By HRMBA Staff
Employment for workers in HR management positions is expected to grow by 7% through 2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earning an online master’s degree in human resource management from an affordable public university can be a great way to advance your career without emptying your bank account. There are many great online HR master’s programs at regionally accredited universities that can help students move up the career ladder or even make a jump to a new and exciting career in HR. Public universities are often more affordable than private schools and typically provide the same rigorous programs without the high price tag. We recognize that accessibility and affordability are often roadblocks to earning an advanced degree in HR, so we created a focused list of the best affordable public universities offering an online master’s in HR.
Programs included on our list are regionally accredited and offer an online master’s degree in human resources. We looked to College Navigator to provide the average graduate tuition rate and ranked the programs by price. All programs in our list have an average graduate tuition cost of $18,000 or less!
Related Resource: What is Workforce Diversity?
#20 – Eastern Michigan University – Ypsilanti, Michigan
MS in Human Resources and Organizational Development
Average Graduate Tuition: $18,000/year in-state and $32,040/year out-of-state
Eastern Michigan University, a top affordable public university, is recognized by The Princeton Review for its excellent business school. They offer a top economical online master’s in human resources and organizational development accredited by the AACSB. This 30 credit hour online master’s degree program takes about two years to complete. Required courses cover areas like:
- Theory and Techniques of Organizational Development
- Human Resource Development
- Strategic Human Resource Management
#19 – Rutgers University – New Brunswick, New Jersey
Online Professional Master’s in Human Resource Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $17,232/year in-state and $29.304/year out-of-state
The top economical online master’s in HR management at Rutgers University was created for HR professionals with at least four years of experience. Rutgers is a top affordable public university with world class faculty and high-quality courses. Their online master’s in HR requires no GRE/GMAT scores for admission. The high-value online master’s degree program includes eight core courses, three electives, and a capstone project. Core courses cover areas like:
- Workforce Analytics & HR Data-Base Decisions
- Managing the Global Workforce
- Developing Human Capital
Full-time students can complete the program in about 18 months. New students are admitted during the fall, spring, and summer terms.
#18 – Temple University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
MS in Human Resource Management Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $16,488/year in-state and $22,698/year out-of-state
Temple University is an affordable public university featuring a top low-cost online master’s in human resource management. The online master’s degree program is offered through the Fox School of Business and meets the program standards set by the SHRM. Required courses cover areas like:
- Strategic Reward Systems
- Public Policy and Compliance
- Human Resources Management Strategies
Both part-time and full-time program plans are available. Full-time students can complete their degree in just 13 months. Students with a passion for international HR studies can participate in Global Immersions learning about global business and international innovation and entrepreneurship.
#17 – Central Michigan University – Mount Pleasant, Michigan
MS in Administration-HR Administration
Average Graduate Tuition: $13,354/year in-state and $18,964/year out-of-state
Central Michigan University, a public university, offers a top low-cost online master’s in HR administration. Required online courses cover areas like:
- Organizational Dynamics and Human Behavior
- Financial Analysis, Planning and Control
- Strategic Planning for the Administrator
This affordable 36 credit hour online master’s degree program includes a capstone project. Students can choose to complete small papers designed to showcase competency in each core class or one large research paper.
#16 – University of Louisville – Louisville, Kentucky
Online MS in Human Resources and Organization Development
Average Graduate Tuition: $12,684 in-state and $26,454/year out-of-state
The University of Louisville is a top public university offering an affordable online master’s in human resources and organizational development. All courses are available online and students can begin this inexpensive master’s degree program at one of three convenient start dates each year. Faculty are experienced professionals and provide students with relevant instruction that prepares them for success in the field. Courses cover areas like:
- Strategic Human Resources
- Leadership in Human Resource and Organizational Development
- Evidenced-Based Research in Human Resource and Organizational Development
Students can engage with each other through online synchronous learning sessions that foster collaboration and team building.
#15 – West Chester University – West Chester, Pennsylvania
Master of Science in HR Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $12,384/year in-state and $18,576/year out-of-state
The College of Business and Public Management at West Chester University features a top inexpensive online master’s in HR management for students who want to take their career to the next level. This 30 credit hour master’s degree program is available through an integrated online learning platform. Online courses are delivered in a seven-week format, allowing students to move quickly through the program. Full-time students can earn their degree in just under one year while part-time students can finish in two years. Graduates are successful in a variety of roles including labor relations manager, HR manager, and employee relations manager.
