Whether you want to advance your career in human resources or transition into HR for the first time, earning your online master's in human resources can help you achieve your goals. The right degree can literally pay off -- workers with a master's degree in human resources earn almost $20,000 a year more than those who only hold a bachelor's degree.

Human resources is a professional field dedicated to ensuring safety, fair treatment, and compensation for employees at work. As an HR professional, you can find work in many industries and may be employed by private companies, government agencies, or nonprofit organizations. You are responsible for planning, directing, and managing various administrative functions. Day-to-day duties may include interviewing and hiring job candidates, developing training programs for new employees, and acting as a liaison between workers and management.

Most master's-level HR programs belong to one of two categories: a master of science (MS), which is focused on technical and career-related subjects; or a master of arts (MA), which incorporates liberal arts studies into the curriculum. The coursework for an MS or MA in human resources will explore in-depth topics like leadership and management, ethics, communication and technology, as well as finance, business law, and other key aspects of the corporate sector. Most master's programs end in a capstone project, which may take the form of a thesis, a research paper, or an internship.

If you want to advance in the competitive field of HR and enjoy higher earning potential, a master's in human resources online can help you. Explore our comprehensive guide below to learn more about what you can do with a master's degree in this dynamic career.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER'S IN HUMAN RESOURCES PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY HR CAREER?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that a bachelor's degree will be sufficient for most human resources roles, including HR managers, HR specialists, and compensation and benefits managers. By earning a master's degree in HR, you'll set yourself apart from other candidates and increase your value in the workforce. Additionally, you'll be eligible for positions that are normally reserved for applicants with an advanced degree, such as upper-level managerial roles.

WILL EARNING A HUMAN RESOURCES MASTER'S DEGREE ONLINE WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Web-based coursework is a convenient alternative to classroom learning. Students can access course lectures and readings, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors any time of day from home. Current technology also enables them to study with laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Most master's in HR degree programs include optional internships for students to gain supervised, hands-on experience before entering the workforce. Online students usually work with school officials to arrange internships close to home.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER'S IN HUMAN RESOURCES?

The field of human resource management is constantly changing due to an expanding global business environment and rapidly evolving technology. As organizations grow and change, well-trained HR professionals will be in high demand. As a master's in human resources graduate, you'll be well-qualified for most entry-level positions and some managerial roles. A degree specialization and internship will boost your standing even further. However, post-degree professional experience may be a prerequisite for some jobs. For example, BLS notes that many HR managers begin their careers as HR specialists or labor specialists, advancing after several years of experience.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER'S IN HUMAN RESOURCES PROGRAMS?

The best online HR master's programs equip you with the interpersonal skills and workplace knowledge you'll need to not only attain a solid entry-level position but also launch a successful career in human resources. The following list of schools can serve as a starting point in your search for the best online master's in HR programs. We encourage you to explore the learning outcomes, educational services, specialization and internship opportunities, graduation rates, and other key offerings at all of your target schools. Dedicated research will ensure you select the best HR master's program to fit your career goals.

Rank School Cost Enrolled Online Description Toggle
1 Georgetown University Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 15%

Georgetown University is one of the most well-respected schools in the country. The school’s master's in human resources online features focus areas in strategic talent management, foundational human resources management, international human resources management, human resource and organization development, and diversity and inclusion. Coursework combines foundations in ethics and strategic leadership with data analysis and research methods. Real-world case studies provide students with a global perspective of the field.

Students can graduate from the 33-credit program in as little as two years, though part-time students have up to five years to complete degree requirements. Asynchronous classes allow working professionals to advance their education on their own schedule. The private Catholic university allows online students to take classes on campus if they so choose. Faculty members have expertise in human capital management, talent acquisition, and HR compliance.

2 Cornell University Ithaca, NY Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 3%

One of the eight Ivy League schools, Cornell University boasts a 150-year history of research and academic excellence. The online HR master's degree at Cornell addresses issues in change management, labor relations and negotiation, leadership development, and data analytics. Throughout the program, students work on a specific case project that requires them to apply their knowledge to a real-world business challenge. The university's research programs inform the curriculum.

Students complete the program in five semesters, beginning in May. Although most coursework is online, distance learners must attend three one-week sessions on the main campus in Ithaca, New York. Coursework is available asynchronously. Faculty members are not only experts in the field, but respected researchers and analysts as well. Cornell strictly limits enrollment in each cohort at 50 students. Applicants should have a solid foundation in human resources, with some work experience in the field.

3 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 18%

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign operates an entire department dedicated to research in industrial relations and human resources. The School of Labor & Employment Relations has operated extension programs since it was founded in 1946. Students in the master's in HR online enjoy networking and mentoring opportunities with faculty and fellow students. The curriculum includes organizational behavior, labor relations, international human resources, and government regulation.

Students complete 48 credits over two years. Classes are structured in accelerated, eight-week terms. The online program coordinator counsels students on how to reach their career goals through one-on-one meetings and professional development workshops. The school also offers continuing education opportunities to alumni. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree and take the GRE or GMAT. An undergraduate course in statistics prepares students for quantitative methodology coursework. Though not required, the university strongly encourages students to have some professional experience before beginning the master's degree.

4 New York University New York, NY Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 8%

NYU, located in the heart of Manhattan, offers several graduate-level programs for distance learners, including an online HR master's degree. The master of science (MS) in human resource management and development prepares students for leadership positions with extensive study of data-driven business theory and strategies for effective team organization and task-tracking. The NYU program allows students to personalize their degrees with specializations in human resource management, organizational effectiveness, global talent management, or learning, development, and executive coaching.

The 30-credit curriculum consists of advanced core classes, an elective, a capstone project, and courses in the concentration area. Online HR students have access to several professional opportunities, including internships with companies like Hewlett-Packard and membership in The Society for Human Resource Management. Financial assistance is available, including the NYU School of Professional Studies Grant, which is rewarded on the basis of financial need. NYU welcomes international and military students, offering specific awards and payment options for these groups.

5 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 25%

The University of Southern California in Los Angeles launched its online human resources master's degree in the spring of 2017. The curriculum explores the latest trends in areas of organizational design, employee relations, analytics, and global human resources. Industry experts and seasoned professionals designed the courses and overall curriculum so that students can immediately put their new knowledge to work in their careers. Students also learn about new aspects affecting the workforce, including managing in a global context, corporate social responsibility, and diversity and inclusion.

