Best Online Human Resources Degrees 2021
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The right online degree in human resources can launch you into a rewarding career in organizational change, labor relations, dispute resolution, and payroll management.
Tasked with recruiting, hiring, and training employees, human resource professionals serve vital functions in professional settings of all kinds. An online human resource degree covers topics such as business ethics, organizational psychology, and conflict resolution, while simultaneously fostering communication and decision-making skills.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 7% job growth for entry-level human resources professionals between 2019 and 2029. Human resource careers also include roles as compensation specialists and training and development specialists, which are both projected to see comparable growth.
As the COVID-19 pandemic redefines the workplace, human resource professionals continue to serve a vital role. Human resource professionals facilitate remote work, help ensure effective employee and employer communication, and manage recruitment and training for the changing workplace.
Online human resources programs like those listed below prepare learners for a rewarding and exciting career working with people.
HR Degree Overview
Online bachelor's degrees in human resources typically comprise around 120 credits and take four years of full-time study to complete. Courses may cover topics like international human resource management, compensation and benefits, human relations and development, and managing diversity in organizations.
Outside of general education and major courses, many programs require students to complete a culminating project that demonstrates the skills and knowledge they gained throughout. Some programs also include an internship, which online students may usually complete at approved local sites.
The degree appeals to students who want to help companies manage their employees more effectively and efficiently. HR students should enjoy working with different people and problem solving.
Featured Online HR Programs
The Best Online Bachelor's in Human Resources Programs
A branch of Colorado's public university system, CSU Global offers online programs designed for working professionals and busy students. The fully online business programs include an online human resources degree. The program's core topics include staff management, conflict resolution, and training. Majors also learn about shaping team dynamics, setting business policies, and promoting professional development.
While completing an HR degree online, undergraduates build industry-relevant skills that help them transition to the workforce. CSU Global offers specializations to focus the degree, including options like project management, marketing, public and nonprofit management, and healthcare management. Prospective applicants over the age of 22 can apply with proof of a high school diploma or the equivalent.
Miami's public research university, FIU offers on-campus and online degrees. The university's online business degrees include a bachelor's in human resource management. The program strengthens interpersonal skills and trains graduates to manage HR departments. Majors study topics like recruitment and retention, how to design training programs, and the best practices for evaluating performance. The degree also emphasizes employee feedback, disciplinary procedures, and HR planning.
Through practical coursework, HR majors learn to facilitate good relationships between labor and management. The curriculum lets students customize the degree with electives on managing diversity, international human resources management, and employment law.
Located in Angola, Indiana, Trine dates back to 1884. The private university offers an online human resources program that provides foundational training in business administration with a focus on human resource management. Majors learn how to recruit employees, manage benefits programs, and conduct performance evaluations.
During the 30-credit major, students take courses on safety and health management, project management, employment law, and human resource development. The fully online format makes it easier for degree-seekers to complete a bachelor's degree. Undergraduates can also receive graduate-level credit as part of the program, which means saving money on a future MBA or master's degree. Trine enrolls students for new classes every eight weeks.
Michigan's first online college, DU offers distance degrees through its Global Campus. The private institution offers an online bachelor of business administration program with a human resource management focus. The 120-credit degree emphasizes learning by doing, training students in areas like employee relations management, recruitment, and staffing. By studying real-world case studies, students train for leadership roles in human resources.
While earning an HR degree online, undergraduates also meet requirements from the SHRM-CP exam, allowing them to gain professional certification requirements even before completing their degrees. Incoming students can receive credit for college classes, certifications, and military experience.
A private university founded in 1914, JWU enrolls more than 12,000 students on its campuses across four states. JWU prioritizes personalized attention and industry-focused training in its program offerings, including its online human resources degree. The fully online program offers advanced training in management concepts and human resources.
The human resources management curriculum covers core topics like employment law, workforce planning, compensation, and strategic human resource management. HR majors take courses on an eight-week term. Applicants should hold at least two years of full-time work experience before applying to the program. JWU offers college credit for life experiences and military service.
A private institution founded in 1865, OU enrolls 4,000 students annually on its Kansas campus and through its online programs. OU incorporates Christian principles into its programs, including its online bachelor's in human resources degree. The degree trains graduates for leadership roles in recruiting, training, and benefits administration. Students also learn to manage employee programs and attract quality job candidates.
OU's HR curriculum covers complex topics like designing programs to increase motivation and applying legal policies in the workplace. Within the major, undergrads can concentrate in economics, finance, healthcare management, or leadership and management to prepare for specialized career paths.
A private Christian university founded in 1893, CSP offers liberal arts programs with a student-centered approach. CSP also offers online degrees, including a bachelor's in human resource management. Created with busy adults in mind, the curriculum schedule prioritizes flexibility.
