Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs 2023

An online master's in human resources can help you double your salary and advance to leadership positions. Check out our list of the best programs.
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  • A master's in human resources can increase your salary potential and advance your career.
  • Graduates can pursue careers in human resources management and top executive positions.
  • The BLS reports that human resource managers made a median annual salary of $127,530.

Is an Online Master's in Human Resources Right for Me?

Pursuing an online master's in human resources isn't a simple choice. It's an ideal path for professionals looking to advance their career, increase their salary, or specialize in their expertise. But if you aren't sure where you want to take your career or can advance in your company without a master's degree, you may not need one.

"If you are self-motivated and disciplined in your approach, the online degree is the right choice for you." Matthew W. Burr, human resources consultant.

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?

Benefits of a Master's in Human Resources

  • Develop specialized expertiseQualify for executive positions
  • Increase earning potentialAdvance your career
  • Develop leadership skillsExpand your professional network
  • Boost your resumeProfessional certification

3 Reasons to Get Your Graduate Degree Online

  1. You want a flexible schedule or accelerated timeline.
  2. You plan to work full time while pursuing the degree.
  3. You're looking for a more affordable option.

Human Resources Programs That Might Interest You

What Is Human Resources?

Human resources is the essential part of a business or organization in charge of managing personnel. A human resources department is typically responsible for hiring and training new employees, managing compensation and benefits, fostering company culture, monitoring employee performance, and other administrative tasks.

"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."

Eryn Gregory, SHRM-CP HR business partner

Top 10 Accredited Online Master's in Human Resources Programs

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#1 Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs 2023

Franklin University

  • Columbus, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $670
Out of State | $670

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission 

Franklin University's online master of science in human resource management shows you how to advance your organization's mission while boosting your career. The curriculum focuses on strengthening your leadership skills, including overseeing employee benefits plans, talent management, and adapting to changing labor laws.  

During FU's 14-month master's program, you can also earn micro-credentials in employee and labor relations, human resource management, or strategic HR leadership. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited college and at least a 2.75 GPA. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,552
Out-of-state
$9,552
Retention Rate
9%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,926
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs 2023

Brenau University

  • Gainesville, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online or Hybrid | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $785
Out of State | $785

Credits to Graduate
39

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Brenau University's MBA program offers 14 concentrations, including one in human resources management. Getting your MBA is a smart move to increase your pay and transition into a leadership or management role. The flexible curriculum allows you to complete coursework online or during evenings on campus. 

In Brenau's MBA in human resources, you'll work directly with faculty to solve real-world problems. For admission, you need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college with a 3.0 GPA or higher. You must also submit official transcripts and a resume. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$30,000
Out-of-state
$30,000
Retention Rate
53%
Admission Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
2,813
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#3 Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs 2023

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $565
Out of State | $565

Credits to Graduate
33

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Liberty University's flexible online master of science in human resources management makes it easy to earn a degree while keeping family and work commitments. During the one-year curriculum, you'll study contemporary HR issues, workforce planning, and employment. You'll also learn ethics and technology.

Good news: With Liberty University's MS in HRM degree, you can transfer up to 50% of the required credits. For admission, you need an accredited bachelor's degree in a business field with a 3.0 GPA or above.  

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,791
Out-of-state
$14,791
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
50%
Students Enrolled
93,349
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#4 Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs 2023

Stony Brook University

  • Stony Brook, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online or Hybrid | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $471
Out of State | $565

Credits to Graduate
30

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Stony Brook University's master of science degree in human resource management aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management's standards. SBU's curriculum includes both theory and practice, so you'll gain the skills needed to enter the HR field or advance your career. 

SBU's MS gives you a chance to learn from colleagues who are leaders in their fields. To apply, you need to submit a personal statement, resume, and official transcripts. You must also submit two letters of recommendation. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,070
Out-of-state
$24,740
Retention Rate
90%
Admission Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
26,782
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#5 Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs 2023

Fitchburg State University

  • Fitchburg, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $436
Out of State | $436

Credits to Graduate
30

Program Information
Program Accreditation | International Accreditation Council for Business Education

With Fitchburg State University's online MBA in human resources management, you can launch the next phase of your career in as little as a year. The school designed the curriculum to develop organizational, leadership, and teamwork skills.

FSU's MBA in human resources provides online discussions and collaborative learning groups to help you master the material. For admission, you need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college with a 2.8 GPA or higher. You must also submit a professional resume. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$970
Out-of-state
$7,050
Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
88%
Students Enrolled
6,728
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
91% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

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.

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#6 Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs 2023

Baldwin Wallace University

  • Berea, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online or Hybrid | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $832
Out of State | $832

Credits to Graduate
33

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Baldwin Wallace University's MBA in human resources management is aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management. You'll learn to tackle strategic and operational HR issues and explore compensation models. Other key real-world topics include job analysis, recruiting, selection, and training.

