Online Human Resources Degrees

The field of human resource management deals with the hiring, training, and maintenance of a company’s personnel. As employees develop and become more experienced, they increase in value, thereby providing a lasting advantage for a company. Larger organizations generally employ teams of human resource specialists, whose responsibilities include handling compensation and benefits; job placements and recruitment; labor relations; and training and development. Smaller companies might only employ one HR manager to oversee all these duties. Traditional HR roles are evolving, however, HR professionals are becoming more involved in decision-making processes that affect a company’s strategic plan.

In recent years, large data collection has proven invaluable for companies to track human resource trends and develop more useful hiring strategies. Experts predict human resource management will move toward more strategic, self-directed, and data-driven function, with companies demanding data and analysis of employee effectiveness. According to a Recruiting Division report, two of the most popular HR jobs in 2015 were chief digital officer (in charge of performance analytics) and chief human resources officer (directly reports to the CEO). Candidates for this new type of HR position are now drawn from non-traditional backgrounds in finance and information technology, and tasked with a more pro-active role in making executive-level decisions for company growth. With this new type of business-oriented responsibility, new and exciting roles for HR specialists will emerge.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports job growth of 9% for human resource managers from 2014-2024, faster than the national average. In general, a master’s degree is a prerequisite for higher-level management positions. Successful modern HR managers must have solid work experience, be highly strategic, adaptable to new trends, and have a strong understanding of information technology, finance and organizational leadership. Salaries vary widely in the HR field, but with median pay for HR managers at $102,780 in 2014, this career path can potentially lead to a very high return on investment. As new trends take hold, and new HR positions become integrated in strategic planning, the job outlook in the field is bright and the talent pool widening.

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Jennifer Bouley Human Resources

“I was able to work full time and work on my degree on my own time. It only took an extra year compared to a contemporary degree. I also didn’t want to go back to sit in class, I liked the accountability that Athabasca gives its students.”

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Online Human Resources Degree Overview

Though associate and bachelor’s degrees are excellent points of departure for entry level work, and for developing basic knowledge and skills in business, more advanced training is required to enter the HR field at the managerial level. A master’s degree is currently the industry standard for managerial positions, and students will find the greatest possibility for return on investment with this degree.

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $12,054 14.69% 2 years $32,500 $46,500 N/A
Bachelor's $17,112 9.39% 4 years $41,300 $66,400 5.7%
Master's $21,089 7.31% 2 years $50,400 $82,900 6.8%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

Though a master’s degree is more costly than a bachelor’s degree, the increase in base salary provides a faster turn-around when paying off the cost of education. For example, compare the 2014 median salary of an HR manager (requiring a master’s degree) of $102,780, with that of an HR assistant or clerk (requiring an associate degree) of $31,500. Master’s degree holders are able to acquire a higher earning potential, and as a result, default less on student loans than those only holding a bachelor’s or associate degree. It should be noted that salaries vary depending on the industry. The BLS reports that the top industries for HR managers as are professional, scientific and technical services, management of companies and enterprises, manufacturing, government and healthcare and social assistance.

Online Human Resources Degrees


Online Associate’s Degree in Human Resources

Of the various degree program levels, an associate degree is the easiest, least expensive, and fastest to complete, requiring one to two years to finish. Students learn about core concepts in human resources while surveying specialty areas in the field. Certificates in state regulations are often favored by employers as they demonstrate familiarity with state and government procedures. Starting salaries, generally in the $30,000 range, make earning an online degree in human resources an attractive way of beginning a human resources career.


    Employment Law, Human Resource Information Systems, Strategic Staffing, Training and Development, and Compensation and Benefits


    Human Resource Management, Human Resource Administration, Human Resources Specialist, and Occupational Safety


    HR Generalist, HR Clerk, HR Assistant, HR Assistant Recruiter, Development Coordinator, and Payroll Assistant


    $31,500 per year


    2% growth

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources

An online bachelor’s degree in HR opens a number of career paths, including management roles and specialist positions. The standard four-year program is a good investment for students wishing to enter the field at a higher level than is possible with an associate degree. Common foundational topics include courses in business, psychology, social sciences, and finance. With new trends in the field, it is wise for students to have some familiarity with information technology, statistics, and financial analysis. Other relevant topics might include: collective bargaining, labor law and economics, industrial psychology, political science, and business administration. With so many options for career tracks, students should use their time as undergraduate students to explore their options.


    Conflict Management and Negotiation, Employment law, Organizational Development, Business Ethics, and Negotiation Strategy


    Human Resource Management, Human Relations and Business, Human Resource Leadership, Organizational Behavior Studies, and Healthcare Administration: Human Resources Management Concentration


    HR Recruiter, HR Generalist, HR Training Specialist, HR Employee Relations Manager, and HR Information Systems Manager


    $57,420 per year


    5% growth

Online Human Resources Degrees
For the 2016 rankings, has greatly refined its approach to evaluating schools and their respective programs. Our innovative method of assessing schools is what makes our rankings so distinctly authoritative. On the surface, every ranking we produce employs a basic formula: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. This final score determines where a school ends up in our rankings. Of course, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about our process.

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Human Resources Bachelor’s Degree Rankings

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1Bellevue UniversityBellevue$$$$$1000 Galvin Rd S
Bellevue, NE 68005-3098
(402) 291-8100

Bellevue University's online Bachelor of Science in Management of Human Resources is an accelerated cohort degree program that groups together students with the same degree paths so they can go through the entire program, course-by-course, with a familiar community of peers. Cohort members benefit from fellow students' support and unique input. This accelerated program allows students to finish their human resources degree online in as little as 18 months. The curriculum was designed off of the Professional in Human Resource credentialing, and coursework covers human capital management as well as laws, policies and procedures relevant to the field.

