Online Human Resources Degree

To help you attend virtual college, many schools offer an online human resources degree. As an effective team can help a business prosper, quality HR skills are vital. If you are ready to launch or grow a career, it may be useful to find the ideal HR degree for your goals.  

An online human resource degree studies the ways to find, hire, and keep qualified staff. Then applies these ideas to improve the way a business performs. You may find online HR degrees at all levels. Bachelors, masters and PhDs. At each level, you may learn how to shape company culture, put people’s talents and skills to optimal use.  

At the bachelor’s level, an online HR degree is intro level. You tend to study foundation HR skills and well rounded business practices. As a grad, you may take away the skills to match people with the right positions.   

Masters or MBA in HR programs go deeper into managerial duties. As a grad, you may have the skills to tackle a leader role, oversee benefits and handle staff issues.  

PhD in HR programs focus on original research in your area of interest. Once you graduate, you might advance as a researcher, teacher or executive leader. 

Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources 

An online bachelor’s in human resources (HR) program is an entry level degree. It tends to take four years and may entail 120 credits. Most programs ground you in HR principles and practices. Topics such as how to recruit and hire staff, compensation and benefit packages. Plus, all about HR laws and regulations, and ways to use an effective team. 

Many schools award a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in HR. Both cover basic HR concepts and practices, with slight differences in approach. In a BA, you are likely to have more classes reflect liberal arts, social studies and history. While a BS weighs more on math and science so you might find it more technical. 

Knowing that, the schools you look at might offer an HR major within a business admin program. Or, Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA or BSBA). These programs also frame some key areas to help you understand how businesses run. So, you may learn about leadership, finance and how to make decisions that rely on data. 

To get into a BA, BS or BBA program, you need a high school diploma or GED. Other standards vary and may include an acceptable GPA range, ACT or SAT scores and personal essay. Another variable is tuition as it can go up or down. As per the NCES, it costs an average of $7,196 if you attend a public school. Costs are higher ($28,822) at private schools.  

Master’s Degree in Human Resources 

An online master’s in HR is a grad level degree. It tends to take from one to two years and about 36 credits. Many schools award a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS). These are academic degrees which may prep you to continue to a PhD and may ask for a thesis. 

There are also professional degrees such as the MBA and MPS. Both of these focus on practical skills and putting theory into use. So, you may have some type of project at the end of your program. While different, these programs often focus on the managerial side of HR. So, you are likely to study the decision process, analytics and strategy. In other words, areas that can drive success for a business.  

These concepts may help you step into a leader role. Or, steer your career in a niche field. Like training and development. To get into a master’s in HR or HRM, you need a bachelor’s degree. Other things that may help you qualify include an acceptable GPA, current resume, references and personal goals essay. 

PhD in Human Resources 

An online PhD in HR is the highest level degree. It may entail about 60 credits and three years of study. As a research degree, a PhD aims to build analytic and writing skills. So, many programs aim to prep you to pursue a career as a researcher, teacher, or exec leader. 

Most schools set their courses for students who have a back ground in HR. And, tend to challenge you to think about today’s issues. Then, input relevant, original research with ideas that move the field forward. Apart from the research, you are likely to study a wide range of manager tactics. Above all, for multi national companies where the HR needs are complex.  

As a result, you may come to learn about global teams. Ideas like how to motivate them, build them and test their performance. Also, big picture themes about labor relations, regulatory and ethical concerns. You may study these areas from a systems point of view. One that looks at a problem from all sides and creates solution focused tactics around it. 

To qualify for admission into a PhD program, it may be helpful to have a master’s in HR or MBA. Many schools also look for an acceptable GPA and GMAT scores. But these can vary. Apart from your transcripts, you may need to spend some time on your application. Admissions teams may want to see a solid personal essay and a current CV.  

Another thing to know is that most schools include some campus presence. Sometimes they are for teaching classes or rotations in research labs. But they can also be to network and take seminars. The average cost of a grad degree from a public school is $11,303. So, some online HR programs may be more affordable or expensive than this. 

What can I do with an Online Human Resources Degree?

