What Can I Do with a Doctoral Degree in Human Resources?

A doctoral degree in human resources can allow you to specialize in the field and go into academic or high-level industry careers. Continue reading for information about a few career options and to learn about the curriculum in this type of program. Schools offering Human Resource Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Human Resources Career Possibilities

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a PhD in Human Resources is helpful for consulting work, teaching or writing positions. The PhD degree is typically required for research positions as well. If you want to start your own company, a PhD may be a big help not only in terms of education, but also in terms of business contacts.

Be aware that if you're considering eventual employment in the private sector, a bachelor's or master's degree may suffice. For these positions, a Ph.D. graduate may be seen as overqualified, and companies may not see the added salary expense a Ph.D. holder comes with as justifiable.

Important Facts About These Occupations

Consultant Professor
Job Growth Outlook (2016-2026)* 9% (for human resources managers) 15% (for postsecondary teachers)
Work Environment Office setting, some travel possible Colleges and universities; flexible schedules
Certification Employers often prefer candidates certified by a professional association. Usually not necessary
Key Skills Interpersonal, leadership, and speaking skills Critical-thinking, speaking, and writing skills

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Human resource consultants perform the same job duties as salaried human resource workers. They help guide the hiring, benefits, employee relations, training and compensation processes. If no processes exist, they create or review proposed guidelines. They also stay up-to-date on changes to employment law and current HR practices. According to PayScale.com, the median salary for an HR consultant was $72,958 as of June 2019.


Human resource professors work mainly in colleges and universities. They teach different aspects of human resources, often specializing in a particular area, such as compensation or hiring. Like other teachers, HR professors plan lessons, teach and evaluate student progress. Also, professors may spend a good deal of time conducting research. While salary data for professors of human resources isn't readily available, the BLS listed that 'other' postsecondary teachers (including human resources professors) earned a median annual salary of $78,470 as of May 2018.

Doctoral Program in Human Resources Overview

Human resources doctoral degree programs vary from school to school. Some schools focus their program on preparing their students to teach human resources. Other programs combine human resources with related studies, such as organizational behavior, labor relations, industrial relations or law. Online programs are also available for busy professionals. Schools may award Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degrees. Your career goals will dictate which program is right for you.

In your program, you may be required to complete several core courses focused on research methodology, research design and statistics. Other courses you may complete include business ethics, innovation and cultural diversity in the workplace. In addition to coursework, doctoral programs include doctoral research and dissertation credits.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools