Graduate Programs in Human Resources

Human resources (HR) is an aspect of a company that handles all duties related to employee relations. Compare the available graduate programs, courses and requirements, and employment information.

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Essential Information

Master's and doctoral programs in human resources prepare students for leadership roles with a variety of organizations, including major corporations, nonprofit agencies, and government entities. Students gain an advanced understanding of human resource issues and management trends relevant to today's global business world. Master's degree programs focus on the advanced skills needed to succeed in human resource management and usually require students to complete internships in order to gain hands-on experience. At the doctoral level, students perform research on topics such as organizational management and human resources policy. Completion of a dissertation is necessary at the doctoral level.

Prerequisites for the master's program include a bachelor's degree and GRE scores. A master's degree in human resources is required at the doctoral level.

Master of Human Resource Management

Programs resulting in a Master of Human Resource Management provide students with the skills necessary to attract, motivate and retain qualified employees for their future employer. Master's degree programs in human resources teach students to design and assess management systems in order to ensure effective organizational performance.

Graduate programs provide instruction in a variety of areas, due to the diversity of duties and responsibilities human resource professionals are given. Course topics typically include:

  • Human resource management
  • Labor relations and issues
  • Employee benefits and compensation
  • Training strategies
  • Human resource law
  • Performance management

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Human Resources

Doctoral-level degree programs in human resources help develop industry scholars who can educate future professionals and contribute both theoretical and empirical research in their respective specialties. Ph.D. students examine the utilization of human resources and its impact on both individuals and groups within the work settings of organizations.

In addition to taking required courses, doctoral students take electives that deal with such subjects as industrial relations and organizational behavior. Students choose a research topic for their dissertation. Class topics typically include:

  • Research methods
  • Public policy
  • Advanced concepts in human resource management
  • Organization management
  • Compensation systems

Popular Career Options

Upon completing a Ph.D. program, human resources professionals are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue advanced careers in the academic and corporate worlds. Individuals with a doctoral degree in human resources typically pursue careers as:

  • University professors
  • Human resources systems analysts
  • Consultants

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for management-level human resource professionals is expected to grow 9% between 2014 and 2024 due to a growing complexity in employee relations, benefits and labor laws. Graduates with a master's degree in the field can find job opportunities as one of the following professionals:

  • Compensation and benefits manager
  • Training and development manager
  • Human resource generalist
  • Staff recruiter
  • Industrial relations director
  • Consultant

Continuing Education Information

With an ever-changing global market, human resource professionals must stay up-to-date with changes in employee regulations and benefit management, in addition to following trends in employee recruitment, retention, and motivation. A number of professional organizations, such as the Society for Human Resource Management and The American Society for Training and Development, offer college-level courses to provide individuals with additional knowledge, certification or both. Human resource professionals wishing to focus their careers on research, teaching or consulting often choose to pursue a Ph.D.

Individuals looking to advance their skills in human resources may be interested in a master's or doctoral program. Master's students focus on advanced skills needed in human resources, while those pursuing a Ph.D. compile research on a chosen topic to help future professionals in the field.

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