An online human resource degree may open doors in both current and new fields. As companies expand into global markets, it generates new opportunities for HR professionals. Since HR careers continue to evolve, there may be jobs for all levels of education. In many business and management roles, one needs a bachelor’s degree for entry level roles. Apart from having a bachelor’s degree, most HR pros who work with big companies have a master’s or MBA. Workers who train new hires may also need education in the field in which they work. 

1. Human Resource Manager 

In the role of HR manager, you plan and oversee the admin side of staffing. Some of these areas relate to bringing new talent on board. So, recruiting and interviewing and hiring. At the same time, you handle personnel issues, disputes (e.g. harassment). Apart from tactical skills, many employers in larger companies prefer MBA or masters prepared workers. 

2. Corporate Recruiter 

Corporate Recruiter retained by a company looks for talent to fill job positions. So, the first thing they tend to do is consult with a client to understand what type of candidate they seek. Then, they scan for qualified people to recruit, screen, interview and place. Apart from a bachelor’s degree, it may be useful to have a credential such as the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM SCP) 

3. Benefits Analyst 

Benefits Analyst researches compensation and benefits policies and plans. And, ensures that a company complies with federal and state laws. In other functions, they might design and prepare reports that sum up their findings and analysis. In this role, you tend to need a bachelor’s degree, and for some positions, extra credentials. 

4. Training Manager 

As a Training Manager, you may be in charge of on boarding for new hires. In some roles, you might write the manual after conferring with management. Then, use methods like digital handbook, on the job training, workshops and conferences. Most people in this role have experience and may need a master’s degree. 

5. Corporate Trainer 

Corporate Trainer tends to report to a Training Manager. In this support role, they might first send out surveys, interview employees and consult with managers or instructors. Then, design and create training manuals, e learning modules, and course materials. Along with a bachelor’s degree, some employers want you to have experience in a related field.  

6. Position Classification Specialist 

As a Position Classification Specialist, you assess a job position posted by a company. In doing so, you can classify the role, describe it and find salary scales. Also, once you have that info, you might input it into a Human Resource Information System or HRIS. Apart from technical skills, most Classification Specialists have a bachelors degree.   

7. Compensation Managers 

Compensation Manager plans, builds and oversees programs that pay employees. One of the key duties in this role is to manage a company’s pay structure. And this means keeping track of market conditions, gov’t rules and pay scales. Pay scales also include bonuses, commission and other incentives. Beyond skills in finance and HR, many positions call for a bachelor’s degree, if not a masters. 

8. Chief Human Resource Officer 

Chief Human Resource Officer may lead global teams or head very large companies. As a leader, the CHRO might set the hiring policies and practices that managers put into play. Roles like this tend to take strong managerial skills as well as an ability to solve complex problems. Besides a tactical mindset, one may need a master’, MBA or doctorate degree.  

Is a Degree in Human Resources worth it?

Expertise in HR may yield flexible skills, opportunity and above average earning potential. Jobs in HR management are showing faster growth than many others. Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you have training and development skills, the future is bright. The number of people who work remotely is generating the need for more mobile learning and on boarding. Jobs in these areas expect to add 8 % more openings through 2028. And this is faster than the norm which is 5% for all occupations. Salaries for recruiters, HR managers, corporate trainers and benefits analysts vary. But many jobs that call for these skills pay in the six figures. HR managers who work in IT sectors reported average salaries of $127,690 in 2018.  

Human Resource Degree Jobs & Salary

Occupation Average Salary Jobs
Human Resource Manager $116,720 152,100
Corporate Recruiter $61,920 625,700
Benefits Analyst $64,560 88,700
Training Manager $67,960 44,440

Top States for Jobs an a Human Resource Managers

State Jobs Annual Mean Wage
CA 21,600 $145,710
NY 10,980 $158,830
IL 10,890 $121,720
TX 10,260 $126,470
FL 7,980 $107,520

Online Human Resources Degree Courses

Many schools offer SHRM approved courses. SHRM is the Society for Human Resource Management. They’ve published a guide book and templates for BA, BS, BBA and master’s programs. In this guide, they identify what it takes to be a successful HR professional. These skills may filter into course plans and are as follows. 