Students may choose a one-year or two-year track to complete the 24-credit degree. Asynchronous courses allow learners to balance class assignments with work and family obligations. USC serves about 45,000 students. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited school. USC does not require the GRE for this program.

6 Golden Gate University-San Francisco San Francisco, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 51%

GGU, a private, nonprofit college based in San Francisco’s Financial District, offers one of California’s best online master's in human resources degrees. Designed in accordance with the Society for Human Resource Management curriculum guidebook, the master of science in human resource management trains students in effective strategies and methodologies for employee management. The program requires students to earn 33 credits, which consists of 15 core credits, 15 elective credits, and a three-credit foundation course. Students choose between two options to fulfill the foundation requirement: management principles or organizational behavior. The program core includes five courses, covering topics such as employment law, managing people in international settings, and strategic human resource management. Five elective courses offer the chance to explore a range of specialized topics, with options including labor relations, conflict resolution skills and techniques, and managing the employment function. Students also have the option to perform a three-credit internship in a professional HR setting.

7 Colorado State University-Global Campus Greenwood Village, CO Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 100%

Colorado State's Global Campus is facilitated from the school's flagship Greenwood Village location and was the first 100% online state university in the U.S., offering several degree programs including an online master's of human resources management. Students graduate from the program with firm knowledge of ethical decision-making, diverse organizational culture, and much more, preparing them for successful careers in private businesses and public organizations worldwide.

This 36-credit master's degree consists of core classes, a capstone project, and four courses in a specialization area. With choices from accounting and fraud management to criminal justice leadership and healthcare administration, to name a few, students can personalize their degree to their interests and career goals. The school guarantees fixed tuition rates for the duration of a student's time at CSU. Financial assistance is available to all and includes scholarships, federal loans, and employer tuition reimbursement options.

8 Florida International University Miami, FL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 37%

Florida International University' master's in human resource management online program prepares graduates to meet the challenges of an increasingly diverse and global workforce. Courses include the study of employment law and conflict management as well as reward and compensation systems, corporate organization, and wellness management. Students may complete an internship or professional development seminar. An optional on-campus residency provides a hands-on learning experience in employment law. Students unable to travel to the Miami campus can complete an alternate project. The curriculum follows the Society for Human Resource Management educational guidelines.

Students can complete the 38-credit program in 12 months, with start dates in the fall and spring. The online classes utilize a variety of technology, including mobile platforms. Asynchronous scheduling provides flexibility for working students. Online students enjoy access to the school's career management services. Career advisors provide individual career counseling, job search assistance, and continuing professional development tools.

9 Webster University Saint Louis, MO Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 45%

Located in Saint Louis, Missouri, Webster is a global Tier 1 university that enrolls 17,000 students globally each year. Offered through the College of Business and Technology, Webster offers two options for those seeking a master's in human resources online: the MA in human resources development and the MA in human resources management.

While both programs train students in areas such as employee training and strategies for improved productivity, the development track is geared towards those who want to specialize in creating and implementing HR initiatives, while the management track is for those who want to lead teams towards the effective completion of projects. The curriculum totals 36 credit hours, but students have the option to pursue an MBA instead of an MA, adding an additional 12 hours to their coursework in related courses in areas such as corporate finance and managerial economics. Tuition is priced at $780 per credit hour and financial aid is available, including assistance dedicated to military and transfer students.

10 Villanova University Villanova, PA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 45%

Villanova University, a private research university near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers a human resources master's degree online. The 36-credit curriculum incorporates the standards of the Society of Human Resources Management. Courses also satisfy certification requirements for HR Certification Institute programs. The degree provides professional development and career advancement for individuals working in early-level human resources roles. The innovative online program utilizes asynchronous classes and flexible scheduling. Notable classes include strategic workforce planning and HR technology.

Villanova waives required classes in introduction to HR or critical valuation and research writing for applicants with career experience. The program requires a capstone experience that includes completion of a hands-on project; passing a written, comprehensive exam; or passing an industry certification exam. The school also offers a combined bachelor’s/master’s program. Applicants interested in a graduate assistantship should submit GRE scores.

11 Clemson University Clemson, SC Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 23%

Clemson University developed its online human resources master's degree with the help of HR professionals and researchers. The 36-credit graduate program benefits executives in a variety of fields, including business, government, and nonprofit agencies. The core curriculum provides an interdisciplinary approach to current challenges in human resources. Coursework draws on psychology, sociology, and business, with specialized courses in educational human capital. Students may also pursue a specialization in intercollegiate athletic leadership.

Students must take two classes each semester to stay on track for graduation. Classes are asynchronous. Clemson may waive the GRE requirement for students with five years of work experience, a 3.0 GPA, a master's degree, or recognized professional certification. The program admits new cohorts each fall. Clemson prefers applicants with prior work experience in HR. Students can complete the fully online program in two years.

12 Washington University in St Louis Saint Louis, MO Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 4%

Washington University in St. Louis allows busy professionals to complete a master's in human resources online through its University College, which specializes in continuing and professional education. The curriculum requires 36 credits, including courses in organizational behavior and effectiveness, human resources metrics, change management, and strategic planning. Focus areas include professional HR management and management and organizational development. Students demonstrate competency through a capstone project.

Applicants must submit proof of an undergraduate degree, a personal essay, a writing sample, and three professional letters of recommendation. Though WashU does not require a specific undergraduate degree, the curriculum aligns well with a background in psychology, accounting, or economics. The school also offers online certification programs that prepare students for the Society of Human Resource Management HR credential. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to graduate.

13 Boston University Boston, MA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 19%

Historically affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Boston University now provides a nonsectarian learning environment. The private university serves 22,000 students in 250 fields of study. The online HR master's program at BU teaches students how to manage risks, develop products, and make data-based decisions. The curriculum also covers ecommerce, international business, and financial concepts.

The degree plan requires 48 credits. BU waives four courses for students that hold the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) certification, thereby accelerating completion of the program. The asynchronous learning platform allows students to access recorded lectures, online discussions, or multimedia presentations at any time. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to graduate. Students with less than a 3.0 are placed on academic probation. Applicants must have the CEBS certification or at least five years of work experience in human resources.

