Top 25 Best Value Online Human Resources Master’s Programs for 2021



An online master’s in human resources could be the best choice for your career. On the surface, it seems like the bachelor’s degree for human resources should be sufficient enough to get employed in a human resources role. In most cases, the undergraduate degree is enough to get employment, but it may not be enough to push one’s career trajectory in the right direction. It can take longer to achieve the role of HR manager with a bachelor’s. Adding a master’s degree to your education can help you get a foot in the door at organizations that may not have otherwise looked at your resume. 

You can also help your career by attending the best master’s program for human resources available to you. Getting a master’s degree in human resources adds business concepts along with advanced human resource management theories and concepts. The best masters programs for human resources will have a balanced curriculum that teaches students the skills they need to succeed in the upper levels of HR management.

How We Ranked the Best Online Master’s in Human Resouces 

To rank the best online master’s programs in human resources, Value Colleges editors look to our definition of value – programs that transform careers and provide a real return on investment. To rank programs, we begin with accredited, respected colleges and universities, then rank them according to Tuition Cost, Salary Potential, and Reputation, using data from IPEDS and Niche. 

1. University of Illinois

The University of Illinois School of Labor & Employment Relations offers one of the country’s best online masters in human resources degree programs with its Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations (MHRIR). UIUC’s best online masters programs in human resources require the completion of 48 credit units. These best online human resources masters programs are delivered in a hybrid format to meet the needs of working learners and professionals.  Online coursework includes quantitative methods in HR statistics, managing diversity, collective bargaining, the economics of human resources, and employment relations systems, to name a few.

The University of Illinois (Illinois) was established in 1867 as the result of the Morrill Act. This land-grant higher learning institution is the state’s flagship school with a student enrollment that exceeds 51,100 students. The library system at The University of Illinois is considered the largest in the nation (in terms of holdings), except for the Harvard library system.

Degree: Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations

2. University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut School of Business offers a Master of Science (MS) degree that is among the country’s best online masters in human resources degree programs. The curriculum for the University of Connecticut’s These best online human resources masters programs includes the completion of 33 credit units in managing organization, managing risk, management through the employee lifecycle, interpersonal relations, influence, and ethical leadership, and human capital, to name a few. Additionally,  UConn’s best online masters programs in human resources also require the completion of an HR management capstone project.

The University of Connecticut (UConn) is the Nutmeg State’s flagship institution of higher education that was established as the result of the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1881. UConn is also a sea-grant and space-grant school that serves more than 32,100 students. The University of Connecticut is recognized among the best public universities in New England and among the top 25 public higher learning institutions in the nation. 

Degree: MS in Human Resource Management

3. Clemson University

Clemson University offers a Master of Human Resource Development (MHRD) that is considered by BestColleges.com among the best online masters programs in human resources in the southern United States and beyond. Clemson’s best online human resources masters programs require degree candidates to complete 36 semester credits, over twelve mandated courses. Students enrolled in this best online masters in human resources degree program can opt for an intercollegiate athletic, academic emphasis. 

Clemson University was chartered as the result of the Morrill Land Act in 1889 as an agricultural school. Currently, Clemson is also a sea-grant higher learning institution that serves more than 25,400 students. Clemson boasts an average student to faculty ratio of 18 to 1. The faculty and students at Clemson University manage an experimental forest near the school that covers more than 15,000 acres.

Degree: Master of Human Resource Development

4. Saint Joseph’s University

Saint Joseph’s University Haub School of Business offers one of the nation’s best online masters programs in human resources with its MS in Strategic Human Resource Management. St. Joe’s best online masters in human resources degree program includes 33 semester credits that can be completed part-time in 2 to 2.5 years or full-time in about one to two years. Coursework for Saint Joseph’s University’s best online human resources masters programs includes strategic human capital and talent management, managing workforce flow, talent selection, labor law, ethical practices in business, and human capital research measures and metrics, to name a few.

Saint Joseph’s University was established by the Society of Jesus in 1851. This private Jesuit higher learning institution’s campuses serve more than 9,000 students vying for more than 50 academic offerings provided through four colleges/schools. Saint Joseph’s University offers enrolled students nearly 30 different study abroad opportunities.

Degree: MS in Strategic Human Resource Management

5. Villanova University

Villanova University offers one of the nation’s best online human resources masters programs that is also HRCI and SHRM (Society for Human resource management) certified. Villanova University’s best online masters in human resourcesdegree program, with an MS degree in Human Resource Development (MSHRD), requires no GRE score to apply and offers eight week class formats.  Villanova’s best online masters programs in human resources offer military discounts and provide career services and networking events. Students can opt to add a certificate in leadership, analytics, organization development, inclusion/diversity strategy, and business partner.

