In order to build a successful business, the human resources department of any organization must effectively and ethically hire, train, develop, retain, manage, and compensate its employees. While a Bachelor's degree in the field is adequate for mid-level positions, many HR practitioners are seeking advanced degrees to diversify their portfolio competencies and long-term career potential. Therefore, in this ranking, you will find the 25 best online Master's degree programs in several Human Resources fields. Some programs offer MBA destinations, and others yield a Master of Arts or Science. Other areas to consider are whether you seek the business, management, or development path in HR. At its core, however, HR concentration courses blend theory, analysis, and application of interpersonal and organizational behaviors, and will lead graduates towards a greater understanding of the ever-evolving dynamic of the workplace.
Rating and Ranking Methodology
- Under $35,000—1 point
- Under $30,000—2 points
- Under $25,000—3 points
- Under $20,000—4 points
- Under $15,000—5 points
- Under $10,000—6 points
US News and World Report Recognition as a Top Online School for Master's Degrees in Business Administration
- Top 10— 6 points
- Top 25 —5 points
- Top 50 —4 points
- Top 100 —3 point
- Top 150 —2 point
- Top 200 —1 point
- Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, Accelerated, Degree Completion, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
- Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option (5-point cap)
- 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that "wowed" us
Ranking the Top Master's Degrees in Human Resources Online
To compile this ranking, our editors began with an initial pool of over 40 online Master's Degrees in Human Resources programs offered by colleges and universities across the US. We then narrowed the pool to include only those schools under about $35,000 (out-of-state) tuition per year, unless otherwise stated. Extra points were awarded for schools ranked in the top 200 for online MBA programs (by the US News and World Report). Finally, we applied the rating and ranking methodology above, and the result was the ranking you see below of the top 25 online programs for a Master's degree in HR online. We used affordability to break any ties, listing the more affordable program higher in the ranking.
#25 University of Connecticut eCampus
Master of Science in Human Resources Management Online
With one of the only exclusively hybrid options on this ranking list, the UConn eCampus offers a condensed, part-time Master of Science in Human Resources Management online that takes an average of 20 months to complete. Students will complete online components like modules, webcasts, and peer discussions, but will be required to attend on-campus seminars on Saturdays. Members of the program can expect the fall and spring semesters to last 7 weeks, with core curriculum courses including Employment Law, Negotiation Strategies, Consultative Management for Business Function Professionals, and Consultative Management for Business Function Professionals.
Out-of-State Tuition: $35,812
#24 Cornell University
Online Executive Master of Human Resource Management
Cornell University's online Executive Master of Human Resource Management degree, ideally designed for professionals with 8+ years experience, is a 15-month, accelerated program that provides advanced knowledge in the human resources area. Coursework will explore topics in Business, Management and Leadership, Employment, Labor and Disability, and Human Resources. It is important to note that students in this program are required to go to the campus for three 1-week residential sessions. Interesting courses include Diversity and Inclusion in Practice, Navigating Power Relationships, and Leading for Creativity and Innovation.
Out-of-State Tuition: $29,500
#23 University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign offers two tracks towards their HR Master's degree online: Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations through the School of Labor and Employment Relations and the Master of Human Resource Development through the College of Education. While the HRD education degree is available fully online, the MHRIR degree is considered a hybrid model that features both synchronous and asynchronous courses. In this 32 credit-hour online HR program, students can expect to take advanced courses in HR perspectives, as well as core principles in how education applies to the HR profession, including Instructional and Training System Design, Project Management for Human Resource Development, and Adult & Professional Education.
Out-of-State Tuition: $28,773
#22 University of Arkansas
Online Master of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education
The University of Arkansas's HR Master's Degree stands out from the rest because of its unique focus on education rather than management. Thus, U of A's eLearning sector offers a 33-credit hour online Master of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education. With two start times per year, most students complete this program in 2 years. Students can expect to be equipped to combine integrated training, organizational development, career planning, and counseling skills to develop and implement HR related programs in the workplace. One important feature to note is that this program is GRE exempt.
Out-of-State Tuition: $19,784
#21 Golden Gate University
Online MBA with a Concentration in Human Resources or MS in Human Resources Management Online
Golden Gate University, rated Washington Monthly's number 1 school for adult learners for 3 years in a row, provides two paths towards a higher degree in HR: Online MBA with a Concentration in Human Resources or MS in Human Resources Management Online. In either path, the curriculum will prepare students to be able to develop, implement, monitor, and assess HR policies, procedures, and management trends. Specific coursework includes Ethics in Managing People at Work, Human Resources Data & Performance Metrics, and Acquiring & Retaining Human Resources. Students can take an optional but recommended internship as an elective course.