14 University of Houston-Clear Lake Houston, TX Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 36%

The University of Houston at Clear Lake is located on scenic parkland and since its inception in 1974 has been dedicated to providing community-oriented learning and career-advancement opportunities for all students. UHCL offers several distance learning programs, including a master's in human resource management online.

Students in this comprehensive MA program gain expertise in areas of international labor markets and strategic recruiting, as well as fundamental business management and decision-making skills. Coursework also covers topics like HR metrics and human behavior in organizations, providing a well-rounded and advanced education. Like their campus peers, distance learners have access to student services and professional development, like internships and getting involved with the Society for Human Resource Management. The 42-credit curriculum consists of a combination of foundational and degree requirements and students may enter the program at three points throughout the year. Tuition is priced per credit hour and dependent on residency status. UHCL provides a number of scholarships, including awards designated specifically to College of Business students.

15 University of Denver Denver, CO Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 26%

The University of Denver was created in 1864, only a few years after the eponymous Colorado city was founded, and is one of the state's premier private institution of higher learning. The school offers more than 120 graduate and professional programs, many of which can be accessed through a distance learning platform.

DU's online human resources master's degrees stand out among other schools for its specialized program options. The master of science (MS) in strategic human resources program allows students to pick among four concentration areas immediately upon enrollment: HR employment relations, HR management & development, HR operations, and learning and development. All four curricula total 48 credit hours, combining core classes, electives, and courses in the concentration. For example, students in the operations track take courses in analytics and research to predict the outcome of capital investments. Online courses are offered in 10-week terms, allowing students to complete their coursework at their own pace.

16 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 51%

Located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, NSU offers a number of graduate degree programs to distance learners through courses at their several regional campuses or online. Among these degree options is a master of business administration (MBA) with a concentration in human resource management.

Consisting of a 39-credit curriculum, students in this master's in HR online program learn how to balance leadership and task-management skills in order to effectively manage and drive their employees. Graduates leave the program fluent in management theory and conflict resolution, among other important skills. With five start dates annually, students can enter the program when it is convenient for them and graduate in about 21 months if they pursue their degree full time. Nova also offers online students the opportunity to enroll in dual degree programs, earning a law, psychology, or pharmacy doctorate alongside their MBA. Several scholarships are available, including awards specifically for government employees and graduate business students.

17 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus University Park, PA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 7%

With its flagship location situated in scenic University Park, Penn State enrolls over 100,000 students annually and is one of the premier institutions for research and graduate-level education in the United States. Through its World Campus initiative, the school offers degree programs to distance learners, including a master's in HR online.

With a curriculum consisting of 33 credit hours, the master of professional studies (MPS) in human resources and employee relations is a comprehensive program that trains students to become experts in the areas of ethical leadership, union organization, employment/labor law, collective bargaining strategies, and much more. Distance learners get access to services like career counseling and tutoring in several areas of writing and mathematics. With a faculty of industry veterans, courses are taught 100% online, though students also have to option to take intensive summer courses on campus to finish their degree more quickly. Furthermore, students have the opportunity to transfer up to 15 credits towards the completion of their degree.

18 University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus Norman, OK Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 36%

The University of Oklahoma is public research university that serves students through extended learning sites around the world. The online master's degree in human resources provides in-depth study of employment law, compensation, staffing, labor relations, and emerging issues. All students undergo a 450-hour internship, which they can complete over multiple semesters.

The 36-credit graduate degree primarily uses online technology for course delivery, but students must attend a one-week or two-weekend residence. Students can complete the in-person requirements at any of the North American or European learning sites as well as the main campus in Norman, Oklahoma. The school accepts undergraduate degrees from most disciplines. The program does not require completion of any prerequisites and does not require students to complete a thesis. The school also offers an on-campus master of human relations - clinical mental health counseling program that leads to Licensed Professional Counseling (LPC) certification for the state of Oklahoma.

19 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 12%

The University of Connecticut serves more than 30,000 students through its Storrs campus, four regional campuses, and online programs. The school welcomes part-time students to its hybrid online master's in human resources. Students can complete the 33-credit degree in 20 months through a blend of online coursework and in-person seminars. The required Saturday seminars, most often held at the Hartford campus, include guest speakers, small group collaboration, and round-table discussions.

The curriculum focuses on organizational management and strategic leadership. Students select electives from human resources topics or business courses. Accelerated seven-week terms allow students to focus on one class at a time. During the capstone course, students assess a real-world HR problem and assess its impact on all facets of an organization. Students do not have to write a thesis. A two-day residential session launches each new cohort of students in August.

20 Wilmington University New Castle, DE Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 83%

Wilmington University in New Castle, Delaware, provides career-focused graduate education in 20 fields of study. The private university opened in 1968 and currently serves more than 18,000 students each year, of which about 41% participate in online learning. WilmU's master's in human resources online aligns with industry standards and and meets accreditation requirements for the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

Offered under the umbrella of the master of science in management, the concentration in human resources management includes 18 credits of specialized instruction in HR. The 36-credit curriculum includes classes in data analysis, change management, and international HR. Students also gain a foundation in employment law and compensation and benefits. Students must complete an integrated research project as well as a seminar in professional practice. Distance learners can choose to take asynchronous classes in 15-week semesters or accelerated eight-week sessions.

21 National University La Jolla, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 82%

NU, based in San Diego, California, maintains campuses across the state and Nevada, along with a significant distance education program. The school’s online master of arts in human resource management builds the skills, knowledge, and abilities necessary for effective personnel administration, training graduates to serve in senior management or consulting positions. The 44-credit online master's of human resources includes 11 core courses and one elective. The program core includes major topics such as compensation and benefits, performance management, and organizational behavior, while the elective allows students to select one graduate course offered through the School of Business and Management. Students may complete a concentration in organizational leadership, which requires a sequence of four specialized courses covering topics in leadership and team development. The program concludes with a research seminar and a final project/thesis, in which learners complete a comprehensive capstone research project on an approved HR topic.

