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

TBS Staff Writers
by
Updated October 25, 2023
Looking for fully accredited online degrees in human resources? We have selected The Most Affordable Online Master's in Human Resources Degree Programs!

Are you ready to discover your college program?

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 salary of $130,000. Additionally, the BLS projected employment for these professionals to grow by 5% between 2022 and 2032.

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.

Rankings Methodology

HR Master’s Programs for You

Loading...
Loading...Learn More
Visit Site
Loading...
Loading...Learn More
Visit Site
Loading...
Loading...Learn More
Visit Site

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

  • Location-markerAurora, CO
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,400
  • Out-of-state$8,400
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate99%
  • Students Enrolled12,670
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

University of Houston-Clear Lake

  • Location-markerHouston, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,740
  • Out-of-state$19,176
  • Retention Rate80%
  • Acceptance Rate74%
  • Students Enrolled9,082
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment42%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Texas Woman's University

  • Location-markerDenton, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,430
  • Out-of-state$15,559
  • Retention Rate73%
  • Acceptance Rate93%
  • Students Enrolled15,886
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment60%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Thomas Edison State University

  • Location-markerTrenton, NJ
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,926
  • Out-of-state$9,856
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled10,227
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment100%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Bellevue University

  • Location-markerBellevue, NE
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,176
  • Out-of-state$7,176
  • Retention Rate78%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled11,637
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment95%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Utah State University

  • Location-markerLogan, UT
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,549
  • Out-of-state$21,087
  • Retention Rate74%
  • Acceptance Rate91%
  • Students Enrolled27,810
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment50%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Excelsior University

  • Location-markerAlbany, NY
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$0
  • Out-of-state$0
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled25,245
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

National Louis University

  • Location-markerChicago, IL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$13,200
  • Out-of-state$13,200
  • Retention Rate58%
  • Acceptance Rate98%
  • Students Enrolled7,005
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment47%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

The University of West Florida

  • Location-markerPensacola, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,735
  • Out-of-state$16,004
  • Retention Rate81%
  • Acceptance Rate31%
  • Students Enrolled12,557
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment66%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Golden Gate University-Main Campus

  • Location-markerSan Francisco, CA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$15,840
  • Out-of-state$15,840
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled2,432
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment67%
  • AccreditationYes
#11 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Location-markerChampaign, IL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$14,188
  • Out-of-state$33,127
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate59%
  • Students Enrolled51,605
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment39%
  • AccreditationYes
#12 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

The University of Texas at Tyler

  • Location-markerTyler, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,540
  • Out-of-state$20,760
  • Retention Rate71%
  • Acceptance Rate83%
  • Students Enrolled9,617
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment62%
  • AccreditationYes
#13 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

The University of North Texas

  • Location-markerDenton, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,295
  • Out-of-state$18,423
  • Retention Rate79%
  • Acceptance Rate74%
  • Students Enrolled39,336
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment49%
  • AccreditationYes
#14 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Ottawa University

  • Location-markerOttawa, KS
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$11,976
  • Out-of-state$11,976
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled261
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#15 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Northwest Missouri State University

  • Location-markerMaryville, MO
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,956
  • Out-of-state$10,738
  • Retention Rate76%
  • Acceptance Rate73%
  • Students Enrolled7,104
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment39%
  • AccreditationYes
#16 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Middle Tennessee State University

  • Location-markerMurfreesboro, TN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,200
  • Out-of-state$25,872
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate94%
  • Students Enrolled21,721
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment36%
  • AccreditationYes
#17 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

University of Maryland Global Campus

  • Location-markerAdelphi, MD
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,200
  • Out-of-state$11,976
  • Retention Rate52%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled58,281
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment90%
  • AccreditationYes
#18 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Clemson University

  • Location-markerClemson, SC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$14,118
  • Out-of-state$37,110
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate51%
  • Students Enrolled25,822
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment29%
  • AccreditationYes
#19 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

The University of Connecticut

  • Location-markerStorrs, CT
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$13,798
  • Out-of-state$36,466
  • Retention Rate94%
  • Acceptance Rate49%
  • Students Enrolled27,280
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment14%
  • AccreditationYes
#20 The Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Indiana State University

  • Location-markerTerre Haute, IN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$9,036
  • Out-of-state$19,960
  • Retention Rate65%
  • Acceptance Rate90%
  • Students Enrolled12,144
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment47%
  • AccreditationYes

Return to the top

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 LevelAverage Salary
Associate Degree in Human Resources$57,000
Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources$56,000
Master’s Degree in Human Resources$79,000

Source: PayScale

Return to the top

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
CareersEntry 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 ManagerN/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


Return to the top

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.
Return to the top

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


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


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


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


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


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


Return to the top
0