MBA in Human Resource Management (HRM)


Every successful company, regardless their size or type, needs a strong human resources team. Human resources (HR) managers inform organizational policy to attract and retain the best talent and create a healthy, loyal, and happy workforce. Company and employee problems like high staff turnover and dissatisfied team members not only negatively impact morale, but also drain company resources, time, and money.

According to the Harvard Business Review, “a large and growing body of research on positive organizational psychology demonstrates that not only is a cut-throat environment harmful to productivity over time, but that a positive environment will lead to dramatic benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line.” A dissatisfied or overworked staff is expensive. Additional costs businesses will encounter range from higher health care expenditures to the cost of disengagement and even the cost of loyalty, according to HBR, which is why a good HR team is crucial.

An MBA program with an Human Resource Management (HRM) specialization allows students to learn about all components of the human resources sector and how to create a successful company through hiring and retaining good talent. Human resources (HR) combines legal policies such as employment law, labor relations, and compliance with state and federal regulatory requirements as well as holistic company management processes, such as recruiting, developing and nurturing staff to maximize their potential, ensuring grievances are heard, and acknowledging performance achievements.

These MBA-HRM programs can prepare graduates for high-profile HR roles at the vice president, C-suite, and executive levels. Graduates can expect to find positions as vice president of HR, chief HR officer, recruiting consultant, corporate social responsibility manager, compliance and performance manager, and benefits and payroll manager, depending on the program and each student’s experience. Students who graduate from an MBA will also benefit from higher salaries.

According to salary data company Payscale, job satisfaction rates within HR management are quite high, and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for HR managers was over $106,000 in May 2016.

This article explores eight universities that offer MBA programs with an HR emphasis and three professors who teach these programs.

Featured Human Resources Management Programs
Maryville University MBA - Human Resources Management View Full Profile
Purdue University Global Online MBA - Human Resources View Full Profile
Grand Canyon University Online MBA - Strategic Human Resource Management View Full Profile
Southern New Hampshire University Online MBA In Human Resource Management View Full Profile
University of Southern Indiana Online MBA - Human Resources View Full Profile

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Featured Online MBA Programs with Human Resource Management Specializations

The John E. Simon School of Business at Maryville University prides itself on taking a different approach to the MBA by creating a program where professors are dedicated to teaching students about the reality of the business world rather than focused on furthering their research. Students can choose from nine different concentrations, including HR management, and will take eight core courses, four concentration courses (or three for the general MBA track), and one three-credit capstone. Core courses include business ethics, organizational behavior and development, and strategic marketing, among others, while the HR concentration courses cover HR management, workforce management, employment law and compliance, and compensation and benefits.

The school has partnerships with global companies from around the world across all business sectors, from Boeing to Rawlins to Scottrade. Students are not required to submit test scores or to have business experience to apply. The 24-credit program can be completed entirely online to fit into each student’s schedules and career goals.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and Higher Learning Commission
Format: Online
Tuition: $27,300 for the full program
Program length: One year

Purdue University Global offers an array of online MBA programs, including a concentration in human resources. To apply for this program, candidates must submit proof of a bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.5 GPA. No GRE or GMAT scores are required for this unique program.

The online MBA in human resources does not require any in-person immersions. The core courses for the MBA include business perspectives; business communications; business analytics; financial accounting principles and analysis; measurement and decision-making; strategic human resource management; marketing management; economics for global decision-makers; financial management; designing, improving, and implementing processes; managing the value chain; strategic management; ethics in business and society; leadership strategies for a changing world; and an MBA capstone. HR concentration courses include employment law; training and development; strategic reward systems; and recruitment and selection. Notably, there’s also an accelerated MBA program option for students who have earned a BBA and have completed course prerequisites.

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Format: Online
Tuition: $485 per credit
Program length: Two years

Capella University offers an online MBA program in human resource management in two formats: GuidedPath or FlexPath. GuidedPath is a more traditional format with set deadlines, peer interactions, and grades. FlexPath, by contrast, is for self-starters and runs on a point system (rather than credits). The former requires applicants to have at least a 2.3 GPA, while the latter requires at least a 3.0.

Capella University’s online MBA programs provide instruction in marketing management; MBA leadership; accounting methods for leaders; applied managerial finance; business strategy; applied business analytics; and operations management for leaders. Additionally, students in the HRM specialization have courses in talent acquisition and workforce planning; developing an effective workplace; and strategic human resource management.

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Format: Online
Tuition: $805 per credit
Program length: One year or more

Strayer University provides an online MBA program in human resource management. Candidates for admission must provide official transcripts from a bachelor’s degree program with at least a 2.5 GPA. This school has a unique focus on resources for students, providing a student services coach, technical support, and vibrant student and alumni networks.

Strayer’s online MBA in HRM includes foundational courses such as financial accounting for managers; leadership and organizational behavior; strategic management; business communications; managerial economics and globalization; financial management; business statistics; law, ethics, and corporate governance; and marketing management. Furthermore, the concentration courses in the HRM track include human resource management foundations; strategic human resource management; and managing organizational change.

Location: Washington D.C.
Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Format: Online
Tuition: $597 per credit
Program length: One year or more

This online MBA in HR management prepares students to lead in HR management across all kinds of companies. They will learn how to resolve complex business problems, leverage the new economy, design compensation and benefits programs, and create organizational change within the workplace.

The program consists of nine core courses and three HR courses. However, additional foundational classes are available to those with non-business backgrounds. The core courses provide a foundation in traditional business administration topics such as accounting, finance, leadership, marketing, economics, operations and internet technology and HR. The HR courses focus on recruitment, hiring, training, compensation, benefits, HR information systems and other HR issues, including how they impact both organizations and employees. Specialized courses include strategic HR management, total rewards, and leading change.

Location: Manchester, New Hampshire
Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges and ACBSP
Format: Online
Tuition: $627 per credit
Program length: 15 months

The USM’s online MBA program with a concentration in HR management places a strong emphasis on ethics and corporate responsibility. The program is designed for those with initial experience in HR who want to progress into more influential positions in HR. Students will graduate with an in-depth awareness of how to facilitate productivity, collaboration, and conflict resolution within the workplace.

A total of 36 credits is required for this degree, which includes nine core courses and three concentration courses in conflict management and negotiation, organizational change and development, and training and development. The flexible program allows students to work full-time while enrolled as the courses can be completed anytime online; there is no on-campus requirement.

Location: Leavenworth, Kansas
Accreditation: International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education and the Higher Learning Commission
Format: Online
Tuition: $615 per credit
Program length: One year

The Arthur J. Kania School of Management offers an online MBA program with a specialization in HR, which promises to help students take a leading role in companies and focus on the human element of business. Students will learn about best practices in decision-making and planning through the lens of the HR industry so that they can re-enter the workforce with an understanding of how to improve individual and organizational performance.

The 36-credit flexible curriculum requires that students complete a cornerstone and capstone course (each three credits) and offers them the flexibility to take four to seven core courses and three to six electives depending on their strengths, interests, and preexisting knowledge. The cornerstone course is called responsibility, sustainability, and justice, and the capstone focuses on business policy. In the HR specialization, students will learn about recruitment and staffing, workplace learning and performance, total rewards, and employee and labor relations. Students are not required to submit test scores with their application.

Location: Scranton, Pennsylvania
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Time to complete: Online
Tuition: $965 per credit
Program length: Two years

The Brandman MBA seeks to prepare students to plan, direct, and lead business operations. Graduates will learn how to apply best practices in business and HR to drive change within organizations. Students take 24 to 36 credits of core courses depending on their professional expertise and 24 credits focusing on HR. The HR emphasis courses include workforce planning, talent management, strategic business concepts and HR, total rewards, career management, labor relations and collective bargaining, conflict and negotiation, and HR information systems.

