Human Resources Education Options

A human resources degree can prepare you for managerial positions, and graduate programs in this field can lead to postsecondary teaching and research opportunities. Explore your on-campus and online degree options in human resources, read about what courses you'd take as an HR student, and get career info for various positions in the field. Schools offering Human Resource Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Degrees Are Offered in Human Resources?

You can earn your bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in human resources or human resources management. Bachelor's degree programs usually offer management or business majors with an emphasis in human resources and are open to students with no prior work experience.

Both master's and doctoral degree programs are typically aimed at professionals who already hold some human resources experience, although work experience is not necessarily a requirement. You sometimes have the option to earn a concentration in a subject such as labor law, business administration or employee benefits.

Program LevelsBachelor's, master's, or doctorate
Common CoursesHR administration, ethics in the workplace, labor laws and regulations, strategic management, organizational operations
Online InformationBlended programs available for bachelor degrees
Career OptionsHuman resources manager, labor relations specialist, training and development specialist
Job Growth9% growth projected between 2014-2024 (for human resources managers)*
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What Will I Learn?

A human resources bachelor's degree program introduces you to the management skills needed to effectively mediate workplace conflicts and ensure a productive work environment for employees. These programs also usually show you how to complete daily administrative office duties. Common topics that these programs might cover include:

  • Employee compensation
  • HR administration
  • Training new employees
  • Employee support
  • Ethics in the workplace

Master's degree classes in human resources show you how to efficiently and equitably oversee employees. These programs provide you with more advanced knowledge of how to manage and motivate employees while also adhering to labor laws and employee policies. A graduate degree can lead to postsecondary teaching and research opportunities. Typical subjects of study for master's degree programs include:

  • Employment recruitment methods
  • Employee benefit plans
  • Labor laws and regulations
  • Ethical leadership
  • Strategic management
  • Diversity in the workplace

Doctoral degree courses are generally more theoretical and research-oriented. These programs typically focus on big picture issues like cultural diversity in the workplace, the economy's effect on employment practices and emerging new technologies for bosses and leaders. During the program, you might propose ways to prevent layoffs or devise more progressive employer-employee relationship models. Doctoral degree programs can cover the following topics:

  • Research topics in human resources
  • Employee compensation decision-making
  • Qualitative HR research
  • Organizational operations
  • Human resources models

Can I Earn My Degree Online?

There are a wide variety of online options if you wish to earn your degree in human resources. At the bachelor's degree level, you can enroll in a blended program that offers both online and on campus courses. You can complete projects, hold discussions with other students and conduct case studies online.

Most online bachelor's degree programs have no residency requirements. Some Web-based master's and doctoral degree programs, however, may require your exams to be proctored by a teacher, counselor or librarian at a school or library near your home.

What Careers Are Available in Human Resources?

With your bachelor's or master's degree in human resources, you can work as a human resources manager or a labor relations specialist. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that the human resources job field is expected to increase 9% from 2014-2024, which is much higher than average ( According to the BLS, human resources managers made an average of $102,780 per year in 2014.

You also can become a specialist in a number of human resources fields such as labor relations, training, employee recruitment and employee compensation. Labor relations specialists earned an average salary of $57,420 in 2014, according to the BLS. The BLS reported that training and development specialists made an average wage of $57,340 in 2014, while human resources specialists earned approximately $57,420 in 2014. Compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists earned an average wage of $60,600 in 2014, according to the BLS.

Although you also can assume managerial human resources positions with your doctoral degree, the program can also prepare you for research and postsecondary teaching. The BLS reported that postsecondary social sciences teachers earned an average wage of $78,690 in 2014.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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