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Pursuing a human resources master’s degree online appeals to many individuals, and for good reason: graduates of these programs enjoy above-average salaries and work in an industry poised to see significant growth in the coming years. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that human resources managers earned median annual salaries of $113,300 in 2018. Additionally, the BLS projected employment for these professionals to grow by 9% between 2016 and 2026.

Human resources careers offer many opportunities for customizing your job and working in a field that speaks to your interests and passions. Companies in every imaginable industry and sector need professionals to help oversee their staff, so human resources managers can find enjoyable, interesting job environments.

Many prospective students know they want to pursue master’s degrees in human resources, but they can’t take the time to visit campus multiple times each week to take in-person classes. Learners in this camp often turn to online learning, especially since human resources topics transfer so easily to distance education. Read on to learn about available jobs, common courses, specializations, and the value of professional organizations.

The Most Affordable Online Master's in Human Resources Degree Programs

Affordable Online Master's in Human Resources Degree Program Ranking Guidelines:
We selected the online human resources programs based on their quality and online human resources class offerings, as well as their faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school's reputation for effectively providing quality online degree programs.

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.

The Most Affordable Online Master's in Human Resources Degree Programs

#1 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Colorado State University Global

  • Aurora, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online

Based in Aurora, Colorado State University Global enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online human resources program. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the master’s in human resource management program. A master's degree allows candidates to move up the career ladder or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. The master's program recommends a background in human resources or a related field when applying.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. Graduate students also build professional connections by attending networking events.

Colorado State University Global at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 99%

Total Online Master's Programs: 12

Program Name: Master’s in Human Resource Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,000

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $9,000

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,400
Out-of-state
$8,400
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
99%
Students Enrolled
12,670
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

University of Houston-Clear Lake

  • Houston, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Texas, University of Houston-Clear Lake enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online human resources program. The master of arts in human resource management emphasizes advanced practice skills, training graduates for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in human resources. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with prior experience in human resources or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees can often complete professional internships at approved locations in their own community. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

University of Houston-Clear Lake at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 74%

Total Online Master's Programs: 8

Program Name: Master of Arts in Human Resource Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,920

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $17,568

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,740
Out-of-state
$19,176
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
9,082
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Texas Woman's University

  • Denton, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in human resources degree at Texas Woman's University, located in Denton, uses a flexible distance learning format. The master of business administration in human resource management program helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. With a master's degree, candidates advance their current career or move into new career paths.

The master's curriculum emphasizes current research in human resources. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. The admission requirements include a background in human resources or a related field.

Online enrollees complement the classroom experience with internship opportunities in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Texas Woman's University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 93%

Total Online Master's Programs: 10

Program Name: Master of Business Administration in Human Resource Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,973

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $12,569

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,430
Out-of-state
$15,559
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
15,886
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Thomas Edison State University

  • Trenton, NJ
  • 4 years
  • Online

From its campus in Trenton, New Jersey, Thomas Edison State University hosts a top-ranked master's in human resources program. Graduates prepare for advanced roles in the field during the rigorous master of science in human resources management. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new career path entirely.

The master's curriculum emphasizes current research in human resources. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants without a background in human resources may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. Graduate students grow their professional connections through internships and virtual networking events.

Thomas Edison State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: Data not available

Total Online Master's Programs: 9

Program Name: Master of Science in Human Resources Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $12,024

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $12,024

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,926
Out-of-state
$9,856
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
10,227
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#5 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Bellevue University

  • Bellevue, NE
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in human resources, offered by Bellevue University from its Bellevue, Nebraska, campus, ranks as a top program. The master of science in human resource strategic management builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. Earning a master's degree can also help candidates pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to human resources. Learners prepare for focused career paths by choosing electives and concentrations. The master's program recommends a background in human resources before applying to the program.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

Bellevue University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private

Total Online Master's Programs: 24

Program Name: Master of Science in Human Resource Strategic Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,530

