5 Best Online Bachelor’s in Human Resources Degrees 2021

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A key business field, human resources (HR) focuses on skills, tools, and strategies for optimizing employee performance and satisfaction. Human resources programs require interdisciplinary curricula featuring courses from various business fields.

HR bachelor’s degrees usually require about 120 credits, including about 60 general education credits. Students with a transferable associate degree often graduate in two years. Online human resources programs typically follow accelerated, eight-week terms, allowing learners to graduate sooner. Applicants to undergraduate HR programs typically need a minimum GPA, adequate standardized test scores, and successful performance in prerequisite courses.

Professionals with a bachelor’s degree in human resources often earn above-average salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resources specialists earn a median salary of $61,920 per year, while HR managers earn a median annual salary of $116,720.

What Can I Do With a Human Resources Degree?

Undergraduate human resources programs typically include interdisciplinary core business classes and specialized HR coursework. Earning a human resources degree can lead to careers as managers and HR specialists. Working professionals can pursue a bachelor’s degree in human resources to qualify for career advancement or to transition to the field.

A bachelor’s in HR typically meets the minimum degree requirements for careers in management and human resources. Depending on the individual’s concentration and professional experience, graduates of human resources programs may qualify for specialized positions.

Graduates often become jobs analysis specialists, training and development specialists, and labor relations specialists. According to the BLS, these professionals earn median salaries of more than $60,000 per year. An HR degree can also lead to roles as information systems analysts and human resources consultants.

After gaining field experience, HR professionals may secure upper-level positions such as compensation and benefit manager and human resources manager. According to BLS data, these professionals earn median annual salaries of $122,270 and $116,720, respectively. Although experienced professionals with a bachelor’s degree may qualify for high-level roles, some employers prefer candidates for management positions to hold a graduate degree.

What Are the Requirements for a Human Resources Program?

Bachelor’s students typically apply to their school’s HR program near the end of their sophomore year. Human resources programs at regionally accredited schools often require applicants to have a minimum 2.0-3.0 GPA and have completed prerequisite coursework.

HR programs usually require about 60 major credits and feature courses from various business disciplines. Many HR programs require a capstone project or internship. Learners complete internships at approved organizations, and current professionals may fulfill internship requirements at their workplace.

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Courses in a Human Resources Program

HR programs typically feature curricula that align with standards set by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Courses in human resources programs cover key areas including staffing and training, organizational development and change, human resources and capital management, and compensation and benefits. Business programs often feature human resources concentrations, and although many schools offer no further specialization options, learners may be able to customize their curricula through HR electives.

HR students develop skills in communication, personnel management, conflict negotiation, and data analytics. Learners in human resources programs often hone their skills during internship experiences. Although available courses vary by school, students in human resources programs often take the following classes.

Labor Relations
Many human resources programs feature a required or elective class covering labor relations concepts, laws, and compliance. Enrollees learn about union representation, collective bargaining, and contract enforcement and administration. Degree-seekers also examine labor policy choices, including possible future policy changes. Studies learn about unfair labor practices, union history and organizational structure, grievance and arbitration procedures, and labor relations trends. Learners develop skills in conflict mediation and resolution.
Organizational Development
This common HR program requirement provides foundational knowledge in organizational development theory and history. Students prepare for roles as organizational development specialists. Degree-seekers explore process models and leadership techniques for creating and implementing strategic interventions. Coursework also covers practical inventions, diagnostics, tools, and processes for enhancing organizational effectiveness. Learners discuss ethics and values relevant to organizational development professionals.
Performance Management
This course surveys management principles, systems, and performance evaluation skills relevant to management and consulting careers. Learners gain knowledge and skills necessary to assess and improve the performance of teams and individuals. Degree-seekers study systems and methods for translating organizational objectives into performance outcomes. Students examine strategies for improving employee motivation, confidence, commitment, and participation.
Conflict Management
Students prepare to understand and resolve workplace conflict. Degree-seekers learn to recognize and address common conflicts and their causes. Learners explore negotiation approaches, along with methods for establishing and maintaining workplace respect. Coursework may cover topics including straight talk, disagreement strategies, relationship-building, and avoidance of debate and blame approaches. Enrollees also acquire strategies for improving organizational efficiency.
Compensation and Benefits
Learners in this core HR course gain practical knowledge and skills for administering wages, salaries, and benefits in various types of organizations. Coursework covers rewards and compensation systems, equitable payments, internal consistency, and employee satisfaction. Degree-seekers learn how to design compensation systems, make pay decisions, and solve compensation-related problems. Students often complete projects and may create their own compensation system.

