Masters in Human Resources Online Degree Programs for 2022

Master's Degree in Human Resources Career Options & Salary

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Why Earn a Master’s in Human Resources

An online human resources master's degree or even an online MBA with a concentration in human resource management will build on your existing knowledge of this field, further developing your skills as they relate to the following:

  • Leadership and Management
  • Organizational Change and Organizational Behavior
  • Recruitment
  • Employee and Industrial Relations and Dispute Resolution
  • Training and Professional Development
  • Strategic Human Resource Management
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While there aren’t a huge number of higher-level jobs that require a human resources master’s degree, the one that do exist are top tier positions that you cannot get into without either a graduate degree or many, many years spent working in the field. A Master of Science in Human Resource Managament will allow human resources students to fine-tune their HR skills, such as labor relations, and further develop their leadership and strategic thinking abilities.


Prospective students should understad that completing a master's program in human resources is similar to earning a Master of Science in a program like marketing. Meaning, the knowledge you gather as you earn this degree will serve you well, but it doesn't necessarily open up a wealth of opportunities. It might, but gaining work experience, keeping up with certifications, or simply demonstrating competency in a particular area (such as SHRM certification or gaining experience in labor relations) may have the same impact for HR specialists.

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What are the Best Online Masters in Human Resources College Programs?

There are quite a few schools that offer online master's degrees in human resources through flexible evening/weekend or online classes, though you'll need to make a decision based on your career goals. Some programs are focused more on the human element of human resources; MA degrees aimed at helping students further develop recruiting skills, organizational management, and expertise in areas like conflict resolution and workplace harassment. MS programs may focus more on the logistical and operational parts of the business such as benefits and compensation, budgeting, and more. And then there's the MBA track, where students specializing in HR will study things like professional development and hiring best practices alongside strategic management, finance, and accounting.


University of Southern California

  • Tuition
  • Net Price: $39,759
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 92%
  • Total Enrollment: 46,287
  • Undergrad Students: 19,786
  • Graduate Students: 26,501
  • Diplomas Awarded: 216
  • Grads Salary: $85,300
  • Student-to-faculty: 9:1
  • University of Southern California

Villanova University

  • Tuition
  • Net Price: $38,303
  • Retention Rate: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 92%
  • Total Enrollment: 11,032
  • Undergrad Students: 7,037
  • Graduate Students: 3,995
  • Diplomas Awarded: 151
  • Grads Salary: $83,100
  • Student-to-faculty: 11:1
  • Villanova University

Regis University

  • Tuition
  • Net Price: $27,785
  • Retention Rate: 73%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%
  • Total Enrollment: 6,310
  • Undergrad Students: 3,197
  • Graduate Students: 3,113
  • Diplomas Awarded: 21
  • Grads Salary: $82,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 11:1
  • Regis University

The Pennsylvania State University

  • Tuition
  • Net Price: $25,548
  • Retention Rate: 87%
  • Graduation Rate: 73%
  • Total Enrollment: 89,816
  • Undergrad Students: 74,446
  • Graduate Students: 15,370
  • Diplomas Awarded: 75
  • Grads Salary: $75,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • The Pennsylvania State University

New York University

  • Tuition
  • Net Price: $45,417
  • Retention Rate: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 88%
  • Total Enrollment: 52,775
  • Undergrad Students: 27,444
  • Graduate Students: 25,331
  • Diplomas Awarded: 79
  • Grads Salary: $78,600
  • Student-to-faculty: 8:1
  • New York University

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • Tuition
  • Net Price: $21,827
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Total Enrollment: 3,108
  • Undergrad Students: 2,677
  • Graduate Students: 431
  • Diplomas Awarded: 70
  • Grads Salary: $69,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • Indiana Wesleyan University

Temple University

  • Tuition
  • Net Price: $23,254
  • Retention Rate: 87%
  • Graduation Rate: 75%
  • Total Enrollment: 37,236
  • Undergrad Students: 27,306
  • Graduate Students: 9,930
  • Diplomas Awarded: 26
  • Grads Salary: $67,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • Temple University

University of Scranton

  • Tuition
  • Net Price: $36,093
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 82%
  • Total Enrollment: 4,957
  • Undergrad Students: 3,658
  • Graduate Students: 1,299
  • Diplomas Awarded: 42
  • Grads Salary: $71,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 12:1
  • University of Scranton

Drexel University

  • Tuition
  • Net Price: $39,463
  • Retention Rate: 88%
  • Graduation Rate: 71%
  • Total Enrollment: 23,589
  • Undergrad Students: 14,616
  • Graduate Students: 8,973
  • Diplomas Awarded: 4
  • Grads Salary: $77,700
  • Student-to-faculty: 11:1
  • Drexel University

University of Houston-Clear Lake

  • Tuition
  • Net Price: $14,667
  • Retention Rate: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Total Enrollment: 9,053
  • Undergrad Students: 6,582
  • Graduate Students: 2,471
  • Diplomas Awarded: 34
  • Grads Salary: $73,100
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • University of Houston-Clear Lake
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Overview of an online Master's in Human Resources

What Human Resources Master's Degrees are Available?

There are a few options for human resources professionals seeking an advanced degree in the field. While there's the standard question, "should I go for an MA or an MS," the real question should be whether it’s better to seek out an MBA with an HR specialization or non-MBA masters in HR.

