30 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Human Resources 2020

| Staff

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Businesses are only as strong as the people that constitute them. The following 30 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Human Resources help graduates successfully cultivate the human element of a business. 

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Humans are an organization’s most invaluable resource. Human resources departments help companies operate smoothly and harmoniously on a personal level. HR professionals may seek out, recruit, and interview candidates for positions; train employees and develop talents; manage compensation and benefits, and ensure employees are engaged and being treated fairly in the company. 

The following list of the 30 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Human Resources includes degrees in both Human Resource Development and Human Resource Management. HR Development degrees tend to focus on transactional aspects of HR, such as recruitment and compensation. HR development degrees tend to focus on employee performance through skills such as employee retention, leadership development, and succession management. Generally speaking, the HR field incorporates aspects of education, management, psychology, sociology, and technology to best serve humans in organizations.

Each program listed can be completed partially or entirely online. Many of the programs were designed with working professionals in mind to accommodate busy schedules and workplace demands. Some of the programs on the list relate students’ studies directly to the issues and needs of their workplace. These online formats and professional considerations allow students to avoid neglecting the professions they work in and the professionals they work with. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HR specialists were paid a median amount of $60,880 in 2018. The demand for HR professionals is growing at a projected rate of 7%, which is about as fast as the average in other fields. Those with advanced degrees in the field may have an edge over the competition through a sophisticated understanding of how to navigate human resources departments and workplace relations.

Top 10 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Human Resources 2020

Rank School Location
1 Villanova University Villanova, PA
2 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
3 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
4 Florida International University Miami, FL
5 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
6 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
7 Clemson University Clemson, SC
8 University of Houston-Clear Lake Houston, TX
9 New York University New York, NY
10 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC
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Methodology

The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 30 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Human Resources for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:

  • Alumni Feedback: 20% 
  • Continued Enrollment: 20% 
  • Degree Selectivity: 10%
  • Graduate Expenses: 25%
  • Projected Annual Salary: 25%

A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page. 

Here are the 30 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Human Resources for 2020 – 2021!

  1. Villanova University
    Location

    Villanova, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Villanova University offers Grad School Hub's No. 1 best online master's in HR degree program. The university's Master of Science in Human Resource Development can be completed entirely online to accommodate working professionals. Required courses include Employment Law, Financial and Human Capital, and Training and Development. Elective offerings include Diversity in a Global Economy, HR Technology, and Relational Capital. Students may choose to pursue a specialization or credential in Analytics & Research, Business Partner, Leadership, or Organization Development. Students can culminate their program by passing a Society for Human Resource Management Certification exam or a departmental written comprehensive exam, or by completing an experiential learning project. The degree program can be completed in two years of part-time study.

    Villanova is a private Catholic research university in Villanova, PA, about 12 miles from the middle of Philadelphia. The school was founded in 1842 by order of Saint Augustine and named after Saint Thomas of Villanova. It is the oldest Catholic university in Pennsylvania and the only Augustinian university in the United States. Villanova is recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management for Professional Development Credits. U.S. News & World Report ranks VU second in the nation for Best Online Graduate Business Programs.

  2. Cornell University
    Location

    Ithaca, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Cornell University offers a Master's of Professional Studies in Human Resource Management. It is an executive degree program designed for individuals with at least eight years of professional HR experience. The program is delivered online to accommodate busy work schedules, but it includes three week-long on-campus sessions. The curriculum consists of courses such as Navigating Power Relationships, The Psychology of Getting Things Done, Reading and Managing Emotions, and Understanding Financial Statements. The curriculum culminates in a final report and presentation. The degree is designed to be completed in five short semesters, in a total of 15 months of study.

    Cornell is a private Ivy League land-grant, sea-grant, space-grant, and sun-grant research university. It was founded in 1865 as a land-grant institution on a farm owned by its co-founder, Senator Ezra Cornell. It developed into a technologically innovative research institution that conducts significant research in the areas of science and engineering. In addition to its main campus in Ithaca, NY, the university operates schools in New York City and Qatar. U.S. News & World Report ranks Cornell No. 21 nationally in both value and innovation and No. 16 overall in the nation.

  3. University of Scranton
    Location

    Scranton, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Scranton offers a Master of Science in Human Resources Management. It is a fully online degree program designed for working professionals. The curriculum consists of 11 courses, for a total of 33 semester credit hours. Core courses include Control and Budgeting Systems, Ethics in Human Resources, and Recruitment and Staffing. The curriculum culminates in an Applied Human Resources Capstone that involves analyzing case studies and proposing HR solutions. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional exam.

    The University of Scranton is a private Catholic and Jesuit research university in Scranton, PA. It was founded in 1888 by William O'Hara, the first Bishop of Scranton. Many of the university's programs are built upon Jesuit principles and a liberal arts foundation. The university's online MS in Human Resources Management aligns with the guidelines set by the Society for Human Resource Management. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Scranton No. 76 nationally in Best Online Graduate Business Programs.

  4. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Florida International University offers a Master of Science in Human Resource Management. Applicants must have a minimum of five years of professional work experience. The degree program is offered online in an accelerated format. It emphasizes practical application through hands-on learning experiences. Courses include Critical Thinking in Human Resource Management, Labor Issues and Conflict Management, and Staffing Organizations. The degree requires 38 credit hours of coursework. It is designed to be completed in 12 months. Graduates of the program are prepared for HR certification exams.

