PhD in Human Resource Management: Program Overviews

A Doctor of Philosophy in human resource management explores interpersonal relationships in the workplace and the policies and processes organizations can use to maximize worker productivity and satisfaction. Learn about courses and job outlook.

Essential Information

Ph.D. programs in human resource management are designed for students who wish to become professors, research associates and research fellows. Candidates design and implement self-directed courses of study and present their findings in academic journals. A typical program takes 4-5 years to complete and consists of core courses, seminars and research for a dissertation. Most coursework is completed during the first year; the remaining years are devoted to research and writing the dissertation. Candidates must defend their dissertation at a public examination to earn the degree.

Human resource management degrees are also available at the bachelor's and master's level. Most Ph.D. programs in human resource management require at least a bachelor's degree in a related field of study. Some programs also require courses in higher level mathematics, such as calculus or linear algebra. Although a master's degree isn't required, applicants with a master's will have better prospects for acceptance.

Ph.D. in Human Resource Management

The coursework in a Ph.D. program in human resource management consists of detailed analysis of theories and research in the field. Some of the courses may include:

  • Leadership & organizational theory
  • Communications theory
  • Industrial relations theory
  • Collective bargaining and labor economics
  • Labor and management perspectives
  • Public policy and labor law

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( projected 13% job growth in postsecondary education for the years 2014-2024. Ph.D. holders will have the best prospects for landing the jobs that are available in higher education. According to the BLS in May 2015, the median salary of professors was $63,000.

Students interested in human resources can pursue a Ph.D. to study detailed theory and research topics in the field. Graduates most commonly work in postsecondary education and can expect positive job growth in the area.

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