Online Human Resource Development Degrees: Program Overviews

Dec 03, 2019

Essential Information

Aspiring human resources (HR) development specialists can study HR development at the bachelor's level through online Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management degree programs. At the master's degree level, online HR management program options include Master of Science, Master of Arts and Master of Professional Studies programs. At the doctoral level, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs are available in HR management. Doctoral degree programs include concentrations in subfields such as training development, and students must complete a dissertation prior to graduation. All programs are available in fully online and hybrid formats. Students may have to complete exams on campus.

Human Resources Development Bachelor's Degree

This program can most often be found as an interdisciplinary curriculum in conjunction with a business administration degree program. Students gain an understanding of human behavior and handling issues that arise in the workplace. Human resources developers are also in charge of assembling a strong workforce, and this program provides recruitment training as well as management skills. Students with previous experience in human resources development who don't hold a 4-year degree can enroll in this program to further their careers.

Program Information and Requirements

This program can be taken either entirely or partially online. On average, the program is 120 credit hours long. Transfer programs are available wherein the curriculum is strictly human resources courses; these programs require that the student has completed general education prerequisites, such as through previous associate's-level study.

Students are often required to take exams on campus. In order to enroll in an online program, students typically need -- at minimum -- a computer, an Internet connection and an e-mail account.

List of Common Human Resources Bachelor's-Level Courses

In a non-transfer program, half of the 120 credit hours are usually general education courses and the other half are human resources and elective courses. Students gain a broad understanding of the HR field and can focus their studies on human resources development through elective choices.

Human Resources Management

Students learn to train employees and evaluate an employee's performance. The theory behind managing personnel is explored. In addition, students learn how to motivate employees through benefits and incentives.

Employee Development and Training

This core course covers techniques used in the training of employees, both new hires and veteran workers. Students learn to assess employees' needs and present them with an efficient training plan. Students also learn how to work with management in the respective department to effectively train existing employees.

Communication in the Workplace

This type of course covers interpersonal communication skills and techniques. Students learn how to associate with employees and develop working relationships.

Human Resources Development Master's Degree Program

Students can find a variety of concentrations under the umbrella of human resources management and development to specialize in. These specialties include compensation, employee relations, labor laws, and employee development. Online students learn about human resources theory and the application of its principles. Students will develop skills in the use of business and management strategies to effectively organize and work with employees. Programs are also available for those who wish to go into the field of human resources education and become teachers.

Program Information and Requirements

Human resources master's degree programs are available exclusively online or as part of a hybrid online and on-campus course of study. Depending on the program, applicants are sometimes required to submit an essay highlighting their writing skills and commitment to HR work. In general it takes two years to complete the online degree program, and some programs can be completed on a part-time basis in up to four years, depending on the frequency of coursework.

List of Common Human Resources Master's-Level Courses

Coursework can range from approximately 20-50 credit-hours per program, depending on the school. The curriculum consists of core and elective courses in HR topics.

Labor Law

This course highlights the regulations that the government puts on employees and human resources managers. Students gain an understanding of these rules and how to assess employment eligibility and legal rights.

Analysis of the Labor Market

Students learn about the field of human resources and its place in America's workforce. The class gives insight into labor supply and demand, as well as employment policies and compensation amounts.

Workplace Diversity

This course exposes issues that prospective human resources developers and managers might face when it come to gender, age and race. Skills are acquired that train HR professionals to deal with issues in a productive and ethical manner.

Human Resources Development Doctoral Degree Program

Doctoral programs in human resources development are designed to give the prospective student the necessary knowledge to obtain an upper-level leadership position as an HR consultant or educator. Students can specialize in sub-fields of human resources development, such as labor relations or workforce training. Doctoral degree programs of this type are, in large part, focused on independent research and advancing human resources development theory. Students will gain the leadership skills required to solve problems like labor law issues and workplace diversity.

Program Information and Requirements

These programs are often around 60 credit hours long and can be completed entirely online. There aren't any hybrid human resources programs available, but schools offer other courses in related fields, such as business and administration, on campus and in a hybrid format. Students can work with an assigned faculty member online and participate in discussions and ask questions. The program can be completed on a part-time basis in accordance with the students' schedules because participants are often working professionals.

Human resources online doctoral programs are very independent, but it is recommended that the student have access to high-speed Internet in order to be able to interact more efficiently with the staff and other students. It is also required that the student has a word document program, since Ph.D. students typically must write a dissertation.

List of Common Human Resources Doctoral-Level Courses

As previously stated, the program is largely research-based, and a large portion of the curriculum is spent completing an original scholarly project. The rest of the program is spent enrolled in core courses and the student's chosen specialization courses.

Advanced Human Resources Management

Students gain a better understanding of human interaction and behavior and learn how effectively lead and manage employees. The course gives insight into the strategies necessary to organize and meet goals.

Labor Relations

This course gives the student an understanding of the history of labor relations and the function of labor unions. Students also gain insight into labor laws and employment policies.

Human Resources Dissertation or Capstone Project

In this course, the student chooses a subject to research, often proposing a real or fictional workplace situation that he or she will attempt to resolve. Students work with faculty to determine the scope of the research and the methods of investigation.

Career Information

Students who acquire an HR bachelor's degree can find jobs in a variety of industries, including the restaurant, general business, healthcare, and retail industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job placement for bachelor's degree holders should be good because it's usually the required entry-level degree in HR (

Those who acquire a master's degree in human resources development have a good chance of finding employment. According to the BLS (, employment of human resources specialists was expected to grow by 5%, about average for all occupations, between 2018 and 2028. The same source states that job prospects should be best in the service industries. In addition, the average wage for a human resources specialist as of May 2018 was $66,790 (

As reported by the BLS, there were 152,100 human resources managers in the U.S. in 2018. The BLS expected that number to increase by 7%, faster than the average for all occupations, between 2018 and 2028. The average wage of a human resources manager as of May 2018 was $126,700 (

Human resources development degrees are available online or partially online at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Students will learn about handling issues in the workplace and will strengthen leadership skills.

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