Out-of-State Tuition: $18,270
#20 Clemson University
Master of Human Resource Development Online
In-career human resources professionals can pursue their MHRD online degree through Clemson University's graduate degree program in Human Resources. In this 36-credit program, students will take at least 2 courses at a time and will finish in two years, while continuing to work. Designed specifically for students wishing to enter the intercollegiate athletic sector, there is an Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership concentration option, which replaces 4 core courses with courses that focus on ethics, psychology, leadership and administration. Coursework for the degree includes Needs Assessment for Education and Industry, Concepts of HRD/Talent Management, and Instructional Materials Development. Graduates will be prepared to pursue dynamic careers as Corporate Learning Specialists, Curriculum Designer and Developers, E-Learning Specialists, or Human Performance Improvement Consultants.
Out-of-State Tuition: $19,528
#19 Nova Southeastern University
MBA with a Concentration in Human Resource Management Online
Nova Southeastern University offers a fully online MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management that features 5 start times per year. After completing the core advanced Business curriculum, students will take 18 credit hours on the HR specialization. The online HR degree program can be completed in 21 months and offers courses such as Employee Relations, Talent Management, and Human Resource Development, with all work culminating to a management internship.
Out-of-State Tuition: $18,932
#18 Upper Iowa University
Online MBA with an emphasis on Human Resources Management
Upper Iowa University's 36-credit online HR program results in an MBA with an emphasis on Human Resources Management. Students can expect the program format to consist of 6 start dates per year, five 8-week course sessions with one accelerated 6 week summer session, asynchronous course schedules, flexible schedules, and no on-campus visits. After completing the business core curriculum, students will focus on their area of emphasis, and then all work will culminate in the Research Seminar capstone experience. Core principles explored in this program include management of labor and employment laws, hiring procedures and workforce issues, and ethical workplace and organizational governance.
Out-of-State Tuition: $18,324
#17 Western Carolina University
Though the College of Education and Allied Professions, Western Carolina University offers an online Master of Science in Human Resources (MSHR) that is designed specifically for the busy working professional seeking to advance in their HR career. In this 36 hour program, students will be required to take 7 courses and 5 elective courses. Sample courses include Organization Acumen for HR Leaders, Principles & Practice in Human Resources, and Coaching for Performance. All courses are aligned with the school's four Leadership competencies: 1) Relational HR Leadership; 2) Strategic HR Leadership; 3) Operational HR Leadership; and 4) Ethical & Socially Responsible HR Leadership.
Out-of-State Tuition: $14,842
#16 University of St. Francis
MBA with a concentration in Human Resources Management Online
Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), the University of St. Francis offers a hybrid model MBA with a concentration in Human Resources Management that can be completed in 12-18 months. While many programs cover core curriculum first, one highlight of this program is that students can begin their concentration work right away. Coursework in the 12 hour concentration area includes classes such as Needs Analysis, Instructional Design and Assessment, Talent Management: Acquiring, Developing and Retaining Talent, and Employment and Labor Laws. Graduates will be prepared to pursue and excel in careers as Management Consultants, Benefits Specialists, Compensation Analysts, Corporate Recruiters, Financial Analysts, and Human Resource Generalists.
Out-of-State Tuition: $13,464
#15 National University
Master of Arts in Human Resource Management Online
A veteran founded non-profit university, National University whose mission is to provide accessible and achievable higher education to adult learners. Among the 100+ online and on-campus degrees available is the fully online Master of Arts in Human Resource Management. NU follows a unique 4-week class schedule and this online HR degree program consists of 54 quarter units for completion. Core requirement courses include Legal, Ethical, and Safety Issues, Compensation and Benefits, Integrating Performance Management, and Workforce Planning, Developing, and Outsourcing. All work will culminate into a research seminar and project/thesis course. A specialization in Organizational Leadership is available.
