Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs of 2022

Our higher education experts have ranked the best online master's in human resources programs. Read on to learn more about the best programs, career options for graduates, and what to expect in terms of salary.

portrait of Staff Writers
by Staff Writers

Published on December 22, 2021 · Updated on June 27, 2022

Share this Article

BestColleges.com 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.

Ready to start your journey?

Prospective students interested in an online master's in human resources may already work in the human resource or business field, while others may want to begin a new human resources career. Regardless of a learner's career experience, a master's in HR prepares graduates for leadership human resources roles within organizations both large and small.

HR professionals tend to be excellent communicators who are skilled in conflict resolution and thrive when working closely with people.

Whether a student wants to augment their resume or increase their earning potential, a human resources master's degree provides specialized skills. It may be especially appealing to learners interested in managerial roles. In addition to expanding job options, online programs offer working professionals the flexibility they need to juggle academic, professional, and personal obligations.

Read on to learn more about online master's in human resources programs and compare offerings between our sponsored human resources programs.

Top 5 Online Graduate Schools for Human Resources

Accredited University Rank Quick School Facts Tuition Cost (Per Credit Hour)

#1. Georgetown University

Washington, District of Columbia

  • Program Offered: Master's in Human Resources Management
  • Credits to Graduate: 33 credits
  • Admissions Rate: 14%
  • Graduate Rate: 95%
  • Online Enrollment: 15%
  • In State: $1,483
  • Out-of-State: $1,483

#2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California

  • Program Offered: Master's in Human Resources Management
  • Credits to Graduate: 33 credits
  • Admissions Rate: 11%
  • Graduate Rate: 92%
  • Online Enrollment: 17%
  • In State: $2,035
  • Out-of-State: $2,035

#3. Northcentral University

La Jolla, California

  • Program Offered: Master's in Human Resources Management
  • Credits to Graduate: 30 credits
  • Admissions Rate: n/a
  • Graduate Rate: n/a
  • Online Enrollment: Hybrid
  • In State: $989
  • Out-of-State: $989

#4. Boston University

Boston, Massachusetts

  • Program Offered: Master's in Human Resources Management
  • Credits to Graduate: 48 credits
  • Admissions Rate: 19%
  • Graduate Rate: 88%
  • Online Enrollment: 10%
  • In State: $2,440
  • Out-of-State: $2,440

#5. Florida International University

Miami, Florida


Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

  • Program Offered: Master's in Human Resources Management
  • Credits to Graduate: 38 credits
  • Admissions Rate: 19%
  • Graduate Rate: 88%
  • Online Enrollment: 10%
  • In State: $920
  • Out-of-State: $920

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

Online master's in human resources programs offer the flexibility that many working professionals need to navigate personal, academic, and professional obligations. Graduate students can typically complete the required 30-40 credits in around two years, although some programs offer accelerated tracks that only take a year.

Coursework varies depending on the specific program, but some HR master's programs offer concentrations in recruiting and staffing, compensation and benefits, and employment law. MBA and finance master's programs also offer concentrations in human resources.

Human resources experts tend to be effective communicators. While writing training manuals, giving presentations, and interviewing future employees, HR professionals rely on strong writing and speaking skills. Additionally, human resources professionals often display strong conflict resolution skills and help resolve many of the issues that employees experience on the job.

"As an HR professional, you have to wear many hats. You're an advocate of the workforce and an advisor to the company. In this field you have to be able to build relationships and gain trust on every level of the organization," says Eryn Gregory, an SHRM-CP HR business partner with an MBA in human resource management.

"Conflict resolution is also a big one, as oftentimes you find yourself playing the role of a counselor/coach very often. HR professionals are also leaders in their company, and tend to work very closely with other leaders from every department."

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

Best Online MBA Programs Best Online Master's in Behavioral Psychology Programs Best Online Master's in Communication

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Human Resources Program?

Courses offered during an online human resources master's program vary depending on the school. However, most programs cover similar core topics. Read on to learn more about common courses in human resources master's programs.

Human Resources Strategy

This course explores the essential role HR managers play in an organizational structure. Students develop an understanding of human potential along with human and social capital. Coursework analyzes the complex nature of HR decisions and how they affect productivity within an organization.

Organizational Culture and Employee Outcomes

Preparing learners to create and manage organizations where people perform their best, this course examines the factors that influence the development of human and social capital. Students look at the impact of leadership on organizational culture, develop tools to create staff trust, and build a toolkit to implement HR best practices.