  • Relationship management – customer service, support and teamwork
  • Communication – feedback, diplomacy
  • Ethics – accountability
  • HR expertise – workforce planning, strategy, HR technology
  • Business acumen – metrics, sales, marketing
  • Critical thinking – research for decisions
  • Global and cultural effectiveness – adaptable mindset
  • Leadership – mission driven
  • Consultation – analytical approach, coaching 

You may study many of these areas when you pursue a human resources degree online. But each level of degree is likely to do this in a different way. Below are some of the classes you may find at the bachelors, masters and PhD levels. 

Bachelor’s Degree Courses

Bachelor level HR classes explore the basic skills one needs to handle a daily routine in an HR job. Concepts may address an overview of HR functions, decisions and strategy. Central to HR are compliance issues. So, you are likely to study state and federal laws that affect labor relations. Like the Equal Employment Opportunity rule, fair and unfair practices. Another main area deals with how to recruit, choose and place people in a job. There are classes that deal with this as well as pay, benefits and work force planning. Here are a few samples of other classes at the bachelor’s level:

Human Resource Management

In this field, students may gain insight into human resource management as a whole. The goal is to learn about things like labor relations and human behavior. It may include a look at current laws and rules that apply to the workspace. You may also learn about employment laws and rules. There are some courses that may include insight into global economies and total rewards management. Training is often a component.

Management and Organization Theory

In this course, you may learn the functions of management. This may include areas of planning, organizing, and leading. It may also include the application of various concepts and theories in this area as they apply to company goals. You may learn strategy development, setting goals, and evaluating performance. Ethics and social responsibility may also be a component of this program.

Employee Training and Development

In this class, you may learn about employee training, including how it applies to various organizations. They may learn how to create and administer these training programs. They may learn more about career development and how to build employees up. This course often focuses on the roles of managers in areas of development and spotting opportunities for growth.

Labor Relations

This course focuses on modern labor relation methods. There may be some historical aspect of this, such as research into label relation problems over time. You may learn about the role third parties make in this area as well as how to organize campaigns. They may also learn about collective bargaining. You may also learn how to resolve employee problems in this class.

Graduates Degree Courses

Master level HR classes tend to build on your existing knowledge and go deeper into manager skills. Topics may thus frame ways to problem solve and address staff issues. A mainstay of many MS programs is a class in finance. It is likely to explore concepts like the time value of money, opportunity cost, pay scales and break even analysis.  

You also tend to study labor and employee relations in depth. From a systems point of view, you may look at contract trends, unions, negotiation and ways to resolve conflict. Another key area at this level is HR management. As such, you may learn about staffing to build effective teams, legal aspects, and employee relations. 

PhD level classes aim to fuse theory and practice so you can produce compelling new ideas. So, a large share of a study plan is about research methods, design and data collection. Apart from essential research and writing skills, many programs lead with classes in management. These classes may help you analyze the role of HR in supporting corporate strategy. And, may nurture expertise in global work force issues. 

You may also study work force planning from a systems point of view. For instance, you may learn how to make staffing decisions that steer a company towards its goals. Another key area at the PhD level are global, federal and state regulatory and ethical factors. To understand this, you are likely to explore the strategic side of labor relations and succession planning. Here are a few samples of other popular classes at the graduate level:

Survey of Human Resource Management

This type of course often focuses on modern perspectives in the area of human resources. This may include learning about the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). You may learn about the principles developed by this group to help support people and the work place. You may also learn about legal and ethics in human resource policies.

Sourcing and Management Talent

This type of course often looks at on areas of recruiting and talent mobility. Many students taking this type of master level course may learn how to plan for work place needs. They may also learn about performance management. Students may have goals of learning about many approaches that help to support employees moving up. This is in the context of a company’s needs.

Workplace Learning in the Digital Age

This is a newer class for some. It often has a focus on learning how learning models and learning styles can be caught. You may gain insight into designing and management the learning process to reach more people. You may also learn strategies and demonstrate how they work. The focus is usually on how these learning methods meet company goals.