Professional Organizations for Human Resources Students

Students and professionals can join professional organizations to access continuing education opportunities, networking events, and professional development classes. Members can also pursue leadership roles to bolster their resume. Many professional organizations offer resources such as job boards, conferences, certification programs, and publications.

  • Society for Human Resources Management This international organization for HR professionals serves more than 300,000 members. SHRM administers the certified professional and senior certified professional credentials. SHRM also provides scholarships, online resources, and events. Additionally, the society's HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates influence many schools' HR curricula.

  • International Public Management Association for Human Resources IPMA-HR hosts an annual conference and delivers online networking tools. The organization connects public-sector HR professionals from around the world. IPMA-HR offers continuing education courses, professional certifications, and assessment services.

  • National Human Resources Association This nonprofit professional organization focuses on career development. NHRA supports HR professionals through leadership opportunities, career resources, professional networking, and events. Students may qualify for a discounted membership rate.

  • Academy of Human Resource Development Devoted to HR research and development, AHRD hosts an annual conference, manages special interest discussion groups, and publishes an online digest. The organization also sponsors several journals, including Human Resource Development Quarterly, Human Resource Development International, and Advances in Developing Human Resources.

Scholarships for Human Resources Students

Many college students, including learners pursuing a bachelor’s degree in human resources, can qualify for scholarships to fund their education. Organizations award scholarships based on factors such as identity, financial need, and academic merit. Many schools, nonprofits, and private donors provide scholarships to support learners in specific fields. The list below includes a few of the scholarships available to students in human resources programs.

Society for Human Resource Management Undergraduate Scholarships

Who Can Apply: These scholarships support SHRM members enrolled in or accepted to HR-related programs. Candidates need at least one semester remaining, must attend a regionally accredited school, and must show a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants submit at least one reference letter, responses to short-answer questions, official transcripts, and a resume.
Amount: $2,500

Michael R. Losey Scholarship Award

Who Can Apply: The Greater Valley Forge Human Resource Association awards this scholarship to local students who are attending or plan to attend an HR-related program. Competitive candidates demonstrate academic merit and involvement in HR-related activities. Applicants submit recommendation letters, official transcripts, essays, and a record of extracurricular activities.
Amount: $2,000

Drew Young Scholarship

Who Can Apply: DallasHR sponsors this scholarship for full-time HR students. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA and must hold membership with a SHRM chapter. Applicants submit two recommendation letters, official transcripts, and a 100-word essay outlining their reasons for studying HR.
Amount: $2,000 plus registration for the annual HRSouthwest Conference

Walter Vaughn Excellence in Human Resources Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The National Forum for Black Public Administrators awards this scholarship to Black students who are enrolled full time in HR-related programs. Candidates must attend an accredited four-year school, preferably a historically Black college or university. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA and should demonstrate leadership and communication skills and extracurricular involvement.
Amount: $2,500 annually

HR Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship from HR Payroll Systems supports learners pursuing human resources degrees. Candidates need a minimum 2.5 GPA and must reside in the U.S. or attend an accredited U.S. institution. Applicants submit college transcripts and at least one recommendation letter.
Amount: $1,000


  • Is human resources a bachelor of arts (BA) or a bachelor of science (BS)?

    Students can earn a BA or a BS in human resources. BA programs typically include more liberal arts coursework, while BS programs usually emphasize technical skills development.

  • What jobs can you get with a bachelor's degree in human resources?

    Graduates of HR bachelor’s programs often work as human resources specialists, consultants, and managers. Common job titles include compensation and benefits manager, training and development specialist, and recruitment specialist.

  • What majors are good for human resources?

    Human resources professionals often hold degrees in business-related disciplines. Common majors include human resources, business administration, management, finance, and economics. Other relevant fields of study include organizational and industrial psychology and organizational leadership.

  • What are examples of human resources?

    The term “human resources” typically refers to the personnel of an organization or industry. The term also can describe the human capital or knowledge that employees possess. Human resources departments oversee employee hiring, training, management, and compensation.

Best Bachelor’s in Human Resources Online 2021

A human resources (HR) bachelor’s degree melds critical thinking, knowledge, and problem-solving skills crucial to HR jobs. Learners can choose from a multitude of online bachelor’s in human resources, which makes finding the best degrees challenging.

We have compiled a list of the top online bachelor’s degrees in HR for 2021. These programs are either nationally or regionally accredited, and some hold industry-specific accreditations. Accreditation verifies that a school provides high-quality education. Our ranking includes programs accredited by at least one of these bodies:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Our Ranking Methodology
  • 1. Anderson University

    AU is located in upstate South Carolina. It provides students with a top learning experience in a Christian environment. It has four enshrined pillars based on faith, academics, purpose, and hospitality.

