Generally speaking, most online Master’s in Human Resources programs are similar to on-campus programs. However, this depends on the school, the specialization and the type of master’s degree.
Master’s Degrees in Human Resources
A master’s of science (MS) in HR management is the most common academic degree for graduate HR professionals. A Master of Science degree focuses more on practical skills and less on general business or management skills. This degree is perfect for students who want to invest their career in human resources management. On the other hand, a master of arts (MA) in HR management focuses slightly less on practical skills and more on HR history and theories. However, most employers consider these two degrees to be the same.
A third option is the Master of Management (MM) in human resources. This degree provides a comprehensive general business education with a focus on management and human resources. This degree is a popular option among working HR professionals who wish to advance into upper managerial roles.
Most of these programs require at least five years of working HR or management experience.
A fourth option is an MBA in HR management, which is one of the most common types of MBA specializations. These programs are designed to teach students every major business topic, such as finance, marketing and even public relations. Because this degree will result in a broader understanding of important business concepts, it is very adaptable to different career choices.
How to Find an Accredited Master’s Degrees in HR
Students who are concerned about the credibility and usefulness of their degree should consult with the Society for Human Resources Management’s (SHRM) website. While not an accrediting body, the SHRM is the globally recognized authority for HR standards and education. The SHRM offers a categorically organized outline of Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS) and MBA HR degree programs. All of these programs will be in line with the SHRM’s policies, standard practices and education guidelines. These courses are either on-campus, online or blended. The SHRM also offers a list of alternative master’s degree programs for professionals.
Keep in mind that there are also non-SHRM approved programs from prestigious universities that offer additional HR specializations in IT, health care, leadership, project management and organizational development. For example, a health care specialization would cover health care policies, operations and quality assessments. However, an IT specialization would train the professional in the critical concepts and competencies needed to manage IT professionals.
Sample Master’s Degrees in HR Curriculum
An accredited online master’s degree program will combine rigorous training with hands-on research and real-world business scenarios. Students will learn the trends and theories of leadership, organizational behavior and social responsibility for strategic business decision making. Students will develop the critical thinking skills required to be a successful agent of positive change within their organization.
Core HR classes will cover employment law and how to maintain compliance with state and federal regulations. This is important because HR professionals must stay abreast of changing laws that directly impact their organizations’ success and profitability. Another important class will be recruitment and selection, which will lay the solid foundation needed to win the current war for talent. Upper level HR managers must be able to effectively screen and recruit key positions within short time frames.
To recap, there is little difference between an online Master’s in Human Resources and an on-campus program. Both will teach the student how to enhance, empower and engage employees to increase safety, quality and productivity.