2019 Best Online Master's in Human Resources Programs

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Distance learners who are seeking an online master's in human resources should check out the following list of 19 colleges. With a median alumni salary of $149,900 and an annual tuition of $25,555, American University takes the #1 spot for 2019. New York University, ranked second, has the highest median salary for graduates, an impressive $151,214. The M.S. in Human Resource Management and Development at New York University costs $39,794 per year.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

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Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 American University $25,555 $149,900
#2 #2 New York University $39,794 $151,214
#3 #3 University of Southern California $44,712 $124,843
#4 #4 Boston University $23,760 $120,800
#5 #5 Florida International University $35,000 $113,900
#6 #6 University of Wisconsin-Platteville $10,125 $105,700
#7 #7 University of Denver $16,464 $105,800
#8 #8 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide $9,975 $104,100
#9 #9 Western Carolina University $11,350 $101,800
#10 #10 University of Maryland University College $11,862 $99,471
#11 #11 Webster University $14,040 $98,943
#12 #12 Central Michigan University $10,728 $96,314
#13 #13 Troy University $17,784 $94,200
#14 #14 National University $12,900 $87,400
#15 #15 Liberty University $13,560 $83,600
#16 #16 Bellevue University $10,350 $79,586
#17 #17 Southern New Hampshire University Online $13,794 $76,700
#18 #18 University of Mary $12,995 $72,600
#19 #19 Wayland Baptist University $9,300 $58,700
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo. Updated 2018.
  • Annual Tuition: $25,555
  • Median Salary: $149,900
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Management program is a 10 course, 30 credit program that is completed over the course of 20 months. AU collaborated with an advisory council of seasoned HR professionals to create an innovative curriculum that focuses on solving 21st century organizational challenges. The program is offered entirely online and is designed to teach skills that employers look for, including the use of modern HR technologies found in the workplace. Students also have the option of obtaining a Human Resources and Management certificate that is focused on decision making through HR analytics and technologies. 

  • Annual Tuition: $39,794
  • Median Salary: $151,214
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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New York University's online Master's in Human Resource Management and Development is a two-year program for full-time students or a five-year program for part-time students. The program consists of a set of core business skill competencies, a concentration, and student chosen electives. Concentration options include: Human Resource Management, Organizational Effectiveness, Global Talent Management, and Executive Management. All courses are taught by HR practitioner-scholars with extensive professional experience to make sure the curriculum keeps up with the ever-changing landscape of professional HR methods and technologies. This program is also available in a hybrid format, with classes offered online and on-campus.

  • Annual Tuition: $44,712
  • Median Salary: $124,843
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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The University of Southern California's Bovard College offers an entirely online Master of Science in Human Resource Management degree with three start dates per year (Fall, Spring, and Summer). The program covers core human resources principles, as well as management concepts, HR processes, and emerging HR issues including diversity and global concerns. Key courses during the program include Leadership in Human Resources, Talent Management, and HR Analytics. Based on the time commitment of students, the MSHRM degree can be earned in either a one- or two-year track.

  • Annual Tuition: $23,760
  • Median Salary: $120,800
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
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Boston University's online Master's in Human Resources Management program requires five years of professional experience or a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) certificate due to the advanced nature of the course content. Without a CEBS certificate, the program is comprised of 48 credit hours covering core classes (28 credit hours), specialized courses (16 credit hours), and an elective course (4 credit hours). This program drops to 32 total credit hours for students who have a CEBS certificate. All students must demonstrate their math skills through an online tutorial prior to enrolling as the program is math intensive. The program as a whole prepares students for the complexities associated with a modern international company with diverse labor and operations.

