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A master’s in human resources will give you the skills and knowledge you need to manage staff, recruitment and training, payroll management, employee relations, organizational behavior and development, performance management, and HR technology. Today, human resource management is based on innovative concepts and technologies that provide insight into human behavior and how it affects the success of an organization.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resource jobs are predicted to grow by 9% over the next decade. Here are the top ten human resource master’s programs that will prepare you for the demands of today’s human resource job market.
Best Master’s in Human Resources Programs and Universities
Texas A&M University, Mays Business School
MS Human Resource Management (MS-HRM)
Texas A&M University is a public land-grant research university and the first higher learning institution founded in Texas. Its Master’s in Human Resources is one of the best HR master’s programs in the country and provides students with a strong foundation in human resource competencies with a focus on business methodologies, strategic thinking, and leadership qualities. There is no thesis requirement for this program, and it boasts a 97% career placement record.
- Duration: 3 semesters
- Credits: 37
- Tuition: $32,000
- Financial aid: Scholarships, loans, grants, employment opportunities
- Acceptance rate: 63.3%
- Location: College Station, Texas
- Founded: 1876
The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Master of Human Resources & Industrial Relations (MHRIR)
The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign is the flagship university of the University of Illinois system. Its main academic and research facilities are divided between the two cities Urbana and Champaign and it has the second-largest library in the nation in terms of holdings. Its Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations (HRIR) program follows a multidisciplinary approach, drawing from various disciplines like law, business, economics, finance, and administration. You can use this master’s as a terminal program or continue to a Ph.D. You can also pursue this program online.
- Duration: 3 semesters
- Graduate hours: 48
- Tuition: $740 per credit
- Financial aid: Scholarships, research assistantships, fellowships
- Acceptance rate: 63.3%
- Location: Champaign, Illinois
- Founded: 1867
The University of Wisconsin at Madison, School of Business
MBA in Strategic Human Resource Management
The University of Wisconsin is the official university of the state of Wisconsin and the flagship institute of the University of Wisconsin system. The largest and oldest public university in the state, it offers hundreds of programs at the graduate, undergraduate, and doctorate levels in many disciplines. The School of Business at the University of Wisconsin is one of the best grad schools for human resources: it was ranked tenth by the Princeton Review of Best MBA for Human Resources in the nation. The program aims to develop students’ ability to impact business and industrial strategies through the effective organization of human capital.
- Duration: 2 years
- Tuition: Refer tuition page
- Financial aid: Scholarships, awards, fellowships, loans
- Acceptance rate: 57.2%
- Location: Madison, Wisconsin
- Founded: 1848
Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management
MBA with specialization in Human & Organizational Performance (HOP)
Vanderbilt University is a private research university offering 70 undergraduate programs in addition to its graduate and professional programs. It has also been ranked second among the universities with the happiest college students. Its MBA program with HOP specialization equips students with in-depth knowledge of corporate human resource management and human capital consulting. It provides intense coaching in strategy, finance, economics, operations, marketing, and accounting, as well as human resources.
- Credits: 26
- Tuition: $62,750
- Financial aid: Scholarships, loans, awards, graduate assistantships
- Acceptance rate: 11.6%
- Location: Nashville, Tennessee
- Founded: 1873
New York University, School of Professional Studies
MS in Human Resource Management and Development (HRMD)
New York University is a private research university with campuses across the globe, while its main campus has more than 100 buildings spread between Manhattan and Brooklyn. It also receives the most applications out of all private universities in the country. It is among the best schools for human resources, with its student chapter winning the SHRM Superior Merit Award over the past five years. Its MS program in HRMD aims to create business strategists with the capacity to lead and manage talent with the help of data-driven metrics, ethics, and managerial decision-making.
- Credits: 42
- Tuition and fees: $22,699
- Financial aid: Scholarships, loans, fellowships, grants
- Acceptance rate: 12.8%
- Location: New York City, New York
- Founded: 1831
Master of Science in HRD
Villanova University is a private research Catholic university that has kept the first position of North region universities in the US News & World Report for a decade. Its MS in HRD is among the best human resources master’s programs in the country, as it provides students with comprehensive knowledge about human resources management through a practical environment where they can practice business activities that mirror the business world.
