List of Free Online Human Resources (HR) Courses and Classes

May 17, 2019

Free Human Resources Courses Online

The following schools and organizations offer free human resources courses or human resource training online:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • The Open University
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Pennsylvania

Free online human resources classes are generally offered through a college's management or business departments. The human resources classes listed below do not offer college credit, though many of these HR training courses contain topics that would be covered in credit-granting programs. Students may need to purchase textbooks and meet certain software and technical requirements in order to view lectures presented in video format.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) provides OpenCourseWare, a free and open online learning platform that students can access anytime, without registration, to study a variety of subjects. Approximately 2400 courses are available and most offer downloadable lecture notes and assignments. All courses have reading lists, which include texts from business journals and textbooks.

  • Strategic HR Management is a graduate-level course that examines topics on human resources management, performance management, training and development, reward systems and workforce diversity.
  • Urban Labor Markets and Employment Policy teaches students about urban labor markets, public policy, welfare reform and living wage campaigns. Selected lecture notes are available as PDF documents and cover labor demand, unions, employment training for adults and more.
  • Work, Employment and Industrial Relations Theory covers different labor theories, including Marxist and neo-classical ideas about industrial relations. Students also learn about the foundations of human resource management, views on global supply chains and call center research.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA offers a Learning Center filled with dozens of free online courses for anyone interested in learning how to plan, launch, manage and grow a business. Most courses are available as videos and may also offer downloadable worksheets. The courses do not require registration.

  • Introduction to Human Resources is a 30-minute self-paced video course that examines the importance of human resources in organizations. Students learn the meaning of human resource management as well as its principles, processes and associated laws.

University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota provides numerous free courses through a third-party learning platform. While students will be required to make an account to audit courses, the courses themselves offer a full learning experience at no cost. Learning materials for each course include videos, readings, and quizzes.

  • Preparing to Manage Human Resources focuses on various ways of managing human resources, how money acts as a motivator for employees and other ways to keep workers motivated. Students also learn the legal issues that have a direct impact on human resource management. This course is self-paced and takes approximately 19 hours to complete.

University of Pennsylvania

Students can take a variety of University of Pennsylvania courses free of charge. To access these non-credit courses at no cost, students are required to sign up for an account with a third-party learning platform provided by the University and then audit the courses. Learning materials for each course include videos, readings, and quizzes.

  • Managing Social and Human Capital is a beginner-level course that examines the complexities of humans as assets in business. Lessons examine the importance of training company leaders to properly manager employees and make wise decisions that ensure workers are motivated to perform well. The course consists of about 9 hours of learning materials.

Online Human Resources Certificate & Certification Programs

There are no free online programs for true HR certification. However, if you're interested in obtaining a human resources certificate online, or if you're interested in receiving a certificate of completion for your online HR courses, we've listed available options below. Generally speaking, it is significantly cheaper to complete an HR certificate program than it is to get an HR degree.

Champlain College Online

Champlain College Online has over 60 degree and certificate programs that are offered entirely online. Their undergraduate certificate programs range from 12-14 credits and can typically be completed within 1 year.

  • Online Human Resource Management Certificate is a 15-credit undergraduate certificate that covers topics such as finding and retaining employees, conflict management, legal and compliance issues, and career development and training. Course lectures are posted so that students can learn on their own time; in addition, courses will include assignments and online classroom discussions.

The Open University

The Open University's OpenLearn platform makes nearly 1,000 free courses available online for students. Most courses teach via written lessons and additional activities. The platform offers the option but does not require students to sign up for an account.

  • Human Resources: Recruitment and Selection is an intermediate-level course offering about 12-hours' worth of learning materials. At the end of the course, students receive a statement of participation. The HR class shows students how to successfully find and screen job applicants and explores how employees with different personality types may be best suited for certain positions. Students can learn to properly interview job candidates and make a final selection.

Earning a Human Resources Degree

Free courses and online certificates are great resources if your primary goal is to brush up on human resources management, recruitment, training and other related topics. However, if you're looking to break into the HR field, you will most likely want to take online human resources classes that can count towards an HR degree, since it's difficult to obtain an HR career without a degree. Below is an option that won't break the bank and will end up costing significantly less than a traditional college program. offers a reasonably priced and effective path to college credit; the HR courses on the site can help you eventually get your human resources degree. Courses at are taken online and courses consist of video lessons, quizzes, chapter exams, and final exams.

Business 106: Human Resource Management covers topics including performance appraisals, labor relations, organizational theories and international human resource management, as well as the following:

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