Why Should Someone Pursue a Human Resources PhD?

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Many business professionals pursue a Human Resources PhD because they want to improve their career prospects, contribute to research, enjoy a lucrative salary, or advance their industry. A doctorate degree is a proven way to increase career stability, diversity, and performance. Keep reading to learn the benefits and overview of this fascinating degree program.

Related Resource: Top 10 PhD Programs in Human Resources

Doctorate Degree Benefits

Business executives who hold a doctorate degree have advanced research, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills that employers need to solve complex and difficult problems. These skills are developed through projects, research, and dissertations and they translate across industries. A business executive with an HR doctorate can work in academic and non-academic fields from sales to finance to government. Their skills are commonly sought after in global companies, customer service based industries, and organizations struggling with employee problems. A doctorate degree, regardless of the concentration, increases professional credibility and commitment.

Program Overview

The primary goal of an HR doctorate program is to develop top researchers who specialize in fields like leadership, organizational behavior and strategic management. This degree focuses on understanding how employees think, groups interact, and organizations behave to increase efficiency, communication, and performance. For example, how can cross-culture psychology research help global organizations improve communication. An internal goal is to identify and improve the effectiveness of HR policies, practices, and functions. Doctorate degrees involve in-depth research, which may involve topics like employee recruiting, selection, learning, training, and performance management. A research thesis could focus on equalizing transnational compensation and benefits programs.

Degree Requirements

Students are expected to demonstrate initiative by identifying engaging research topics and independently pursuing those interests. They must excel at communicating with faculty to provide updates and request assistance with empirical research. Europe’s Journal of Psychology emphasizes the importance of the study of psychology within a human resources program. Some HR doctorate degree programs also include disciplines like statistics, economics, and sociology. At the end of every year, the student may need to pass an exam. Students will be regularly evaluated by faculty, so they must receive positive reviews to remain in the program. They are expected to independently perform at a high level when not being supervised.

Degree Format

During the first year of doctorate study, a student may work as a research or teaching assistant with some time spent on basic research for the second-year paper. The major exam of this year will likely test their understanding of empirical research approaches and the important theories in their specialization. During the second year, there will likely be a comprehensive exam and additional research. During the third year, there may be a dissertation practice, a paper submitted to a major journal and the solo teaching of one course. The fourth year may include activities from the third-year and will conclude with the dissertation defense before a committee.

A Human Resources PhD degree program offers a wide range of specializations that include education, social science, executive leadership, and business administration. A student may choose to specialize in labor relationships, human development, employee engagement, and academic research.

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