During the human resource management major, learners strengthen their knowledge and skills through practical assignments and explore the strategic role of human resources in organizations. The curriculum covers business analytics, employment law, strategic compensation systems, and organizational development.
CSP offers courses on an asynchronous schedule. Prospective students must submit official transcripts and hold a minimum 2.0 GPA.
A private Catholic college, SMWC grants degrees both from its campus in Indiana and through its online programs. Distance learners can earn an online human resources degree at SMWC. The HR management program builds leadership and administrative skills through a curriculum that blends business and HR courses.
During the online HR program, learners study organizational behavior, legal issues in HR management, and business research. The program also introduces students to common issues in HR management, teaching them how to create an inclusive work environment for racial and cultural minorities. Applicants must submit an online application and official high school transcripts, and transfer students must submit official college transcripts to receive transfer credit. SMWC has a test-optional admission policy.
A private Jesuit university in Denver, Colorado, Regis dates back to 1877. At Regis, students can earn an online human resource management degree. The program trains majors to build strategic and successful teams as recruiters, trainers, and HR managers. During the degree, learners study foundational business practices, strengthen their interpersonal skills, and explore the process of staffing an organization.
Regis uses eight-week terms and requires 120 credits to complete the bachelor's degree. Prospective students must submit an online application, official transcripts from all prior colleges, a resume, and a personal statement. Incoming students can apply transfer credits toward their degrees.
A Catholic institution in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, DeSales enrolls 3,300 on-campus and online students. At DeSales, undergraduates can earn an accelerated online bachelor's degree in human resource management. The program covers core concepts like training, recruiting, compensation, and staffing.
DeSales emphasizes employee-focused policies in its HR program. Learners examine business challenges and strengthen their problem-solving skills. The program also incorporates skills development training, which graduates can apply in their careers.
After completing the curriculum, graduates can oversee talent management programs, enforce employment laws, and build an inclusive workplace environment. DeSales admits adult learners and service members, and incoming students can apply up to 75 credits toward their bachelor's degrees.
Located in South Carolina, AU is a Christian liberal arts institution. The private university offers an online bachelor's degree in organizational leadership with a concentration in human resource administration. The curriculum covers employee relations, job analysis, and Christian leadership skills. Graduates can pursue leadership positions in human resources departments.
During the program, majors take classes in business administration, training and development, and budgeting. Students can customize the 120-credit degree by choosing electives. The program operates on an eight-week term. AU's human resource administration degree also prepares students for graduate programs in HR or business administration.
Founded as a public college in 1972, GSC offers flexible schedules for working adults. GSC's online human resource administration program blends business skills with core HR knowledge. Learners study personnel recruitment, management, conflict resolution, and employee retention. The curriculum also covers organizational development, business ethics, and leadership in HR contexts.
During the program, majors explore the decision-making process, learn how legal standards apply to human resources problems, and design strategic management plans. GSC accepts applications on a rolling basis. Incoming students can start at multiple times each year. The college admits students with a high school diploma or the equivalent.
A private Christian institution with an online focus, Amridge offers programs for working adults. Students can earn an online bachelor's in human resource leadership at Amridge, studying the process of building strong relationships in a work environment. The program's leadership focus prepares HR professionals to evaluate potential employees, design training programs around an organization's needs, and create HR policies.
Graduates with an HR leadership degree can implement business best practices, analyze employee behavior, and encourage workplace productivity. Amridge requires 128 credits to earn a bachelor's degree, and transfer students can apply up to 88 credits toward their degrees.
Located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, MMU was founded in 1928. The private, Catholic institution enrolls more than 1,800 students annually and offers online degrees, including an accelerated online human resource management degree. The program blends experiential learning with a research focus to prepare graduates for HR careers.
This program trains students in human resource strategy, organizational innovation, and practical HR skills. Degree-seekers learn how to analyze HR metrics, design compensation programs, and interpret labor laws. The program is designed for working professionals, and students can complete the HR degree online in as little as 18 months. MMU offers nine start dates each year.
Originally founded to educate working adults and military service members, UMGC now offers a variety of online degrees. Undergraduates can earn a bachelor's in HR management at UMGC. This 120-credit program takes a comprehensive approach to human resources education, with courses offered in a flexible, fully online format.
Learners study resource planning, employee orientation, labor relations, and HR policy development, preparing them for roles in the private and public sectors. Course topics also include human behavior, diversity in corporate cultures, and the role of laws in employee relations. The program's project-based learning lets students diagnose problems in case studies, develop training needs assessments, and design rewards programs to improve employee motivation.
A public institution located in Dickinson, North Dakota, DSU offers a personalized approach to higher education with a low student-to-faculty ratio. At DSU, undergraduates can earn an online human resources degree that emphasizes compensation management, workforce diversity, and labor relations. The degree strengthens core business skills while keeping a focus on human resources.
