Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

An organization’s human resources (HR) department oversees most administrative tasks and is responsible for hiring and training personnel throughout the company. HR executives keep an organization running smoothly, promoting optimal workflow throughout the company while also ensuring that individual employees are happy and productive. Needless to say, they have a difficult job. With an average salary exceeding $100,000 annually though, management-level HR professionals are well compensated for their efforts.

Getting to those managerial positions may require advanced certification. As with all fields, HR is adapting and changing with the growth of technology, forcing executives to stay current on industry trends and the latest software development. Earning your master’s in human resources online is a great way to learn about technological developments in the field, and to prepare for a role in organizational leadership.

Below, we’ve ranked the top 25 online master’s in human resources programs. Each school provides students with a well-rounded curriculum that thoroughly prepares graduates for work in the industry. If you’re looking to take the next step in your career, consider pursuing an online program at one of these top schools.

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description

New York University

New York
  • annually: $44,848
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.


Clemson University

  • in-state tuition: $13,054
  • out-of-state tuition: $30,488
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.


Brandman University

  • annually: $8,800
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.


Central Michigan University

Mount Pleasant
  • in-state tuition: $11,220
  • out-of-state tuition: $23,670
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.


Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale
  • annually: $25,430
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.


Florida International University

  • in-state tuition: $6,496
  • out-of-state tuition: $18,895
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.


Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

  • annually: $29,315
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.


Catholic University of America

  • annually: $38,526
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.


Fitchburg State University

  • in-state tuition: $8,985
  • out-of-state tuition: $15,065
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.


Western Carolina University

  • in-state tuition: $6,265
  • out-of-state tuition: $15,862
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.


University of Scranton

  • annually: $38,754
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.


Utah State University

  • in-state tuition: $6,030
  • out-of-state tuition: $17,550
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.


Golden Gate University - San Francisco

San Francisco
  • annually: $14,400
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.


Robert Morris University

Moon Township
  • annually: $25,114
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.


Troy University

  • in-state tuition: $7,276
  • out-of-state tuition: $13,612
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.


Concordia University - Saint Paul

Saint Paul
  • annually: $19,700
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.


Colorado State University-Global Campus

Greenwood Village
  • annually: $8,400
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.


Saint Joseph's University

  • annually: $39,040
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.


Tarleton State University - Global Campus

  • in-state tuition: $5,856
  • out-of-state tuition: $14,352
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.


National University

La Jolla
  • annually: $12,096
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.


Indiana State University

Terre Haute
  • in-state tuition: $8,256
  • out-of-state tuition: $17,992
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.


Indiana Wesleyan University

  • annually: $23,628
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.


Concordia University - Wisconsin

  • annually: $25,160
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.


Ottawa University - Phoenix

  • annually: $11,670
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.


University of Saint Mary

  • annually: $23,170
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.

The BLS projects HR management jobs to grow by 13% through 2022, and with executives earning six-figure salaries, it’s one of the most enticing positions on the market. To earn a top-paying position in the field requires relevant work experience and an advanced degree. A quality master’s in human resources online program can be completed in just two years, preparing graduates for a rewarding and well-paying career.

Students in online programs need to remain disciplined throughout their studies. Online degrees provide flexibility, but without a traditional classroom environment and fixed schedules, it can be easy to fall behind in your coursework. This is especially true for working professionals, or students with significant at-home responsibilities. Online degrees are just as rigorous as residential programs, and like traditional degree paths, they require distance learners to study, complete assignments and pursue internships and networking opportunities outside of class.

As with many business programs, networking is a crucial part of your time in school. You’ll rarely have access to so many professionals in different industries, so be sure to connect with your classmates and professors, and develop lasting relationships. Networking successfully can help you find a job out of school and provide you with a list of business contacts that could help you down the line. To get the most out of your networking opportunity, contribute as much as possible on group projects and make yourself available to help peers if they’re struggling with some of the material.

Ultimately, an online master’s in human resources prepares working professionals to move into corporate leadership. If you’re looking to advance in your career, consider studying in one of the country’s top online HR programs.

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