Human Resource Degree Opportunities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is also featured in our ranking of the Top 10 Ph.D. Programs in Human Resources 2018.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER) offers one of the world’s premier programs for human resource managers. LER offers students a variety of degree programs to help prepare them for careers in human resources and industrial relations. Students can begin their studies through an undergraduate minor track in Global Labor Studies. The traditional masters in human resources and industrial relations (MHRIR) requires completion of 12 courses encompassing 48 hours of coursework over three semesters. Students also may enroll part-time and take up to five years to complete their coursework. Working professionals can earn the same master’s degree online by focusing on core competencies. It also offers students extras such as professional advancement workshops and a staff dedicated to career advancement. For the most advanced students, the university offers a Ph.D. program that can lead to an academic career in human resources.

About the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of 37 public land-grant institutions created by the Morrill Act in 1862. the school opened on March 2, 1868 and is the second oldest public university if Illinois after Illinois State University. It is an original member of the Big Ten Athletic Conference. The school’s original name was Illinois Industrial University, becoming the University of Illinois in 1885 and changing to its current name in 1935. The university experienced tremendous growth after World War II, nearly doubling its enrollment in several years. In the 1950s, the school experienced particularly rapid growth in graduate enrollment and increased governmental support for technological and scientific research.

Fifteen colleges and instructional units comprise the school, which also has one of the largest public university libraries in the world with over 24 million volumes. In autumn 2018, the Urbana-Champaign campus had 5,270 undergraduate students from 78 companies. When graduate students are added to the equation, the school educates individuals from up to 110 different countries, making it the nation’s number two public university in welcoming international students. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a high success rate for its students. For those earning undergraduate degrees in May 2017, 89 percent were either employed or went on to graduate school programs within six months. Graduate and professional students numbered 15,666 in autumn 2018. The university ranks 13th for the number of doctorates awarded, according to the 2016 Survey of Earned Doctorates.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Accreditation Details

The university received its last general accreditation in 2010 from the Higher Learning Commission. Prior to 2014, this body was known as the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The general accreditation acknowledges awarding of bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctorate degrees. In addition, this document also authorizes the approval of new degree sites for the Executive MBA Program at the University of Warsaw and gradiøte courses in Management Studies and Human Resources Development at the Lublin University of Technology. Both schools are located in Poland. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will reapply for general accreditation during the 2019-2020 school year.

No formal accreditation process is available for human resources educational programs. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign claims on its website that its MHRIR program is one of the top three in the nation. Best Colleges Review ranks the program as number two, while Top Management Reviews puts it at sixth.

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Application Requirements


The university evaluates undergraduate applications in a variety of areas that include the type and rigor of high school coursework, grades awarded, extracurricular activities, related activities to gauge the applicant’s passion for their course of study and ACT or SAT test scores. Courses that applicants should have are:

  • English, four years
  • Math, three or 3.5 years minimum, four years recommended
  • Social Science, two years minimum, four years recommended
  • Lab Science, two years minimum, four years recommended
  • Foreign Language, two years minimum, four years recommended
  • Elective Units, two years minimum, four-plus years recommended

Graduate Master’s Degree

Applications for the traditional and online MHRIR are virtually the same. Admissions to the LER program are based not driven by a formula but are based on a student’s background. Factors include the undergraduate field of study, class grades, GRE or GMAT scores, prior work experience and comments from references. Applicants are welcomed from a wide field of majors and ethnic backgrounds to enrich the graduate experience. Additionally, applicants must have completed an undergraduate level statistics course and meet the general entrance requirements of the university’s graduate college. The latter includes earning a bachelor’s degree and a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for the last two years of coursework. International students are evaluated on an equivalent level.

Other requirements include submitting an online application that includes the appropriate application fee of either $70 or $90, transcripts of all academic work, three letters of recommendation, a declaration of finances and a statement of purpose. Fall applications are due February 1; spring applications are due November 1.

Graduate Ph.D.

Admission to the doctoral program has the same requirements with the following exceptions. The three letters of recommendation must be from faculty members who can address the applicant’s potential for conducting research. Applicants must also submit evidence of the ability to do research, such as a thesis, reports or articles.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate tuition for Illinois residents is $16,004 to $21,008. Non-resident tuition is $32,574 to $37,578. For international students, the cost is $33,448 to $42,796. For LER master’s and doctoral programs, the cost is $20,556 for Illinois residents and $32,000 for non-resident and international students. Those figures do not include room and board or textbooks.

About 70 percent of university students receive some form of financial aid. All students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to qualify. Aid is distributed through scholarships and grants, student loans and student employment. Need-based financial aid and student employment are not available to international students.

For more information on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s human resource degrees, visit the university’s School of Labor and Employment Relations.