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $10,530

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,176
Out-of-state
$7,176
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
11,637
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
95% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Utah State University

  • Logan, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online human resources degree can enroll in the master's program at Utah State University, located in Logan. The master of human resources strengthens specialized skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles with a higher earning potential. With a master's degree, candidates also pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on human resources. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. Applicants who majored in human resources or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees can often complete professional internships at approved locations in their own community. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Utah State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 91%

Total Online Master's Programs: 14

Program Name: Master of Human Resources

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,996

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $20,327

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,549
Out-of-state
$21,087
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
27,810
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#7 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Excelsior University

  • Albany, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online

The online master's degree in human resources at Excelsior University, located in Albany, New York, offers high academic quality. The master of science in human resource management: diversity and technology program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. Earning a master's degree helps candidates move into a new career path or advance in their current field.

The master's curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in human resources. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. Applicants with a background in human resources typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Excelsior University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private

Total Online Master's Programs: 27

Program Name: Master of Science in Human Resource Management: Diversity and Technology

Average Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
25,245
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#8 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

National Louis University

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Chicago, Illinois, National Louis University enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online human resources program. The master of science in human resource management and development builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. After earning a master's degree, candidates also pursue careers in new industries.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in human resources or a related field.

Online enrollees complement the classroom experience with internship opportunities in their local area. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

National Louis University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Admission Rate: 98%

Total Online Master's Programs: 14

Program Name: Master of Science in Human Resource Management and Development

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,646

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $11,646

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,200
Out-of-state
$13,200
Retention Rate
58%
Admission Rate
98%
Students Enrolled
7,005
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

The University of West Florida

  • Pensacola, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in human resources degree at the University of West Florida, located in Pensacola, uses a flexible distance learning format. The master of business administration in human resources management program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new career path entirely.

The master's curriculum explores human resources research and methodologies. Learners individualize the course of study by selecting electives and concentrations. The master's program recommends a background in human resources or a related field when applying.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

The University of West Florida at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 31%

Total Online Master's Programs: 15

Program Name: Master of Business Administration in Human Resources Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,088

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $22,166

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,735
Out-of-state
$16,004
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
31%
Students Enrolled
12,557
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Golden Gate University-Main Campus

  • San Francisco, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in San Francisco, California, Golden Gate University offers an online master's in human resources. Graduates prepare for advanced roles in the field during the rigorous master of science in human resource management program. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The master's curriculum emphasizes theory and practice in human resources. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in human resources or a related field.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

Golden Gate University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Total Online Master's Programs: 22

Program Name: Master of Science in Human Resource Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $19,620

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $19,620

Average Tuition
In-state
$15,840
Out-of-state
$15,840
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,432
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
67% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#11 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Champaign, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hosts a top-rated online master's in human resources. The master of human resources and industrial relations program builds specialized skills for leadership roles in the field and related industries. Earning a master's degree helps candidates move into a new career path or advance in their current field.

The master's curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to human resources. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. Applicants with a background in human resources typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees add to their resume by pursuing internship opportunities at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 59%

Total Online Master's Programs: 30

Program Name: Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations

Graduate Tuition In State: $14,997

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $28,404

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,188
Out-of-state
$33,127
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
51,605
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#12 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

The University of Texas at Tyler

  • Tyler, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Texas at Tyler offers a flexible online master's in human resources. The master of science in human resource development program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training graduates for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. After completing a master's degree, candidates pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The master's curriculum covers methodological and research perspectives. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. The admission requirements include a background in human resources or a related field.

