within the human resources field. Courses in the program include law and ethics, culture management, policy implementation, and business strategy. Students must complete 48 credits to graduate, at least 24 of which must have been earned at... CSU.

CSU Global uses a Canvas by Infrastructure learning management system to deliver asynchronous coursework to students. All Colorado State University Global students are eligible for scholarships through the CSU Scholarship Application (CSUSA). Scholarships include the First Generation Award, worth up to $16,000, for students whose parents have not attended college and the Alumni Association scholarships for students who demonstrate financial need.

CSU Global has rolling admission and courses that start each month. Online students gain access to one-on-one tutoring, a digital library, career services, and the university writing center.

School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: HLC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 4,422

#12

The George Washington University

Washington D.C.
  • 10-Year ROI: $651,300
  • Median Salary: $68,219
  • Annual Tuition: $35,300
  • Median Debt: $41,000

The George Washington University (GW) offers an online 30-credit hour Master of Human Resources Management. Students are trained in concepts such as inclusion and diversity, employee development, leadership, changes in the workplace, and human performance management. The online program is offered to full-time and part-time students. Courses cover strategic human resource management,... performance management and development, leadership and executive development, critical thinking skills for executive leadership, and more. Students pursuing a dual degree can share up to 21-credit hours between the Master of Human Resources Management program and an MBA or BBA program.

Online courses are asynchronous and include videos, podcasts, live classroom sessions and lectures, group activities, and online discussions via GW’s online learning platform. Those in need of further assistance can communicate directly with faculty members. GW offers extensive financial aid and assistance to military members, veterans, and their families. Students may qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program if they have served in the military or are part of a military family. Applicants may also receive merit-based scholarships and other forms of financial assistance to help with tuition costs.

Prospective students can apply through the GW Student Portal; Applications are considered on a rolling basis. Resources available to online students include library materials, tutoring, career services, and technical support.

Cost per Credit: $1,765
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: MSCHE
Graduate Online Enrollment: 9,314

#13

Rutgers University

New Brunswick (NJ)
  • 10-Year ROI: $617,200
  • Median Salary: $63,921
  • Annual Tuition: $13,500
  • Median Debt: $32,849

Rutgers University offers two online programs in human resources: the Professional Master's in Human Resource Management and the Master of Education (ED.M.) in Adult and Continuing Education - Human Resources Development. THe ED.M degree is intended for those working in non-profit, educational, health care, and corporate environments interested in developing programs for adult learners.... In the 30-credit online program, students will take core courses in adult educational theory, organizational leadership, change management, and designing training for adults. Students in this program can simultaneously complete an online certificate in human resources development that will apply to the total credits required for graduation. A capstone project, which is incorporated in the last two classes, is required for graduation.

Students also can choose between online or hybrid learning options and study part-time. Online courses are offered on the Canvas platform, and students typically complete two courses per semester. The Rutgers Graduate School of Education offers some scholarships for part-time online students and directs students to outside financial aid sources. The School of Education also has an active alumni network of more than 15,500, in addition to the Rutgers Alumni Association.

Students may apply online. Supplemental materials required are a personal statement, undergraduate transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. Rutgers students have access to ten university libraries, and much of their content has been digitized for online access.

Cost per Credit: $900
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: MSCHE
Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,154

#14

University of La Verne

La Verne (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $614,600
  • Median Salary: $64,659
  • Annual Tuition: $30,030
  • Median Debt: $41,000

The University of La Verne offers an online 33-credit hour Master of Science in Leadership and Management (MSLM)-Human Resource Management. Students complete 12-credit hours in the human resource management concentration. Coursework covers human resource analysis, negotiations and bargaining, management, and more. A capstone course and thesis or applied research project is required... for graduation. Most students can receive their degrees within one to three years.

The online MSLM program is asynchronous and allows students to study when convenient. Students can access their lectures and course materials through the university's online learning platform, communicate with staff members and other students via discussion boards, and complete group projects. Professors and other faculty members that instruct the online courses also teach the on-campus versions. La Verne’s Office of Financial Aid provides applicants with access to grants. Military members, veterans, and spouses of military members can receive special tuition discounts.