#14 – Thomas Edison State University – Trenton, New Jersey
Master of Science in HR Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $12,024/year
The top-value ACBSP accredited online master’s in HR management from Thomas Edison State University draws from cutting edge research and best practices. Online courses cover:
- Strategic Recruitment and Selection
- Lifestyle Benefits and Compensation in the New Millennium
- Human Resources as a Strategic Partner
The entire high-value master’s degree program can be completed entirely online. Students with previous graduate work may be able to transfer up to 12 credits, saving both time and money. The curriculum aligns with the SHRM, giving students the confidence that the knowledge and skills attained through the program meet the needs of the industry.
#13 – Stony Brook University – Stony Brook, New York
Master of Science-HR Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $11,090/year in-state and $22,650/year out-of-state
The School of Professional Development at Stony Brook University features a top online master’s in HR management with full-time and part-time degree plans. Stony Brook is an affordable public university with tuition rates almost 15% lower than the national average among public universities. The 30 credit hour online HR master’s program aligns with the educational standards set by the SHRM. Required online courses include:
- Employment Law and Policy
- Human Relations and Workforce Planning
- Employee Relations and Labor Management
Students may choose to complete an internship to gain valuable field experience, although it is not a program requirement. All students must complete a master’s project, showcasing their knowledge and skills in the field.
#12 – Purdue University Global – Davenport, Iowa
Online MS Degree in Management and Leadership
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,560/year
Purdue University Global, a leader in online education, is also a top affordable public university offering an online master’s in management and leadership. The HR concentration is available to students who want to study human resources development from a strategic perspective. Online courses include:
- Strategic Human Resources Management
- Leadership Theory and Practice
- Organizational Excellence and Change
The program has received approval from the SHRM and is accredited by the ACBSP.
#11 – Clemson University – Clemson, South Carolina
Master of Human Resource Development (MHRD)
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,386/year in-state and $19,776/year out-of-state
Top affordable public university, Clemson University, features an online master’s in human resource development. Courses are taught by practitioner scholars who use the latest technology to create an interactive online learning environment. Online courses cover:
- Instructional Systems Design
- Consulting for Education and Industry
- Instructional Materials Development
This inexpensive online master’s degree program was created for mid-career professionals who want to advance their career. Students interested in intercollegiate athletics and choose to specialize in that area.
#10 – Colorado State University Global – Greenwood Village, Colorado
Online Master’s Degree in HR Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,000/year
Colorado State University Global features a top online master’s in HR management for those who want to establish themselves as leaders in their organization. Students will learn how to:
- Lead dynamic and diverse teams of employees
- Make legal and ethical decisions
- Manage performance to achieve results
- Strategically plan and execute HR initiatives
This low-cost online master’s degree program aligns with SHRM guidelines and online students benefit from a discounted SHRM membership and up to $300 in reimbursement for the SHRM certification exam. All courses are offered online and there are no set times or locations students need to check in. New classes begin monthly and are offered in an accelerated format. Graduates are working in roles such as corporate recruiter, employee relations manager, and HR director.
#9 – Florida International University – Miami, Florida
Online Master of Science HR Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,912/year in-state and $21,393/year out-of-state
One of the best public universities for an affordable online master’s in HR management is Florida International University. Offered through the Alvah H. Chapman Jr. Graduate School of Business, the low-cost online master’s degree program is designed for students who aspire for a leadership role in a fast-paced and diverse workplace. Courses cover areas like:
- Critical Thinking in Human Resource Management
- Employment Law and Human Resource Management
- High Involvement Human Resource Management
The curriculum aligns with the SHRM guidelines and all online students receive a one year membership to the SHRM. FIU is AACSB accredited, which means you can feel confident that the faculty, curriculum, and career opportunities available to students and graduates are among the best in the nation.
#8 – Wilmington University – New Castle, Delaware
MSM with a Concentration in Human Resource Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,586/year
Wilmington University is a top affordable public university offering an inexpensive IACBE accredited online master’s in HR management. Students complete an 18 credit hour business management core along with 12 credits of HR courses and six credits of electives. Online course requirements include:
- Leadership Development and Change Management
- Strategy in Organizations
- International Human Resources
Students can complete the program at their own pace, allowing for a successful work/school balance. All courses are taught by experienced faculty who share their knowledge of the field through case studies and real world examples from the industry.