22 Ottawa University-Phoenix Phoenix, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 51%

Ottawa, a private Christian liberal arts college, serves students around the country through multiple campus locations and an online learning program. The master of arts in human resources is a fully online degree that gives students the skills to develop, support, and administer personnel in all types of organizations. The curriculum includes courses such as training and development, organizational behavior and theory, and value systems and professional ethics. Students also choose one elective course, with options such as career development and managing a culturally diverse workplace. OU’s online master's of human resources offers optional concentrations in leadership development or healthcare management. These concentrations build specialized skills and require students to take a set, four-course sequence as part of the program core. Candidates can also choose the generalist concentration that offers a broad approach to HR strategies. Program graduates are prepared to sit for the SHRM certified professional exam, which confers industry-standard certification.

23 American University Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 20%

American University offers an in-depth study of human resource management and data analysis through its online HR master's degree. The curriculum prepares HR practitioners to leverage new technology and data to make strategic decisions on issues of organizational staffing, structure, training, and compensation. Faculty members developed the 30-credit program after working with an advisory council of expert practitioners. Students in the capstone course develop a business plan that relies on data and HR theory. The project shows mastery of research, project management, and writing skills.

Students can complete the degree in as little as 20 months. Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, the private university in Washington, DC, serves more than 13,000 students each year. It regularly hosts virtual open house sessions and industry webinars to introduce prospective students to the online learning platform and degree plans.

24 University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu, HI Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 16%

The University of Hawaii at Manoa is located on the Big Island of Honolulu and offers several fully accredited degree programs to distance learners, including a master of human resource management. The 30-credit curriculum covers advanced topics such as organizational behavior, labor relations, and compensation and benefits, preparing students to enter leadership roles in a wide range of business and professional sectors.

Like other business programs at the University of Hawaii, the MHRM program has a distinct global focus and students are also trained in methods of international negotiations and multicultural employee training. Students can finish this online master's degree in human resources in about 16 months and admissions requirements include a GMAT score and an interview. Applicants with two or more years of full-time work experience in HR or a related field are much more likely to be accepted in this program. Total cost is estimated at $36,000, an overall affordable price for any graduate-level degree program. All forms of financial aid are available to online learners with the exception of tuition waivers.

25 Dallas Baptist University Dallas, TX Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 43%

Located in the third largest Texas city, Dallas Baptist enrolls over 5,000 students annually and offers 29 master's programs for traditional students and distance learners. Among DBU's catalog of remote programs is a master of arts in management (MAM) degree with the option to concentrate in human resource management, designed to carefully balance theories in talent management and strategic planning with practical skills in recruiting and safety control, among other topics.

The curriculum consists of 24 credit hours of core management classes and 12 hours of HR concentrations. Students may also need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the program proper, though these requirements can be satisfied with undergraduate work. DBU's master's in human resources online program also stands out for its dual degree options, enabling students to pair their MAM with graduate degrees in pastoral studies, education, leadership, and kinesiology. Each degree pair comes with application and graduation requirements specific to that program.

26 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 13%

Students can complete an online human resources master's degree in as little as one year through Louisiana State University's online program. The 36-credit curriculum emphasizes leadership and professional development, as well as the latest information in HR technology and analytics. Students may choose a concentration in workforce development or HR and leadership development. Courses explore organizational structure and change management, adult education, instructional design, and training and development. Online classes offer multiple opportunities for collaborative learning through online discussions and group projects. Accelerated seven-week classes allow students to complete the degree in a short amount of time.

LSU, located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, welcomes applicants with at least three years of professional experience. Students may request waivers for the GRE or GMAT by submitting an essay that addresses professional motivation, perseverance, and intellectual ability. New students may begin in any of the six terms each year.

27 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 50%

Housed in the College of Education and Allied Professions, WCU's online master of science in human resources (MSHR) is designed to meet the needs of busy professionals who are looking for advancement in the human resources field or who hope to make a career transition into HR. The MSHR is a 36-credit program that can be completed in two years while maintaining a full-time job. Students take classes grounded in research-based evidence and techniques that impart a global view of HR and a passion for community engagement.

Students take a set number of core classes and have the option to pursue several electives that are concurrent with their interests and goals. To emphasize the importance of civic stewardship, students in this online master's of human resources program participate in pro-bono consulting work for nonprofit organizations as part of their professional development. Tuition is priced per credit hour and based on residency status, with North Carolina residents paying $286.42 per hour. All online students have access to institutional services like advising, information technology help, and post-graduate job placement assistance through WCU's Career Services Center. The MSHR Program at WCU is 100% online with opportunities for live web sessions with faculty and fellow students.

28 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 38%

More than 7,000 students take advantage of the University of Arkansas’ growing online portfolio of classes and degrees. The school’s online master's in human resources incorporates courses in organizational development, career development, and training. The 33-credit program also explores topics such as job satisfaction, employability, and customer service. A capstone course requires students to research a problem and analyze HR data and current industry trends. Graduates find careers in education, industry, business, and government agencies.

Students can complete the program in two years, though UA allows up to six years to graduate. U of A serves 27,000 students on its main campus in Fayetteville. The school partners with Quality Matters to ensure faculty members meet high standards for instructional development and student engagement. The admission process does not require GRE scores.

29 The University of Texas at Tyler Tyler, TX Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 78%

The University of Texas at Tyler, a member of the 14-college University of Texas system, serves more than 10,000 students from its main campus, regional learning centers, and online programs. UT Tyler offers early-career professionals the opportunity to advance their education and career prospects through an online master's degree in human resources. The self-paced, 36-credit curriculum provides a foundation in HR research and analysis as well as developing workplace training programs. The capstone experience requires students to design a comprehensive research project related to a real-world work problem.

UT Tyler uses Canvas to deliver asynchronous classes. Students and faculty discuss lectures and collaborate on assignments through chat, email, and video conferencing. Graduates may continue their education through UT Tyler’s doctorate program. UT Tyler may waive the GMAT requirement for applicants with three years of full-time professional experience.

30 Tarleton State University Stephenville, TX Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 29%

Tarleton offers more than fifteen bachelor’s and master’s programs online through the Blackboard platform. The school's student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1 helps create an intimate learning experience. Tarleton's master's in human resources management requires students to earn 30 credits, and the curriculum focuses on industry standards. Graduates are skilled in employee recruitment, selection, and training, as well as labor relations and compensation. All learners must pass a comprehensive exam that is administered at the end of the program.