During Baldwin Wallace University's MBA in HR, you can earn stackable micro-credentials along the way. You can apply online by submitting official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a current resume. The school also requires GMAT or GRE scores. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$34,504
Out-of-state
$34,504
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
3,399
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#7 Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs 2023

Western Carolina University

  • Cullowhee, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $270
Out of State | $849

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Western Carolina University's master of science in human resources allows you to learn from seasoned professionals. The MS covers research and evaluation methods. You'll also study traditional HR topics, like employee and labor relations, legal issues, and performance management. 

To apply for WCU's MS in human resources, you need a bachelor's degree and a 3.0 GPA from an accredited college. You can apply online, pay the application fee, and submit official transcripts. You also need to supply GRE or GMAT scores and three recommendation letters. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,000
Out-of-state
$5,000
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
48%
Students Enrolled
12,243
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
81% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#8 Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs 2023

Rutgers University-New Brunswick

  • New Brunswick, NJ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,116
Out of State | $1,116

Credits to Graduate
48

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Rutgers University's master of human resource management is a STEM-designated master's program. It provides an analytic framework for building business fundamentals and HR strategy. You can choose from electives that focus on corporate governance, employee benefits, and diversity and inclusion. Another elective analyzes organizational behavior.  

RU's master's in HRM program is known for teaching global employment strategies and new approaches to worker involvement. To apply, submit your resume, official transcripts, and a personal statement. The school also asks for three letters of recommendation and GRE or GMAT scores.  

Average Tuition
In-state
$12,230
Out-of-state
$29,012
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
50,411
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#9 Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs 2023

Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global

  • Marion, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $559
Out of State | $559

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global offers a master of science in human resource management. The program focuses on solving real-world problems while aligning with the Society for Human Resource Management's curriculum. 

During IWU's MS in human resource management, you'll study the key role of employees in fulfilling an organization's vision and mission. You'll also learn how to develop ethical policies, analyze challenges, and integrate faith into your career. 

For admission, you need a bachelor's or graduate degree from an accredited college. You also need an undergrad 2.5 GPA or higher. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,871
Out-of-state
$8,871
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
10,944
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#10 Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Programs 2023

Tarleton State University

  • Stephenville, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $509
Out of State | $775

Credits to Graduate
30 credits

Program Information
Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Managing people and organizations requires specialized training. The master's in human resource management at Tarleton strengthens recruitment, training, and labor relations skills. Thanks to a flexible format designed for working professionals, you can complete an HRM master's degree in less than two years at Tarleton.

You qualify for full admission with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Tarleton also offers conditional admission if your GPA is between 2.5 and 3.0. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,951
Out-of-state
$14,123
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
14,016
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

How Much Does an Online Master's in Human Resources Cost?

Avg. MBA tuition and fees:

$14,700

Avg. MS tuition and fees:

$11,800

Avg. master's degree tuition and fees (PUBLIC):

$9,620

Avg. master's degree tuition and fees (PRIVATE nonprofit):

$15,420

Avg. master's degree tuition and fees (PRIVATE for-profit):

$9,400


Source: NCES

Funding My Online Master's in Human Resources

There are many ways you can choose to fund your master's degree. Traditional options like loans and financial aid will be available to most. And there are many scholarships available for human resources graduate students. For example, the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship or an IPMA-HR Graduate Study Fellowship.

Students should also look into employer-funded programs. Your employer may help fund or reimburse your master's degree if you work as a human resources professional.

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Online Students

Should You Get a Personal Loan for School?

What Can You Do With a Master's in Human Resources?

Human resources graduates can pursue a variety of careers in people operations, leadership, and of course, human resources.

5 Popular Careers for a Master's in Human Resources
Job Title 2021 Median Pay
Compensation and Benefits Managers $127,530 per year
Human Resources Managers $126,230 per year
Training and Development Managers $120,130 per year
Top Executives $98,980 per year
Human Resources Specialists $62,290 per year
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Are Human Resources Professionals In Demand?

"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," Gregory continued.

Job Outlook

Compensation and Benefits Managers

2%

Human Resources Managers

7%

Training and Development Managers

7%

Human Resources Specializations

Human Resources professionals specialize within their field in order to advance their career opportunities.

RECRUITMENT

An HR recruiter is responsible for managing the candidate experience. This person helps fill job vacancies by identifying individuals that align with the company or organization's goals and needs. A recruiter's individual responsibilities vary on the size of the organization.

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS

A compensation and benefits specialist helps oversee an organization's pay structure and compensation plan, ensures payroll is in compliance with federal and state regulations and works with benefit vendors to craft a competitive benefits package.

TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT

Someone who works in training and development recommends, designs, develops, and implements programs for onboarding new employees and to help develop current employees.

HR INFORMATIONS SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT

An HR information systems manager supports and maintains internal HR systems used, typically customizing the systems the business needs. This person also, at times, serves as a liaison between the organization and external stakeholders.

Wait, How Much Money Can I Make If I Get a Master's in Human Resources?

Your annual salary will depend on several factors like where you live and how much work experience you have, but you can generally expect to earn a six-figure wage.

With two scholarships, Matthew Burr, a seasoned HR professional, owed $74,000 in student loans after finishing his graduate degree. When he graduated, he doubled his salary. A master's degree can quicken your path to high-paying leadership positions.

Human resource managers can make an average annual salary of $127,530, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). But in New York, theannual median wage is $180,380. Other top-paying states include New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.


Sources: BLS

How Do I Choose the Right Program for Me?

Each student will likely have different priorities for a master's program. When researching a human resources master's program, create a list of your most important deciding factors. You might consider factors like tuition cost and fees, the length of the program, the courses offered, and the program format.

Some students may prefer an accelerated online degree program with popular human resources courses. Others might be looking for a specialized human resources program with unique courses and a part-time schedule.

We also recommend looking into the student services and career support a program offers. If there is a healthy alumni network, industry mentors, and internship opportunities, that can help you land a job.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

Most Popular Courses in an Online Master's in Human Resources

Human Resources Strategy

Students develop an understanding of bridging an organization's business strategy with its people management approach. Coursework analyzes the complex nature of HR decisions and how they affect productivity within an organization.

Organizational Culture and Employee Outcomes

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. You'll learn to foster a healthy workplace culture and retain talent.

Leadership in Human Resources

This course encourages learners to develop the social intelligence skills required to lead people within an organization. Students assess the skills and behaviors of effective leaders and construct strategic plans for leadership development.

Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Human Resources

Each college's admission requirements and application process for a human resources master's program are different. Some schools skip test score requirements, and others involve interviews.Generally, you may need to include the following:

  • Check Circle
    Application
  • Check Circle
    Bachelor's degree transcripts
  • Check Circle
    Resume
  • Check Circle
    Letters of recommendation
  • Check Circle
    Essay
  • Check Circle
    GRE or GMAT test scores

Beyond the Master's Degree

Many human resources professionals continue their education with certifications or doctoral degrees.

For an additional degree, you 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.

There are many options for human resources certifications, often offered by organizations like the Society for Human Resource Management. The field is constantly evolving and we recommend looking for learning opportunities and certification courses in your field of expertise.

Frequently Asked Questions About a Master's in 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. 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. Graduates can qualify for management positions that earn upwards of $100,000.

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 specializing in human resources. You should consider this path if you're interested in exploring other roles in business leadership in the future.

Alternatively, a human resources master's degree may cater more to HR professionals working in the field. You can typically choose industry-specific concentrations and find more HR-focused courses.

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

An online master's in human resources is a specialized degree for 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.

What HR industry organizations can I join?

There are many industry organizations you can join within the Human Resources field. These include:

The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) is the largest professional HR organization and has more than 300,000 members. There are different membership levels including professional, global, student, executive, and enterprise. SHRM offers many resources for day-to-day work, certificates to advance your career and opportunities to network with other members.

The National Human Resources Association (NHRA) focuses on individual career development. Their membership levels include student, individual, or corporation. NHRA hosts meetings and conferences, has a resource center and live hotline, and offers training and development opportunities through their partners.

The Human Capital Institute has research-based resources, certificates programs, trainings, conferences and more. Some of their certifications include strategic diversity, equity and inclusion and people analytics for HR. Their premium yearly membership gives you access to exclusive content, an HR advisor, and a virtual conference pass.

With Advice 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 downtime, I'm spending time with my beautiful little girl, cooking, and binge-watching my favorite shows!

Pronouns: She/Her

Portrait of Matthew W. Burr

Matthew W. Burr

Matthew Burr has over 15 years of experience working in the human resources field, starting his career as an industrial relations intern to most recently founding and managing two human resource consulting companies: Burr Consulting, LLC, and Talentscape, LLC. He is also the co-owner of Labor Love, a labor and employment law poster printing company.

Matthew has a generalist background in HR and provides strategic HR services to his clients, focusing on small- and medium-sized organizations. He works as an adjunct at Alfred State University and continuing education instructor at Collin College. He successfully designed an HR concentration in the business management major that is aligned with both SHRM and HRCI certifications, providing opportunities for students to sit for both the SHRM-CP and aPHR certifications upon completion of the degree, concentration, and internship hours.

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.

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