Online enrollees coordinate with the program to complete internships at approved sites in their local area. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

The University of Texas at Tyler at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 83%

Total Online Master's Programs: 9

Program Name: Master of Science in Human Resource Development

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,850

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $14,328

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,540
Out-of-state
$20,760
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
9,617
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#13 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

The University of North Texas

  • Denton, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Denton, the University of North Texas hosts a top-ranked master's in human resources program. The master of business administration in organizational behavior and human resource management builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of human resources. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. Applicants with a background in human resources typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

The University of North Texas at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 74%

Total Online Master's Programs: 11

Program Name: Master of Business Administration in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,900

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,496

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,295
Out-of-state
$18,423
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
39,336
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#14 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Ottawa University

  • Ottawa, KS
  • 4 years
  • Online

Based in Ottawa, Kansas, Ottawa University hosts a top-rated online master's in human resources. The master of arts in human resources program helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. With a master's degree, candidates advance their current career or move into new career paths.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on human resources. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. The master's program recommends a background in human resources before applying to the program.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Ottawa University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Total Online Master's Programs: 7

Program Name: Master of Arts in Human Resources

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,430

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $11,430

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,976
Out-of-state
$11,976
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
261
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#15 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Northwest Missouri State University

  • Maryville, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students interested in a master's in human resources can earn their degree from Northwest Missouri State University, located in Maryville. The master of business administration in human resources management program builds specialized skills for leadership roles in the human resources field and related industries. A master's degree helps candidates advance in their current field or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. Applicants who majored in human resources or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. Graduate students grow their professional connections through internships and virtual networking events.

Northwest Missouri State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 73%

Total Online Master's Programs: 8

Program Name: Master of Business Administration in Human Resources Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $6,004

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $6,004

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,956
Out-of-state
$10,738
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
7,104
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#16 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Middle Tennessee State University

  • Murfreesboro, TN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Murfreesboro, Middle Tennessee State University hosts a top-ranked master's in human resources. The master of professional studies in human resources leadership program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing graduates for leadership responsibilities. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new career path entirely.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. The master's program recommends that applicants bring a background in human resources or a related field.

Online enrollees add to their resume by pursuing internship opportunities at approved locations in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

Middle Tennessee State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 94%

Total Online Master's Programs: 7

Program Name: Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources Leadership

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,946

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $24,768

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,200
Out-of-state
$25,872
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
21,721
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#17 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

University of Maryland Global Campus

  • Adelphi, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online

Graduate students seeking an online human resources degree can enroll in the master's program at University of Maryland Global Campus, based in Adelphi. The master's in management: human resource management program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing graduates for leadership responsibilities. Earning a master's degree helps candidates move into a new career path or advance in their current field.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in human resources. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. Applicants without a background in human resources may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees complement the classroom experience with internship opportunities in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

University of Maryland Global Campus at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Total Online Master's Programs: 17

Program Name: Master's in Management: Human Resource Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,640

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $11,862

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,200
Out-of-state
$11,976
Retention Rate
52%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
58,281
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#18 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Clemson University

  • Clemson, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students interested in a master's in human resources can earn their degree from Clemson University, located in Clemson, South Carolina. The master of human resource development program uses a rigorous curriculum to prepare graduates for advanced roles in the field. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new career path entirely.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners individualize the course of study by selecting electives and concentrations. The master's program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in human resources.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their local area. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Clemson University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 51%

Total Online Master's Programs: 18

Program Name: Master of Human Resource Development

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,600

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $22,050

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,118
Out-of-state
$37,110
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
25,822
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#19 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

The University of Connecticut

  • Storrs, CT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in human resources degree at the University of Connecticut, located in Storrs, prioritizes flexibility. The master of science in human resource management program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. A master's degree allows candidates to move up the career ladder or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum emphasizes theory and practice in human resources. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. Applicants with a background in human resources typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

The University of Connecticut at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 49%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: Master of Science in Human Resource Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $16,300

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $38,212

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,798
Out-of-state
$36,466
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
27,280
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#20 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Indiana State University

  • Terre Haute, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in human resources degree at Indiana State University, located in Terre Haute, uses a flexible distance learning format. The master of science in human resource development program uses a rigorous curriculum to prepare graduates for advanced roles in the field. Earning a master's degree helps candidates move into a new career path or advance in their current field.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on human resources. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. Applicants who majored in human resources or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their local area. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