Application requirements to the master's in human resources online include an essay outlining goals and a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0 should submit GRE or GMAT scores. Texas residents pay a lower tuition than out-of-state students, but nonresident distance learners still pay less than on-campus students. Residents of Massachusetts and several U.S. territories are not eligible for Tarleton’s online programs.

31 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 93%

Located in Nebraska, Bellevue University opened in 1966 in order to help working professional reach their educational and career goals. The accelerated 36-credit master's in human resource management online offers a foundation in areas of employment law, organizational behavior, and compensation. Students delve into emerging areas of data analytics and HR technology as well as global HR management. Students advance through the preset degree plan as a cohort. For the capstone project, students analyze functional areas within the human resources department of an organization and develop a strategic plan.

Students in online programs enjoy flexible class schedules with asynchronous delivery. Faculty supplement course lectures with multimedia presentations, videos, and online discussions, accessible around the clock. Bellevue welcomes students from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Applicants should have a 2.5 GPA from an undergraduate program or a 3.0 GPA from a graduate program.

32 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 48%

Quinnipiac University offers a human resource leadership track as part of its master of science in organizational leadership. The human resource leadership track includes 33 credits, with nine specialized classes covering employment law, employee development, and HR leadership. The core curriculum develops strategic leadership abilities and communication skills. A leadership consulting capstone requires students to complete an in-depth case study of an organization. Students evaluate the organization's employee structure, recommend improvements, and develop an implementation plan.

The private university, located in Hamden, Connecticut, launched its online learning platform in 2001. Asynchronous classes use reading and writing assignments, online discussions, and multimedia presentations to provide students with a flexible education. Online students enjoy access to technical support, administrative support services, and academic advising. Applicants to the organizational leadership program must have an undergraduate degree and at least four years of professional experience.

33 Saint Joseph's University Philadelphia, PA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 74%

Working professionals can earn an online human resources master's degree in two years through Saint Joseph's University. The specialized curriculum follows the recommendations of the Society of Human Resources and provides instruction in areas of employee recruitment and retention, performance evaluations, job analysis, and global issues in HR. Students not only gain an understanding of HR theory but also learn skills they can quickly apply to their careers. The program culminates in a comprehensive strategic human resource management project. Students may choose a research project or field-based project.

The 33-credit program emphasizes diversity and the legal aspects of human resources. Asynchronous courses and adaptive technology allow students to log on and complete their assignments on their own schedule. While Saint Joseph's requests GMAT scores from applicants, students may seek waivers if they have completed another master's program or have earned specific industry certifications.

34 University of Louisville Louisville, KY Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 16%

The University of Louisville believes in learning by doing. As a result, the school’s online master's degree in human resources encourages students to apply what they've learned in class to their workplace. Faculty designed the curriculum to provide HR professionals with a relevant and rigorous education that aligns with Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) educational guidelines. The 33-credit program offers concentrations in human resource leadership, workplace learning and performance, and health professions education. Graduates may qualify to take the SHRM professional exam.

UofL serves more than 22,000 students. The school uses Blackboard to deliver asynchronous online classes. Distance learners participate in online discussions, communicate with faculty, and take part in collaborative learning projects. Online students in this program complete 33 to 36 credits, depending on their concentration. The health professions education concentration does include some on-campus requirements. Students with a strong academic background may qualify for a GRE waiver.

35 University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, AL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 40%

The University of Alabama in Huntsville prepares individuals for careers in the growing field of human resources through its online HR master's program. Students can complete the 30-credit program in as little as one year, with start times offered in fall, spring, and summer. UAH developed the graduate degree curriculum to provide relevant instruction in areas of employment law, staffing, employee development, and strategic compensation. The business core ensures students understand essential business procedures while HR core courses and electives offer in-depth understanding of the role of HR in organizations. Students may choose to complete a thesis. All students complete a practicum.

Asynchronous recorded lectures allow students to continue their education regardless of where they live. Supplemental materials, including slideshows and videos, enhance the lessons. Students may transfer up to 12 prior graduate credits. Applicants should complete the MAT or GRE.

36 LeTourneau University Longview, TX Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 94%

Located in Longview, Texas, LeTourneau started as a training facility for current employees of founder R.G. LeTourneau's factories. The school has carried that tradition of providing quality education to busy adults to this day, offering several fully online degree programs, including a professional masters of business administration in human resource management. Designed for working professionals looking to gain mid-level management positions, LETU's 36-credit MBA combines the study of theoretical topics like decision analysis and entrepreneurial leadership.

Students move from these general management courses to concentrated work in their HRM concentration, learning skills that allow them to analyze the team dynamics in order to maximize the efficiency of its members, and finish their degree work with a capstone project. Online students also enjoy several forms of student services, including academic advising, tutoring through the Achievement Center, and a personal learning community of three colleagues who stay with them throughout their entire academic journey at LETU.

37 Texas A & M University-Commerce Commerce, TX Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 79%

Texas A&M University-Commerce offers students without a background in business the opportunity to earn a human resources education through its master of science in management program. The 39-credit program ensures students understand fundamental principles of business such as finance and marketing. Distance learners explore topics in managing change, organizational structure, and global issues in HR management. The non-thesis program features a strategic management capstone that requires students to evaluate organizational structure and develop strategic audits.

Asynchronous classes that provide students with scheduling flexibility while also encouraging student collaboration and communication. Online students enjoy full access to student services such as the library and career services. Applicants with undergraduate courses in business may receive a waiver for up to nine hours of prerequisite courses. The program requires 30 to 39 credits.

38 Saint Francis University Loretto, PA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 56%

Saint Francis, located in Loretto, Pennsylvania, offers more than 10 associate, bachelor’s, and master’s programs online. The master’s in human resource management online is delivered asynchronously and has options for students to enroll full time or part time. Full-time enrollment requires students to complete two courses per term and allows them to earn their degree in two years. The 30-credit program includes 24 core credits and six elective credits, with students choosing between classes such as leadership and dispute resolution. Learners have the option to complete an internship. All students must complete a capstone, which consists of a research project.

There are six program start dates each year, and no standardized test is required for admission. Application requirements include transcripts, two letters of recommendation, two essays, and a resume. All students pay the same per-credit tuition, and PHR and SPHR certified professionals can waive one required course. Students who refer two co-workers to the program will receive a discount, as do their referrals.