    FIU is a public research university founded in 1965. It has two primary campuses in Greater Miami and is one of the 12 members of the State University System of Florida. FIU is the largest university in South Florida, the second-largest in the state, and the fourth-largest in the nation. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the university as having the highest level of research activity. The university's online MS in Human Resource Management aligns with the guidelines set by the Society for Human Resource Management. U.S. News & World Report ranks FIU No. 17 nationally in Best Online Graduate Business Programs.

  5. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Southern California offers a Master of Science in Human Resource Management through its Bovard College. The degree program is designed to be completed entirely online. The course sequence covers areas of HR, such as corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion, HR analytics, and principled leadership. Courses include Change Management, Employee Relations, Organizational Culture, and Employee Outcomes, or Talent Management. Students can complete the degree on a one-year or two-year track.

    USC is a private sea-grant and space-grant research university in Los Angeles., and is particularly noted for its technological innovations, including antivirus software, DNA computing, and image compression. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university No. 2 in the nation for Best Online Graduate Business Programs.

  6. University of Connecticut
    Location

    Storrs, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Connecticut offers a Master of Science in Human Resource Management. The degree program is offered in a concentrated, accelerated, hybrid format of online and on-campus learning. On-campus courses are held on the university's Hartford campus. The degree requires 33 credits of study. This includes core courses in Business Acumen and Strategic Management of Human Resources, Human Capital and Workforce Capability Development, and Managing Organizations. Elective offerings include Diversity and Inclusion, Employment Law, Managing Innovation and Change, and Negotiation Strategies. The curriculum culminates in a Human Resource Management capstone course in which students develop a project examining a real-world HR business case. Students can complete the degree in 20 months of part-time study.

    UConn is a public flagship land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university. It was founded in 1881 as an agricultural school. Today, it is counted among the nation's "Public Ivies." The Carnegie Foundation categorizes the school in its top tier of research universities. The university has a main campus in Storrs, CT, approximately 30 minutes from Hartford by car. U.S. News & World Report ranks UConn No. 8 nationally in Best Online Graduate Business Programs.

  7. Clemson University
    Location

    Clemson, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Clemson University offers an online program leading to a Master's of Human Resource Development. The degree program is designed for working professionals, preferably in the HR field. Course examples include Consulting for Education and Industry, Knowledge Management for Improved Performance, and Needs Assessment for Education & Industry. The program offers an optional emphasis area in Athletic Leadership. Practitioners teach HRD courses through a highly interactive online environment. The program is structured to be completed in two years, with students taking two courses at a time in the fall, spring, and summer of each year.

    Clemson is a public, land-grant and sea-grant research university. It was founded in 1889 as an agricultural college. Today, it is the second-largest university in South Carolina in terms of student enrollment. It is located in suburban Clemson, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Carnegie Foundation categorizes Clemson in its top tier of research universities. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university No. 66 in the nation and No. 24 in both Top Public Schools and Most Innovative Schools.

  8. University of Houston-Clear Lake
    Location

    Houston, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Houston – Clear Lake awards a Master of Art in Human Resource Management. The degree program can be completed entirely online. It focuses on management and global markets in relation to human resource management. The curriculum consists of 36 credit hours of study. Major course requirements include Human Behavior in Organizations, Human Resource Information Systems, and HR Metrics and Performance Management. Elective offerings include Global Sustainability and Strategic Advantage, International Accounting, and Motivational Design of Instruction.

    UHCL is a state university and one of four members of the University of Houston System. It was established in 1971 as a graduate center of the University of Houston. This was mainly due to the establishment of the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center off the shores of Clear Lake in Houston. Today, UHCL has a main suburban campus that spreads through Houston and Pasadena, Texas. The university also operates two branch campuses: one in Pearland and another, medical campus in Houston. U.S. News & World Report ranks UHCL No. 61 in the West and No. 58 for best value.

  9. New York University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    New York University awards a Master of Science in Human Resource Management and Development. The degree requires 42 credits of study. Students can choose from four concentration options: Human Capital Management; Global Talent Management; Learning, Development, and Executive Coaching; and Organizational Effectiveness. Core courses include Business Writing and Presentations, Information Technology, and Managing in a Global Economy. Students have the option to complete an internship experience to fulfill their elective requirement. The curriculum culminates in a capstone synthesis experience that can be achieved through a Special Projects business simulation course or through a research thesis.

    NYU is a private, international research university with the main campus in Greenwich Village in New York City. The university operates international locations in cities including Berlin, Madrid, Paris, Shanghai, and Sydney. The university's online MS in Human Resource Management and Development aligns with Society for Human Resource Management competencies. U.S. News & World Report ranks NYU No. 30 nationally and No. 12 in graduate business programs.

  10. Western Carolina University
    Location

    Cullowhee, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Western Carolina University offers an online program leading to a Master of Science in Human Resources. The degree program is designed for working professionals who want to enter or advance in the human resources field. The curriculum consists of 12 courses for a total of 36 credits of study. Required core courses include Advanced HR Consulting, Organization Acumen for HR Leaders, and Human Resources Research & Evaluation Methods. Elective offerings include Coaching for Performance, Leadership in Human Resources, and Talent Development. The curriculum culminates in a capstone HR seminar.

    WCU is a public university in the village of Cullowhee in Jackson County, NC. It was founded in 1889 as a semi-public secondary school. Today, it is one of 16 members of the University of North Carolina system. The Carnegie Foundation classifies WCU as a comprehensive university with active community engagement. The university's online MS in Human Resources is developed to align with competencies set by various HR organizations, including the Society for Human Resource Management. U.S. News & World Report ranks WCU No. 78 nationally in Best Online Graduate Business Programs, No. 34 overall in the South, and No. 11 among southern public institutions.

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