Indiana State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 90%

Total Online Master's Programs: 18

Program Name: Master of Science in Human Resource Development

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,542

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $14,814

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,036
Out-of-state
$19,960
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
90%
Students Enrolled
12,144
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

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The Advantages of an Human Resources Education

Earning an online master’s degree in human resources opens important professional doors, allowing graduates to take on managerial and leadership positions unavailable to those holding associate or bachelor’s degrees. Associate degree graduates qualify for support positions only, while those with advanced degrees can work as decision-makers, change agents, and leading industry voices. They also hold senior-level titles and make substantial salaries.

Some degree-seekers continue pursuing education beyond a master’s degree. Completing a doctorate in human resources is a great option for individuals interested in working as researchers, industry leaders, or higher education professors. If you’re interested in learning more about salary outcomes, commonly held job titles, and typical responsibilities, continue to the next section.


Average Salary by Degree Level
Degree Level Average Salary
Associate Degree in Human Resources $49,000
Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources $54,000
Master's Degree in Human Resources $77,000

Source: PayScale

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Human Resources Degree Salary Information

Graduates of an online master’s in human resources can select from several potential professional paths after earning their credentials. Businesses across all industries require human relations specialists to manage administrative and staffing functions, so individuals interested in topics spanning the arts, business, engineering, the sciences, and real estate can find roles supporting their passions. Most individuals in these careers work during standard business hours and enjoy interacting with others to solve problems as they arise.

Human Resources Manager
HR managers oversee all the staff administrative functions associated with a business. They manage employees, starting by posting job openings and ending with exit interviews. They handle hiring and firing, benefits, continuing education and training, and management of consultants and short-term workers.
Administrative Services Manager
Administrative services managers differ from their HR counterparts in that they focus more on facility and process maintenance. Job responsibilities include overseeing clerical staff, managing record-keeping processes, creating new policies to improve efficiency, managing their facility to create a safe and efficient working environment, and meeting organizational or governmental regulations.
Compensation and Benefits Manager
These professionals focus their efforts on ensuring employees get paid and can easily access benefits. Common responsibilities include researching and setting competitive wages, developing streamlined services for disbursing payment, following all governmental regulations around employee pay, and creating a benefits package comprising various insurance plans and other vendors.
Top Executive
C-Level human resources professionals oversee HR managers and specialists, but they focus on big-picture objectives rather than everyday minutia. They set strategic plans around company growth and hiring new staff, negotiate large-scale contracts with training companies and benefits providers, and report on their successes.
Training and Development Manager
Individuals in these roles focus on ensuring all staff, regardless of focus area, receive the training and continuing education needed to continually improve in their roles. They assess the needs of staff, identify training vendors, manage budgets, evaluate instructors and training materials to ensure they align with company values, and collect data on the usefulness of various training methods to make decisions about forthcoming educational programs.

Salary by Experience Level for Human Resources Careers
Careers Entry Level
(0-12 Months)
Early Career
(1-4 Years)
Midcareer
(5-9 Years)
Experienced
(10-19 Years)
Human Resources Manager $50,000 $58,000 $67,000 $72,000
Administrative Services Manager $52,000 $54,000 $60,000 $67,000
Compensation and Benefits Manager N/A $72,000 $84,000 $96,000
Top Executive (Director of Operations) $63,000 $69,000 $83,000 $99,000
Training and Development Manager $55,000 $63,000 $74,000 $85,000

Source: PayScale


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Choosing an Online Human Resources Degree Program

Picking the right online master’s degree in human resources takes time, lots of research, and ample consideration. With so many of these programs available through distance learning, you can afford to wait until you find the right one. Consider several factors when choosing a school. For some students, cost reigns as the most important aspect, while others need flexible programs that can take them from matriculation to graduation as quickly as possible.

Consider your top priorities when assessing the list below, and make your choice accordingly.

