Best Online Doctorate in Human Resources

by TBS Staff

Updated September 27, 2022

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Human Resources Departments are Crucial to the Success of Companies

These departments attract talent and ensure employees receive proper training and are satisfied in their roles. They handle payroll and benefits, mediate issues between employees and management, and ensure organizations comply with regulations and laws. Companies need human resources professionals who are well-versed in the field.

A doctorate in human resource management provides knowledge and skills necessary to secure high-paying positions in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), top executives -- including chief human resources officers -- can earn median salaries exceeding $180,000. Earning a Ph.D. in human resources online is a convenient way for current professionals in the field to hone their skills or transition into academia.

The Best Online Doctorate in Human Resources Programs

#1

Bellevue University

School Information
Location Bellevue, Nebraska
Graduation Rate 24%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 95% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The human capital management Ph.D. program at Bellevue University offers a flexible route to a doctorate. With its online format, the private university makes a doctorate more accessible. Doctoral students receive research support throughout the program.

The online HR program requires doctoral coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates conduct research for their dissertation. As the terminal degree in human resources, the program leads to career opportunities in academia, research, and industry.

At the accredited institution, doctoral students can use fellowships, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid to pay for their degree. Prospective applicants can contact the program to learn more about research support, financial aid opportunities, and admission requirements.

Bellevue University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 11,008

Online Master's Programs: 24

Online Doctoral Programs: 1

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 27-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,530

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#2

Liberty University

School Information
Location Lynchburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The online DBA in human resources program at Liberty University ranks among the best in the field. Degree-seekers benefit from flexible course options through the private institution. Doctoral students engage in advanced research and benefit from support services.

Learners take 60 credits of doctoral classes in the HR program. Doctoral candidates pass comprehensive examinations and conduct research for their dissertation. Graduates with a doctorate in human resources can work in academic, research, and industry positions.

Online doctoral students can pay for their degree with scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid. Contact the human resources program for more information about doctoral admissions.

Liberty University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 78,511

Online Master's Programs: 67

Online Doctoral Programs: 9

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,980

Accepts Transfer Credits: Accepted

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#3

Northcentral University

School Information
Location La Jolla, California
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Northcentral University offers an online Ph.D. in human resource management for doctoral students. With its flexible format, the private university helps degree-seekers complete a doctorate. Doctoral students work closely with faculty mentors and career advisors.

The 48-credit doctoral program incorporates advanced human resources coursework. After completing coursework, doctoral candidates conduct research for their dissertation or doctoral project. A doctorate in human resources prepares graduates for careers in academia, research, and leadership.

Doctoral students can pay for the program with federal financial aid, fellowships, and scholarships. Contact the human resources program to learn more about the enrollment process and start dates.

Northcentral University at a Glance:

Online Master's Programs: 26

Online Doctoral Programs: 15

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 3-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $16,983

Accepts Transfer Credits: Accepted

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#4

Regent University

School Information
Location Virginia Beach, Virginia
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 57%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The human resource development Ph.D. program at Regent University delivers a doctorate in an online learning format. The private university offers flexible enrollment options for degree-seekers. Doctoral students meet with career advisors and faculty mentors.

Learners take doctoral classes in the HR program. After meeting coursework requirements, doctoral candidates pass a comprehensive examination and conduct research for an original dissertation or project. As the terminal degree in human resources, a Ph.D. often leads to career opportunities in academia, research, and industry.

The accredited institution meets federal requirements for financial aid support. Prospective applicants can contact the program to learn more about financial aid opportunities and the admission process.

Regent University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 9,507

Online Master's Programs: 37

Online Doctoral Programs: 12

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 29-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $15,552

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#5

University of Arkansas Fort Smith

School Information
Location Fort Smith, Arkansas
Graduation Rate 35%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The doctor of education in human resource and workforce development education program at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith uses an online learning format. At the public institution, degree-seekers take doctoral classes in a flexible format. Doctoral students conduct research and participate in academic conferences.

The doctoral program includes a rigorous curriculum in human resources. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates spend 1-2 years researching and writing their dissertation. A doctorate in human resources trains graduates for roles in research, academia, and leadership.

At the accredited institution, doctoral students can qualify for several forms of financial aid. Reach out to the program to learn more about transfer credit policies, research support, and admission requirements.

University of Arkansas Fort Smith at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 3,417

Online Master's Programs: 1

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,092

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Best Online Doctorate

Online Doctorate in Human Resources Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Featured Online Doctorate in Human Resources Programs

What Else can I Expect from an Online Doctorate in Human Resources Program?

Earning an online Ph.D. in human resources prepares students to fill HR management roles. While coursework varies by program, classes typically cover the laws and regulations that govern employment issues, unions, employee recruitment and retainment, and compensation and benefits. Most programs require students to complete a dissertation, which involves extensive research into a human resources topic or issue.