During this human resources management program, learners take general education courses, pre-major courses, business core classes, and HR management classes. The HR curriculum covers topics like human resource development, business law, and staffing.
A public research institution, Rutgers offers both on-campus and online bachelor's programs. Distance learners can choose the online bachelor's in business administration with a focus on strategic human resource management, where they build general business skills while studying best practices in HR management.
The fully online program prioritizes flexibility. Within the strategic human resource management concentration, majors prepare for leadership roles in HR departments. Rutgers also offers internship opportunities for online learners, which provide course credit and a chance to gain practical experience. Prospective students need at least 18 credits from a regionally accredited school to gain admission at Rutgers.
A private, Christian university, LETU enrolls over 3,100 students annually on its campus in Longview, Texas. At LETU, distance learners can earn a bachelor's in business administration with an HR management concentration. The fully online program teaches majors how to hire, retain, and train employees, ensuring a productive and healthy work environment.
HR management majors take core business classes to strengthen their communication and interpersonal skills. The business curriculum includes training in business ethics, management principles, and organizational behavior, while the 12-credit HR management concentration includes coursework in conflict resolution, staffing, and compensation and benefits. LETU's program integrates Christian views with business skills to prepare graduates for HR careers.
A private institution, WGU uses a competency-based approach to higher education, focusing on professional outcomes. In its online bachelor's degree in human resources management, HR majors learn how to manage HR policies, recruit employees, and assess a company's staffing needs. Students progress through the coursework when they meet competency standards, with the ability to take multiple courses each semester for one flat fee.
The curriculum includes both core business concepts and specialized HR courses. At WGU, HR majors can also pursue a micro-credential to specialize their training. The university also offers micro-credentials in applied business skills, management, and healthcare management.
GSW is a public university with a scenic campus in Americus, Georgia. Online students at GSW can earn a bachelor's in human resources management. The program introduces learners to resource planning, labor relations, performance management, and employee recruitment. Students also study topics like employee training, career development, and HR strategies for private and public organizations.
In addition to coursework, HR students complete real-life projects to apply their skills. Seniors must also complete a capstone course, in which they present a project to HR professionals. GSW offers small class sizes and an interactive classroom community where HR majors build ethical leadership skills.
A private university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jefferson emphasizes collaborative learning with a liberal arts perspective. Jefferson's online HR management degree trains students in workplace law, conflict management, and employee relations. During the program, majors also build strong business and leadership skills. The curriculum includes training in HR research, best practices in human resource management, and employee training and development.
Students complete the 120-credit bachelor's program through eight-week terms. Jefferson uses a rolling admission policy, allowing prospective students to submit an application at any time. Applicants must provide official transcripts from high school and all colleges previously attended to receive transfer credit.
A private institution in Nebraska, BU emphasizes affordability and career preparation in its programs. The university offers an online human resources program that blends theory with experiential learning, including courses on staffing, employee development, compensation planning, and employment law.
BU's accelerated program lets learners focus on one class at a time in a cohort format, helping them build strong relationships with classmates. Prospective students need either an associate degree or at least 60 undergraduate credits before they can apply to the major. After completing the 127-credit degree, graduates can apply legal regulations in HR departments and analyze a company's human resources needs.
CCU is an interdenominational Christian college that dates back to 1914. Located in Lakewood, Colorado, CCU also offers online degrees, including an online bachelor's program in human resource management. The major combines HR training with biblical principles of leadership, and focus areas include workforce planning, training and development, employment law, and performance management.
Online learners must complete 30 credits in the major and a total of 120 credits to earn a bachelor's degree. At CCU, undergrads take classes one at a time during a five-week term. The program prioritizes small class sizes, networking opportunities, and faculty attention.
Founded in 1865, ISU is a public institution that offers over 70 online programs. Undergraduates can earn a bachelor's in human resources online at ISU. This fully online program prepares graduates for human resources careers, both in business sectors and in higher education. In addition to the core curriculum, HR majors can specialize their degrees by choosing electives.
ISU's human resources curriculum trains students in work-life integration, labor relations, and performance evaluation. Prospective HR majors can join the program as first-time freshmen by meeting general admission standards, which include a minimum 2.5 GPA. The program also admits transfer students with a minimum 2.0 GPA.
A private college founded in 1828, McK enrolls 2,500 annually students on its campus in Lebanon, Illinois. At McK, distance learners can earn an online human resources degree designed for busy adults. The program uses an eight-week term to help students complete the degree on their own schedules.
HR majors at McK study core business principles, labor relations, and organizational development. They also learn about employee retention and personnel management. McK prepares graduates for the workforce with training in business ethics, business strategy, and employee policies. Prospective students must work with a student services specialist to enroll in the program.
Online Bachelor's in Human Resources Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The motto of TheBestSchools.org is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:
The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.