Leadership in Human Resources

This course encourages learners to develop the critical social intelligence skills required to lead people within an organization. Students assess the skills and behaviors of effective leaders, build the skills needed to lead change and overcome resistance from staff, and construct strategic plans for leadership development through assessments and simulations.

Talent Management

Through an exploration of talent management methods that impact employee experiences, students learn to develop and coach employees, improve HR approaches through data-driven resources, and create a talent pipeline to help reach organizational goals. Students also explore how organizations identify potential leaders while creating a succession pipeline.

Human Resources Information Systems

This course focuses on the different systems at play within workplaces and human resources management systems. Through an evaluation of leading HR performance tools, students examine the value of cloud-based tools and how human resources has evolved into a technology-based profession.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

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

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

Scholarships for Business Majors Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online College Students Your Guide to Going Back to College

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

Admission requirements for online master's in human resources programs vary by institution, but typically include similar components across institutions. Online and campus-based requirements typically mirror one another, though online programs may have some additional technical requirements.

Some schools require learners to possess an undergraduate business or related degree to meet prerequisite requirements, so review individual application components carefully. Particularly competitive programs may also require an interview. We look at common components below.

Application

The application typically serves as the first step in the admission process and requires learners to provide basic demographic information such as their full name, address, date of birth, and citizenship status. Most schools allow students to submit online college applications these days as opposed to paper versions.

Test Scores

Some online master's in human resources programs may require applicants to provide GRE or GMAT scores, though some institutions have dispensed with this requirement in recent years.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation can help admissions professionals see a different side of the candidate. Schools typically request letters of recommendation from previous or current professors, supervisors, internship managers, or other individuals who can speak to a student's preparedness for graduate study.

Resume and Work Experience

Some online master's in human resources programs require learners to possess relevant professional experience prior to enrolling. Students should prepare a resume outlining their work experience along with a cover letter, if requested.

Essays

Essays offer the opportunity for prospective learners to talk about how previous personal, academic, and professional experiences have shaped them and what they can bring to the program. Some schools provide essay prompts, while others ask students to write a personal statement or narrative that best conveys their motivations and aspirations.

Official Transcripts

Official transcripts both provide information on whether the student has met all prerequisite course and GPA requirements. In the case of learners transferring from one master's in human resources program to another, transcripts can help your new program determine which existing credits will transfer.

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

Career Outlook

Students who earn an online master's in human resources develop specialized HR skills, preparing them to pursue advanced leadership positions. Common titles include HR manager, information systems manager, and compensation and benefits manager. From 2020-2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 9% job growth for human resources managers.

"HR is going to be needed now more than ever," says Gregory. "We've gone a long way from being seen as admin tasks. Every company is going to need an HR advisor sitting at the table with its leaders. Especially as industries grow to focus on important matters like diversity and inclusion, adjusting to trends like remote working and being more competitive with benefits and employee wellness programs.

"I predict more companies focusing on initiatives like these and building out their HR teams with professionals who specialize in areas that are key to their strategic vision."

While many human resources careers only require candidates to have a bachelor's degree, human resources leadership roles often benefit from the additional training and expertise gleaned from a master's in human resources program.

Learn more about human resources careers, and see where a master's in human resources can take you.

Career Paths

Human Resources Specialist

Human resources specialists work within organizations to recruit, interview, and place new hires. Working closely with management, these HR professionals identify employment needs, conduct applicant interviews, and communicate with applicants regarding job details, benefits, and responsibilities. These professionals also maintain employment records and process paperwork.

Median Annual Salary: $63,490

Compensation and Benefifts Manager

Compensation and benefits managers plan and develop payment programs for employees while also setting pay and benefits structures. These HR professionals closely monitor competitive wage rates, modify compensation plans, and communicate with benefits vendors, insurance companies, and investment managers. Benefits managers also prepare budgets while ensuring that benefits plans adhere to federal and state regulations.

Median Annual Salary: $125,130

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers plan and direct administrative functions. These HR professionals assess the best use of employee talent, plan and oversee benefits programs, and manage recruitment and the hiring process as a whole. HR managers also advise on a wide variety of human resources issues, including sexual harassment and equal employment opportunity.

Median Annual Salary: $121,220

Labor Relations Specialist

Labor relations specialists evaluate labor contracts and consider issues like wages, healthcare, and pensions. These professionals work closely with management to assess worker grievances and disciplinary measures, mediate meetings between management and labor, and meet with union representatives. Labor specialists also investigate labor complaints and create training procedures for labor relations.

