The Best Master's in Human Resources Online

A ranking of the best master's in human resources online. Programs ranked by affordability, flexibility, and academic quality.

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Master's in Human Resources

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.

Featured Online HR Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Career Paths for Human Resources

Earning a master's in human resources doesn't limit students to only working in human resources. Students can find careers as training and development managers, compensation and benefits managers, labor relations specialists, and administrative services and facilities managers. Students should consider their career path when entering a master's program and concentrate in a specific area if possible. 

  • Human Resources Manager: Human resources managers need at least a bachelor's degree and some experience or a master's degree. These managers are the connection between an organization and its employees, they provide information on benefits, help with any human resources related issues such as pay, and may oversee a team of human resources specialists. 
  • Training and Development Manager: Individuals working as training and development managers need at least a bachelor's degree to enter the workforce, but some companies may require or prefer a master's degree. In this position individuals work to train new employees or provide continued training for current employees. They will work with other teams to ensure they are providing relevant training and may oversee a small team. 
  • Compensation and Benefits Manager: Students interested in a career as a compensation and benefits manager need at least a bachelor's in human resources; however a master's may be preferred. These managers set the pay structures and benefits for an organization and work to ensure the pay and benefits they are offering is competitive with the industry. They may also monitor that all compensation and benefits are complying with state and federal laws. 
CareerMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate (2020-2030)
Human Resources Manager $121,2209%
Training and Development Manager$115,64011%
Compensation and Benefits Manager$125,1304%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top Schools for Master's in HR

#10 Villanova University

Master of Science in Human Resource Development Online

Points: 8

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

Points: 8

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

Points: 8

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

Points: 9

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

Points: 9

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

Featured Online HR Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

#5 Webster University

Online MA in Human Resources Development or Management or Online MBA in Human Resources Development or Management

Points: 10

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

Points: 10

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

Points: 10

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

Points: 11

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)

Points: 17

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

Frequently Asked Questions About a Master's in Human Resources

Q. Is HR a good master's degree?

A. Earning a human resources master's degree is a great option for students who are interested in becoming a HR manager. A master's could increase earning potential.

Q. What masters is best for HR?

A. A master's in human resources can be found in an online and in-person format. Students can also find business degrees with a focus in human resources.

Q. Which is better: an MBA in HR or MA in HR?

A. An MBA in HR focuses more on the business aspects of human resources, students learn how to build teams and about social responsibility. An MA in HR focuses more on planning and organizational development.

Q. What can I do with a master's in human resources?

A. Students who earn a master's in human resources can find work as a human resource specialist or a human resources manager. Individuals may also be able to find jobs learning people development and management teams.

Featured Online MBA Programs

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