To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):
1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]
- Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
- Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
- Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
- Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
- Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
- Considers range of electives within that discipline
- Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline
2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]
- Considers education background of the faculty
- Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
- Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
- Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
- Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources
3. Reputation [weight = 20%]
- Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
- “Freshness” of academic knowledge
- Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
- Suitability of graduates for the workplace
4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]
- Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
- Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants
5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]
- Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
- Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business
6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]
Considers the following of the online classes:
- Types of online technology used to deliver content
- Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
- Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
- Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
Considers the following of instructors:
- Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
- Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
- Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
- Ratio to number of students in a class
- Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees
Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.
To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:
- Public or private status
- Acceptance rate
- Retention rate
- Graduation rate
- ACT/SAT requirements
- Cost in-state / out of state
- Undergrad, grad, or both offered
Get the best rankings here AND get them to suit your personal needs. That’s TheBestSchools.org advantage!
If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.
Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!
Choosing an Online Human Resources Degree Program
Students should consider multiple factors when choosing an online human resources degree. Bachelor's degrees in human resources typically span four years, but schools that allow transfer credits may allow learners to earn a degree on an accelerated timeline.
Curricula also vary by program, giving learners the opportunity to choose a degree based on what coursework meets their personal and professional goals. Additional considerations are discussed at the links below.
What to Expect From a Human Resources Major
Online human resources bachelor's degrees vary by school, but common core classes cover fundamentals of the discipline, like organizational structures, finance basics, and employment law. Additional classes introduce learners to common methods and tools used by human resources professionals, while concentrations emphasize specific subsets of the field.
Human Resources Curriculum
- Compensation Management: Compensation management coursework explores payment methods, benefits and compliance, and nonfinancial rewards in the workplace. Students learn both the strategic and technical aspects of compensation distribution.
- Employment Law: Coursework in employment law introduces students to federal, state, and local regulations as they apply to wages, safety, and worker rights. Learners explore statutes, administrative regulations, and judicial decisions as they relate to the workplace.
- Financial Accounting: Financial accounting classes train students to record, summarize, and report on monetary transactions. Coursework emphasizes the five main classifications of financial data: revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities, and equity.
- Marketing: A marketing course introduces students to common principles and methods of market research, strategy, and management. Learners explore communication, public relations, and consumer behavior, helping them understand and implement marketing practices.
- Organizational Change: This course focuses on common types of organizational change, including their outcomes and how to manage transitions within the workplace. Students learn to combat organizational inertia and resistance to change while building leadership skills, training them to effectively guide organizations through periods of transition.
Human Resources Professional Certificates
Professional organizations and certification bodies offer human resource professionals opportunities to build niche knowledge and skills as they grow their careers. For example, human resource professionals who wish to focus on compensation and benefits can earn a certification in the topic. Other certification options include multinational human resources, conflict resolution, and training and development.
SHRM offers two certifications: The SHRM certified professional (SHRM-CP) credential helps early- to mid-career professionals advance their careers, while the SHRM senior certified professional (SHRM-SCP) credential supports senior-level professionals looking to shape long-term policies in their workplaces. Both certifications require candidates to pass four-hour exams comprising 160 questions. SHRM members receive a discount on the exam fee.
HRCI offers eight professional certifications, including aPHR -- a foundational certification for professionals new to HR. GPHR, the capstone credential, is for professionals with global HR experience who want to advance their international HR careers. All HRCI certifications require candidates to pass an examination, and some require specific degrees and years of relevant experience.
Human Resources Careers
Careers in human resources, especially in managerial roles, offer lucrative opportunities. The BLS reported that human resources, training and development, and compensation and benefits managers all earned mean salaries above $110,000 in 2019. Specialist positions in those aspects of human resources also boasted mean salaries over $60,000 in 2019.
An online human resource degree also opens opportunities for careers beyond those listed below. The knowledge and skills gained through an online bachelor's degree in human resources can apply to roles within healthcare, information technology, and academic settings, alongside traditional business environments.
|Career||2019 Median Pay|
|Compensation and Benefits Managers||$122,270|
|Human Resources Managers||$116,720|
|Training and Development Managers||$113,350|
|Labor Relations Specialists||$69,020|
|Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists||$64,560|
Popular Questions About Human Resources Degrees
Human resources refers to the management of a company's employees and employee needs, including talent acquisition, training, and benefits management.
A bachelor's degree in human resources prepares students for entry-level human resources positions. The degree typically takes four years of full-time study to complete.
Degree requirements vary by job. For example, human resource managers typically need a bachelor's degree in human resources or a related field, plus previous management experience.
Graduates with a bachelor's in human resources can compete for administrative and managerial human resource positions in diverse fields, such as human resource manager or compensation and benefits manager.
An online bachelor's degree in human resources typically takes four years of full-time study to complete, though some programs offer accelerated timelines.
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