Online courses are hosted on the Cyberactive Classroom, powered by Blackboard. There are a number of video tutorials for students new to this interface hosted on YouTube, and online learners can access the library, academic advising and student affairs by logging in with their BRUiN account.

2Brenau UniversityGainesville$$$$$500 Washington Street SE
Gainesville, GA 30501-3668
(770) 534-6299

Brenau University offers a 120-credit, accredited online Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources Management. Admission requirements for this program include previous college credits and at least two years of full-time work experience in the field. Online students take up to two classes per terms, which start six times each year and are taught by the same instructors as on-campus classes. Major-specific courses include Strategic Planning, Benefits and Compensation and Designing Training Programs.

Online classes are delivered using Canvas, and students have access to the digital library, tutoring services and career and academic advising through the Online Students Center. They can call or email the Student Help Desk for technical support. Brenau is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board's (SREB) Electronic Campus which allows Brenau students to take online courses hosted by other member schools.

3University of St. FrancisJoliet$$$$$500 N Wilcox St
Joliet, IL 60435-6188
(815) 740-3360

The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration is an accelerated program designed for working adults who endeavor to enhance their management skills. The BSBA degree and its Managing Human Resources concentration can be completed entirely online. Featuring a curriculum of equal parts applied knowledge and practical experience, graduates who obtain their human resources degree online come away with skills and abilities they can use to excel in current roles or apply to future management positions.

In addition to taking business foundations and administration core courses, such as Business Ethics and Managerial Communication, students take three classes in the HR concentration: Organizational Development, Training & Development and Human Resource Management. All courses are taught in an 8-week format to accommodate busy schedules. Online classes are held on the Canvas learning management system. Students new to this LMS can take a guided tour to familiarize themselves with the interface and determine if online learning is right for them.

4Florida International UniversityMiami$$$$$11200 S. W. 8 Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-2000

The university's human resources bachelor's degree online program is aligned with the research and curriculum of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The curriculum encompasses employee training, performance appraisals, the development of compensation systems and the creation of HR information systems. Students complete 120 credit hours in order to graduate; those who have previously earned college credits may transfer up to 60 credits into this program.

Every online student is partnered with a success coach who supports and fosters them throughout the program. Courses are accessed using Blackboard Learn; students new to the LMS can use the username and password the school provides to explore an introduction course and learn how to navigate the system before classes begin. FIU wants students to succeed, so they've made university resources, such as counseling services, tutoring and student organizations, available online.

5Geneva CollegeBeaver Falls$$$$$3200 College Ave
Beaver Falls, PA 15010-3599
(724) 846-5100

Geneva College's Bachelor of Professional Studies in Human Resources program prepares students for general HR procedures, such as hiring, compensation, and conflict resolution, while also focusing on the management aspect of organizations through teaching group dynamics, styles of communications, and organizational behavior.

Students can complete the accelerated, 120-credit human resources degree online. Online students enroll as part of a cohort which allows them to take courses with the same group of peers from start to finish. Online courses are accessed using the school's learning management system, eLearning, and students can download Office 365, with the latest versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and more. Online learners can use the digital resources provided by the school's library at any time, day or night.

6Athens State UniversityAthens$$$$$300 N Beaty St
Athens, AL 35611
(256) 233-8100

A human resources bachelor's degree online is offered through Athens State's nationally accredited College of Business. With curriculum encompassing classic business, management and psychology courses, students complete 124 credits in order to graduate. They must also pass an assessment exam in their last semester which measures students' understanding of the core ideas of the curriculum.

Students and instructors participate in online courses through Blackboard Learn. This platform provides access to educational content, grades, discussion boards and assignments. Online human resources degree students can get 24/7 tech support for any issues that may arise while using the LMS.

7Baker College of Allen ParkAllen Park$$$$$4500 Enterprise Dr
Allen Park, MI 48101
(313) 425-3700

Baker's online Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management degree is career-focused and features curriculum designed by employers and HR professionals. In order to qualify for graduation, students complete 185 quarter hours, and they select one of 13 minors to add a concentration to their degree, including Project Management, Psychology, Finance and Computer Information Systems. Courses for the HR major cover topics in staffing, training, performance and career strategies.

With an average of between 12-15 students per course, online classes are typically smaller than those hosted on campus. Classes typically last six weeks and are split into different seminars; these are equal in length and usually cover one topic. Online classes are accessed using the Blackboard learning management system. Students are paired with an academic advisor who is there to help create a degree plan and keep students on track.

8McKendree UniversityLebanon$$$$$701 College Rd
Lebanon, IL 62254-1291
(618) 537-4481

With online courses planned over eight week periods, students pursuing a human resources bachelor's degree online at McKendree University can plan their education around their busy schedules. The online program consists of the basic theory and application of business principles, personnel management and retention, employee and labor relations, diversity management and organizational development.

Upon enrolling, each student receives an academic advisor who provides guidance and support throughout the program. Online courses are delivered over Blackboard, and students can access journals and other media online through the Holman Library website and receive writing assistance through The Writing Center using WCOnline.

9Concordia University - WisconsinMequon$$$$$12800 N Lake Shore Dr
Mequon, WI 53097-2402
(262) 243-5700

The Human Resources Management program at Concordia University is accredited and available entirely online. Students work independently and gain experience with one-on-one instruction from business professionals. With rolling start dates, online students can begin the program at anytime. To qualify for graduation, online human resources degree students complete 128 credits, including an integrative project that allows them to apply the theories and knowledge from their major courses.

The college takes pride in meeting scholars where they are and simplifying learning, with fewer textbooks and more immediate, engaging content. Each student is assigned an Online Student Success Advisor who assists and guides them throughout their academic careers. Online courses are held using Blackboard.

10Upper Iowa UniversityFayette$$$$$605 Washington St
Fayette, IA 52142-1857
(563) 425-5200

With Upper Iowa University's Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management program, students have two enrollment options: the online program or the self-paced program. Both formats allow students to take their courses completely online, but the self-paced program lets students take six months to complete one course. Classes in the online program are offered in an accelerated structure, with terms beginning six times a year.