#7 – University of Maryland Global Campus – Adelphi, Maryland
Management Master’s Degree with Human Resource Management Specialization
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,244/year in-state and $11,862/year out-of-state
The top online master’s in HR management from the University of Maryland Global Campus is a 36 credit hour program that aligns with the SHRM guidelines. Required online courses cover:
- Organizational Theory and Behavior
- Financial Decision Making for Managers
- Issues and Practices in Human Resource Management
Students can take advantage of professional development opportunities through the Society for Human Resource Management UMGC Chapter. This 36 credit hour online master’s degree program will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in both the private and public sectors.
#6 – Troy University – Troy, Alabama
Master of Science in HR Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,650/year in-state and $15,300/year out-of-state
Troy University, a leading affordable public university, features a top online master’s in HR management that prepares students to be proficient HR practitioners. Low-cost online courses include:
- Workplace Planning and Staffing
- Compensation and Benefits
- Organization Development and Change
The program is designed for working professionals and fully aligns with the guidelines set by the SHRM. Faculty teach from a global, strategic perspective and all course content is available online.
#5 – University of Houston Clear Lake – Houston, Texas
Human Resource Management M.A. Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,596/year in-state and $15,866/year out-of-state
The University of Houston Clear Lake is an affordable public university offering a top online master’s in HR management. Whether you are a well-seasoned HR professional seeking career advancement or new to the field, UHCL has a program option that fits. Both full and part-time program options are available and there are no on-campus residency requirements. This cheap 36 credit hour online master’s degree program includes courses in:
- Human Resource Information Systems
- Training and Development
- Compensation and Benefits
New students are admitted to the program during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. No GRE/GMAT scores to submit with your application? Students who meet specific requirements may be eligible for a waiver!
#4 – Pittsburg State University – Pittsburg, Kansas
Human Resource Development Online Master’s Degree
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,560/year in-state and $17,200/year out-of-state
Pittsburg State University features a cheap top online master’s in HR development that prepares students to sit for the SHRM Certified Professional Exam. Pittsburg State University is an SHRM Certified Preferred Provider which means students can earn CECs toward ongoing recertification. This 34 credit hour online master’s degree program is designed for part-time students who take two courses each semester. Students can choose to focus their studies in either management and consulting or program development and delivery. Core required courses include:
- Organizational Development and Change
- Workforce Development
- HRD Foundations and Applications
Students can choose to complete either a thesis or an applied research project depending on their professional and educational goals.
#3 – Western Carolina University – Cullowhee, North Carolina
M.S. Degree Program in Human Resources Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $4,435/year in-state and $14,842/year out-of-state
Western Carolina University, a top public university, offers an inexpensive online master’s in HR management through the College of Education and Allied Professions. This low-cost 36 credit hour online master’s degree program is for students who want to advance their HR career or make a career switch to HR. The program is comprised of seven required courses and five electives. Required online courses cover areas like:
- Human Resource Development
- Organization Acumen for HR Leaders
- Advanced HR Consulting
The program is taught from a global perspective using evidence-based practices. There are no on-campus residency requirements. Students are not required to complete a thesis or pass a comprehensive exam to earn their degree.
#2 – Tarleton State University – Stephenville, Texas
M.S. in Human Resources Management Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $3,996/year in-state and $11,466/year out-of-state
The top online master’s in HR management from Tarleton State University is a cheap 30 credit hour online master’s degree program that can be completed in just over a year. Tarleton is a top ACBSP accredited public university and a member of the Texas A&M University System. They offer an online HR master’s program with courses in:
- Workforce Planning & Talent Management
- Training & Development
- Law and Regulations in Human Resources
- All students must pass a comprehensive exam to earn their degree. This exam is designed to assess the students’ knowledge and mastery of functional areas in HR management. Graduates are prepared to work in roles like HR manager, training and development manager, and administrative service manager.
#1 – Fort Hays State University – Hays, Kansas
Master of Professional Studies in HR Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $3,582/year in-state and $10,206/year out-of-state
Our top choice for an affordable public university offering an inexpensive online master’s in HR management is Fort Hays State University. Fort Hays has some of the cheapest graduate tuition rates in the nation. All online courses are taught through the Virtual College and there are no on-campus residency requirements. Online master’s degree courses cover areas like:
- Recruitment, Selection, and Retention
- Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining
- Training and Development
- All students complete a final project, showcasing their knowledge and skills. Students may choose to complete an internship to gain field experience. Not yet convinced? Based on recent student satisfaction surveys, over 90% of students report feeling satisfied with their graduate program and 80% report being satisfied with their academic advisor.
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