Applicants can request the information they need to apply from the university online, and programs begin each spring, summer, fall, and winter. Once enrolled, students have access to IT support, career coaching, and a digital library.

Cost per Credit: $910
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: WSCUC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 442

#15

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook (NY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $611,500
  • Median Salary: $61,814
  • Annual Tuition: $8,475
  • Median Debt: $20,000

The online Master of Science in Human Resource Management at Stony Brook University provides students with advanced-level knowledge and competencies in business personnel management. Students can pursue a 30-credit master's degree or a 15-credit graduate certificate. The program includes courses in business foundations, employee relations, labor management, professional development,... and workforce planning.

Most (but not all) of Stony Brook's online course content uses the Blackboard learning management platform for announcements, lectures, assignments, and class documents. While Stony Brook awards many scholarships for undergraduates, graduate-level students may need to seek external awards for tuition assistance. Graduates are prepared for positions in management, talent acquisition, business analysis, employee training, or administration.

Students looking to apply to Stony Brook University will need to complete the application form on the university's website. The deadline for fall admissions is early February, and the deadline for spring admissions is early November. Online students gain access to university resources like advising, the career center, course evaluation, and student counseling.

Cost per Credit: $565
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: MSCHE
Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,174

#16

National University

La Jolla (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $611,100
  • Median Salary: $63,749
  • Annual Tuition: $11,934
  • Median Debt: $36,288

The online Master of Arts in Human Resource Management degree program from National University prepares students for senior management or consultant positions in human resources. Students learn strategies for implementing personnel changes within organizations. The comprehensive curriculum explores legal, ethical, and safety issues; compensation and benefits; and workforce planning,... development, and outsourcing. Optional specialization in organizational leadership provides students with a deeper understanding of how to develop groups and teams, initiate change and adjustments, and manage conflict and power dynamics. Classes are offered in four-week formats. Completion of 54 quarter credits and a thesis is required for graduation.

Online learning is asynchronous and includes assignments, readings, presentations, quizzes, exams, and lectures. The learning management system enables significant interaction with instructors and peers. Founded by a retired U.S. Navy captain, the school offers tuition discounts and other benefits for U.S. Military personnel.

Classes begin during the fall, spring, and summer. Applications can be filled out and submitted online. Remote learners have access to academic support, career guidance, tutoring, and technical assistance.

Cost per Credit: $442
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: WSCUC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 4,497

#17

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

Winona (MN)
  • 10-Year ROI: $599,600
  • Median Salary: $63,005
  • Annual Tuition: $11,880
  • Median Debt: $39,378

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers an online Master of Arts in Human Resources. The 36-credit hour program allows students to earn a degree at their own pace or in two years. Courses adhere to guidelines set by the Society for Human Resource Management. Graduates are prepared to take the SHRM-CP/SCP and PHR/SPHR certifications. The program focuses on conflict management... methods, reward systems, ethics, employee training and management, company planning, budgeting, corporate strategy, and communication. Students have the opportunity to pursue certificates while earning their degrees in finance, health care administration, human resource management, international development, nonprofit management, and project management.

Online courses are asynchronous. Students can communicate with career coaches, tutors, and experienced faculty through the school's online learning platform. Students may qualify for numerous grants and other forms of financial assistance. Saint Mary’s also offers tuition assistance to students employed by companies in the school's corporate partnership program.

Applicants can apply online and have the option of speaking with an enrollment counselor. Once enrolled, students have access to IT support and online library resources.

Cost per Credit: $660
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: HLC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,324

#18

Temple University

Philadelphia (PA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $597,600
  • Median Salary: $63,005
  • Annual Tuition: $27,390
  • Median Debt: $41,000

The Fox School of Business at Temple University offers an online Master of Business Administration-Human Resources and Master of Science in Human Resource Management. The programs focus on preparing students for careers in human resources and cover talent acquisition, reward systems, human resource management strategies, leadership, public policy, and ethics. Each course runs for... five weeks, and students can complete up to three courses per semester. Students also have the opportunity to earn dual credits toward other master’s degree programs.

Online students have access to a web conferencing platform that connects them with faculty members and other students. Students are allowed to complete the programs at their own pace through access to pre-recorded lectures. Financial assistance is available, and students may also qualify for merit-based scholarships. Temple University automatically considers applicants for scholarship and aid programs based on academic achievements.

