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What Are the Courses of a Doctoral Degree in Human Resource Management?

Course curriculums vary in human resource management doctoral degree programs due to the differences among schools, programs and specializations. However, there are some similarities across programs. This article briefly discusses the typical program requirements and course curriculums for doctoral degree programs in human resource management.

Doctoral Degree in Human Resource Overview

Doctoral degree programs in human resource management can vary from university to university. Some programs are combined with other related fields and majors, such as business administration, entrepreneurship, industrial relations, organizational behavior, labor relations or law, or human resource management, which may be a dual program or a specialization within a broader field. Other programs prepare students to teach human resources in a college environment. Schools may offer Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degrees. Students choose programs based on their career goals.

Despite the variety of programs available, many core classes in human resource management doctoral degree programs are still the same. Furthermore, nearly all doctoral degree programs require a written dissertation of original research in the field of human resources. The purpose of the dissertation is to contribute to the growing body of knowledge in the field of human resources and be published in a journal. A doctoral degree program generally takes anywhere from 3-5 years to complete. Many schools have time limits for earning doctoral degrees.

Important Facts About Human Resource Management Education

Online AvailabilityHybrid programs
Continuing EducationMay be required to maintain optional certification
Key SkillsLeadership, interpersonal, speaking, and organizational skills
SpecializationsPayroll manager, recruiting manager, employee relations manager
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 9% growth (for human resources managers)
Median Salary (2018) $113,300 (for human resources managers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements vary from school to school. All schools require at least a bachelor's degree in a related area and many schools require a master's degree prior to applying for a doctoral program. Many schools also require a passing score on graduate-level entrance exams, such as the GRE or GMAT. Academic and professional recommendations are often required along with other application materials.

Course Curriculum

Course curriculums vary from school to school, but many doctoral candidates study the same core topics in human resource management. In general, programs include courses in theory, research methods and statistics along with specialized human resource management courses. The following is a list of core courses from a variety of doctoral programs:

  • Human resource management theory
  • Industrial relations theory
  • Policy
  • Labor economics
  • Research methods
  • Human resource practices
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Groups and individual behavior
  • Managerial economics
  • Innovation
  • Diversity in organizations
  • International human resource management