  • Annual Tuition: $35,000
  • Median Salary: $113,900
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Florida International University's online Master's of Human Resource Management is an accelerated, cohort program that takes 12 months to complete. Classes are offered in an 8-week format, with students taking two courses at a time. The program begins every Fall and Spring and contains important courses such as Employment Law and Human Resource Management, International Human Resource Management, and Performance and Talent Management. This top ranked program was developed with the help of industry experts and was designed  to be convenient and flexible for working professionals. The degree is 38 credits and tuition is $35,000.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,125
  • Median Salary: $105,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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The University of Wisconsin- Platteville offers a fully online Master of Science in Organizational Change Leadership program that allows students to hone their organizational leadership skills and develop expertise in HR methodologies. This nationally ranked program can be completed in two years, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Students are able to select electives that are best suited to their career goals, and may also choose an area of emphasis in Healthcare, Human Resources, Project Management, or Safety Risk Control. There is no GRE or GMAT required, and tuition is $675 per credit, regardless of residency.

  • Annual Tuition: $16,464
  • Median Salary: $105,800
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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The University of Denver's online Master's of HR Management and Development program is comprised of five core courses, four concentration courses, and three elective courses over 18 months of study. The program is designed to teach students how to create organizational plans, examine the business lifecycle and provide HR analysis, and understand methods used by HR to impact achievement. This curriculum was developed with input from advisory boards of industry leaders and employers of HR professionals to ensure that courses are always up to date with industry trends. Admissions require no GRE or GMAT and classes begin in January.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,975
  • Median Salary: $104,100
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide offers an accredited, online Master of Science in Management with a specialization in Human Resources Management. The degree program consists of 21 credits of core classes and nine credits of specialized human resource courses. The specialized courses include a class in Human Resource Management and the choice of two of the following: Human Resource Development, Talent Acquisition and Workforce Planning, and Comprehensive Reward Systems. The program goes beyond a traditional MBA to give students a larger focus on theory and the practice of management. It culminates with a capstone project that allows students to earn hands-on experience that will help them advance and reach their goals.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,350
  • Median Salary: $101,800
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Western Carolina University offers an online Master's in Human Resources degree that was developed for working professionals who are looking to advance their HR career or those who are looking to transition into the field. The 36 credit hour program can be completed in two years and is taught by HR professionals with applied experience. The curriculum consists of seven requisite courses and five elective courses. Some of the popular elective courses include Organization Development, Total Rewards: Strategy and Plan Design, and Coaching to Performance.  A 3.0 minimum undergraduate GPA, GRE or GMAT scores, and three recommendations are required for admission.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $11,862
  • Median Salary: $99,471
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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University of Maryland University College offers an online Masters of Science in Management with a Human Resource specialization. The program is comprised of core courses, specialized courses, and a capstone project course. The capstone course, a unique component of UMUC's MS program, is an analysis of how strategy effects and guides a company, both internally and externally. This program is recommended for entry-level and mid-career professionals looking for a career change or improvement upon their skills. Previous knowledge of math and statistics is suggested.

  • Annual Tuition: $14,040
  • Median Salary: $98,943
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Webster University offers an online Master of Arts in Human Resources Management degree that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The program is comprised of 36 credit hours, covering every aspect of Human Resources Management, such as Organizational Behavior, Employment Law, and Basic Finance for Managers. The degree program is offered under Webster University's Walker School of Business & Technology. Tuition is $780 per credit hour, with military members receiving a discounted rate of $470 per credit hour.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,728
  • Median Salary: $96,314
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Central Michigan University offers a Master of Science in Administration - Human Resources Administration degree entirely online. For admission, the program requires a bachelor's degree, a minimum GPA of 2.7, and a statement of purpose. The program itself is 36 credit hours, with 18 hours of core classes and 18 hours based on the Human Resources concentration. For their required capstone project, students may choose either a directed administrative portfolio or an applied research project. A 300-hour internship is also highly recommended as part of the program experience to help students apply their coursework into an organization.

  • Annual Tuition: $17,784
  • Median Salary: $94,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Troy University's Sorrell College of Business offers an online Master of Science in Human Resource Management (MSHRM) degree. The program is 30-33 credit hours in length (depending upon the student’s background), with 18 hours of required coursework over nine week terms. Tuition is $494 per credit hour with no additional fees. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 GPA (or at least 3.0 over the most recent 30 semester hours), GRE or GMAT scores, and a letter of recommendation.

  • Annual Tuition: $12,900
  • Median Salary: $87,400
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC and WASC WSCUC
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National University's Master of Arts in Human Resource Management program is fully aligned with the curriculum guidelines from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The program requires students to complete a total of 54 quarter units of graduate work. These quarter units are broken down as core requirements (49.5 quarter units) and an elective that covers the last 4.5 quarter units. Students have the flexibility to choose any graduate course offered by the school of business to fulfill their elective requirement. Key courses within the degree program include Compensation & Benefits, Theory & Practice of Human Resource Management, and Integrating Performance Management.

  • Annual Tuition: $13,560
  • Median Salary: $83,600
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and TRACS
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Liberty University offers a two year Master of Business Administration – Human Resources degree program that is entirely online. This degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Liberty University prides itself on its affordability and value with reduced tuition and special benefits for members of the armed forces and their spouses. The MBA in Human Resources requires 45 credit hours and takes an average of two years to complete. Liberty allows students to transfer in credits up to 50% of the degree total.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $10,350
  • Median Salary: $79,586
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Bellevue University, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, offers a Master's in Human Resource Strategic Management degree entirely online for students and working professionals. Their program is aligned with the guidelines set forth by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and prepares students to contribute effectively to their organization. The program is 36 credits in length and tuition is $575 per credit hour. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 or better GPA from the most recent 60 hours of undergraduate coursework, or a 3.0 in previous graduate level coursework.

  • Annual Tuition: $13,794
  • Median Salary: $76,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
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Southern New Hampshire University Online offers a Master's in Human Resource Management degree with one of the lowest tuition rates in the country. The program is designed to prepare students for the growing demand of HR professionals and is available multiple times throughout the year for added flexibility. Some of the key courses include Corporate Communications, Strategic Human Resource Management, Talent Development and Workforce Planning, and Human Resource Information Systems. The program aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM) guiding principle to prepare HR professionals for their key role in the success of a company. Tuition is $627 per credit hour, with a discounted rate of $470 per credit hour for military members and their spouses.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $12,995
  • Median Salary: $72,600
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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At the University of Mary, you can earn a graduate business degree with a concentration in HR Management in a flexible online format at one of the most affordable private universities in the United States. The program can be completed in 18 months and was constructed based on education provided by the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The Human Resource concentration requires three specific courses related to Human Resource Management. These courses are:  Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations, Strategic Compensation: A Human Resources Management Approach, and Human Resource Development.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,300
  • Median Salary: $58,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Wayland Baptist University offers a Master's in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management that can be completed online. WBU’s program prepares graduates to manage employees of any organization by cultivating their analytical, communication and organizational development skills. The MBA with Human Resource Management concentration is a 48 credit hour program that focuses on general business skills, with specialized courses in human resources. Core courses for the MBA include; accounting, business admin., economics, management, marketing, finance, and management information systems.

Online Master's in Human Resources Overview

Applicants to master's programs need an accredited bachelor's degree; some programs also require standardized test scores and a statement of purpose. Although MBA programs rarely mandate that the bachelor’s degree be in business, having an undergraduate degree in business or related field may increase an applicant's chances of being selected for the program.

The core of the human resources master's includes advanced courses in HR and business strategy. Common courses include workplace ethics, strategic thinking, labor management relations, staffing, and compensation. General business courses include statistics, performance management, and leadership. Classes in HR management teach students about labor law and procedure, employee compensation and benefits, organizational leadership, labor unions, training, and dealing with disputes among workers.

Some programs require students to choose a specialization in a particular HR area, such as diversity and inclusion, benefits and compensation, international HR management, or human capital management. Many programs also require an internship or a capstone course. The capstone course involves working on a research project to address a human resources problem.

Master's degree holders are prepared to apply for human resources specialist or management positions. Both specialists and managers may focus in a particular area of HR, such as labor relations, recruiting, payroll management, placement, or employee development. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with a human resources master's degree and/or professional experience should have the best opportunities for landing HR management positions. (BLS)

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