39 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 100%

The Pennsylvania State University’s World Campus launched in 1998 as a pioneer of distance learning. The school continues to integrate new technologies and delivery options into its online learning platform. The fully online human resources master's degree explores theory and principles of staff development, performance analysis, benefits and compensation, and new developments in employment law and international HR. Students select courses from seven concentrations, including labor unions and leadership. The program culminates in a capstone.

Learners must complete 33 credits in order to graduate. While students can complete all degree requirements remotely, Penn State offers three hybrid courses each summer. Online students have the opportunity to study abroad through a one-week program in Ireland. The curriculum meets the standards of the Society for Human Resource Management and the HR Certification Institute. Students can graduate in two to three years.

40 Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Winona, MN Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 34%

Located in the city of Winona, Saint Mary's is a private, non-profit school offering over 54 degree programs, many of which can be access remotely. Among Saint Mary's catalog of graduate-level degrees is an online master's in human resources, consisting of 39 credit hours that can be completed in about two years. With a curriculum that is aligned with the industry standards set forth by the Society for Human Resource Management, the MHR consists of advanced coursework in areas like talent management and organizational support, ranging from compensation analytics to strategic goal-setting.

Graduates leave the program with a holistic, and more importantly ethical understanding of HR, prepared to become leaders in the field. Online students enjoy much of the same academic and professional services as their campus peers, including advising, library privileges, and for HR students, access to a large database of career-specific articles and tools. Tuition is $610 per credit hour and financial aid is available, including employer reimbursement options and additional assistance for active military and veterans.

41 Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 100%

The online master's in human resources management curriculum has been acknowledged by the Society for Human Resource Management as being in line with their recommendations. Students can start the program in August, January, or April. Applicants should submit transcripts, and it is recommended that they have a 3.0 minimum GPA. Other admission requirements include a minimum of two years of related work experience, a resume, and an essay.

The 36-credit program can be completed in a year by taking two courses per each of the six eight-week terms. The curriculum includes 24 credits of core courses, six credits of electives, and six credits of advanced core courses, which includes a research and capstone course. The online master's in human resources is delivered asynchronously.

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42 National Louis University Chicago, IL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 38%

Leadership, strategic planning, and communication form the core of the National Louis University master's in human resource management online program. Previously available as a hybrid program, NLU redesigned its curriculum and worked with faculty to offer a fully online option using asynchronous course delivery. Learners study areas of employment law, organizational effectiveness, training and development, and issues of diversity and inclusion. The capstone experience allows students to apply their knowledge by tackling a real-world business problem.

The program aligns with the educational guidelines of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). Graduates are eligible to earn professional certifications from the HR Certification Institute and SHRM. Students can complete the 36-credit program in as little as two years. The school may waive certain classes for students with HR certifications. Founded in 1886, the private, non-denominational university in Chicago specializes in professional degrees.

43 University of Scranton Scranton, PA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 59%

Founded in 1888, the University of Scranton is a Jesuit-identified institution of higher learning based in Pennsylvania. Its mission is a holistic education that prepares students to be engaged citizens and effective professionals in their field. Scranton Online offers several graduate degree programs for distance learners, including an MS in human resources.

Designed for beginners and those experienced in the field, this online master's degree in human resources presents a rigorous 39-credit curriculum that teaches students necessary skills for effective human capital management, from understanding control and fiscal systems to designing and implementing strategic plans, and much more. HR students are encouraged to join the Society for Human Resource Management, thereby gaining access to the organization's networking and professional development opportunities. They also receive personal mentorship and career placement help through Scranton's Business & Leadership Resource Center. Tuition is priced per credit hour and financial aid is available, including loans, scholarships, employer reimbursement options, and tuition deferment for eligible students.

44 Troy University Troy, AL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 58%

One of Alabama's premier public institutions of higher education, TROY has been offering distance learning opportunities for over 20 years and is renowned for its online programs. Among the selection of graduate degrees is the MS in human resource management, which fully aligns with SHRM's recommended requirements for HR degree programs.

This online HR master's degree prepares graduates for leadership positions in HR all over the world, teaching them how to use their HR knowledge to help organizations achieve strategic goals. The 10-course curriculum, which can be completed in as little as one year, includes courses in areas such as staffing, training, compensation, organizational change and developmenet, and international HRM. TROY is one of the most affordable online colleges in the state of Alabama; through its military assistance, corporate partnerships, and federal and private financial aid, students can find a variety of ways to fund their education.

45 Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 98%

Located in St. Paul, Minnesota, Concordia is dedicated to providing career-focused degrees to traditional students as well as working professionals and distance learners. Among Concordia's catalog of graduate degrees is a master's in human resource management online, a program that equips students with strong leadership and strategic thinking skills as well as knowledge in employee recruitment and compensation.

The 36-credit curriculum also consists of courses in business ethics, law, and a research-based capstone project. Distance learners enjoy largely the same institutional services as traditional counterparts, including access to program resources and professional development opportunities. Courses are structured in flexible seven-week sessions and tuition is priced at $475 per credit hour. Financial aid is available and specific accommodations are offered to active military, veterans, and their spouses, which includes tuition discounts and the Military Service Scholarship. Concordia also has a corporate partnership initiative, enabling companies and organizations to enroll their employees in degree programs at the school for a reduced cost, among other reciprocity agreements.

46 Robert Morris University Moon Township, PA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 52%

Robert Morris University is located in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, near the city of Pittsburg. RMU offers over 35 graduate degree programs and is ranked highly for its distance learning options, including an online master's in human resources. This MS program prepares students to become leaders through study and practical application of HR skills like employee benefits administration, staff motivation and retention, and strategic planning for organizational growth.

Online students at RMU get the one-on-one attention that their campus peers receive, including a dedicated student counselor, a career advisor, and access to other professionals who help you with personal, academic, and professional challenges. Several forms of financial aid is open to online students, including specific opportunities for military and transfer students. RMU also offers a corporate discount program and employees in participating business and organizations receive discounted tuition rates, among other perks.