Spring courses begin in January and February, while summer courses are offered in April and May. Fall courses are flexible, with available start dates in August, September, and October. Applicants may complete the application process over the internet. Once enrolled, students have access to an online library. IT support, career counseling, and tutoring.

Cost per Credit: $1,245
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: MSCHE
Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,195

#19

University of the Incarnate Word

San Antonio (TX)
  • 10-Year ROI: $591,500
  • Median Salary: $61,728
  • Annual Tuition: $30,000
  • Median Debt: $35,333

The School of Professional Studies (SPS) at the University of the Incarnate Word offers an online, 30-credit hour Professional Master of Business Administration (MBA) that can be completed in 10 months. Applicants can choose from concentrations in human resource management, data analytics, or asset management. The MBA program focuses on managerial finance, global strategy, management... of information technology, managing accounting and control systems, regulation, and strategic communications.

The online MBA is completed through the university's online learning platform, where students can access assignments, lectures, and discussion boards. Students can choose from blended or asynchronous learning experiences. Financial assistance is available, and SPS will help applicants fill out the forms needed to apply for grants, scholarships, loans, and federal aid. Military members may qualify for special discounts and can access online tutoring free of charge.

Prospective students must submit an online application to be considered. Online students have access to tutors and guides through Zoom web conferencing.

Cost per Credit: $1,000
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: SACS COC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 605

#20

The University of Scranton

Scranton (PA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $587,500
  • Median Salary: $62,260
  • Annual Tuition: $14,875
  • Median Debt: $42,910

The University of Scranton offers an online Master of Business Administration-Human Resources Management or the Master of Science in Human Resources Management. The programs take approximately two years to complete. The Catholic and Jesuit university is rooted in liberal arts. Classes are taught through the perspective of the Jesuit tradition and a commitment to ethics. With an... MS or MBA in human resources management, students will develop their problem-solving and critical thinking skills and learn about staffing, salary planning, negotiations, and more. For the MS option, a final capstone course is required to graduate. Students take core business courses and four additional HR-related courses for the MBA option. MBA students must also complete a capstone course on business policy to develop, present, and defend their solutions for a real company. After graduation, students will be eligible to apply for the SHRM-CP certification.

Courses are delivered asynchronously via Engage, a learning management tool that hosts assignments and resources in one place. Students stay connected through online discussions, instant messaging, video chat, and more. Students in the MS and MBA programs in human resources management will benefit from networking opportunities and membership to the student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. Graduates of the programs can pursue careers in employee relations, recruiting, training, or benefits.

Applications are accepted online. Students can take advantage of Scranton's career support department, 24/7 technical support, academic assistance, and guidance from student ambassadors.

Cost per Credit: $875
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: MSCHE
Graduate Online Enrollment: 848

#21

University of Denver

Denver (CO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $581,400
  • Median Salary: $62,260
  • Annual Tuition: $23,360
  • Median Debt: $47,833

The University of Denver's online Master of Science in Strategic Human Resources has five concentrations: human capital in organizations, HR employment relations, HR management and development, HR operations and learning and development. Core coursework examines areas such as finance, principles of human resources, and research practices. Each concentration consists of four courses,... and students complete either a capstone project or seminar. A total of 48 credits is required for the degree. Classes run for 10-week terms, and students can finish the program in 24 months. Additionally, the university offers a fully online Master of Science in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in human capital in organizations. This 12-course, 48-credit degree can be completed in 18 months.

Online learning is asynchronous, and students participate in discussion boards, presentations, and group work. Military and veteran scholarships and financial assistance are available.

Applications can be completed and submitted online. There is currently no application fee. Students have access to online academic support, career assistance, technical support, and more.

School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: HLC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,537

#22

Concordia University - Saint Paul

Saint Paul (MN)
  • 10-Year ROI: $566,400
  • Median Salary: $58,221
  • Annual Tuition: $8,550
  • Median Debt: $26,500

Concordia University - Saint Paul offers an online Master of Arts in Human Resource Management. Students will take courses in human resources leadership, finance, strategic thinking, and business regulations. The 36-hour master's degree is offered fully online and in a hybrid format for students interested in face-to-face interactions with instructors and peers.

