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
1Golden Gate University - San FranciscoSan Francisco$$$$$536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-2968
(415) 442-7800

Golden Gate University-San Francisco is within close proximity of major Silicon Valley employers and delivers a rigorous curriculum that fully aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management's recommendations.

The master of science in human resource management program emphasizes the importance of perspective, training students to consider straightforward and complex matters from the viewpoint of the company and the employee. This philosophical orientation informs every aspect of the curriculum, which focuses on key industry trends, employee acquisition and retention strategies, and supplementary topics.

Students in this 27-credit program must complete a capstone project. Students may also complete an HR internship. While learners enjoy 100% online degree-completion options, those local to San Francisco can pursue a hybrid or traditional in-class structure.

2Colorado State University GlobalGreenwood Village$$$$$7800 East Orchard Road Ste 200
Greenwood Village, CO 80111-0000
(800) 920-6723

Colorado State University’s 100% online master’s degree in human resources takes a global view of the HR industry. The master's in human resource management focuses on talent development, leadership in a global world, and strategies for optimizing an organization’s human capital. The program holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

After completing foundational courses in business administration and communications, students delve into key subjects including labor relations, staffing solutions, HR management, and law. The program highlights the connection between theory and practice, with course material covering practical, real-world applications. Graduates hold the academic credentials needed to earn career-advancing certifications from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and students qualify for major discounts on SHRM study materials and exam fees.

3Webster UniversitySaint Louis$$$$$470 E Lockwood Ave.
Saint Louis, MO 63119-3194
(314) 961-2660

Based in St. Louis, Webster University delivers a flexible master of arts in human resources that produces capable professionals who can help organizations address strategic and administrative needs. Featuring programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the online master’s in human resources draws on cutting-edge behavioral science research, teaching students how to manage diverse teams with evidence-based skills.

Learners discover actionable ways to deal with the complexities of human resource administration, giving them added value as strategic partners to businesses and organizations of all sizes. Webster University limits class sizes to ensure all students enjoy plenty of opportunities to interact with peers and instructors. The school’s global focus makes it an ideal option for internationally minded learners seeking dynamic career opportunities with multinational firms.

4University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaign$$$$$601 E John Street
Champaign, IL 61820-5711
(217) 333-1000

At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, students can earn an online HR degree leading to a master of education designation. The school’s master of education in human resource development program comprises 32 credits. The program stresses leadership qualities, giving students planning, coordination, administration, and implementation skills for enacting intelligence-driven HR initiatives.

Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA during their final two years of undergraduate study, along with three letters of recommendation, a curriculum vitae or resume, and a personal statement detailing career objectives and personal aptitudes. The University of Illinois does not charge online students any fees beyond its affordable tuition, making the school a particularly strong choice for learners seeking excellent value from a reputable online HR master’s program.

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

Nova Southeastern University offers a master of business administration with a concentration in human resources. MBA degrees remain in high demand, so Nova Southeastern graduates boast the educational background that companies look for when considering contenders for high-level executive vacancies.

The program takes an analytics-driven approach to HR administration. In addition to personnel-oriented topics, like labor relations and conflict mediation, students explore the business side of human resources. They learn how to manage employee benefits as well as techniques for tracking, analyzing, and communicating quantitative metrics regarding returns on human capital investments.

Highly motivated learners can complete the Nova Southeastern program in 21 months. This schedule is ideal for learners seeking an efficient path to elite educational credentials.

6University of St. FrancisJoliet$$$$$500 N Wilcox St
Joliet, IL 60435-6188
(815) 740-3360

Based in Joliet, Illinois, the University of St. Francis offers an MBA with a human resource management concentration, making it one of just a handful of U.S. graduate schools that delivers an online master’s degree in human resources as part of an MBA program. MBA students on the HR study path engage with course content specific to human resources immediately upon starting the program.

With accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, students emerge from the program qualified for dynamic career options that include management consulting, systems analysis, and talent recruitment in addition to HR roles.

7Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew York$$$$$West 116 St and Broadway
New York, NY 10027
(212) 854-1754

Students seeking an Ivy League online master’s in human resources should consider Columbia University’s master of science in human capital management. Columbia’s program features a cutting-edge curriculum shaped by leading industry professionals, which emphasizes the cultivation of decision-making skills guided by labor market analysis and advanced strategic insights.

Offered in part-time and full-time configurations, students can matriculate in as little as three semesters. Part-time students living in the New York City area can opt for a hybrid structure, visiting Columbia’s world-class campus for evening courses. Graduates benefit from access to the school’s global network of human capital management industry leaders.

The school’s competitive admissions process favors candidates with at least three years of relevant professional experience. Applicants who recently graduated from a bachelor’s program may be eligible to waive these requirements if they possess volunteer or internship experience.

8Georgetown UniversityWashington$$$$$37th and O St NW
Washington, DC 20057-0001
(202) 687-0100

Georgetown University ranks among the most prestigious higher education institutions in the United States. Its alumni include former President Bill Clinton, many luminaries from the sports and entertainment industries, and highly accomplished entrepreneurs and businesspeople.

Offering significant flexibility, Georgetown’s master of professional studies in human resources management offers start dates in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Delivered 100% online or in a hybrid format, this 33-credit program offers full-time and part-time opportunities. Full-time students can graduate in two years.

Learners engage with a holistic pedagogical viewpoint that stresses the ways HR impacts the functionality and profitability of an organization. Georgetown’s program also emphasizes ethics and leadership, producing fair and confident leaders in the field.

9Liberty UniversityLynchburg$$$$$1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(800) 434-9595

Liberty University’s master of business administration with a specialization in human resources management comprises 45 credits, exceeding the 27-30 credit requirements found in many online human resources master’s programs. This 100% online program delivers an MBA designation, which offers competitive advantages on the job market.

In addition to essential business topics, students engage with core courses that cover workforce planning, talent development, compensation negotiation and management, and current HR issues. Students emerge with desirable and transferable proficiencies leading to lucrative career opportunities.

10American UniversityWashington$$$$$4400 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20016-8001
(202) 885-1000

American University’s online master of science in human resource analytics and management focuses on digital technology’s impact on the HR field. The program gives students advanced data analytics and strategic planning proficiencies. It also emphasizes the creative ways that HR professionals can use technology to create, implement, manage, and improve personnel management initiatives in organizations of all sizes.

American University used its proprietary pedagogical model, the Professional Studies Experience, to design this program’s curriculum. The model structures course content in four key phases. It begins with the core phase, structured in a cohort model that allows students to benefit from peer interaction. The additional phases cover technological immersion, intercultural communication, and data-based decision-making.

All students in this master’s in human resource management online program can visit the school’s Washington, D.C. campus for a two-day networking and professional development seminar.

11Brandman UniversityIrvine$$$$$16355 Laguna Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 341-9800

Based in Irvine, California, Brandman University offers a master of business administration degree with an emphasis in human resources. This specialized MBA program prepares learners for leadership positions in business by framing HR proficiencies within the larger picture of business practice. Students gain skills in financial reporting, data-driven analysis, marketing concepts, and innovative approaches to process improvement. Potential career paths extend beyond human resources into upper-level management and executive opportunities.

Coursework covers business management topics including salary negotiations and administration, compensation theory, and methods of evaluating employee performance. The program covers theories while demonstrating the practical ways that business concepts impact real-world work environments. Learners can also study in a hybrid format that combines online coursework with in-class learning on any of Brandman’s 15 California and Washington campuses.

12Cornell UniversityIthaca$$$$$300 Day Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-2000

Cornell University ranks among the nation’s most prestigious educational institutions. The Ivy League school offers an online executive master of human resource management program. While the school describes the program’s admissions process as competitive, it does not require any standardized test scores. Instead, applicants outline a practical case study project that they plan to pursue upon admission to the program.

Students can complete the program in just 15 months. Graduates enjoy global job opportunities, and Cornell accepts students from anywhere in the world. Thanks to its flexible design, the program appeals to working professionals seeking to upgrade their academic credentials without interrupting their careers.