Villanova University was established by two local Augustinians friars as a private higher learning institution in 1842. The school’s 200+ acre suburban location in Villanova serves more than 6,400 students and was once an arboretum with more than 1,300 trees. US News ranks Villanova University’s graduate business school the best in the northern United States defined region.

Degree: MS in Human Resource Development

6. University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas offers one of the country’s best online human resources masters programs as ranked by US News & World Report. The University’s best online masters in human resources degree program – known as a Master of Education (MEd) – in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education can be completed in 24 months, completely online by taking 33 semester credits. Additionally, UArk’s best online masters programs in human resources also require degree candidates to maintain a 3.0 GPA and complete a human resource culminating capstone project.

The University of Arkansas was established as the result of the Morrill Land Act in 1871 as an industrial school. UArk is also a space-grant state-funded, member school of the Arkansas university system. More than 27,100 students study for more than 200 academic programs offered online and on the school’s 500+ acreage campus. The University of Arkansas’ main campus sits on top of the highest point and overlooks the beautiful Ozark Mountains.

Degree: MEd in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education

7. Penn State World Campus

Penn State World Campus offers a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER) that is considered among the United States’ country’s best online human resources masters programs. Penn State WC’s best online masters in human resources degree program requires the completion of 33 semester units, all entirely online. Penn State World Campus’ UArk’s best online masters programs in human resources offers optional intensive classes that are HRCI recertification credits in classes like the legal context of employment, diversity in the workplace, ethical decision making for human resource practitioners, seminar in employment relations, and a research project, to name a few.

Penn State World Campus was established as the distance learning arm of the Pennsylvania State University. More than 14,300 students attend classes online, vying for the more than 140 certificates and degree programs offered through Penn State WC. Pennsylvania State University is considered a pioneer in distance learning, having offered distance education prior to 1900.

Degree: MP in Human Resources and Employment Relations

8. New York University

The School of Professional Studies located at New York University offers an MS in Human Resources Management and Development (HRMD) that is ranked as one of the country’s best online human resources masters programs. The curriculum for NYU’s best online masters in human resources degree program aligns with coursework recommended by SHRM and includes financial management, information technology, organizational behavior, business strategy, and ethics, and managing in a global economy, among others. These best online masters programs in human resources offer academic concentrations in learning, development and executive coaching, global talent management, human capital management, and organizational effectiveness.

New York University (New York) was founded as a private higher learning institution in 1831. The school’s iconic main campus in lower Manhattan – Greenwich Village -, plus its other academic centers across the world, serves more than 51,000 students. New York University alumni have won Noble prizes, Turing Awards, Pulitzer Prices, Olympic Medals, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards. 

Degree: MS in Human Resources Management and Development

9. American University

American University offers an MS in Human Resources  Analytics and Management (HRAM), which is one of the country’s best online human resources masters programs.  American University’s best online masters in human resources degree program prepares students for rewarding careers as human resource managers, compensation & benefits managers, or training/development managers, to name a few. Classes for these best online masters programs in human resources include human resource information systems, compliance, and risk management, evaluating hiring and performance, and innovation through new technologies, to name a few.

American University holds the distinction of being one of only a few higher learning institutions that were enacted by an act of Congress in 1893. More than 14,300 students attend classes offered by American University online and on the school’s 80+ acre campus in the nation’s capital. Nearly 20 diplomatic ambassadors are alumni of American University.

Degree: MS in Human Resource Analytics and Management

10. University of Louisville

The University of Louisville offers an MS in Human Resources and Organization Development (HROD) that is recognized among the best online human resources masters programs by a number of legitimate ranking services. Louisville’s best online masters in human resources degree program offered an SHRM-aligned curriculum that includes strategic human resources, adult/organizational learning, organizational analysis, human resource, and organizational development, plus a human resource capstone project, among others. Additionally, Louisville’s best online masters programs in human resources are designed to align with competencies set forth by the ISPI and the ATD, the Association for Talent Development.

The University of Louisville was established as a seminary in 1798. The university’s urban campuses collectively serve more than 21,200 students from nearly every county in the state of Kentucky. The University of Louisville is recognized as one of the first higher learning institutions to the west of the Allegheny Mountains.