The program's curriculum has been recognized by Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). It prepares students to handle the demands of employee and business management, such as recruiting, interviewing, hiring and employee benefits. Online courses and materials are accessed using LearningStudio.

11Regis UniversityDenver$$$$$3333 Regis Blvd
Denver, CO 80221-1099
(800) 388-23662111

The Bachelor of Science in Business with a Human Resource Management specialization gives students the skills, theoretical knowledge and ethical business savvy needed to succeed in today's global marketplace. Students take courses that are aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) standards. The 128-credit-hour program boasts a host of management, business and finance courses, including four classes specific to HR: Labor Relations and Economics, Compensation Policy and Employment, Managing Cultural Diversity and Management of Human Resources.

Online human resources degree classes are offered in five- or eight-week accelerated terms through the WorldClass learning management system. On this platform, students have access to discussion forums, dropbox, quizzes and school email accounts. The online program is flexible but not self paced; students are required to meet deadlines and due dates. Most of the online courses are accessible to visually and auditorily impaired students.

12Concordia University - Saint PaulSaint Paul$$$$$1282 Concordia Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
(651) 641-8278

A Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Management degree can be pursued online at Concordia University-Saint Paul. With more time spent on strategy, management and research, this online program prepares students to solve critical programs relating to employee organization. Courses in the major include: Legal Issues in Human Resources, Staffing the Organization and Human Resources Plan.

The online degree program was designed for working adults to fit their education into their busy schedules. The HRM major consists of 40 required credit hours, and courses last seven weeks. In order to qualify for graduation, students need to earn 128 credits; those who have already taken some college classes may transfer the credits to Concordia. Tuition is affordable, and financial aid is available, but because online students receive a discounted tuition rate, eligibility for institutional scholarships is limited. Online courses are attended through Blackboard.

13DeSales UniversityCenter Valley$$$$$2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034-9568
(610) 282-1100

DeSales University's online Human Resource Management program builds on a liberal arts education with technical training encompassing business, finance, employment law, management strategy and organizational behavior. Part of the college's ACCESS program, the undergraduate HR degree is an accelerated program designed for adult learners, and students enroll in classes that last either six or eight weeks.

Online students and teachers use Blackboard to access grades, assignments and course materials. Students are able to transfer up to 75 to DeSales; they may also be eligible to earn credit for life and work experiences. Tuition is reasonable, payment plans can be arranged for courses and military discounts and financial aid are also available.

14Park UniversityParkville$$$$$8700 NW River Park Dr
Parkville, MO 64152-3795
(816) 741-2000

Park University offers an online Bachelor of Business Administration program with a Human Resources Management concentration. Boasting personalized online education, Park University offers online courses that are engaging, interactive and student-centered. Courses in the accelerated online span eight weeks. BSBA students take five courses in the HR minor for a total of 24 credits, including: Employment Law and a senior seminar in Human Resources Development.

Online classes, including learning materials, exams and discussion boards, are delivered through the Canvas learning management system. Online students have access to Park's digital library materials, a netiquette guide and tech support.

15Colorado State UniversityFort Collins$$$$$102 Administration Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523-0100
(970) 491-1101

The Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management program at CSU covers organizational structure and the basic foundations of the field. The curriculum is aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) guidelines, and each course is taken in an accelerated format that lasts eight weeks. Students complete 10 core HRM courses, including Managing and Leading Team Dynamics; Employment Law, Compensation, and Policy; and Organizational Development. The capstone course allows them to demonstrate the skills they learned in their other classes in one final project.

Following an asynchronous model of education, assignments, lectures and course materials are available for students to access and complete at anytime. Online learners have the flexibility to take classes as it suits their schedules, and they may transfer up to 90 previously-earned college credits. Online classes are delivered using Schoology, a new LMS partnering with CSU, and students have access to online resources such as tutoring, career services and the virtual library.

16Indiana Wesleyan UniversityMarion$$$$$4201 S Washington St
Marion, IN 46953-4974
(765) 674-6901

Indiana Wesleyan University, an evangelical Christian school, offers an online BS in Business Administration program with a Human Resources Management specialization. Students are required to fulfill 124 credit hours of coursework in order to qualify for graduation; 54 credits come from the BSBA major and HR minor. The four specialization courses cover topics in human resources management and development, using compensation to achieve goals and a general overview of everything it takes to be a good HR manager.

Students and instructors interact with the class materials and each other over the LearningStudio platform. Online learners have access to a number of academic tools, including the grammar check Grammarly and a writing lab. They can use the digital library collections and OLC to receive physical resources.

17Saint Leo UniversitySaint Leo$$$$$33701 State Road 52
Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
(352) 588-8200

Saint Leo University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Management. This accelerated program focuses on building business leadership and managerial skills in students. The curriculum, which consists of 27 credits in HR core courses, is designed to prepare graduates for the Professional in Human Resource (PHR) certification examination. HR classes include: Risk Management, Administrative and Personnel Law and an HR Internship. The degree can be completed in six, eight-week terms.

Online courses are available through Learning Studio and Blackboard; students can access and participate in discussion boards, assignments, exams, course materials and more. Saint Leo University makes it possible for military personnel around the globe to pursue affordable, attainable degree programs.

18Philadelphia UniversityPhiladelphia$$$$$4201 Henry Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144-5497
(215) 951-2700

With curriculum directed by the Society for Human Resource Management guidelines, PhilaU's online Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management degree prepares students to succeed in companies big and small. Students must complete 120 credits; those with previous college experience may transfer up to 72 credits to apply towards their graduation requirements. The program culminates in a portfolio project that asks students to create an HR development plan that can be used in a professional setting.

The online program is accelerated; students complete their classes in eight-week terms, with six terms per year. Online learners typically take two classes every eight-weeks, though students are allowed to take more if they feel they can handle it. Online courses are held using Blackboard Learn, and students have 24/7 access to support services.

