5 Electives to Enhance a Human Resources Degree

  • Foreign Languages
  • Public Speaking
  • Web Design
  • Psychology
  • Communications and Conflict Management

When you are majoring in human resources, taking one of these five popular electives is a good way to round out your education. Classes are available as electives are courses that are not a required part of your studies. Each educational institution offers different classes, and the classes may change on a yearly basis. Here are some electives to look for when charting the path to a Bachelor’s in Human Resources.

Related Resource: Top 10 PhD Programs in Human Resources

1. Foreign Languages

If you are not already bilingual, it is a good idea to use some of your optional college classes to study a foreign language. Spanish is a natural choice in today’s U.S. economy, but other languages may be more relevant to your local area or desired industry. Some other popular options are French, Japanese, or Mandarin Chinese. You might not have considered American Sign Language, but learning it would facilitate your communication with applicants who are hearing-impaired.

2. Public Speaking

Another one of the popular classes in a Bachelor’s in Human Resources program is public speaking. While most of your activities in human resources will be with individuals, there may be situations in which you must give a presentation to dozens or maybe even hundreds of people. The ability to captivate an audience’s attention and speak to them in a way that they understand is important. Excellence in public speaking could help you advance your career.

3. Design

When searching for a popular elective in a Bachelor’s in Human Resources program, consider a few classes in web design. Having a basic understanding of, and ability to code in, HTML would allow you to update job postings and work with an organization’s IT department. This is also a valuable skill to have if you are interested in working for companies that do not have dedicated IT staff to post job openings. Web design skills are in high demand across the U.S.

4. Psychology

Working in human resources means that you have to maintain a high level of understanding of human behavior. Being able to understand people ensures success at your job. You will need to know how to deal with different personality types, diffuse tense situations and deliver bad news. Psychology courses will help you understand what motivates people and what may cause people to have a lackluster performance on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recommends taking at least one class in psychology if you want to become a human resources specialist or manager.

5. Communications and Conflict Management

Many students in Bachelor’s in Human Resources programs take courses in conflict management or communications in the workplace. A big part of what human resources specialists do is managing conflicts in the workplace. In your work, you might have to handle disagreements between coworkers, an employee and a supervisor, two managers, or a vendor and your company. You may also have to deal with representatives of the employee union or government officials. These courses may also cover how to handle top-down communications or change, such as the implementation of a new company policy that will affect all employees. These courses cover both written and oral communications. They also include communications that you may send digitally, such as emails.

Each of these classes offers new information. They could help you understand people better or simply broaden your horizons. These five popular electives in a Bachelor’s in Human Resources are a fun and ideal addition to your educational plan.