The university uses... the Blackboard learning management platform to deliver asynchronous online classes. The university provides a wide range of scholarships for incoming students, such as the $2000 Concordia Saint Paul scholarship or the Minnesota Child Care Grant for students with families. Graduates have the skills needed to pursue careers in hiring management, recruiting, consulting, training, and departmental relations.

Students can apply on the university website. Admissions are accepted on a rolling basis and courses start every seven weeks. Online students have access to university resources such as academic advising, student ministry, career development, and the Library Technology Center.

Cost per Credit: $475
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: HLC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,660

#23

Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti (MI)
  • 10-Year ROI: $561,800
  • Median Salary: $59,288
  • Annual Tuition: $13,826
  • Median Debt: $39,020

Eastern Michigan University offers an online Master of Science in Human Resources and Organizational Development, instructing students in organizational theory and behavior, human resource development, employment law, HR and technology, staffing organizations, benefits administration, and more. This program can be completed full- or part-time. Students must complete either three... practicum hours in human resource management/organizational development of a thesis in organizational development. The program takes two years to complete with full-time study.

Online courses are delivered through the Canvas learning management system. Students have access to the school's financial aid office, which provides information on scholarships, loans, and grants. Military students have access to the school's Veteran Services Resource Center and have the opportunity to join the Student Veterans of America.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications and any related materials online. Student services available to those taking online classes at Eastern Michigan University include access to online library resources, IT support, and more.

School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: HLC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 624

#24

Florida International University

Miami (FL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $557,700
  • Median Salary: $59,350
  • Annual Tuition: $35,000
  • Median Debt: $42,835

The online Master of Science in Human Resource Management degree program from Florida International University (FIU) offers a career-focused curriculum covering critical thinking, employment law, strategy and planning, labor issues, and conflict management. Students learn to shape corporate culture and effect organizational change. The eight-week sessions each consist of two courses,... and the 38-credit program can be completed in 12 months.

Online coursework is delivered via the Canvas learning management system. Students can access their online classrooms, complete assignments, use audio and video materials, interact with instructors and fellow students, and reply to message boards. Courses are taught by professors with world-class reputations in the HR industry and have received input from leading industry professionals. Military benefits, financial grants, and scholarships are available.

Online classes begin in August and January. Applications can be filled out and submitted online. Each online student is assigned a success coach for the duration of the program. Technical assistance is also available.

School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: SACS COC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,499

#25

Central Michigan University

Mount Pleasant (MI)
  • 10-Year ROI: $557,100
  • Median Salary: $59,011
  • Annual Tuition: $11,466
  • Median Debt: $40,468

The online Master of Science in Administration - Human Resources Administration from Central Michigan University prepares students for careers in personnel management within organizations. Students will take courses in business skills, statistics, industrial relations, organizational behavior, and personnel evaluation, requiring 30 credit hours to complete the degree.

The Blackboard... learning management system delivers asynchronous coursework. The university awards about $50 million in financial aid annually, including several scholarships, such as the Legacy Award is given to students who have had previous family members attend CM, the non-resident Merit Award is given to out-of-state students with strong academic backgrounds, and the Neighboring Regions Award that is given to Canadian students from Ontario.

Applicants must use Central Michigan University's website to apply for admission for the summer, fall, or spring semesters. Online students have access to resources such as career counseling, the digital library, and the university writing center.

Cost per Credit: $637
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: HLC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,715

Online Master's in Human Resources Overview

Human resources is the branch of an organization that oversees the inner workings of the organization and its employees. The role of a human resources professional encompasses many functions, including recruiting and hiring, orientation and training, compensation and benefits, workplace relations, and retention. Students who wish to pursue a graduate-level degree in HR have two options: an MBA with a concentration in human resources or a master’s of science degree in human resource management. The curriculum for the two degrees may appear to have some overlap, but the MBA will be more generalized in terms of business applications while the MS-HRM will focus fairly narrowly on HR examples, situations, and areas of specialization.

Many master’s programs prepare students to become HR generalists, but some programs require students to focus on a particular aspect of HR, such as diversity and inclusion, benefits and compensation, international HR management, or human capital management.