19Indiana State UniversityTerre Haute$$$$$210 N 7th St
Terre Haute, IN 47809
(812) 237-6311

Indiana State University's online BS in Human Resource Development program readies students for HR careers in higher education, business, government or any other industry. The program's curriculum was created based on the standards of the Society of Human Resource Management. Required courses in the major include: Continuous Performance Improvement, Contemporary Issues in Human Resource Development and Work-Life Integration. While all HR requirements can be met online, students must participate in and write about a professional internship.

Online courses are accessed through Blackboard; professors can record class content with Tegrity Lecture Capture, and students use Blackboard Collaborate for group projects. Online students can use interlibrary loan to obtain physical copies of resources they need for research and assignments.

20Dickinson State UniversityDickinson$$$$$291 Campus Drive
Dickinson, ND 58601-4896
(701) 483-2507

The Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management at Dickinson State University is offered entirely online. Providing student with the skillset required to work in the ever-evolving field of human resources management, the 128-credit online program consists of accounting, economics, business analysis, information system and management courses.

Moodle is the main platform used for online classes, where students can access assignments, engage in discussions and connect with teachers and classmates. Online classes follow the same schedule as on-campus courses. Though most classes are asynchronous, online learners and instructors can meet at set times using Blackboard Collaborate.

21Colorado Christian UniversityLakewood$$$$$8787 West Alameda Avenue
Lakewood, CO 80226
(303) 963-3000

Colorado Christian University's online BS in Organizational Management in Human Resources program is designed for adults with busy schedules. A flexible schedule allows students to focus on one class at a time. Online courses generally last five weeks, with weekly assignments you can complete whenever life permits. Courses are taught from a Christian worldview, and a learning community model is used to encourage camaraderie and growth among students.

Incorporating curriculum based on human resources administration and the ethical principles of leadership, students are taught how to handle crises and risk management, employee training and legal work for organizations big and small. Online classes are held through Blackboard. Students are abley to transfer up to 90 credits from a previous postsecondary program, or they may earn credits for life experiences relevant to their field of study.

22Huntington UniversityHuntington$$$$$2303 College Ave
Huntington, IN 46750
(260) 356-6000

To qualify for admissions into the online BS in Human Resource Management, students must have at least 50 semester hours of previous college credit. This degree completion program equips students with core business and human services management skills. Classes include Statistics for Managers, Communications in Organizations and Business Math. The degree culminates in the Business Capstone Project, during which students address real business issues and share their findings via written and oral reports.

Bachelor degree in human resources online students access their online classes, hosted on the Moodle LMS, by logging into the My Huntington student portal. Library resources, including electronic journals, ebooks and audiobooks, are available to online students. Those with professional experience may qualify for college credits based on their employment histories.

23Wilmington UniversityNew Castle$$$$$320 Dupont Hwy
New Castle, DE 19720
(877) 967-5464

The online Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management offers broad and comprehensive courses that meet the standards of the SHRM. Students immerse themselves in material and topics recommended by experts and employers in the field, including: human resource planning, staffing, compensation and benefits, employee-labor relations and training and development. Eligible students may transfer up to 75 credits to apply towards the 120-credit graduation requirements.

Online classes start every other month and are delivered over Blackboard, which offers accesses to education tools such as: online video conferencing and collaboration via discussion boards, blogs and chat. Online students have access to student services, such as advising, tutoring, library resources, and more, in an online format.

24University of Maryland - University CollegeAdelphi$$$$$3501 University Blvd East
Adelphi, MD 20783-8010
(301) 985-7000

The bachelor degree in human resources online undergraduate program at UMUC provides students with a comprehensive look at the role HR plays in business. Graduates of this program can apply their education towards the requirements for three certification exams: Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR).

Covering topics that include planning, employee improvement, training, recruitment, labor relations and placement, the curriculum was designed with SHRM standards and employers' needs in mind. Online courses are accessed through the school's Learning Experience Online (LEO) platform. Financial aid and scholarships are available for online students, and they have access to support services such as the online library, a writing center, tutoring and career advising.

25Columbia College - MissouriColumbia$$$$$1001 Rogers Street
Columbia, MO 65216
(573) 875-8700

Students interested in pursuing a bachelor degree in human resources online at Columbia College can choose either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. The HRM major consists of 18 semester hours of coursework that gives students the knowledge base in management, organizational behavior, planning and compensation they need to succeed professionally. Students can add a focus to their major through their elective courses, which include: Intercultural Communication, Cross-Cultural management, Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Social Psychology.

Classes are taught in eight-week sessions and accessed by logging into the Desire2Learn platform. Online students do not have set times when they must be "in" class, but all assignments have to be submitted by their due dates. Students new to D2L can click through a demo course to familiarize themselves with the platform before the term begins.

Online Master’s Degree in Human Resources

Building on a strong undergraduate foundation, a master’s student of human resources focuses on honing skills within a specific area of HR. A master’s degree is the standard professional degree for managerial positions. Increasingly, students from outside the HR field are transferring into HR at the graduate level, due to increased interest in hiring specialists with knowledge of information technology, business, and finance. The number of graduate HR students with degrees in law is also on the rise. These topics might apply to the study of industrial labor relations, and can be very useful to negotiators and arbitrators. The topic of law also pertains broadly to benefits management, as companies must negotiate increasingly complex legal matters. The cost of a master’s degree is fairly high in comparison to associate and bachelor’s degrees; however, because it builds on foundational knowledge, it can be completed in only one or two years. Starting salaries for master degree-holders are generally quite a bit higher than those of entry-level jobs. Managerial positions are the fastest growing job type in the HR field, providing students with excellent job prospects.


