Why you can trust ZDNet
Our recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We may earn a commission when you purchase a product through our links. This helps support our work but does not influence what we write about or the price you pay. Our editors thoroughly review and fact check every article. Our process

‘ZDNet Recommends’: What exactly does that mean?

ZDNet’s recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

Best online master's in human resources 2022

A human resources master's degree prepares graduates for leadership roles in HR. Learn more about the top-ranked master's programs in human resources.

Businesses in diverse industries rely on human resources to hire talented employees, administer benefits packages, and resolve employment disputes. A human resources master's degree prepares graduates for management roles in HR. 

A master's degree helps professionals specialize their skills, advance their HR careers, or switch to a career in human resources. Specialties within HR include recruitment, compensation management, and talent development.

An online learning format appeals to working professionals and busy adults. Below, we rank the top online master's programs in human resources so you can make an informed choice. 

Top 5 online schools for master's in human resources

College

Program stats

How much?

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY

  • MS in Human Resource Management
  • Acceptance rate: 44%
  • Graduation rate: 74%
  • Students pick 4 HR electives

Per credit

$635.58 in-state

$729.58 out-of-state

Application fee: $100

Florida International University

Miami, FL

  • MS in Human Resource Management
  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Graduation rate: 64%
  • Cohort format: Two classes per eight-week block

Estimated total cost of program: $35,000

Application fee: $30

Clemson University

Clemson, SC

  • Master of Human Resource Development
  • Acceptance rate: 51%
  • Graduation rate: 81%
  • Five-semester program

Per credit: $790

Application fee: $80

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

  • Executive Master of Human Resource Management
  • Acceptance rate: 11%
  • Graduation rate: 95%
  • 15-month program

Estimated total cost of program: $60,286

Application fee: $105

Rutgers University-New Brunswick

New Brunswick, NJ

  • Master in Human Research Management
  • Acceptance rate: 61%
  • Graduation rate: 82%
  • Students pick 4 HR electives

Tuition per semester, full-time

$10,812 in-state

$18,192 out-of-state

Application fee: $70

What to expect in an online human resources master's program

An online master's in human resources prepares graduate students for management responsibilities in HR. Graduate-level courses blend practical and theoretical approaches.

Students learn how to manage an organization's human resources needs, research compensation and benefits packages, and develop training programs. The degree also strengthens problem-solving, leadership, and communication skills.

Many programs let graduate students customize their course of study by choosing electives. Online learners often gain hands-on experience through an internship or real-world projects. Many programs conclude with a capstone project. 

What human resources courses will I take during my degree?

Strategic human resource management

Advanced HR courses explore the role of human resources in organizational success. Learners examine employee relations, compensation and benefits administration, training, and dispute resolution. They also learn strategic decision-making in an HR setting.

Talent development

Recruiting and training talent gives businesses a competitive advantage. Talent development courses cover workforce planning strategies, strategic development, and employee retention. Students also learn how to forecast an organization's needs.

Change leadership

Human resources leaders help shepherd organizations through periods of change. The class covers organizational development theories, encouraging productive changes, and transformation strategies. Learners also examine the role of leadership in organizational change.

Workplace negotiation

Human resources professionals lead negotiations with labor organizations and prospective hires. This course covers the best practices for negotiating in workplace settings. Topics include bargaining methods, legal context, and negotiating styles. 

What human resources degrees can I earn?

Explore

Is a human resources career right for me? Is a human resources career right for me? Rewarding and challenging, a human resources career puts you at the center of a business or organization.

Each human resource degree provides focused coursework leading to different career paths. 

For example, a bachelor's in human resources meets the requirements for most human resources jobs. Many employers prefer candidates with a human resources master's degree for supervisory roles. 

You may also earn non-degree certificates, which typically take less than one year to complete and cost between $3,000 and $10,000. A human resources certificate offers specialized training for careers in HR. An undergraduate certificate introduces human resources and includes core classes in the field. Students can sometimes transfer credits toward a two-year or four-year degree. 

A human resources graduate certificate targets learners with at least a bachelor's degree. Many graduate certificate programs incorporate leadership and management classes. As with an undergraduate certificate, coursework prepares professionals for the workforce or a graduate degree.

