What Type of Courses Are Part of a Human Resources Doctoral Program?

Individuals who pursue a human resources (HR) doctoral program are usually trained professionals who are already working in a human resource capacity but will still need to take a few courses or classes to complete the degree requirements and take their education to the highest level. Human resource jobs are in demand in almost any industry, and those with a doctoral degree have even more possibilities available including, teaching and research. Here are some examples of courses/classes or requirements needed to earn the HR doctoral.

Related Resource: 10 Most Affordable Online PhD in Human Resources

Labor Relations and Employment Law

This course is an important part of the curriculum of any human resource degree program but especially with the doctoral program. HR student research and learn the federal and state laws that govern labor relations. At the end of the program, the HR student is knowledgeable not just of all the employment laws but will also be able to teach organizations how to decrease the change of litigation and lawsuits. Topics in this course include discrimination; disability law; laws against disabilities; privacy; union organizing; employment litigation; de-certification of the union; collective bargaining; and labor relations.

Organizational Behavior and Effective Human Resource Management

Behind any organization are the people or the employees. Organizations have to meet competitive demands to be more profitable, produce higher quality products, be more innovative and still have a solid understanding of individual and group behavior in the workplace. This and more is what students learn about in this course. They also learn the role that organizational behavior plays in managing capital. This course focuses on how to build teams to meet the organizational goals and understand the behavior patterns of others to help determine what most motivates employees and meets their expectations.

Resolving Disputes and Managing Conflicts

This course teaches HR professionals how to solve conflicts in the workplace between employees, supervisors and their subordinates. Students not only learn how to diffuse disagreements and conflicts but also how to recognize symptoms of distention and how to resolve issues through mediation or similar negotiation methods. Aspiring HR professionals also learn how to recognize when a third-part negotiator is necessary or if it can be resolved in house.


To earn a HR doctoral degree, the candidate must already have a master’s degree. Many colleges offer online human resource doctoral programs. U.S. News & World Report states that these programs can take from two to 4 and ½ years to complete. Although the dissertation may not be categorized as a course or class, it’s a vital part of the Human resource (or any) doctoral degree program.

Students in the doctoral program must complete a dissertation or essay. Once the student has chosen the topic for the dissertation, the faculty must approve it. Once it’s approved, the student performs research to back up what the essay says and must then present it to the faculty and be prepared to defend his or her findings. The student will also take a comprehensive exam as part of the dissertation.

Working in a human resource department as an HR manager can be a challenging yet very rewarding job with various career possibilities. Individuals choosing to pursue a human resources doctoral program complete courses that not only help them earn the degree but that can also be useful in many other leadership jobs.

Related Articles:

Top 10 PhD in HR Degree Programs

Top 10 PhD Human Resources Online