13Florida International UniversityMiami$$$$$11200 S. W. 8 Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-2000

Miami-based Florida International University delivers an affordable 38-credit online master of science in human resource management that students can complete in just one year. With program start dates in the fall and spring semesters, Florida International University makes it convenient for learners to earn advanced academic credentials. The curriculum was designed using Society for Human Resource Management recommendations and best practices.

Students learn ethical planning techniques for addressing organizational HR needs. They also study leadership, communication, and emerging HR digital technologies. Graduates enjoy full access to the Career Management Services office, which provides career planning and job search support.

The school’s admissions committee prefers candidates with at least 3-5 years of relevant professional experience but considers all applicants on a case-by-case basis.

14Lewis UniversityRomeoville$$$$$One University Parkway
Romeoville, IL 60446-2200
(815) 838-0500

At Romeoville, Illinois-based Lewis University, online learners can earn a master of business administration with a concentration in human resources management. The program's core covers business management and administration topics, including financing, accounting, and marketing. The HR specialization provides learners with advanced personnel management and strategic planning skills.

Optimal flexibility represents one major advantage of the Lewis University program. MBA students take courses in accelerated eight-week terms, with rolling admissions that enable newcomers to start any time. Learners can take as little as one course per term, which enables students to keep their jobs while pursuing their educations. Hybrid formats that blend in-class and online learning remain available to students near the school’s Romeoville, Oak Brook, or Tinley Park campuses.

15Concordia University - Saint PaulSaint Paul$$$$$1282 Concordia Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
(651) 641-8278

Fully aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management recommendations, the Concordia University-Saint Paul master of arts in human resource management program delivers an education grounded in current best practices.

Designed to meet the needs of working professionals, this 100% online master’s in human resources delivers an excellent return on investment. According to statistics from the 2018-19 academic year, 95% of graduates received job offers within one year of graduation and 44% earn higher salaries than the national average for their professions.

Courses cover topics such as strategic management, employee recruitment and retention, law, and ethics. Concordia University also stresses the importance of research skills, with nearly one-quarter of the 36 total credits required for graduation covering research methods and strategic analysis.

16Saint Mary's University of MinnesotaWinona$$$$$700 Terrace Heights
Winona, MN 55987-1399
(507) 457-1600

The master of arts in human resource management program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers a 100% online, asynchronous format. The 39-credit program takes two years to complete and adheres to Society for Human Resource Management learning guidelines. Graduates enjoy high-profile roles with significant levels of responsibility.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota encourages learners to cultivate strategic ways of thinking about personnel issues. Students in this online master’s degree in human resources can specialize their learning in targeted subject areas such as payroll management and career counseling. All students in the program receive a free Apple iPad, which they can use to access coursework anytime and anywhere.

17Bellevue UniversityBellevue$$$$$1000 Galvin Rd S
Bellevue, NE 68005-3098
(402) 291-8100

Bellevue University’s master of science in human resource strategic management trains the next generation of upper-level HR leaders. It covers four fundamental skill sets: ethical and legal best practices, diversity and inclusion, advanced qualitative and quantitative analysis, and how to attune HR practices to organizational goals. The program culminates in a comprehensive capstone project, which involves proposing and developing a strategic plan for an organization’s HR department.

The 36-credit program covers fundamental topics including HR law, organizational behavior, and organizational management from a global perspective. Talent recruitment and retention represents another focus. Bellevue University offers some of the most affordable tuition rates of any 100% online master’s degree in human resources programs.

18Pennsylvania State University - World CampusUniversity Park$$$$$128 Outreach Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-5403

Penn State’s master of professional studies in human resources and employment relations uniquely covers labor relations, noting that a growing number of organizations require labor union leaders, contract negotiators, arbitrators and labor mediators, and industrial relations professionals with specialized degrees. Penn State’s degree path prepares students for these and many other HR-related roles through a rigorous curriculum endorsed by the Society for Human Resource Management and the HR Certification Institute.

Learners benefit from seven concentration options: compensation, collective bargaining, employment law, professional development, ethical leadership, international employment relations, and labor union organization and strategy. These options prepare students for dynamic roles in the interconnected and globally oriented business industry.