Out-of-State Tuition: $14,976
#14 Wilmington University
MBA Online with a Concentration in Human Resources Management
Students enrolled in Wilmington University's HR online degree program will earn an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources Management online. After completing 21-credit hours of core business administration curriculum, students will complete 18 hours of HR concentration work, including courses such as Law, Regulation and the Workplace, Compensation and Benefits, and Organizational Behavior and Ethical Leadership. Online learners will have the same access to support services as on-campus students , including tutoring, libraries, and advising, and will utilize hi-tech programs like Blackboard and online conferencing to stay connected to faculty and peers.
Out-of-State Tuition: $8,388
#13 Stony Brook University
Online MS in Human Resource Management
Accredited through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Stony Brook University offers a 30-credit full time or part time Human Resource Management online Master's degree program that integrates both theory and practice to prepare graduates for advanced HR positions. Full-time students can complete the program in as little as one year, and part-time students will be finished in just two years. Core curriculum includes courses like Job Evaluation, Compensation Systems, and Benefits, Human Relations and Workforce Planning, and Organizational Development and Change Management. Though not a required part of the program, students can opt-in to a one-credit field practicum to gain experience in an area outside of their current workplace. In addition, a graduate certificate and digital badges (online micro-credentials that show a master of a certain set of skills) are also available.
Out-of-State Tuition: $22,210
#12 University of Houston Clear Lake
MA in Human Resources Management Online
Designed as an accelerated 16-month program, the University of Houston at Clear Lake offers a fully online Master of Arts in Human Resources Management. Students will take 3 classes in each fall, spring, and summer semesters. UHCL's online HR Master's degree program focuses on 5 essential human resources areas: core human resource processes; general business management; strategic decision making; change management; and personal mastery and influence. Specific courses include Employee Planning, Staffing, and Selection, Compensation and Benefits, and Legal Environment of Human Resources Management. Graduates will be prepared to excel in careers as a Director of Industrial Relations, Human Resources Managers, Labor Relations Managers, or Training and Development Specialists.
Out-of-State Tuition: $16,290
#11 Central Michigan University
Master of Business Administration Online with a Concentration in Human Resources
Central Michigan University offers an online MBA with a concentration in Human Resources. With 3 start times per year, online courses at CMU are offered in 8, 12, and 16 week formats. Students will learn advanced strategies in accounting, finance, marketing, and management and supplement with concentrated courses in Human Resources, focusing on best practices, strategic planning, fiscal management, and team building. Specific courses include Employee Selection and Evaluation, Strategic Management: Integrative Experience, and Human Resource Management.
Out-of-State Tuition: $18,942
#10 Villanova University
Master of Science in Human Resource Development Online
Villanova University's Master of Science in Human Resource Development online prepares students to expand and excel in upper-level marketing positions. The program utilizes innovative eLearning technologies to provide a thorough, comprehensive education that is the same as the on-campus counterparts. Specific courses include Strategic Workforce Planning, Financial and Human Capital, Training and Development. Villanova is also an HR certification institute approved provider, meaning student's coursework will result in 30 hours per class of either Business Management and Strategy or International recertification credit toward recertification of PHR ®, SPHR ® or GPHR ® .
Out-of-State Tuition: $18,373
#9 Tiffin University
Online MBA with a Concentration in Human Resource Management
Tiffin University's online 32-36 credit MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management can be completed in as little as 14 months as a full-time student who already holds a Bachelor's degree in business. Students who choose the part-time path usually complete the online HR Master's degree in 2-2.5 years. The programs's format include two 7-week terms per semester with 6 start times per year. Sample courses include Negotiations & Conflict Resolution and Human Resource Planning & Talent Acquisition.
Out-of-State Tuition: $12,600
#8 Brandman University
Online MS in Human Resources or MBA in Human Resources Online
Brandman University offers two options for their online Master's degree programs for Human Resources: MS in Human Resources or MBA in Human Resources. While the Master of Science track focuses more on the skill sets to attract, retain, and motivate an employee base, the MBA track focuses more on planning, directing, and leading administrative operations. In either track, fully online or hybrid models are available. Core Human Resources courses include Workforce Planning, Conflict and Resolution, and Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining.
Out-of-State Tuition: $11,520
#7 American University
Master of Science in Human Resource Analytics and Management Online
Because Human Resources Professionals now require technology experience to interact with employees, American University's online Master of Science in Human Resource Analytics and Management aims to provide the skills to drive wellness programs, create benefit portals, and engage employees at a higher rate. Through the School of Professional & Extended Studies, this specific Human Resources Master's degree online program utilizes a strategic curriculum model called the Professional Studies Experience (PSE), which features experiential, specialized, and data-driven programs to develop students into highly trained professionals. Three core courses of this innovative program are Innovation through New Technologies, Intercultural Communications for Professionals, Data-Driven Decision Making. In this 30 credit MS degree in HR online, students will take 10 courses and can complete the program in 20 months. A graduate certificate and professional development courses are also available.