    Consulting Skills in Human Capital, Creating and Maintaining High-Performance Organizations, Global Compensation and Benefits, HR in the International Context, and Human Capital Analytics


    Human Resources, Human Resource Management, Human Resources Training and Development, Legal Studies: HR and Employment Law, and Human Resources Strategic Management


    HR Payroll Managers, HR Recruiting Managers, and HR Labor Relations Directors




    9% increase

Online Human Resources Degrees
For the 2016 rankings, has greatly refined its approach to evaluating schools and their respective programs. Our innovative method of assessing schools is what makes our rankings so distinctly authoritative. On the surface, every ranking we produce employs a basic formula: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. This final score determines where a school ends up in our rankings. Of course, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about our process.

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Human Resources Master’s Degree Rankings

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1New York UniversityNew York$$$$$70 Washington Sq South
New York, NY 10012-1091
(212) 998-1212

NYU’s Human Resources master's degree online program offers a customized curriculum for future HR managers. The school's esteemed faculty helps students explore the principles of management while also focusing on business strategy, organizational behavior and how to integrate statistical information into decision making. All students take the same general courses before complementing introductory material with a concentration of their choice. Options include:

  • Human Resource Management
  • Organizational Effectiveness
  • Global Talent Management
  • Learning, Development and Executive Coaching

Students culminate the program with a capstone project: they can either conduct an extensive business simulation or complete a master's thesis.
NYU's HR management and development program can be completed by full-time students in just two years; part-time students may take up to five years to complete the degree. A formal interview is not an application requirement.

2Clemson UniversityClemson$$$$$201 Sikes Hall
Clemson, SC 29634
(864) 656-4636

Clemson's online master's in human resources program is designed for working professionals looking to advance into managerial positions. Students take 36 credits (twelve courses) over two years. Key classes include:

  • Concepts of Human Resource Development
  • Organizational Performance Improvement
  • Evaluation of Training and Development
  • Knowledge Management for Improved Performance

Students may also concentrate in intercollegiate athletic leadership. Like the rest of the program, the concentration is available entirely online.
Clemson's admission standards are lofty. In addition to requiring strong test scores, applicants must also have three years of full-time work experience in HR. Additionally, potential students must take two skill and temperament surveys to measure how well they'll adapt to the program.

3Brandman UniversityIrvine$$$$$16355 Laguna Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 341-9800

Part of the Chapman University system, Brandman offers students a flexible degree path. Courses for the master's in human resources online are only eight weeks long and are offered six times per year. Brandman's curriculum revolves around several important topics in the field, including:

  • Theories of Compensation
  • Practices of Wage and Salary Administration
  • Evaluation Systems
  • Performance Appraisals
  • Incentives

Applicants can take several paths into Brandman. Students with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA or better are automatically admitted, as are students with a 2.50 or better and qualifying GRE, MAT or GMAT scores. The school also accepts applicants with a master's degree or a portfolio demonstrating graduate level analytical and communication skills. Brandman is one of the most affordable schools on this list, charging less than $9,000 per year in tuition.

4Central Michigan UniversityMount Pleasant$$$$$106 Warriner Hall
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
(989) 774-4000

Central Michigan's online MBA includes an HR management emphasis. The program requires students to complete 36 credit hours, totaling 12 courses. Students may need to take a few additional classes if they haven't finished all prerequisite material prior to matriculation. The HR emphasis consists of three classes: human resources management, employee selection and a seminar in organizational development.

Applicants must submit all standard materials, including their GMAT score. CMU uses Blackboard to host all distance learning class materials. These include assignments, grades and forums for students to discuss coursework with peers and faculty. The school provides Blackboard student tutorials to help distance learners acclimate to the online format.

5Nova Southeastern UniversityFort Lauderdale$$$$$3301 College Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
(954) 262-7300

NSU's MBA with a concentration in HR management program begins five times each year, providing several starting options for distance learners needing to accommodate their work schedule. The curriculum prepares graduates to use multiple approaches for managing and training employees. The program requires students to complete 13 classes, which can be done in just 21 months. The HR management concentration is composed of five courses, including:

  • Managing Human Resources
  • Employee Relations
  • Talent Management
  • Managing Total Rewards
  • Human resource Development

As part of the program, distance learners take advanced courses in accounting, finance and business statistics. Students may also pursue a human resource management certificate.

6Florida International UniversityMiami$$$$$11200 S. W. 8 Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-2000

Students in FIU's HR management program can begin classes in either the fall or spring semester. FIU uses a cohort model, where students progress through the degree with the same classmates in each course. The format offers students a valuable networking opportunity and provides an ideal environment for group work. Cohorts are structured into two blocks each semester; in each block, students take two eight-week courses.

One interesting course offering at FIU is their International Human Resource Management class. The course examines how organizations recruit, train and compensate employees from around the world, training future executives how to manage employees with different values and belief systems.

7Saint Mary's University of MinnesotaWinona$$$$$700 Terrace Heights
Winona, MN 55987-1399
(507) 457-1600

Saint Mary’s master's in human resources online is ideal for students looking to boost their strategic credentials. The 26-month program prepares distance learners for the PHR/SPHR certification and gives them a broad base of skills relevant across departments in a variety of organizations. Students must complete 13 classes to graduate, including nine courses in HR management and three in general management. Additionally, students must take one of the following electives:

  • Management Principles
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Multicultural Perspectives
  • Financial Management

The program is ideal for students with no managerial or HR experience. Applicants must have a 2.75 undergraduate GPA or better, and international students need to demonstrate their proficiency in English. As part of the program, students develop a professional portfolio of coursework and projects, giving them practical experience that they can share with prospective employers.