Curriculum for an Online Doctorate in Human Resources

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Doctorate Degree in Human Resources?

Most full-time students take at least four years to earn a Ph.D. in human resources online. Programs typically require about 60 credits and a dissertation. Along with program requirements, factors such as enrollment status and program structure affect degree completion time. Students with personal or professional responsibilities may complete fewer credits per term, increasing the time necessary to graduate. Schools generally require students to complete their Ph.D. within ten years.

Some programs use a cohort model in which students complete coursework in a prescribed sequence with a small group of peers. Individually paced programs allow students to move through the curriculum at their own speed, providing learners the opportunity to graduate more quickly. Before pursuing a Ph.D. in human resources online, you should determine your ideal learning style. Students who thrive in a community-based environment may benefit more from a cohort structure, whereas those who require scheduling flexibility generally opt for individually paced programs.

Accreditation for Online Doctorate in Human Resources Degrees

Students planning to earn a Ph.D in human resources online should only consider accredited programs. Accreditation ensures schools provide quality educational programs and gives students access to federal financial aid. Accrediting agencies are private entities that hold institutions to academic and professional standards.

The two main types of accreditation in the U.S. are regional and national. Regional accreditation is the most common and the most highly regarded. Many employers require job candidates to hold a degree from a regionally accredited institution, and credits earned from regionally accredited schools transfer easily. Trade, vocational, and online schools often hold national accreditation. Programs may also hold specialized accreditation from a field-specific agency. Some online human resources programs receive accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Although the U.S. Department of Education (ED) does not accredit institutions, the department oversees the accreditation system and recognizes accrediting agencies. Federal financial aid is only available to students at institutions with accreditation from an ED-recognized agency. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a nonprofit organization that recognizes accrediting agencies and works to ensure the quality of U.S. education. CHEA member institutions include 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities. CHEA recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations and maintains a searchable online database of institutions and programs accredited by recognized agencies.

Employment Outlook for Doctorate in Human Resources Graduates

Doctorate in Human Resources Careers

After earning a Ph.D. in human resources online, graduates often pursue managerial positions within HR departments or teaching careers at the college level. These high-level roles require leadership, communication, and critical-thinking skills, and HR professionals commonly work more than 40 hours per week.

Business Postsecondary Teacher

Business postsecondary teachers specialize in a certain subject, such as human resources. They teach courses and sometimes conduct research. Business professors at four-year colleges and universities typically need a doctoral degree in their field. Community and technical colleges generally prefer applicants with a doctorate.

Median Salary: $77,490 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 18%

Chief Human Resources Officer

These top executives direct human resources departments. They manage the department's operations, create and execute policies, and work closely with other leaders in the organization. Top executives typically hold a bachelor's or master's degree in business administration. Professionals often advance to this role after serving in lower-level management or supervisory positions. Chief executives generally have extensive managerial experience.

Median Salary: $181,210 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 8%

Human Resource Managers

Human resource managers direct the administrative functions of human resources departments. They oversee recruitment, interviewing, and hiring processes. They also manage employee relations and ensure regulatory compliance. These managers may hold specific titles, such as labor relations director, payroll manager, or recruiting manager. These professionals need at least a bachelor's degree, but some positions require a master's degree in human resources, labor relations, or business administration.

Median Salary: $106,910 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 9%

Training and Development Manager

These managers oversee an organization's training programs, staff, and budgets. They supervise training and development specialists and consult with top executives and financial officers to ensure training priorities align with the company's goals. Training and development managers typically need a bachelor's degree in human resources or a related field, though some positions require a master's degree.

Median Salary: $105,830 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 10%

Doctorate in Human Resources Degree Salary

Professionals who earned a Ph.D. in human resources online can earn increased salaries throughout their careers. The median salary for late-career training and development officers is about $20,000 higher than the median salary for entry-level officers. Similarly, human resources managers with more experience tend to earn higher salaries. The table below highlights median salaries for human resources professionals at various career stages.

Job Title Entry-Level Employees Mid-Career Employees Late-Career Employees
Postsecondary Professor $60,185 $71,115 $86,320
Chief Human Resource Officer $88,000 $122,336 $152,326
Human Resources Manager $55,309 $64,693 $71,824
Training and Development Manager $61,009 $72,984 $84,586

Paying for Your Online Doctorate in Human Resources

Students earning a doctorate in human resource management have a variety of options for saving money and financing their degree. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal grants, work-study programs, and loans. Students can complete the FAFSA for the upcoming academic year beginning October 1. The federal due date for the FAFSA is June 30, but schools often set their own deadlines.

Many schools and outside organizations, such as professional associations, award scholarships based on academic merit and financial need. Some schools, states, and employers also offer tuition assistance reimbursement programs to students who meet certain criteria. If you want to earn an online Ph.D. in human resources, contact your school's admissions office for information about available scholarships.

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