Degree: MS in Human Resources and Organization Development

11. Tarleton State University

Tarleton State University offers an MS in Human Resources Management that is recognized among the best online human resources masters programs in Texas. TSU’s best online masters in human resources degree program has received accreditation from the ACBSP. Coursework for TSU’s best online masters programs in human resources include employee & labor relations, law & regulation in human resources, international management, compensation management, and strategic human resources, for a total of 33 semester units.

Tarleton State University (Tarleton State) was founded in 1899 and is a recognized founding member school of the A&M system in Texas. The school’s campus in Stephenville serves more than 13,100 students on its 1,800+ acre campuses. Tarleton State University was named to honor the school’s founding endowment donor, John Tarleton, an early Texas Settler.

Degree: MS in Human Resources Management 

12. Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Institute of Technology offers an MS in Human Resources Management that is ranked among the state’s best online human resources masters programs. Florida Tech’s best online masters in human resources degree program requires degree candidates to complete 33 semester units to meet program requirements. Classes for Florida Tech’s best online masters programs in human resources include human resources management, business law, employee relations, financial accounting, business ethics, and leadership theory & effective management, among others.

Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech) was founded in 1958 and is a space-grant higher learning institution on the east coast of Florida. The school’s Melbourne campus covers more than 100 acres and serves more than 6,400 students primarily studying STEM related degree programs. Classes were originally held on the city’s municipal airport, which was once a naval air station.

Degree: MS in Human Resources Management

13. Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology Saunders College of Business offers one of New York’s best online human resources masters programs with its Master of Science (MS) degree in Human Resource Development degree. The best online masters in human resources degree program provided by the Rochester Institute of Technology requires the completion of 33 graduate semester units to meet program requirements. Coursework for Rochester Tech’s best online masters programs in human resources includes foundations in human resource development, program evaluation and design, instructional design, research methods, theories of learning, plus a culminating capstone project in human resources, among others.

Rochester Institute of Technology was established as a research higher education facility in 1829. The school’s suburban campus in upstate New York serves more than 18,900 students. With regard to full-time students, Rochester Tech is recognized among the top ten private schools with the most students.

Degree: MS in Human Resource Development

14. Pittsburg State University

Pittsburg State University College of Technology and Workforce Learning Department offers a Master of Science (MS) degree in Human Resource Development that is considered one of the best online human resources masters programs. The best online masters in human resources degree program offers two academic emphases in learning and development, and leadership  & organizational development. The core curriculum for Pittsburg State University’s best online masters programs in human resources includes strategies in the development of human resources, behavior analysis, organizational development, and change, plus a thesis or applied research project in human resources.

Pittsburg State University (Pitt State) was founded in 1903 as an auxiliary normal training institute. Pitt State’s rural campus serves more than 6,400 students vying for certificates and degrees offered by the university’s four colleges/schools. Pittsburg State University is now home to the state’s largest academic facility devoted to technology.

Degree: MS in Human Resource Development

15. University of Denver

The University of Denver offers an MS in Human Resource Management and Development that is recognized among the nation’s best online human resources masters programs. Denver’s best online masters in human resources degree program can be completed in about 1.5 years and completely online. Additionally, these best online masters programs in human resources require coursework in finance for human resource professionals, research practices, principles/practices of human resources, human resources across organizations, plus one of several capstone project options, among others.

The University of Denver was founded by the Methodist Church in 1864 but now operates as a nonsectarian higher learning institution. The university’s urban campus in Denver serves more than 12,400 students and is only a few miles from Denver’s downtown area. The University of Denver was originally founded as a seminary prior to Colorado reaching statehood.

Degree: MS in HR Management and Development

16. Middle Tennessee State University

Middle Tennessee State University offers a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree in Human Resources Leadership that is considered among Tennessee’s best online human resources masters programs. Students enrolled in Middle Tennessee State University’s best online masters in human resources degree program are required to complete 30 credit units to meet program requirements. Classes included in Middle Tennessee’s best online masters programs in human resources include leading organizational transformation, research methods, professional environment including ethics/issues, and statistical analysis, to name a few.

Middle Tennessee State University (Mid Tennessee) is a public institution of higher education that was chartered in 1911. The suburban campus in Murfreesboro serves more than 21,500 students, ranked among the country’s top 100 public schools by US News. Middle Tennessee State University is renowned for its programs in music recording, aerospace, and concrete industries. 

Degree: MPS in Human Resources Leadership

17. Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University offers a Master of Science in Administration (MSA) degree in Human Resources that is ranked among the available best online human resources masters programs. Central Michigan University’s best online masters in human resources degree program requires degree candidates to complete 36 credits, of which core classes include foundations of research methods, financial analysis, planning and control, strategic planning for the HR administrator, and organizational dynamics & human behavior, among others. Additionally, Central Michigan’s Global Campus’ best online masters programs in human resources require the completion of a capstone project or a directed administrative portfolio.