8Catholic University of AmericaWashington$$$$$620 Michigan Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20064
(202) 319-5000

Catholic University offers HR students two degree completion tracks: a human resource generalist option and a federal human resource management track. The generalist track prepares students with limited HR experience to work in a corporate or non-profit environment. The second option trains students for HR positions in the federal government. Regardless of your track, all students take the same five core courses:

  • Organization Theory and Behavior
  • Leadership Foundations
  • Labor-Management Relations
  • Human Resource Development and Training
  • Human Resource Information System and Communications

Additionally, all students must complete a online human resources master's capstone course. In the capstone, students write a significant research paper or tackle an applied project, highlighting the skills and principles they've learned in the program. Catholic University builds its coursework around the Society for Human Resource Management's certification requirements, providing students with a route to further certification.

9Fitchburg State UniversityFitchburg$$$$$160 Pearl St
Fitchburg, MA 01420-2697
(978) 345-2151

Fitchburg State offers their online MBA with a concentration in HR in a cohort format. Students take ten courses in the 17-month program: classes are seven weeks long and are taken one at a time. The HR concentration features six core classes and three advanced, HR-specific courses. These consist of:

  • The Human Resource Function and Manager
  • Legal Issues in Human Resource Management
  • elected Topics in Management

Classes at Fitchburg State are taught asynchronously. The school uses the Blackboard learning management system to host all course materials, and provides prospective students with the opportunity to demo an online course before applying. Students can also access technical services help 24/7.

10Western Carolina UniversityCullowhee$$$$$Highway 107
Cullowhee, NC 28723-9646
(828) 227-7100

Western Carolina builds their graduate online human resources master's program around community service, global HR techniques and evidence-based practice. Students only need to take 12 classes to complete their degree and the coursework provides a broad education in HR for students looking to learn more about the field.

Admission to WCU’s program requires a relatively high 3.0 GPA over the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. Those with exceptionally high GPAs may qualify for provisional admission and do not need to submit GRE scores. Most applicants, however, need a 900 on the old GRE and an analytical writing score of 3.5. Those who took the new GRE need a 150 score on verbal reasoning, 141 on quantitative reasoning and an analytical writing score of 3.5.

11University of ScrantonScranton$$$$$800 Linden Street
Scranton, PA 18510-4629
(570) 941-7400

Scranton offers students a rigorous program grounded in the Jesuit tradition. The online HR curriculum has five overarching educational goals for its students. As part of the program, distance students learn to:

  • Make effective decisions
  • Improve organizational performance
  • Understand control and budgeting systems
  • Develop an effective rewards system
  • Devise and implement strategic plans

The curriculum requires students to complete 13 courses, including a capstone. In the capstone seminar, students undertake a project relevant to their professional interests, building on material learned during the program. Scranton offers courses in six terms, with classes lasting eight weeks each. Typically, students complete the HR program in about two years.

12Utah State UniversityLogan$$$$$Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-1400
(435) 797-1000

Students in Utah State's HR program receive a thorough and well rounded education, and graduate prepared to manage and train talent to effectively suit organizational objectives. As part of the curriculum, students complete a three month internship and an international experience. In the international experience, distance learners have the opportunity to travel with a faculty member and senior HR executive. In their visits to foreign work-sites, students develop a real-world understanding of the logistical challenges international organizations face.

To graduate, online human resources master's students must take 33-43.5 credits, depending on their HR experience and undergraduate degree. Key advanced courses include:

  • Leadership & Operational excellence
  • Applied Human Resources research
  • Human Capital management
  • Team & Interpersonal Effectiveness

Students can also complete an MHR and MBA dual degree in just two years.

13Golden Gate University - San FranciscoSan Francisco$$$$$536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-2968
(415) 442-7800

Golden Gate University emphasizes a student-centered approach, where small class sizes ensure that faculty members can give personal attention to each student. The school also provides generous financial aid programs, available to both merit and need-based students.

GGU’s curriculum is designed for experienced HR professionals and students looking to change careers alike. Classes give students a thorough background in HR practices, training future managers to work in a globalized economy. Prospective students who are also considering business administration programs may be interested in Golden Gate's MBA with a concentration in HR management.

14Robert Morris UniversityMoon Township$$$$$6001 University Boulevard
Moon Township, PA 15108-1189
(800) 762-0097

RMU's online HR management degree is built for professionals looking to take the next step in their career. Courses are taught asynchronously. Students must complete ten classes in a sequential order, with each course lasting eight weeks apiece. Students taking one course per eight-week session are on track to graduate in two years. Robert Morris outlines five program objectives for students. Briefly summarized, they include:

  • Developing effective HR strategies in the workplace
  • Implementing a framework for analyzing human capital and resources
  • Synthesizing theories and practice of HR management to address organizational needs
  • Examining developments in the field
  • Developing critical thinking and decision-making skills to address HR problems in the workplace

Students without a significant background in business may need to take a few prerequisites. Potential courses include accounting, finance, organizational behavior and statistics. Admission requirements include a GPA of at least 3.0 and qualifying test scores from the MAT, GRE or GMAT.

15Troy UniversityTroy$$$$$University Avenue
Troy, AL 36082-0001
(334) 670-3100

Degree seekers searching for programs shorter than the standard 18 to 24 month curriculum should consider Troy University. Designed to accommodate working professionals, Troy's program can be completed in just 12 months. While some schools look to develop efficient workers, Troy’s focus on developing leadership skills and managerial talent separates the program from competitors.

Troy has a variety of options for admissions, including a conditional admissions process for students with relatively low grades or test scores. Students may also take classes prior to matriculating to get a better feel for the program, and to determine whether they'd like to continue taking courses.

16Concordia University - Saint PaulSaint Paul$$$$$1282 Concordia Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
(651) 641-8278

Concordia’s MA in HR Management aligns with the Society for HR Management’s curriculum guidelines, making it a highly desirable degree for your employment prospects and for further certification. Students cover a variety of topics designed to cultivate thought leadership in the field, including strategic minded courses and general classes in leadership, finance and recruitment.

Undergraduates must earn a 3.0 GPA or better to apply; applicants must also submit a resume and a personal statement. The school uses Blackboard to facilitate all online instruction: on Blackboard, students can access class materials, discussion forums and other digital resources. Courses are taught asynchronously, though some classes have occasional scheduled meet-ups.