Most online master's in human resources programs can be completed in one to two years. Students enrolled on a part-time basis may take up to five years to complete their degree. The exact time for completion will depend upon a variety of factors, including the program format, the course load, and whether any credits were transferred into the program.

Requirements

Admission into an online master's in human resources program requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Students applying to an MBA program with a human resources specialization may need a bachelor's degree in business or a related field. Beyond this, criteria will vary by school but may include a minimum GPA, professional experience, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and GRE/GMAT scores. While some programs will request scores, there are online master's in human resources that require no GRE or GMAT scores for admission.

Curriculum

The core of an online master's in human resources program includes advanced courses in human resources and business strategy. General graduate-level business courses will include statistics, performance management, finance, and leadership. Master's in human resources students will also take classes that examine HR topics such as staffing, compensation and benefits, workplace ethics, labor management relations, labor law and procedure, communications and interpersonal relations, organizational leadership, and training.

Many programs also require an internship or a capstone course. The capstone course involves working on a research project to address a human resources problem.

How to Choose an Online Master's in Human Resources Program

When evaluating online master’s in human resources degree programs, students should consider which structure works best for them. Program options include part-time, full-time, fully online, and hybrid programs that incorporate both online and on-campus learning. They should also think about whether their schedule allows for synchronous classes— which must be attended at a designated time—as opposed to asynchronous classes that they can access at their convenience.

Another factor to consider when choosing an online master's in human resources is whether the program offers any concentrations or unique features, such as graduate assistantships, field experiences, or internships. If students are interested in pursuing SHRM certification, choosing a program that is aligned to the SHRM’s curriculum guidelines may also be beneficial.

After evaluating the programs on these criteria, assessing each school's reviews, faculty credentials, and graduation rates can help determine which program will best fit their needs and career goals.

How to Finance an Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree

Students seeking financial aid for their online master’s in human resources degree have several options. Completing a FAFSA application will help students determine which federal student loans and grants may be available to them. Students should also contact their school's financial aid department to determine whether they qualify for any aid offered through their office. Scholarship opportunities may also be available through industry organizations, such as the SHRM, The National Public Employer Labor Relations Association (National PELRA), or through private companies.

How Important is Accreditation for Online Master's in Human Resources Programs?

Prospective online human resources master’s students are encouraged to select an online degree program that has received accreditation from a national or regional accrediting organization recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, particularly from HRCI or SHRM. Accreditation is a comprehensive evaluation process that schools and programs may choose to go through in order to demonstrate they meet established standards of excellence. In the accreditation process, master’s programs are evaluated based on their curricula, faculty members, research programs, and student resources, among other things.

While accreditation is not required for graduates studying human resource management, the designation may add more authority to the student’s resume when applying for jobs. Accreditation may also be beneficial if the student plans to transfer credits to another accredited school or apply for federal financial aid. Most schools and financial assistance programs require applicants to attend an accredited school. To learn more about accreditation, please visit our comprehensive accreditation hu.

What Are the Different Specializations in Human Resources?

Human resources generalists are typically trained to handle all aspects of HR, from identifying the employers’ needs to recruiting and selecting candidates, and from monitoring employee benefits to administering the company payroll. However, it is also possible for HR professionals to specialize in particular aspects of the field, becoming experts in specific areas:

Recruitment: After identifying the organization’s employment needs and developing job descriptions for all of the various roles, a recruitment specialist will find, screen, and interview viable candidates on an ongoing basis. Recruitment specialists often use job postings to recruit potential candidates, but they may also travel to college campuses and job fairs to find and interview candidates. Other tasks related to this role include testing applicants, conducting background checks, and negotiating job offers. Some recruitment specialists may also be responsible for introducing new employees to the organization, a process typically known as “onboarding.”

Compensation and Benefits: Particularly in larger organizations, employee compensation and benefits programs are extensive and complex, which is why they often require specialists in these areas. These professionals are responsible for developing and overseeing an organization’s employment policies and benefits, which generally includes salaries, other forms of compensation, paid time off, 401K or pension programs, and all types of insurance packages. Some organizations are particularly concerned about their employees’ health and welfare, so compensation and benefits specialists may also be called upon to monitor occupational safety and health standards and practices, as well as premium benefits offered to employees, such as food service, recreational activities, childcare and elder-care programs, and counseling services.