47 University of Wisconsin-Stout Menomonie, WI Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 78%

The University of Wisconsin-Stout takes a polytechnic approach to education, combining the critical thinking and problem-solving skills of a liberal arts program with applied learning opportunities. Dubbed "Wisconsin's Polytechnic University" in 2007, the school maintains advisory boards of practicing professionals for all departments. UW-Stout partnered with the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the Association for Talent Development to develop the innovative online Master’s in Training and Human Resource Development. The 30-credit program includes core courses in organizational training, adult learning, and training design and evaluation. Students also complete organizational research courses.

This program requires 30 credits of graduate coursework. All classes are available in an asynchronous format. Online students may access academic support through online tutoring and writing labs. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree and work experience or military training related to human resources development. Potential students should also have a 3.0 GPA. UW-Stout does not require the GRE.

48 Houston Baptist University Houston, TX Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 25%

Houston Baptist’s master of science in human resource management offers a global perspective on the HR field and includes a strong ethical framework that echoes the school’s Christian values. Students gain the skills and knowledge to improve individual and organizational effectiveness, along with a broad understanding of business organization processes. This online master's degree in human resources requires a minimum of 33 credits, covering major topics such as staffing and performance management, training and development, compensation and benefits, and managing innovation strategically. The curriculum includes an experiential component that offers two choices: business stewardship or a human resources management internship. Both courses offer the chance to apply theoretical knowledge to real-life business situations in an approved HR environment. While the program admits students of all academic backgrounds, those who enter without a bachelor’s of business administration may be required to take up to 12 credits of foundational courses that introduce core program concepts.

49 Louisiana State University-Shreveport Shreveport, LA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 91%

LSU-Shreveport serves around 5,700 students through online and campus courses. The school’s MBA with a concentration in human resource management explores the relationship between employees, managers, and organizations. This fully online human resources master's degree requires a minimum of 30 credits and integrates concepts in strategy, management, and leadership. Students take 21 credits of core MBA courses, covering important business topics such as economic analysis for management, organizational behavior, and marketing strategy. The concentration component require an additional three courses: strategic management of human capital, labor and employment law, and leadership communication. Candidates can also choose a specialization in human resources management, which requires only six credits of HR courses and allows for one additional elective selection. For applicants who lack a recent business background, LSUS offers four, one-credit foundational courses in accounting, finance, statistics, and economics.

In the sections below, we explore components common to human resources master's degree programs. Available degree concentrations, required courses and electives, and the duration of a program vary between schools. This section points out some of the topics to consider as you search for the best program for your academic and career needs.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master's Degree in Human Resources

Project Management

Project managers oversee large and small business projects, ensuring teams of individuals work toward a specific goal and stay on track to meet planned deadlines. In many cases, they are responsible for managing budgets, communicating with upper management or investors, and handling any contractual or legal paperwork involved with the project.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Information technology manager, human resources manager, operations director, program manager, senior project manager

Recruiting and Staffing

Those with a human resources degree with a concentration in recruiting and staffing typically hold positions wherein they interview and hire new employees. These individuals help managers determine the desired employee qualities needed to fill specific roles in the company. In most cases, those in recruiting and staffing positions schedule and manage appointments, file paperwork for background checks and drug screenings, and create advertisements for open positions.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Recruitment coordinator, human resources specialist, public relations specialist

Compensation and Benefits

Workers with training in this area help determine the best pay and benefits plans for large organizations. They analyze trends and keep track of market conditions and government regulations to ensure their company offers competitive pay and benefits. They may also handle employee retirement plans, wellness programs, insurance claims, and disability policies.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Compensation and benefits manager or specialist, customer service representative, labor relations specialist

Training

These individuals work directly with company employees to ensure they understand how to carry out specific tasks. Training takes place in one-on-one and group settings. Professionals who specialize in training need strong presentation skills and understand the complexities of the learning process. In addition to being able to teach employees about any relevant technology and software, today's training experts must explain topics such as industry standard communication skills, office etiquette, and rules and regulations.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Training and development managers or specialists, human resources generalist, placement specialist

Organizational Development

Professionals in human resources who specialize in organization development strive to improve company performance by working directly with the workforce. These individuals typically need an understanding of behavioral science-related topics to handle issues in the workplace that may hinder company progress. They also help companies make large transitions, including mergers and moments of significant employee turnover.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Organizational development consultant, senior manager in organizational development, human resources manager

Employment Law

Individuals who specialize in employment law work with companies to construct fair and up-to-date company policies regarding compensation, company code of ethics, insurance plans, and benefits. These professionals ensure companies stay current with local, state, and federal employment laws.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Human resources manager or specialist, placement specialist, compliance and reporting analyst.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Human Resources

  • Human Resources Management: Students learn about the role human resources employees play in managing employees and company workforces. This class explores introductory information on diversity training, sexual harassment, cost benefits, and general legal topics commonly encountered in the field. It also exposes students to key HR functions like employee compensation, labor relations, new employee recruitment, and cultivating a progressive and supportive work environment.
  • Ethics: This course examines civil rights and personnel laws. Degree seekers learn to solve or handle issues as they arise in the workplace, including those related to sexual harassment, discrimination, and gender or racial equality.
  • Employee Hiring and Retention: Students learn headhunting techniques to locate the best employees for their companies. They develop interview skills and learn how to evaluate prospective employees' application materials. This course covers the strategic hiring methods that help companies remain stable during moments of uncertainty or transition. Additionally, they learn techniques to help reduce employee turnover and keep a consistent workforce.
  • Organizational Strategy: In this class, students learn how to increase employee productivity by aligning the HR system with organizational objectives. Students explore how to identify and create the best practices for workforce partitioning, value identification, performance variability, and employee impact. They will learn how these techniques help organizations run smoothly and produce positive financial results.
  • Leading Organizational Change: Learners acquire the skills to anticipate, facilitate, and sustain positive changes in organizations. Students learn how to assess the need for alterations in a variety of business scenarios and turn their original ideas into concrete strategies that affect positive change.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Master's in Human Resources?

The length of an online master's in human resources degree can vary. These graduate programs typically require 30-40 semester hours for graduation. Full-time students often complete a master's degree in two years or less. It may take some students longer to finish, depending on how many courses they take per semester, how flexible their schedule is, and what type of graduation requirements exist beyond coursework alone. Some schools require master's students in human resources to write a traditional master's thesis derived from original research. Alternatively, some programs require a capstone or final project. In both cases, students may need several extra months to complete these projects.