17Colorado State University-Global CampusGreenwood Village$$$$$7800 East Orchard Road Ste 200
Greenwood Village, CO 80111-0000
(800) 920-6723

With asynchronous courses and a relatively short curriculum, Colorado State's online HR degree provides the academic flexibility working adults need. Terms start monthly and most classes are offered every term, allowing students to flexibly work their way toward a degree. All students pay in-state tuition and there are no per-credit fees.

In addition to nine core classes, CSU students take four courses in a specialization of their choice. The school offers 13 specializations, including finance, international management and criminal justice leadership. Distance learners also complete a capstone, where they'll integrate coursework into a project of their choosing.

18Saint Joseph's UniversityPhiladelphia$$$$$5600 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131-1395
(610) 660-1000

Saint Joseph’s offers an MS in managing human capital, and the program can be taken full-time or part-time. The school's renowned faculty introduces students to several aspects of modern business, designed to give future HR managers a fundamental background across a range of business operations. SJU also earned an endorsement from the Society of HR Management for aligning its curriculum with their guidelines.

Students must submit two letters of recommendation, a personal statement and official GMAT or GRE scores as part of the application process. Test scores may be waived for certain candidates. International students also need to provide a resume and official TOEFL scores.

19Tarleton State University - Global CampusStephenville$$$$$Box T-0011
Stephenville, TX 76402
(817) 732-7300

Tarleton State offers a two-year HR program with coursework covering for-profit and nonprofit entities. Coursework prepares graduates for careers in state government, local government and the military, making TSU's program an ideal destination for professionals who want to work outside a traditional corporate structure.

Applicants seeking admission in good standing need to have obtained a 2.5 GPA over their last 60 hours of classes from their undergraduate degree. They must also submit GRE, GMAT or MAT scores and a statement of purpose. Students must take ten courses, accounting for thirty credits. Distance learners may transfer up to six credits; most students can complete the degree within two years.

20National UniversityLa Jolla$$$$$11255 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
(800) 628-8648

National University’s MA in HR management offers a focus on experiential learning opportunities in an online format. NU’s program is designed for working professionals looking to advance into senior management positions in HR. The program covers ethics, labor relations, safety issues, HR technologies and other pertinent themes in modern business and HR practices.

Students with a GPA over 2.5 do not need to submit standardized test scores. Students with a GPA between 2.0-2.49 will need a satisfactory score from the GMAT, GRE, MAT or an equivalent exam. These students may also be placed on academic probation if accepted, meaning they must get a "B" or above in their first 4.5 units or be disqualified from continuing.

21Indiana State UniversityTerre Haute$$$$$210 N 7th St
Terre Haute, IN 47809
(812) 237-6311

Students attending Indiana State can pursue a degree in HR development full-time or part-time. Full-time programs can be completed in a year and a half, and part-time students have up to seven years to finish their degree. In addition to coursework, students must complete an occupational internship.

Admissions are open to all Indiana residents and students in most other states. Indiana State doesn’t require a GRE score, but students must have a 3.0 in all undergraduate coursework or in any graduate-level coursework. To graduate, distance learners must complete 33 credits, including a major project or a graduate thesis.

22Indiana Wesleyan UniversityMarion$$$$$4201 S Washington St
Marion, IN 46953-4974
(765) 674-6901

Students looking to study HR within a biblical framework can pursue a degree from Indiana Wesleyan. The school integrates Christian values throughout the curriculum, providing future managers with the ethical training they need to be effective leaders in the workplace. The 12-class program culminates with a capstone project in which students present a plan of action for a new corporate policy, procedure or practice.

Applicants should have earned a 2.50 GPA or better as an undergraduate, though the school admits distance learners with lower grades on a probationary basis. Indiana Wesleyan also offers several financial aid packages, including scholarships, grants and loans.

23Concordia University - WisconsinMequon$$$$$12800 N Lake Shore Dr
Mequon, WI 53097-2402
(262) 243-5700

Concordia University offers a robust series of core HR classes. The 13-class program also introduces students to several innovative concepts, including alternative disputes strategies, how to manage risk and detailed best practices in labor law. Concordia also provides students with an individualized program and a diverse student body. While many online programs do not admit international students, Concordia-Wisconsin does, exposing students to different perspectives than they'll find at other schools.

Concordia doesn’t require applicants to take the GMAT or GRE, or to submit a personal statement as part of their admission process. Students can start their coursework anytime rather than waiting for the start of a traditional term.

24Ottawa University - PhoenixPhoenix$$$$$9414 North 25th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85021
(602) 371-1188

Ottawa University-Phoenix offers an MA in human resources. In addition to preparing students to pursue traditional HR careers, the program also trains future employment specialists, employee benefits specialists and occupational specialists. The curriculum further prepares students to earn a handful of certifications, including the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP.

Applicants need to submit a personal statement and current resume, as well as three letters of recommendation. No GMAT or GRE scores are required. Students in the program can pursue one of two concentrations as they complete the degree: healthcare management and leadership management.

25University of Saint MaryLeavenworth$$$$$4100 S 4th St Trafficway
Leavenworth, KS 66048-5082
(913) 682-5151

Saint Mary’s online MBA can be completed in just one year. The program features a concentration in HR management, which provides valuable HR training for professionals looking to move into executive roles. In addition to core business practices, St. Mary’s program covers useful HR skills, including:

  • Conflict management
  • Organizational change
  • Navigating dynamic legal and ethical environments

Importantly, the University of Saint Mary doesn’t require GMAT or GRE scores for admission, though students should have a GPA of at least 2.75. Applicants with lower grades may be admitted on a probationary basis.