Degree

Average length

Cost

Select post-grad careers

Associate in human resources

Two years

$5,000-$25,000

  • Administrative assistant
  • Payroll coordinator
  • Customer service representative

Bachelor's in human resources degree

Four years

$40,000-$65,000

  • Human resources specialist
  • Compensation and benefits specialist
  • Talent development specialist

Master's in human resources or MBA in human resources

One to two years

$15,000-$50,000

  • Human resources manager
  • Compensation and benefits manager
  • Talent and development manager

Human resources doctorate

Three to five years

$25,000-$65,000

  • Director of human resources
  • Human resources professor
  • Human resources consultant

The best online human resources master's degrees

Our list ranks the best online master's in human resources programs. ZDNet's ranking methodology draws on reputable data sources to recommend programs. Prospective students can use our rankings to find the right fit for their unique needs and professional goals. 

Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data SystemCollege Scorecard, and each program's website.

1. Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York

About the program: The 30-credit master's in human resources program at Stony Brook incorporates coursework, projects, and an optional internship. Students customize the program by choosing four human resources electives.

  • Acceptance rate: 44%
  • Graduation rate: 74%
  • Annual net price: $15,160
  • Years to degree: One year full-time; 20 months part-time
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery methods: Online

2. Florida International University
Miami, Florida  

About the program: The master's in human resources degree at FIU requires 38 credits. Students complete coursework in a cohort format that offers two classes per eight-week block.

  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Graduation rate: 64%
  • Annual net price: $7,296
  • Years to degree: One
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 preferred
  • Enrollment periods per year: Two
  • Course delivery methods: Online

3. Clemson University
Clemson, South Carolina

About the program: The master's in human resources program offers concentrations such as athletic leadership and comprehensive human resources development. The 30-credit program takes five semesters.

  • Acceptance rate: 51%
  • Graduation rate: 81%
  • Annual net price: $20,008
  • Years to degree: 1.5
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery methods: Online

4. Cornell University
Ithaca, New York  

About the program: Designed for working HR professionals, the online human resources master's degree at Cornell requires at least eight years of HR experience.

  • Acceptance rate: 11%
  • Graduation rate: 95%
  • Annual net price: $40,126
  • Years to degree: 15 months
  • Minimum GPA: N/A
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery methods: Online

5. Rutgers University-New Brunswick  
New Brunswick, New Jersey  

About the program: The online human resources master's program emphasizes global employment strategies, HR decision-making, and strategic HR management. Learners choose four electives to customize the degree.

  • Acceptance rate: 61%
  • Graduation rate: 82%
  • Annual net price: $21,654
  • Years to degree: Two
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery methods: Online

6. University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California   

About the program: Graduate students in the human resources master's program choose between a two-year track or an accelerated one-year track. The program emphasizes change management, employee relations, and talent acquisition.

  • Acceptance rate: 11%
  • Graduation rate: 92%
  • Annual net price: $29,528
  • Years to degree: One to two
  • Minimum GPA: N/A
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery methods: Online

7. Utah State University
Logan, Utah  

About the program: USU's 36-credit master's in human resources degree uses real-world business projects and includes an optional internship and international trip. 

  • Acceptance rate: 91%
  • Graduation rate: 55%
  • Annual net price: $13,634
  • Years to degree: One to two
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery methods: Online; synchronous

8. University of Connecticut
Storrs, Connecticut

About the program: The 33-credit part-time master's in human resources program delivers one course per accelerated seven-week term. Applicants must have two years of professional experience.

  • Acceptance rate: 49%
  • Graduation rate: 82%
  • Annual net price: $22,012
  • Years to degree: 20 months
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: One
  • Course delivery methods: Online

9. Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, North Carolina  

About the program: Graduate students in the human resources master's program complete 21 credits of core courses and choose 15 credits of electives to customize their course of study.

  • Acceptance rate: 69%
  • Graduation rate: 62%
  • Annual net price: $13,722
  • Years to degree: Two
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery methods: Online

10. West Chester University of Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania  

About the program: Students complete 10 courses in the master's in human resources management program on a seven-week term schedule. The program offers full-time and part-time enrollment options.

  • Acceptance rate: 75%
  • Graduation rate: 72%
  • Annual net price: $22,495
  • Years to degree: One to two years
  • Minimum GPA: N/A
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery methods: Online; asynchronous
Show Comments