Median Annual Salary: $73,240

Training and Development Specialists

Training and development specialists create and oversee employee training programs to improve skills, knowledge, and productivity. These HR professionals create metrics to assess an organization's training needs while interviewing employees and managers. Also responsible for creating training manuals and online learning modules, these HR professionals monitor training costs, schedule employee classes, and evaluate the efficacy of training programs.

Median Annual Salary: $115,640

Human Resources Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Business Administration Careers Communications Careers Business Management Careers

Continuing Education

After completing an online master's in human resources program, some students may decide they want to work towards additional education. These professionals can select from two routes: a Ph.D. or a DBA (doctor of business administration). The Ph.D. focuses more on building skills needed for academic and/or research positions, while the DBA focuses more on the business skills required for top business management positions.

Learners can also choose from a wide variety of professional certifications offered by organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management.

How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Human Resources Program?

Cost

CollegeBoard found that public schools charged an average of $8,950 for master's degrees during the 2020-2021 academic year, while private institutions averaged $29,670 for the same timeframe. In general, attending a public university as a resident student will result in the lowest tuition rates, but learners should make sure they understand true program costs. They should also consider differences between online and campus-based programs.

Program Format

Online master's in human resources programs often offer either asynchronous or synchronous learning options. Students seeking more flexibility typically opt for the asynchronous format. In terms of timelines, students can often pick either a part-time or full-time schedule. Some schools also provide accelerated degrees for motivated learners.

Location

If an online master's in human resources requires any in-person components, students should probably choose a program reasonably close to their place of residence. If they find a fully online option, learners have the freedom to select a school thousands of miles away. Degree-seekers should make sure they understand the requirements of online vs. campus-based study before enrolling.

Accreditation

Making sure that you select an accredited program is one of the most important steps a prospective learner can take. Students should look for universities that hold regional accreditation at the institutional level. Some MBAs with human resources concentrations may also hold programmatic accreditation.

Student Support

Student support services can make the difference between a good and great graduate school experience. The best programs connect students with industry mentors and offer opportunities to take on dynamic internships. Learners should fully understand what student services entail and where to find these as an online degree-seeker.

2022 Best Accredited Online Master's in Human Resources Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

#1 Online College in District of Columbia

Georgetown University

School Information
Location Washington, District of Columbia
Admission Rate 14%
Graduation Rate 95%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,483
Out of State | $1,483

Credits to Graduate
33

Georgetown's online master's in human resources management emphasizes creative and critical thinking for driving organizational change. The curriculum features five focus areas. These include strategic human capital management, global human resources management, and HR analytics and technology. The program concludes with a capstone.

This degree aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management's latest curriculum guidelines. The program prepares students for careers in staffing, recruitment, or talent acquisition. Admission requires an undergraduate degree.

#2 Online College in California

University of Southern California

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 92%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $2,035
Out of State | $2,035

Credits to Graduate
24

USC's online master's in human resource management lays the foundation of core human resources principles. Learners explore the full spectrum of people management. The curriculum includes 12 courses that students can complete in either one or two years.

Courses include change management and organizational development. Enrollees also study human resources analytics and total rewards. Applicants need a bachelor's degree. Students may begin in the fall, spring, or summer.

#3 Online College in California

Northcentral University

School Information
Location La Jolla, California
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Hybrid | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $989
Out of State | $989

Credits to Graduate
30

NCU's online master of human resource management covers the foundational theories and concepts of human resources. Students learn how to make a positive impact in the field. This program requires 10 courses, which take about 16 months to complete. 

Specialization options include project management, public administration, and global business management. Learners may also specialize in general human resource management or management of virtual organizations. Applicants can usually begin the program within 30 days of applying.

#4 Online College in Massachusetts

Boston University

School Information
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 19%
Graduation Rate 88%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $2,440
Out of State | $2,440

Credits to Graduate
48

BU's online master's in human resources management teaches enrollees how to manage change and improve productivity in corporate settings. The program requires seven core business courses, four courses in human resources, and a single elective. Students must demonstrate math proficiency through a tutorial.

Applicants who hold a certified employee benefit specialist designation may reduce their course load by four courses. Applicants submit transcripts and recommendation letters.

#5 Online College in Florida

Florida International University

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $920
Out of State | $920

Credits to Graduate
38

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

FIU's online master of science in human resource management trains HR leaders to shape corporate culture. Students take courses as part of a cohort. They move through two courses in every eight-week block. Courses include human resource analytics and wellness management. 