Online Doctorate Degree in Human Resources

A doctoral degree in human resources will prepare students for a university teaching career, government work, or private sector consulting. These programs take anywhere between three to five years to complete, and often require working on a dissertation while working in the field. Common topics of study include quantitative methods and theory of human resources, with a focus on information technology and statistical analysis. Students may also study topics relevant to government HR departments such as employee well being, diversity, and ethics. A doctoral degree also allows students to earn salaries in the highest tier of the field, preparing them for director and executive roles. Salaries vary in the highest levels of the HR field, and are highly dependent upon characteristics of a specific industry.


    Industrial Relations, Organizational Behavior, Labor Law, and Philosophy in Organizational Development and Leadership


    Human Resource Management, Human Resources, Human Capital Management, Technology Management, Business Administration in Human Resources, and Organizational Leadership in Human Resources Development


    HR Consultant, HR Professor, Researcher, Human Capital Manager, and Director/Vice President of Compensation and Benefits




    9% increase

Online Human Resources Choose Your Career

Average Human Resources Salaries


Recruitment Specialist

Salary: $45,483
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
5% 503,900 Bachelor's Required

The HR recruitment specialist is responsible for hiring workers to fill employment gaps, or in special cases, to fill volunteer positions for medical trials and studies. Recruitment specialists must have strong communication (written and oral) and interpersonal skills, as they are responsible for screening, interviewing, and placing new workers in the company. They must also ensure compliance with current hiring regulations. Recruitment Specialists usually hold a bachelor’s degree and are often promoted from the ranks of HR recruiters. The specialist focuses on recruitment process and design improvements to increase efficiency. Data analysis is an important facet of this position, and recruitment specialists must monitor internal recruitment data and data from recruitment agencies to increase effectiveness. HR recruitment specialists are well positioned to advance to higher managerial roles.

Human Resources Generalist

Salary: $49,895
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
5% 482,000 Bachelor's Required

The human resources generalist assists management with hiring and maintaining outstanding personnel, as well as with day-to-day operations of the HR department. HR generalists may assist with benefits and training, and liaise between management and staff, requiring them to have a well-rounded background in employee compensation, training and benefits. As a result, strong communication skills are a must, as well as a collaborative, teamwork-oriented attitude. The generalist works under the HR director, supervising administrative jobs in the HR department. These specialists typically hold a bachelor’s degree with four or more years of relevant work experience.

Benefits Manager

Salary: $71,680
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
5% 482,000 Bachelor's Required

The compensation and benefits manager administers and directs employee benefit programs, analyzes compensation policies, monitors government regulations, and provides statistical analysis of personnel data. More broadly, the manager provides support and guidance to employees regarding benefit plans. A successful manager must have strong social abilities, follow conventions, and be self-directed in developing new procedures. The benefits manager also works to maintain the company’s competitive position in the labor market, and assists in bargaining proposals (for union settlements). Managers in this area usually hold a master’s degree with at least four years of experience.

Staffing Manager

Salary: $61,639
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
9% 122,500 Masters Required

Staffing managers are responsible for recruiting, hiring, and terminating employees, training new hires, and tracking employee progress. They are tasked with finding candidates who will add value to the company and stay for the long-term (retention). In the recruiting phase, staffing managers screen and interview applicants, and administer hiring initiatives to find qualified candidates. Once an employee is hired, staffing managers work to ensure the successful development and retention of the individual by balancing company expectations with the individual’s needs. Many staffing managers begin their careers as recruiters at staffing agencies. The ideal candidate will show initiative and organizational skill, along with excellent communication ability.

Payroll Manager

Salary: $61,591
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
9% 122,500 Masters Required

Payroll managers are responsible for maintaining and updating payroll information, issuing paychecks, creating summaries and tax reports, ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations, directing the payroll staff, and staying up-to-date with current technologies. A successful payroll manager has a strong background in personnel management and data entry, as well as familiarity with employment law, accounting, financial analysis, and wage structure. Candidates must be highly organized, with the ability to multitask and communicate effectively. Strong technical and interpersonal skills are needed for this job.

Online Human Resources Degree in Action

Jennifer Bouley Human Resources

Jennifer Bouley received her bachelor of human resources and labour relations fully online from Athabasca University. She also holds a social services diploma from Sheridan College. As an HR Professional with four years of experience, she opened her own HR and career development practice.

Why did you pursue your human resources degree online?

The flexibility it allowed me. Athabasca is a top university in Alberta. I was able to work full time and work on my degree on my own time. It only took an extra year compared to a contemporary degree. I also didn't want to go back to sit in class, I liked the accountability that Athabasca gives its students.

What were the biggest advantages of studying online?

Again, the flexibility. It forced me to go out and network and meet other professionals. The school had a student services centre, it was all online. The student union was great too!

Were there any challenges you encountered as an online student?

Not interacting with other professionals in the same industry. I had to go out and find the people I was looking for, though professionally this turned out to be an advantage.

How did the online format help prepare you for your career?

I had to have more accountability. It taught me the discipline and importance of being thorough in my research and reading.

Online Human Resources Professional Requirements

As students explore these educational options, it should be noted that choosing an HR program though an accredited institution is highly recommended. Though there is no national HR accreditation agency. Students should check to see that their college or university (and online program) is accredited regionally. Accreditation is not required to begin work in the HR field, but may put applicants ahead of the curve for more highly sought-after positions, where having a specialized HR certificate in addition to credentials from a regionally accredited institution might set them apart from the competition.

Society for Human Resource Management Certification

The Society for Human Resource Management provides two types of credentials designed to provide HR professionals with recognition, and a set of criteria for distinction. These credentials include the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) credentials. Both focus on “competencies and knowledge” that apply universally to all HR fields. It should be noted, that these credentials are also accepted worldwide, and are extremely useful for HR professionals working abroad. Increased opportunities for eligibility has broadened the talent pool for HR employment, giving HR professionals greater flexibility for finding jobs in the global community.

Is it required?


How long will it take?