  • Program Cost: Cost weighs heavily on many students, and for good reason. As the price tag for higher education continues to soar, it becomes more essential to find ways to manage these costs. Public schools offering in-state tuition usually cost the least, while private schools tend to cost the most.
  • Transfer Policies: Despite best-laid plans, sometimes the school you thought would best serve your needs doesn’t quite match up. Because there’s always a chance of this happening, make sure any school you attend maintains proper accreditation to make it easier if you need to transfer credits to a new school.
  • Size and Type: Some learners may prefer the hustle and bustle of a large, immersive state school, while others find they learn best in small, intimate academic communities. Consider your learning style and ask about student-to-teacher ratios to ascertain what classes may look like.
  • Program Length: How long it takes to complete a master's in human resources online can vary significantly based on whether a learner enrolls full- or part-time. Full-time programs usually take 18 months, while part-time paths can take up to three years. Accelerated programs sometimes take as little as 12 months.
  • On-Campus Requirements: Online master’s degree in human resources programs translate well to distance learning, meaning most distance learners can complete their degrees without ever visiting school. However, some programs may require you to visit campus for week-long intensive learning experiences, so check with the administrator if this could prove problematic with travel, schedule, etc.

Accreditation for Online Human Resources Degrees

Accreditation may not be the most exciting topic to discuss when finding a top online master’s degree in human resources, but it is a critical component to success -- both in the classroom and long after graduating. Institutional and programmatic accreditation both serve specific functions. Institutional accreditation, available as regional or national accreditation, assesses entire schools to ensure they provide qualified faculty, adequate support services, and career tools to help graduates succeed.

Regional accreditation is the more rigorous option, and it typically applies to four-year institutions. National accreditation, conversely, usually applies to vocational schools and community colleges. Search the U.S. Department of Education’s database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs to ensure any school you select has successfully earned accreditation.


The second type of accreditation, programmatic, takes a more granular look at individual degree paths or academic departments. Programmatic accreditation ensures the curriculum meets discipline standards and students are prepared to pursue jobs in the field after graduation. In the world of human resources, the Society for Human Resource Management provides accreditation to bachelor’s and master’s programs. The society maintains a program directory, which you can search to find a school that matches your goals. Students may also seek business-focused programmatic accreditation from organizations such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Human Resources Concentrations

Because online master’s degrees in human resources lead to so many careers, many of these programs allow learners to concentrate their knowledge in a specialty area of the discipline. The concentrations highlighted herein represent just a sample of your options, so conduct additional research to find the right one for you.

  • Compensation and Benefits:
    This concentration gives learners the nuanced knowledge to create large-scale compensation and benefits packages befitting different levels of employees. Degree seekers learn about trends in compensation, innovative yet cost-effective methods for providing benefits, and governmental regulations around both.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: Compensation and benefits manager, job analysis researcher
  • International Human Resources:
    A great fit for individuals who aspire to work at international companies, this concentration helps students understand international human resources, cultural differences, and principles for working within local country laws.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for:
  • Employment Law:
    Students following this concentration gain an advanced knowledge of local, state, federal, and international laws surrounding employment. They learn about legislation and settled law around compensation, benefits, ethical considerations, and insurance management, as well as how to handle reports of inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: Compliance manager, employment law consultant
  • Organizational Development:
    This concentration gives learners the skills to improve their companies by developing, training, and maintaining competent staff members. Courses revolve around studies in psychology, behavioral science, and business management. In this concentration, students learn to hire competent employees and manage them during times of change.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: Organizational development manager, management consultant
  • Training:
    Learners with an interest in helping employees reach their full potential often pursue this concentration, which focuses on creating innovative and effective training and continuing education programs. Students consider existing models and best practices before delving into current trends and common training needs in modern companies.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: Training and education manager, human development coordinator

How Long Does It Take to Get a Degree in Human Resources?