Out-of-State Tuition: $29,556
#6 Florida International University
Online Master of Science in Human Resource Management
Through the Alvah H. Chapman Jr. School of Business, Florida International University offers a 38-credit online MS in Human Resource Management that blends high-level graduate business and healthcare curriculum. Delivered in an 8-week format, students will take 2 courses at a time, including Management of Healthcare Organizations in the 21st Century, Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Law and Regulation, and Managerial Decision Making in Health Economics. A 120-hour residency in Miami, FL is required of all students in the program. Benefits of the program that stand out are that students will earn their Lean Six Sigma Yellow and Green Belt and participate in various professional development seminars.
Out-of-State Tuition: $21,393
#5 Webster University
Online MA in Human Resources Development or Management or Online MBA in Human Resources Development or Management
Webster University offers four tracks towards the destination of an online HR graduate degree: online MA in Human Resources Development or Human Resources Management online or MBA with an emphasis in Human Resources Development or Management. In the business track, students will gain foundational yet advanced skillsets in business fundamentals and supplement with coursework in Human Resources. In contrast, the Master of Arts track focuses more in core principles in HR. Students focusing on the HR Development track will take upper-level courses like Group Development and Change, Training and Development, and Career Management. Students pursuing the HR Management path will take courses such as Labor-Management Relations, Employment Law, and Staffing.
Out-of-State Tuition: $13,140
#4 University of North Texas
Online MBA with a Concentration in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
At the University of North Texas, students can pursue an MBA online in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management via self-paced learning modules. In the 36 hour program, students can expect 18 credit hours of core business courses supplemented by 18 credit hours of hours in the human resources concentration, with the option to continue courses to earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management. Coursework will feature information from the following subject areas: compensation, labor relations, leadership, individual and organizational change, selection and placement, and understanding work behavior.
Out-of-State Tuition: $12,920
#3 Ottawa University-Phoenix
Online Master of Arts in Human Resources or Dual Online MBA-MAHR
Among all of the offerings on this rankings list, Ottawa University of Phoenix online provides the most options for Master's degrees in HR including a dual MBA-MAHR degree and 3 options for online Master of Arts in Human Resources (a general track, a Leadership Development concentration, and a Population Health/Health Care Management concentration). All of these programs, however, are designed with the adult, non-traditional learner in mind and can be completed 100% online with 24/7 access to lectures and school work. Graduates will be ready for careers as Employment and Placement Specialists, Employee Benefits Specialists, and Occupational Specialists. This program will also prepare students to take exams resulting in SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) or SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).
Out-of-State Tuition: $10,620
#2 Dallas Baptist University
Online Master of Arts in Management with a Concentration in Human Resource Management
Dallas Baptist University offers an online or hybrid model Master of Arts in Management with a Concentration in Human Resource Management. Students will take 24-hour core foundational courses, and then continue with 12-credit hours in the preferred concentration. Among the core principles in the curriculum are skills in recruiting and retaining top talent, ethical decision making, employee development, performance management, quality and control, and preparation of annual budgets. The four main courses in the Human Resources track are Employment Law, Staffing Organizations, Compensation and Performance, and Career Management and Life Transitions. This program might be suited for the student without an HR background, as it only requires 3 prerequisites that can be taken simultaneously online in only 8 weeks. Students can complete this degree in as little as 12-15 months.
Out-of-State Tuition: $16,308
#1 Penn State World Campus
Online Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER)
Penn State World Campus provides one of the most comprehensive and specific degrees on this rankings list by offering an online Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations with 7 concentrations, including Benefits and Compensation, Labor and Collective Bargaining, Employment and Labor Law, Staffing, Training, and Development, Ethics and Leadership, International Human Resources and Employment Relations, and Labor Unions: Organization and Strategy. A 12-credit hour International Human Resources and Employment Relations graduate certificate is also available. This HR online Master's degree program provides a wide curriculum that balances advanced theory with practical knowledge will prepare graduates for upper-level careers in various human resources and labor relations positions.
Out-of-State Tuition: $20,470
By BCR Staff