Central Michigan University is a public higher learning institution that was founded in 1892. The school’s Mount Pleasant campus serves more than 21,400 students vying for the more than 200 academic certificate and degree programs available. Central Michigan University operates eight academic colleges/schools, including a graduate school and the Brooks Astronomical observatory.

Degree: MS in Human Resources Administration

18. University of South Dakota

The University of South Dakota offers a Master of Science in Administration (MSA) degree in Human Resources that is ranked among the available best online human resources masters programs. South Dakota’s best online masters in human resources degree program offers a variety of academic emphases in human resources, organizational leadership, health services admin, long term care admin, criminal justice studies, addiction studies, and interdisciplinary studies. These best online masters programs in human resources include classes in budgetary and fiscal management, administrative law, administrative thought & ethics, and managerial communications, plus a capstone project in human resource administration, among others.

The University of South Dakota was established more than ¼ century prior to South Dakota reaching statehood in 1862. The school’s campus in Vermillion serves nearly 10,000 students and covers more than 260 acres. The campus is about an hour from Sioux Falls. The University of South Dakota operates the state’s only law school and medical campus.  

Degree: MSA in Human Resources

19. Indiana State University

Indiana State University offers an MS in Human Resource Development for Higher Education & Industry that is among the best online masters programs in human resources available. ISU’s best online masters in human resources degree program requires the completion of 33 to 36 semester credits to meet program requirements. The core curriculum for ISU’s best online human resources masters programs include developing performance based occupational curriculum, systematic design of human resource development, leadership in human resources, rationale and evaluation of human resource development programs, and research methods, among others.

Indiana State University was established as a public teacher’s college in 1865. The school’s Terre Haute campus serves more than 12,300 students on its small-city 400+ acre facility. Initially, Indiana State University was chartered by the Indiana state legislature.

Degree: MS in Human Resource Development

20. University of Scranton

The University of Scranton Panuska College of Professional Studies offers a Master of Science (MS) degree in Human Resource (HR) Management that is considered among the Commonwealth’s best online masters programs in human resources available. The University of Scranton’s best online masters in human resources degree program includes coursework that aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management’s mandated criteria. These best online human resources masters programs include classes in control & budgeting systems, strategic planning, organizational change, employee and labor relations, ethics in human resources, plus a capstone project in applied human resource studies.

The University of Scranton was established as a Roman Catholic higher learning institution in 1888. The University of Scranton’s campus serves more than 5,300 students offered certificates and degree programs from the university’s three colleges/schools. The University of Scranton was originally named St. Thomas College.

Degree: MS in Human Resources Management

21. Saint Francis University

Saint Francis University offers a Master of Human Resource Development (MHRD) degree that is considered among Pennsylvania’s best online masters programs in human resources. SFU’s best online masters in human resources degree program can be completed entirely online and designed for working learners and full-time professionals. The curriculum for Saint Francis University’s best online human resources masters programs aligns with the content set forth by the SHRM – the Society for Human Resource Management professions, including classes in performance management, labor law, compensation and benefits, and staff.

Saint Francis University was established by the Franciscan Friars in 1847. The university’s rural campus in Loretto serves more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Saint Francis University holds the distinction of being one of the first Catholic higher learning institutions in the United States.

Degree: Master of Human Resource Development

22. Webster University

Webster University offers an MA in Human Resources Management that is recognized as one of Missouri’s best online masters programs in human resources. This best online masters in human resources degree program from Webster University includes classes in basic finance, training, and development, employment law, staffing, and compensation, to name a few. Additionally, Webster’s best online human resources masters programs offer students the option of earning a dual MBA/MA degree simultaneously.

Webster University was established by the Sisters of Loretto as a women’s college. The university’s suburban campus in Webster Grove serves more than 9,800 students. Webster University holds the distinction of being one of the first of all women’s colleges that were located to the west of the Mississippi River. 

Degree: MA in Human Resources Management

23. Robert Morris University

Robert Morris University offers an MS in Human Resource Management that is recognized among the country’s best online masters programs in human resources. This best online masters in human resources degree program from Robert Morris University requires the completion of 30 credit units, can be completed entirely online, and has received accreditation from the AACSB. Classes included in RMU’s best online human resources masters programs include strategic human resource management, compensation management, and employee rights under the law, to name a few.