- Credits: 36
- Tuition: $820 per credit
- Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, loans, student employment
- Acceptance rate: 30.7%
- Location: Villanova, Pennsylvania
- Founded: 1842
Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business
Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM)
Ohio State University is a public land-grant research university and the flagship institution of the University System of Ohio, with one of the largest endowments in the world, at $6.8 billion as of 2021. The MHRM program offers an innovative curriculum aimed at transforming students into human resource management professionals that can help organizations progress.
- Duration: 18 months
- Credit hours: 39
- Tuition: $18,437 ($41,199 for non-residents)
- Financial aid: Graduate assistantships, fellowships, jobs, loans
- Acceptance rate: 68.5%
- Location: Columbus, Ohio
- Founded: 1870
Cornell University, Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR) School
Master’s in Human Resource Studies
Cornell University is a private Ivy League university with a focus on technological innovation, and one of the top universities for master’s in human resources degrees. The ILR School of Cornell University was established to study how the global economy succeeds through organizational success, viewing human ability through the lens of the workplace. Its master’s program has a concentration in organizations that focuses on people including professionals and managers. It covers key aspects of human-organization interaction such as decision making, conflict resolution, and leadership.
- Credit hours: 48
- Tuition: $60,286
- Acceptance rate: 10.7%
- Location: Ithaca, New York
- Founded: 1865
Purdue University, Krannert School of Management
MS Human Resource Management (MSHRM)
Purdue University is a public land-grant research university that offers hundreds of programs across a range of disciplines and academic levels. Its MS in Human Resource Management provides an experiential learning environment for students based on the idea that it is people that shape organizations, rather than policies. This is one of the top human resources master’s programs in the country, with on-campus and hybrid formats also available.
University of Southern California, Bovard College
Master of Science in Human Resource Management
The University of Southern California was founded by Robert Widney and is the oldest private research university in the state of California. It welcomes students from all US states and 115 countries. Its MS program in human resource management recognizes the importance of human resources in the global economy and helps students to become effective HR professionals. It is a fully online program suitable for working professionals who want to transition into HR or advance their career in the field.
- Duration: 1-year and 2-year options
- Units: 24
- Tuition: $48,840
- Financial aid: Loans, military and veteran benefits
- Acceptance rate: 16.1%
- Location: Los Angeles, California
- Founded: 1880
Master’s in Human Resources FAQs
What Can You Do with a Master’s in Human Resources?
A master’s in human resources can equip you for a range of roles. Besides roles as general human resource managers, you could work as a compensation and benefits manager, recruitment and onboarding specialist, training and development manager, or labor relation manager.
Is HR a Good Master’s Degree?
The average base salary of human resource managers is nearly $70,000 and the profession is estimated to grow by 9% from 2020 to 2030 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Today’s HR programs emphasize innovation and incorporate modern technologies and concepts around managing human capital. Professionals and managers with this kind of knowledge are in high demand, making an MS in HR a valuable degree.
Which is Better, an MBA in HR or MS in HR?
Both an MBA and an MS can advance your career in human resources. However, these types of master’s programs in HR have subtle differences. An MBA is taught with business principles at its core, and so typically emphasizes how human resource management can help a company be more profitable and meet its goals. On the other hand, MS human resources programs provide you with deeper insight into running an organization with people as the focus.
Is Human Resources a Hard Major?
Studying human resources management involves a mix of different subjects across business and interpersonal relations. Once you understand this interdisciplinary approach, it is not a hard major. With proper planning and a decent amount of effort, an MS in human resources can be an enjoyable and rewarding program to study.
How Long is a Master’s Program for HR?
Typically, HR master’s programs take between one and two years to complete. However, certain part-time options can take longer.
Human resources is essential to any organization’s success. In our technologically advanced age, human resource management uses a range of innovative tools that provide better insight into the effects of the human element on any company or organization. Though this makes it easier to manage human talent, these elements can also make things more complicated.
A master’s in human resources from a reputable university will teach you the latest techniques and concepts in the sector. This valuable degree can help you build a successful career in virtually any field, whether it is business, government, healthcare, or the nonprofit sector.
Curious about other related master’s degree programs? Check out our article about the best business analytics degrees.
Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.