  • Master's in Human Resources
    A Master of Human Resources program will help you further develop your knowledge of the HR field from recruiting to benefits management, collective bargaining, and settling sensitive workplace matters while remaining in compliance with state and federal laws.
  • MBA with HR Concentration
    Many MBA programs offer students the option to specialize in an area such as finance, economics, marketing, or even HR. It's important to understand that pursuing an MBA will help you develop general business skills, while at the same time helping you level up your knowledge of HR practices. A master's program in HR is centered around HR activities, not necessarily organizational management. The advantage of earning an MBA in HR versus a master's degree in HR is the versatility and the likely potential for higher pay.

A graduate of any MBA program should be equipped with the skills needed to run a company, so you'll have some flexibility when it comes to future career moves.

Admission Requirements

As with any academic program, admission requirements vary based on the institution, though online learning will usually require the same admissions information and educational background that a traditional degree would. However, all master's programs, human resources or not, require applicants to have a bachelor's degree in human resources. Also, you'll likely need to submit transcripts and GRE scores. Should you choose to enter an online MBA program with an HR specialization, you may also need to have some work experience under your belt. Often, MBA programs prefer candidates who have worked in the real world, so they enter a program with some understanding of the field and can apply their experience to their studies.

How Long Does it Take to Earn an Online Master's Degree in Human Resources?

Most online master's programs take two years to complete, though there is some variation between online and traditional programs. Some programs take about three years, while several online programs offer an accelerated path toward earning your degree; these options usually take about 18 months to complete. Then, of course, you'll need to consider whether you have the time to enroll full-time or it's more realistic to keep working while attending classes part-time, as mosts online learners do.

Human Resources Coursework

Potential Careers in Human Resources with a Master’s

Human resources jobs are available in just about any organization across all industries, as any business with personnel needs an HR team to help them handle benefits programs, paid leave, and some of the tougher decisions regarding workplace policies such as how an organization handles harassment claims.

Here are a few of the jobs someone with a master's degree in HR might have after earning their degree:

  • Compensation and Benefits Managers

    Compensation and benefits managers are HR professionals that specialize in the employee benefits packages. This person sets an organization's pay structure and compensation breakdown, selects and manages insurance brokers, benefits vendors, and makes recommendations to C suite executives regarding compensation, professional development programs, and budgeting for salaries and other benefits.

    To be effective in this role, human resources managers must evaluate market conditions and have a deep understanding of wage structure and putting together a competitive benefits package. Compensation and benefits managers may also be responsible for putting together incentive programs, commission structures, and guidelines for performance-based bonuses.
    Average Pay: $87,700

  • Training and Development Managers
    According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, this job is growing 10% faster than average, based on rising demands on organizations to upskill workers to keep pace with advancing technologies. Training and development managers plan and coordinate skills training and professional development programs within an organization. This person might supervise a staff of training instructors and be responsible for creating and selecting course content based on an organization's needs.
    Average salary: $76,900
  • Organizational Development Consultants
    Organizational development consultants operate on a slightly different wavelength than their human resources manager or director counterparts. This person is a third-party consultant that gets called in to help a company make changes to remain profitable. Typically, this person has significant experience in a managerial role and helps companies through a process involving an organizational assessment, problem-solving, and change management. They might also help personnel design meetings and organize presentation materials, manage projects more effectively, etc.
    Average Pay: $86,100
  • Human Resources Director

    Human resources directors occupy a range of roles across all kinds of organizations. A director at a smaller company, for example, might have a more general role, whereas, in a large organization, you might have directors with specialist roles such as a director of benefits and compensation or recruitment.

    HR directors plan and manage all HR initiatives within an organization, including benefits, compensation, salary negotiation, training, team building, and leadership. They also work to ensure that policies and procedures are implemented correctly and in compliance with the law and professional standards. And, they oversee staff operations, budgeting efforts, and company culture initiatives. To work as an HR director, you'll typically need an online bachelor's degree at a minimum, though employers may prefer to hire those with a master's degree. Certification and demonstrable leadership, organization, and interpersonal skills also factor in finding success in this role.
    Average Pay: $89,000

  • Recruiting Manager/Director

    Recruiting managers often work on behalf of a large company filling available manager and supervisory positions and scouting new potential talent. Recruiting managers typically work in an office setting, spending their days communicating with potential candidates as well as administering proficiency assessments, conducting screening interviews, and following up with applicants.

    Master's degree holders or managers with a bachelor's degree and significant experience may be qualified to become recruiting directors, a more strategic leadership role that involves coming up with recruiting strategies and working with HR staff and upper management to develop a more effective approach to attracting and retaining talent.
    Average Pay: $92,300

Options to Advance

After gaining an online master's degree in human resources, you may be able to increase your salary or go after a promotion that requires more experience or an advanced degree. According to the bureau of labor statistics (BLS), typical careers for master's degree holders in this field often include management roles or specialization in a specific area like benefits or recruitment.

While a degree is a significant advantage for HR professionals climbing up the career ladder, it's important to note that work experience and certifications are enormous in this field. HR professionals and graduate students should expect to continue their education by earning certifications online through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and other professional organizations to keep pace with changing regulations and best practices.

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