Robert Morris University was established as a branch campus in 1921. The school’s suburban campus is located outside Pittsburgh and serves nearly 5,000 undergraduate and graduate degree students. The school is named in honor of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Degree: MS in Human Resource Management

24. St Joseph’s College

St Joseph’s College offers an MS in Human Resource Management that is recognized among the Empire State’s best online masters programs in human resources. Students enrolled in Saint Joseph’s College’s best online masters in human resources degree program must complete 36 credit units, which include 24 credits in a business curriculum and 12 credits in human resource management. Classes for St. Joe’s best online human resources masters programs include legal issues in management, statistical applications in research and management, integrative management, staffing, and employment development, and employment law, to name a few.

St Joseph’s College is a private higher learning institution with two locations in New York – Brooklyn and on Long Island. The school’s dual campuses serve more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students. St Joseph’s College was originally chartered as an all-women’s school by the Sisters of Brentwood.

Degree: MS in Human Resources Management

25. Lasell University

Lasell University offers an MS in Human Resources that is considered among New England’s best online masters programs in human resources. Lasell University’s best online masters in human resources degree program can be completed entirely online in 1 to 2 years, contingent upon the course load chosen. Classes for Lasell’s bestonline human resources masters programs include global leadership, research methods, financial management, human resources management, human resource law, diversity and inclusion, and performance and employee development, plus either a research project or internship capstone experience, to name a few.

Lasell University was established in Auburndale in 1851. This private higher learning institution serves more than 2,000 students in its suburban locale facility of 50+ acres. The school is named to honor the original founder, Edward Lasell, who taught chemistry locally at Williams College.

Degree: MS in Human Resources

Why Should I Get My Master’s in Human Resources?

The best master’s in human resources programs are ones that build upon what you learned during your undergraduate degree. By the time you’re considering your master’s, you’ve already learned about the complexities of working in human resources. Human resource jobs combine law, accounting and management into one job position. A qualified candidate for an entry-level human resources position has to possess solid comprehension of these concepts in order to be effective in their role. 

Not everyone graduates from their bachelor’s in human resources program and applies for their master’s in human resources. Sometimes the need to start earning money is greater than the need to continue an education. However, it’s not unusual for an employer to offer an employee the opportunity to go back for further education and earn a master’s in human resources. Sometimes the employer can help the employee get into some of the best human resources masters programs based on the cachet of the employer. 

What Can I Do with a Master’s in Human Resources?

Most master’s in human resources jobs tend to include advanced titles. They go beyond the entry-level positions and into junior and senior management roles. Jobs for master’s in human resource management tend to catapult you into these roles because you’ve taken the time to study at an advanced level. It’s for this reason alone that makes getting a master’s in human resources worth it. You’ll find your way into the higher levels of human resources management sooner than if you had stopped at getting your bachelor’s in human resources. 

Some of the roles you can achieve with a master’s in human resources include:

  • Vice President of Human Resources
  • HR Coordinator
  • Recruitment manager
  • Training and Development manager
  • Compensation and Benefits manager
  • Senior HR representative

These are just some of the jobs for masters in human resource management. One look at this list tells you that the jobs are of an advanced nature and have higher income potential than jobs at the lower end of the role. Putting the time in to get a master’s degree in human resources now will help you get a better job upon graduation and help your career advance more quickly than it would otherwise. 

How Much Can I Make with a Master’s in Human Resources?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a human resources manager is $116,720 per year. This is the average salary for someone who has at least five years of work experience. That means that someone with a master’s in human resources can begin earning a decent wage after graduating from school. The average human resources master’s salary is typically higher than the salary for someone who’s earned their bachelor’s. How much you earn is dependent on your geographical location, demand for people with master’s in human resources, and the overall job market. However, the job outlook for the human resources field is predicted to grow 6% between 2019 and 2019 at a faster than average pace. 

The human resources department has become an integral part of many industries. Companies that are too small to have their own HR department are turning to outsourcing in order to protect their operations and stay within the law. The human resources department is frequently the only department that can protect a company from litigation due to bad choices made by employees and management. Someone with a master’s in human resources has the education and training needed to handle these issues along with mitigation. The average salary for someone with a human resources master’s degree is one that reflects the values of the skills that the HR manager has taken the time to learn and apply. 

Whether you earn your master’s in human resources on your own or through the help of your employer, you can’t go wrong with getting the advanced degree. The skills you learn help you become a well-rounded employee that knows how and when to take the necessary steps to ensure that the organization runs smoothly and employees needs are met. 

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Top 25 Best Value Online Human Resources Bachelor’s Programs

25 Most Affordable Online Associate’s in Human Resources