Another factor that affects the duration of a program is whether the school has a cohort learning or individually paced curriculum. The cohort learning structure involves students working through the same curriculum at the same time on a regular schedule. In many cases, cohort learning has regularly scheduled online or in-person meetings and typically moves at the same rate as a traditional on-campus class. Self-paced courses allow learners to make their way through content at their own rate. Regular deadlines may still exist. The student, however, is often free to learn on their own and interact directly with their professor for all communication.

Colleges and universities can earn multiple accreditations, both for the institution itself and for individual departments or degrees programs. The most significant accreditations on the institutional level are regional and national recognition. Credible, career-focused vocational schools that offer a limited number of degrees often have national accreditation. Regional accreditation is the gold standard in higher education in the U.S. and shows that a school meets particular standards of excellence. Sometimes schools have programmatic accreditation for individual departments or degrees. For human resources master's programs, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the primary programmatic accrediting agency. It is important that you attend an accredited school, as it ensures your degree is worth your time and money. Non-accredited schools may offer substandard training and result in credentials that do not advance your career.

The Department of Education (ED) is an agency located within the federal government that enforces privacy and civil right laws and presidential policies. While the ED is not directly involved with the accreditation of individual institutions or programs, it determines which private educational associations are reliable authorities on educational quality. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a nonprofit, private association that also oversees regionally and nationally accrediting bodies. CHEA is a collective of nearly 3,000 colleges dedicated to upholding high academic standards and provides policy analysis, research, and support for all of its member organizations. Both CHEA and the ED help ensure the quality of education at colleges and universities remains high and improves over time.

Master's in Human Resources Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in the human resources field show promising growth. The chart below shows a steady increase in earnings, regardless of position, over the next 20 years. A recent BLS study shows that professionals with a master's degree are likely to earn approximately $12,000 more per year than those with only a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, in addition to job experience, a master's degree may be required to acquire a mid- to upper-level position in the human resources field where the potential for growth and increased earning potential is substantially higher than entry-level jobs.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Salary for Entry-Level Employees Salary for Mid-Career Employees Salary for Late-Career Employees
Human Resources Manager $64,969 $53,000 $65,000 $73,000
Human Resources Generalist $52,358 $48,000 $53,000 $56,000
Human Resources Specialist $49,683 $42,000 $49,000 $57,000
Payroll Specialist $47,464 $39,000 $44,000 $46,000
Senior Human Resources Manager $86,288 $67,000 $81,000 $90,000

Master's in Human Resources Careers

Graduates with a master's degree in human resources often work as recruiting and employee relations managers, staffing managers, trainers, and researchers. Successful professionals in this field have strong leadership skills, communicate effectively with diverse groups of people, and can follow organized, systematic approaches to complete complex tasks. This degree is for students who enjoy working with people and want to see businesses and their employees grow and succeed.

Compensation and Benefits Managers

These professionals help employees with issues regarding pay, benefits, and retirement. They work one-on-one with employees to ensure they understand medical plans, retirement plans, and any available investment programs. A master's degree makes applicants more competitive in the job market and can be a substitute for any lack of work experience in the HR field.

Median Annual Salary: $119,120

Projected Growth Rate: 5%

Human Resources Specialists

These individuals work directly under the HR manager and focus on a specific role such as compensation, customer service, or recruiting. As the first point of contact for employees, these professionals assist the HR manager with day-to-day tasks and communication. A master's degree helps these professionals develop a more advanced and diverse skill set, making them more valuable employees and increasing their earning potential.

Median Annual Salary: $60,350

Projected Growth Rate: 7%

Human Resources Managers

These professionals oversee company policies and procedures, and ensure all activities follow local, state, and federal laws. They typically deal with employee situations such as maternity leave, insurance programs, vacation time, and sick leave benefits. A master's degree prepares these individuals to handle such a multifaceted, highly interpersonal, and often high-pressure position.

Median Annual Salary: $110,120

Projected Growth Rate: 9%

Liquid error: internal Training and Development Managers

These managers support employees through all types of training scenarios and team-building exercises. They often hold training and session workshops. Alternatively, they work one-on-one with employees, primarily those newly hired, to ensure they understand company policies, equipment, software, and procedures.

Median Annual Salary: $108,250

Projected Growth Rate: 10%

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches is crucial to your success in HR. Professional organizations offer an entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations for human resource professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • Society for Human Resource Management: The largest HR-oriented professional organization, SHRM boasts 285,000 members in 165 different countries. Their website features a vast online resource library, as well as links to continuing education opportunities and an events calendar.
  • National Human Resources Association: Founded in 1951, the NHRA assists aspiring HR employees through networking events, job training, and continuing education. Individual, corporate, and student memberships are all available.
  • Academy of Human Resources Development: This international organization addresses problems and issues in HR using academic research. AHRD's monthly online journal, AHRD Digest, features a publication archive dating back to 2006.

Despite the relative affordability of online master's in human resources programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the FAFSA is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown of the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning. Learn about the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and school. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single parents.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

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BUSINESS RESOURCES

Our page dedicated to resources for business students includes links to professional organizations, OpenCourseWare, industry publications, books, and business-minded users to follow on Twitter.

BUSINESS CAREERS

Our career page for business degree graduates includes a state-by-state breakdown of business careers and academic options for business students, as well as popular job sites, professional organizations, and continuing education opportunities for established professionals.

Rankings Archive

Best Online Master's in Human Resources Programs of 2017
Rank School Location
1 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
2 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
3 Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA
4 New York University New York, NY
5 Villanova University Villanova, PA
6 Colorado State University - Global Campus Greenwood Village, CO
7 Concordia University - Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
8 Brandman University Irvine, CA
9 Tiffin University Tiffin, OH
10 Golden Gate University San Francisco, CA
11 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
12 Benedictine University Lisle, IL
13 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC
14 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
15 Eastern Michigan University MI
16 Wilmington University New Castle, DE
17 Upper Iowa University Fayette, IA
18 University of Houston - Clear Lake Houston, TX
19 Robert Morris University Moon Township, PA
20 University of St. Francis - Joliet Joliet, IL
21 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
22 Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL
23 Catholic University of America Washington, DC
24 University of Colorado - Denver Denver, CO
25 Clemson University Clemson, SC