19Dallas Baptist UniversityDallas$$$$$3000 Mountain Creek Parkway
Dallas, TX 75211-9299
(214) 333-7100

The master of arts in human resources management program at Dallas Baptist University features a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, allowing learners to enhance their experience through one-on-one instructor interaction. Dallas Baptist University attracts faculty members with extensive experience, encouraging them to deliver course content through an experiential perspective. This approach enhances student understanding of the real-world applications of theoretical concepts.

A focus on organizational purpose represents an important differentiator of the program. Consumers increasingly prefer to give business to companies that share their values. The same trend extends to employee recruitment and retention. Dallas Baptist University’s unique focus on this area helps emerging HR professionals develop tangible ways to tap into these values.

20Clemson UniversityClemson$$$$$201 Sikes Hall
Clemson, SC 29634
(864) 656-4636

The online master of human resource development at Clemson University takes a process-oriented approach to personnel management. It trains students to become HR leaders, giving them the insights and hard skills they need to develop workplace talent, improve the professional proficiency of team members, and help employees reach their full potential.

Clemson University’s 100% online HR master’s integrates concepts from psychology, sociology, education, management theory, economics, and business. The program encourages students to engage with emerging technologies used in professional settings. Its objectives focus on producing graduates with flexible, current skill sets that can adapt to changing best practices and technological innovations.

Students enjoy full, free access to Skillport, a set of optional tutorials that support skill development in areas including computing, business operations, strategic planning, finance, business administration, and leadership.

21The University of West FloridaPensacola$$$$$11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514-5750
(850) 474-2000

The University of West Florida features an online master of business administration with an emphasis in human resource management. This 100% online master’s in human resource management comprises 36 credits, with three-quarters of the program covering an MBA core and the other quarter focusing on HR topics.

In the MBA core, students gain skills in financial management, marketing management, policy development, quantitative analysis, business strategy, and accounting. The HR concentration teaches students how to recognize, attract, and retain top talent while delivering skills and knowledge in compensation, performance, and personnel management.

The program offers some of the lowest tuition rates of any accredited online master’s in human resources programs while carrying an endorsement from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Fewer than 4.7% of all business schools in the world hold AACSB accreditation.

22University of Saint MaryLeavenworth$$$$$4100 S 4th St Trafficway
Leavenworth, KS 66048-5082
(913) 682-5151

The Leavenworth, Kansas-based University of Saint Mary offers a human resource management concentration as part of its online master of business administration program. It represents an ideal opportunity for students seeking fast career advancement, as learners can graduate in as little as one year.

The University of Saint Mary notes that the program strongly appeals to current departmental managers seeking higher levels of organizational leadership skills as well as established HR professionals seeking a business-based skill set. However, the school considers applicants from many other educational and professional backgrounds.

Required courses cover topics such as conflict management, compensation negotiation, organizational development, and talent development. Founded in 1923, the University of Saint Mary holds regional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

23Brenau UniversityGainesville$$$$$500 Washington Street SE
Gainesville, GA 30501-3668
(770) 534-6299

Brenau University's online master of business administration features 15 concentrations, including a human resources specialization. This degree focus, which is also available as part of the school’s master of science in organizational leadership program, delivers the skills that professionals need to manage personnel resources.

Coursework in the HR concentration explores subjects including employment and labor law, rewards strategies, and talent attainment. These specialized courses supplement a rigorous business core that emphasizes integrated business operations, finance and marketing management, budgeting, policy development, and other relevant topics.

Full-time students can graduate in two years. Students can complete all requirements for both the MBA and MSOL degrees 100% online.

24National UniversityLa Jolla$$$$$11255 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
(800) 628-8648

San Diego’s National University features an accelerated master of arts in human resource management program with four-week classes. This accelerated format enables students to proceed through course material efficiently while earning an advanced degree endorsed by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Exploring the practical applications of HR theory and research insights, core topics include talent recruitment, benefits and compensation management, labor law, and safety. Learners in this online master’s degree in human resources can also pursue an optional concentration in organizational leadership.

A nonprofit institution founded by veterans, National University is one of the nation’s top military-friendly schools. Classes launch every month, allowing incoming students to start working toward their degrees right away. Graduates also benefit from a strong alumni community and excellent networking opportunities.

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.