The program is taught online or as a hybrid of on-campus and online. Applicants must meet one of four of the school’s qualifying options to be accepted: a 3.0 GPA, a 2.5 GPA with GRE or GMAT test scores, a master’s degree, or a portfolio providing adequate preparation for graduate studies. Applicants must also be working at least part-time to enroll in this program.

Location: Irvine, California
Accreditation: WSCUC Senior College and University Commission.
Format: Online or hybrid
Tuition: $640 per credit
Program length: Applicants must contact the school directly

UHCL’s online MBA program allows students to learn about all business-related disciplines, including finance, international business, general management, human resources, marketing, operations management, quality management, and more. They will take foundational courses in business principles, core classes in accounting, global environment, management science, operations, and economics, corporate finance, organizational behavior, and marketing.

For the HR management concentration, which is only available online, students will take classes on HR management processes, legal environment of human resource management, compensation and benefits, training and development, and labor relations. This program offers an accelerated curriculum for students taking two courses per eight-week session across fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Location: Houston, Texas
Accreditation: AACSB International
Format: Online
Tuition: $579 per credit
Program length: 14 months

The UNT’s college of business offers a self-described flexible, affordable, and respected online MBA program for professionals interested in advancing their careers. The 36-credit MBA program can be completed in as few as 14 months with students taking 12 courses across 8-week sessions. The accelerated and specialized HR management curriculum will help propel HR professionals into managerial positions and reinforce their expertise in the field. Students in the HR track will take 18 credits of core courses in accounting, finance, marketing and organizational behavior, 15 credits of concentration courses in HR, labor relations, leadership research, compensation, motivation, organizational design, and change management, and one three-credit elective that focuses on entrepreneurship and venture, international, or strategic management.

Location: Denton, Texas
Accreditation: AACSB International
Format: Online
Tuition: $540 per credit
Program length: 14 months

The George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology created a joint program for students completing an undergraduate program at Webster (and those who have completed on in the last five years) so that they can obtain their MBA in a shorter amount of time.

The school offers two tracks for those interested in HR. The MBA in HR development includes courses in training and development, group development and change, career management, and research and assessment methods in HR development, among others. The MBA in HR management covers employment law, staffing, compensation, and labor-management relations, among others. Regardless of track, students will complete core courses in accounting, economics, finance, marketing, production operations, and strategic management. The program also has an international component as it can be completed online, at the St. Louis campus, and at select U.S. and international campuses.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Accreditation: ACBSP
Format: Online or on-campus
Tuition: $780 per online credit; $750 per credit at St. Louis campus
Program length: One year

Professors to Know in Online MBA Programs with Human Resources Management Specializations

  • Dina Abdelzaher, PhD University of Houston-Clear Lake

    Dr. Dina Abdelzaher is an assistant professor of management at UH-Clear Lake's College of Business. She previously held positions at global market research firm TNS and the world-renowned consumer goods corporation, Procter & Gamble. She focuses on comprehensive strategy, corporate social and environmental issues, and global entrepreneurship; her research examining the relationships between global mindsets, entrepreneurship orientation, and individual innovation won the Kauffman Doctor Assistant Grant Award in 2011. She is currently working on a World Bank-funded project that focuses on practical education and training in entrepreneurship. She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees at the American University of Cairo in Egypt and completed her doctorate in business administration and international business at Florida International University.

  • Julie Hancock, PhD University of North Texas

    Dr. Julie Hancock is an assistant professor at UNT's college of business, where she works in the department of management. Her current research interests focus on the flow of human capital, social networks, contagions, and prosocial rule breaking. She obtained her bachelor's in business administration and her MBA from Middle Tennessee State University, and her doctorate in management at the University of Memphis. Before joining the UNT faculty, Dr. Julie Hancock was an assistant professor at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. While working on her doctorate, she held a position in marketing at an insurance firm that specialized in podiatric and chiropractic malpractice insurance.