    Bachelor of Organizational Leadership – Human Resource Administration

    Coursework for this HR bachelor’s degree comprises general education subjects, which form part of the liberal arts requirement for the adult program. These subjects include natural sciences, fine arts, Christian studies, and social and behavioral sciences. The program also requires a cognate course comprising three credits.

    Core coursework topics cover business communication, psychology, critical thinking, and sociology. Students must complete a 12-credit concentration including courses in computer information systems, training and development, and accounting and budgeting. Electives equating 42 credits are also required for degree completion.

    Applying to AU

    Students must complete an application for admission. They must also submit a high school transcript, a processing fee of $40, and official SAT or ACT scores. Applicants without transcripts must provide proof of their completed GED certificate with a 2500 score. Applicants with an associate degree can apply, too.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: SACSCOC
    Tuition: $13,410/semester
    Required Credits: 121 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  • 2. Colorado State University – Global Campus

    Located in Aurora, CSU-Global serves students in over 54 countries. It provides more than 40 programs and certificates to over 18,000 students.

    Bachelor of Science – Human Resource Management

    Students who earn this degree may thrive as administrative assistants, HR generalists, or HR managers. These titles reflect the top HR titles for CSU-Global alumni. Eighty-seven percent of alumni work in HR post-graduation.

    This program also aligns with professional industry associations. The online HR management degree holds accreditation from ACBSP. CSU-Global also works with the Society for Human Resources Management to build its curriculum guidelines and textbook.

    Coursework for this online bachelor’s in human resources comprises general education, core, degree specialization, and elective courses. Some of the core subjects include labor relations and employment law, and a capstone on human resource management.

    Applying to CSU-Global

    Applicants must be at least 23 years old or have finished high school at least five years ago. Students must submit their official high school transcript, a CV, and GED scores if they do not have high school transcripts.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: ACBSP, HLC
    Tuition: $350/credit
    Required Credits: 120 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  • 3. Florida International University

    FIU operates two campuses in Florida and boasts more than 260,000 alumni and 58,000 students. FIU features three art history museums and more than 300 academic associations.

    Bachelor of Business Administration – Human Resource Management

    Applicants wishing to apply to the business college for this degree must complete seven pre-core courses with a “C” grade or better. Some of these pre-core subjects include statistics for business and economics, principles of macroeconomics, and accounting for planning and control.

    Core courses include financial management, the legal environment of business, and an introduction to marketing. Students must also complete credits in business professional development courses, major courses, and upper-division business electives. Some of the major courses include human resource management, employment law, and recruitment and staffing.

    Applying to FIU

    Applicants must pay a $30 application fee and provide high school transcripts and ACT and SAT scores. Global students are required to submit their IELTS or TOEFL scores as well.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: SACSCOC
    Tuition: $229/credit (in state), $346/credit (out of state)
    Required Credits: 120 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  • 4. Indiana State University

    ISU was established in 1865 in Terre Haute. It offers over 100 undergraduate majors, plus licensure and certificate programs. It also offers more than 30 online bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Bachelor of Science – Human Resource Development for Higher Education and Industry

    This HR bachelor’s degree enables students to venture into HR careers dealing with development, union relations, organization development, and performance management systems. Both first-year and transfer students can complete this program. The curriculum is informed by guidelines from the SHRM.

    This program consists of 14 core subjects and nine electives, which total 51 credits ahead of completion. Core coursework relates to evaluating learner performance, adult learners in high education and training, occupational liability and safety, and industrial organizational psychology. Students must choose electives from the resource development and performance technologies department.

    Applying to ISU

    Applicants must have finished their Indiana Core 40 high school curriculum with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Transfer applicants should have earned a 2.0 cumulative GPA in their previous university qualifications. Applicants can apply online via the MyISU portal.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: HLC
    Tuition: $332/credit (in state), $432/credit (out of state)
    Required Credits: 51 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  • 5. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

    SMWC was founded in 1840 by Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and Sisters of Providence as an academy. At first an all-girls institution, SMWC opened its doors to men as well in 2015. SMWC has also been offering distance education since 1973.

    Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management

    This HR bachelor’s degree entails a 48-credit major and an 18-credit minor. Students complete a business core. Subjects include principles of management, managerial communications, business law, and principles of accounting. The minor splits into a business core of six credits and electives worth 12 credits.

    Applying to SMWC

    Applicants can apply online for free. They must provide their GED scores or official high school transcripts. Applicants who have attended college must submit their college transcripts for credit transfers. SAT scores must be 1704 and ACT scores 1242.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: HLC
    Tuition: $496/credit
    Required Credits: 48 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

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