Before enrolling in an online master’s degree in human resources, it’s natural to wonder how long you should plan to be in school. No two programs are the same, but most require between 45 and 60 credits, or two to three years of full-time study. Factors affecting these timelines include credit numbers, thesis/culminating project requirements, and mandatory internships.

Some students can handle a full-time schedule, while others need a part-time learning path to balance personal and professional responsibilities. These usually require three to four years to complete, depending on how many credits learners take each term. Conversely, some learners want to graduate as quickly as possible, in which case accelerated programs may prove more appealing. These degrees can take as few as 18 months to complete.

Credits should cost the same for any type of program, but part-time degree seekers end up paying more in semester-based fees because they stay in school longer than their peers.

Courses in an Online Master's in Human Resources Program

  • Lifestyle Benefits in the 21st Century
    As workforces continue to evolve and younger workers enter the professional arena, HR managers look for ways to appeal to new professionals. This course examines benefits that speak to the new generation, including flexible work days, the ability to work from home, and communal activities that bring employees together.
  • Human Resources Management
    Typically taken in the first semester, this class looks at the role HR professionals play in the companies they oversee. The course emphasizes topics such as improving the recruitment process, appraising employee outcomes, developing retention policies, introducing diversity training, setting policies around workplace behavior, and responding to labor relations issues.
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations
    This course familiarizes learners with landmark legal requirements, including the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities act, Equal Employment Opportunity regulation, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Students also consider questions around handling employee claims, creating equitable and ethical work environments, and responding to unlawful acts in the workplace.
  • Leading Change
    Students in this class learn to act as agents of change within human resources management. They consider methodologies and theories around leadership, study management techniques and strategies, and discover how organizational culture can help or harm a company when evolving.
  • Negotiations
    Human resources professionals spend much of their time negotiating. They may negotiate salaries for new employees; contracts for outside vendors, consultants, and freelancers; and benefits and services for existing employees. This course reviews common negotiation strategies and gives students the tools to assume these roles effectively.
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Paying for Your Online Master's in Human Resources Degree Program

Students pursuing an online master's degree in human resources can explore a variety of ways to pay for their education. All students should complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their federal student aid eligibility. The FAFSA helps learners explore types of financial aid and how much aid they can receive, including in the form of loans and grants. While learners do not need to repay grants, they are responsible for paying loans back after graduation. Other opportunities degree-seekers can explore that they do not need to pay back include scholarships and fellowships.

Scholarships for Accounting Students


Barbara Sanchez Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Available to outstanding human resources professionals working full time in broadcasting or media, the Barbara Sanchez Scholarship requires applicants to pursue a degree in human resources at an accredited college or university. Awards are granted based on financial need, volunteer experience, career plans, work experience, and letters of recommendation.

Amount: $1,500


Drew Young Student Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Dallas HR Association features the Drew Young Student Scholarship for undergraduate and graduate students planning on pursuing a human resource management career. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited college or university full time and meet a 3.0 minimum GPA requirement. The scholarship program selects recipients based on involvement with HR-related organizations, internship experience, and academic achievements.

Amount: $2,000


Garden State Council SHRM Leadership Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Garden State Council Society for Human Resources Management Leadership Scholarship supports both aspiring and current human resources professionals studying at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Applicants must live in New Jersey, meet a 3.0 minimum GPA requirement, and complete at least 60 college credits from an accredited institution.

Amount: $1,000


HR Leadership Scholarship Awards

Who Can Apply: A scholarship program sponsored by the HR Leadership Awards of Greater Washington, the HR Leadership Scholarship Awards serve undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a career in human resources. Applicants must attend an accredited college or university and meet a 3.0 minimum GPA requirement.

Amount: $3,000 annually


IPMA-HR Graduate Study Fellowship

Who Can Apply: Administered through the International Public Management Association for Human Resources, the IPMA-HR Graduate Study Fellowship serves master's students pursuing a degree in human resources, public administration, or business administration. Applicants need a 3.0 minimum GPA and must have at least five years of work experience in the public sector of human resources.

Amount: $2,000


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