The 12-month program aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management's guidelines. Applicants need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA in upper-level courses. They also need at least five years of work experience.

#6 Online College in Colorado

Colorado State University-Global Campus

School Information
Location Aurora, Colorado
Admission Rate 99%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $500
Out of State | $500

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs

CSU-Global's online master's degree in human resource management prepares students for leadership roles in human resources. Enrollees build legal, ethical, and psychological knowledge throughout the program. Learners complete 24 credits of core courses and 12 specialization credits. 

Core courses include foundations of business and strategic labor relations. CSU-Global offers 17 specializations for this degree. Applicants need an undergraduate degree and a 3.0 GPA.

#7 Online College in California

Touro University Worldwide

School Information
Location Los Alamitos, California
Graduation Rate 100%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $500
Out of State | $500

Credits to Graduate
36

TUW offers an online MBA with a concentration in human resources management. The program prepares enrollees for leadership roles in modern work environments. This online master's in human resources requires nine core courses. Learners also complete a capstone along with two concentration courses. 

TUW offers 10 concentration options for this degree. Students can complete the degree in one year. Applicants need a bachelor's degree and a 2.5 GPA.

#8 Online College in Pennsylvania

Villanova University

School Information
Location Villanova, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 28%
Graduation Rate 90%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,035
Out of State | $1,035

Credits to Graduate
36

Villanova's master of science in human resource development emphasizes evidence-based HR practices. Students take courses such as HR analytics and employment law. Courses run in eight-week blocks over two years.

The program requires a capstone and nine elective credits. Applicants need a bachelor's degree and a 3.0 GPA. They also need an acceptable GRE or GMAT score.

#9 Online College in California

Golden Gate University-San Francisco

School Information
Location San Francisco, California
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 67% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online or Hybrid | Self-Paced and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,090
Out of State | $1,090

Credits to Graduate
27

GGU's master of science in human resource management trains HR professionals to develop and lead a productive workforce. The curriculum aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management. Learners complete courses such as total compensation, ethics of managing people at work, and workforce trends.

Students in this online master's in human resources program can pursue an internship in lieu of one course. Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.

#10 Online College in New York

Excelsior College

School Information
Location Albany, New York
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $695
Out of State | $695

Credits to Graduate
33

Program Information
Program Accreditation | International Accreditation Council for Business Education

Excelsior's online MBA includes a concentration in human resource management. Enrollees complete 24 credits of core courses and nine credits in the concentration. Students choose one course from each of three categories, including total rewards, maintaining high performance, and staffing and development.

Learners can complete this master's in human resources in one year. Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or a school accredited by an agency in the Department of Education's database of accredited programs. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Human Resources

Is a master's in human resources worth it?

An online master's in human resources provides graduates with the tools needed to take on leadership roles. Having a master's in human resources can lead to more job offers and increased earning potential, making this degree well worth it for many graduates.

What can I do with a master's in human resources?

An online master's in human resources is a specialized degree aimed at individuals interested in leadership and other specialized roles. These programs provide the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to become effective human resources leaders. Many organizations rely on experienced, trained, and knowledgeable HR professionals.

Is it better to get a master's in human resources or an MBA in human resources?

An MBA in human resources provides a strong core of business classes, with additional coursework. Alternatively, a human resources master's degree is more specialized, catering to HR professionals working in the field and students seeking a career in HR.

How much money can I make with a master's in human resources?

As with any career, salaries vary from job to job and depend largely upon the organization and a worker's past experience and education. According to the BLS, human resources specialists earned a median annual salary of $63,490 in 2020, while training and development specialists made a median annual salary of $62,700.

What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with a master's in human resources?

A master's in human resources uniquely prepares graduates for leadership roles in the field. Management positions within human resources typically pay the best. According to the BLS, human resources managers ($121,220) and compensation and benefits managers ($125,130) both earned high median wages in 2020.

Interview from:

Portrait of Eryn Gregory

Eryn Gregory

I am a self-driven and passionate SHRM-CP HR business partner with an MBA in human resource management. I've worked in various positions in the field of HR which have helped mold me to be a well-rounded HR professional. I currently manage the HR responsibilities for a midsized company in the healthcare industry. In my down time I'm spending time with my beautiful little girl, cooking, and binge watching my favorite shows!

Preferred Pronouns: She/Her

Have a Question About College?

In our Ask a College Advisor series, experienced advisors provide an insider look at the college experience by answering your questions about college admissions, finances, and student life.

BestColleges.com 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.

Compare your school options.

View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.