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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Human Resources

Majors Overview June 2, 2015

Get information about master’s degree programs in human resources and their coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master’s Programs in Human Resources

Students enrolled in master’s degree programs in human resources can expect to become adept at recruiting, interviewing and training personnel, in addition to coordinating with the top staff of the company on administrative matters.

Incoming students to the program are often expected to have prior experience and hold a bachelor’s degree. Issues covered in these programs include hiring practices, labor laws, and leadership practices through group-focused or project-based study, research, and lecture-based courses. Many schools offer master’s degree programs in human resource management through flexible scheduling or in online formats to facilitate working professionals. While applicants to the program are not expected to hold any specific undergraduate degree or to have completed prior coursework, applicants with demonstrated human resources work experience get preference for admission at some schools. Program graduates can also volunteer for professional certifications offered through numerous associations.


The curricula in master’s degree programs in human resource management cover a broad range of subjects, whereby students are encouraged to gain a deeper grasp of a concentration area. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Global human resources
•Human resource consulting
•Labor laws
•Ethical issues in human resources
•Employee training practices
•Compensation and benefits management

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2012, more than 495,000 human resources specialists were employed in the United States (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, an overall job growth rate of seven percent was predicted in the industry. During that decade, human resources managers are expected to see the growth of only 13%. The low anticipated growth is attributable to the expected contracting out of human resources specialist roles, whereby there would be a need for highly trained experts. Some companies are expected to cut costs by adding traditional human resources responsibilities to current employees’ plates. In May 2012, general human resources managers brought in an average annual wage of $99,720.

Continuing Education Choices

Certification is not a requirement for some human resources careers. Individuals interested in management positions often pursue certification offered by organizations such as the American Society for Training and Development and the Society for Human Resource Management. Those seeking certification may often be required to showcase knowledge of state labor laws or a specific area of human resources. Some program graduates seeking careers in academia may pursue a Ph.D. program in Human Resources.

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