Training and Development: HR professionals who particularly enjoy teaching and assisting others in their professional growth may be interested in specializing in training and development. This can translate into working with managers and employee supervisors to develop performance improvement measures, conduct orientation sessions, and arrange on-the-job training, and it can also mean working directly with employees to help them improve and maintain their job skills. Organizations known to invest in their employees’ development often attract more ambitious and motivated employees.

HR Information Systems Management: As in so many other areas of business, organizations are increasingly relying on sophisticated and complex information systems to manage their HR departments. Therefore, there is a need for specialists who have a passion for IT while also understanding the intricacies of HR departments. HRIS analysts typically only need an associate or bachelor’s degree, but to move into management positions, a master’s degree may be required.

Do I Need a Certification for Advancement in the Field of Human Resources?

Graduates of an online master’s in human resources program can pursue additional certifications as an HR professional. These certifications are often a requirement of higher-level human resources positions and can elevate one's earning potential. Some of the most recognized certifications include:

SHRM-CP Certification: This certification demonstrates a superior level of knowledge and skills among early- to mid-career HR professionals. Earning this designation is considered beneficial for HR professionals and their employers.

SHRM-SCP: This senior-level HR certification designates credential holders as experts in the human resources field. The certification is applicable to companies all over the world and in many industries.

Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS): Those who want to specialize in employee benefits can achieve this designation, which confirms that professionals have been trained to guide all facets of an organization’s benefits strategy.

Professional in Human Resources (PHR): This designation, offered through the HR Certification Institute, helps human resources professionals master the technical and operational aspects of HR management.

Frequently Asked Questions for Online Master's in Human Resources Degrees

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

In addition to gaining an in-depth knowledge of the HR field, graduates of a master’s in human resources program will have developed important skills in areas such as research, communication, and leadership. Depending upon their education and experience, they may be prepared for positions in HR management, compensation and benefits management, or training and development management. Most HR managers will work in office environments, although recruitment specialists may have the opportunity to travel to job fairs and college campuses to meet potential candidates.

The advanced skill set acquired through an online master’s in human resources program is useful beyond the realm of HR. Human resources professionals may be well suited for jobs in consulting, corporate training, social and community service management, administrative service management, and many other areas.

How much can I earn with an online master's in human resources?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for human resources specialists is $61,920 as of May 2019. However, HR professionals with more education and experience can work their way up to management positions. At this level, median salaries as of May 2019 were $116,720 for human resources managers, $122,270 for compensation and benefits managers, and $113,350 for training and development managers. Employment in these fields is projected to increase at a rate of approximately 5% through 2028. While competition for these jobs is predicted to be strong, those with a master's degree are expected to have the best prospects.

What is the difference between an MBA with a specialization in HR and an MS-HRM?

According to members of the Society of Human Resource Management, there is some overlap between the two degrees available to graduate students interested in HR—the MBA with a specialization in HR and the master’s of HR management—but they are quite different. Students who are seeking a broader perspective on business in general will probably prefer the MBA program with a concentration in HR. The majority of courses for this degree are advanced business courses, such as management, statistics, finance, accounting, MIS, and marketing. These will be accompanied by three or four elective courses in HR management to meet the requirements for the HR specialization. Students who are intent on pursuing a lifelong career in HR management, however, will probably benefit from the more narrow curriculum of an MS-HRM degree that focuses exclusively on HR management. In this type of program, students will do a deep dive into various aspects of the profession, such as compensation and benefits, international HR, labor relations, labor law, and so forth.

Can I get a doctorate in HR management?

Students who are interested in research and academia may want to consider pursuing a doctoral degree in human resources management. PhD candidates study advanced concepts in HR and conduct original research for their dissertations. They can go on to teach in academia, where they also will most likely continue to conduct research, or they may seek executive-level positions and apply research to solving problems in the field of HR management. Most doctorate programs take two or more years to complete.

Are there industry organizations for HR professionals that I could join?

Joining a professional human resources organization enables graduates to stay up-to-date on industry news and trends and extends their networking opportunities. The following are a few prominent human resources organizations for graduates to consider:

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