Retaining and Engaging Employees

This type of class often looks at applying concepts of employee motivation. It may also include supporting employee engagement in the work place and creating an employee experience. You may learn how to analyze the ways in which culture and leader behavior impact outcomes. This may include strategic retention. You may also learn evidence based best practices.

How long does it take to earn a Human Resources Degree online?

The time it takes to earn a human resources degree online varies by program and if you study full or part time. As a rule of thumb is four years for a BA, BS or BBA in human resources. Once you graduate, it may take from one to two years to earn a master’s or MBA in HR. And, after this, at least another three years to earn a PhD in human resources. That said, if you bring in transfer credits, it may save you time.  

University Level of Degree # of Credits Required Starts Per Year Minimum Months to Complete
Western Governors University Bachelors 41 courses 2 36
Southern New Hampshire University Bachelors 120 6 24
Ashford University Bachelors 120 Every 5 weeks 47
American Intercontinental University MBA 48 5 12
Pennsylvania State World Campus Masters 33 Multiple 30
Strayer University Masters 36 4 24
Walden University PhD 64 – 120 QC Multiple 36
Capella University PhD 90QC Multiple 36
Sullivan University PhD 74 QC 4 24

15 Schools with Online Human Resources Degrees

We compiled a list of 15 schools with online human resource degrees at all levels. Our methods use data compiled from the National Center for Education Statistics. 

  1. Western Governors University   
  2. Southern New Hampshire University   
  3. Ashford University  
  4. Temple University   
  5. Bellevue University 
  6. American Intercontinental University  
  7. Pennsylvania State World Campus   
  8. Strayer University     
  9. Amberton University   
  10. University of Maryland Global Campus   
  11. Walden University   
  12. Capella University    
  13. Sullivan University 
  14. University of Texas -Tyler  
  15. Liberty University       

FIND AN ONLINE HUMAN RESOURCES DEGREE

Let’s take a closer look at the online human resource degrees that these 15 schools have to offer. 


WGU’s online B.S. entails 41 courses and allows you to move at your own pace.  

Recognized by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the courses align with their HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. As the focus is on business admin, you can expect core courses that reflect that. So, things like spread sheets, business analytics and org’al behavior. There are also 5 classes devoted to HR. Sample topics are: 

  • Work force planning   
  • Training and development   
  • Compensation and benefits    

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $6,670
Grad $7,790
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$4,308

Average Net Price:
$7,785

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
DEAC, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities


SNHU’s online B.S. entails 120 credits and allows you to bring in up to 90 transfer credits. Apart from a business core, you take many HR classes. These discuss key issues regarding employee safety, labor relations and the management of a global work force. There is also a focus on the use of HR skills to improve a business. Sample topics are: 

  • HR management
  • Total rewards
  • HR strategy and development

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $31,136
Grad $18,810
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,913

Average Net Price:
$39,743

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)


Ashford’s online B.A. entails 120 credits and you can take one class at a time. Some of the core classes look at the business, ethical, legal, and social factors that shape today’s work place. Other HR classes align with SHRM’s HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. As such, you study key tools and methods that feed HR planning and employee training. Sample topics are: 

  • Strategic HR planning   
  • HR tech management 
  • Employee and labor relations   

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,400
Grad $12,810
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$6,217

Average Net Price:
$20,415

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Higher Learning Commission (HLC), WASC Senior College and University Commission


Temple’s online Bachelor program entails 124 credits and if motivated, you may finish your degree in three years. The program also nurtures skills around both HR policy and operations. Some of the concepts covered include compensation, HR management, and corporate staffing. Sample topics are: 

  • Labor relations  
  • Int’al HR management 
  • Power, influence and negotiation

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $29,882
Grad $24,236
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$9,392

Average Net Price:
$23,032

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & recognized student vet organization.

Accredited:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)


Bellevue’s online B.S. entails 127 credits and aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. One of the aims of the program is to help you construct compliant job descriptions. And, to master the skills to be related to HR planning and analysis. Like Equal Employment Opportunity rules, staffing and benefits. Sample topics are: 

  • Employee and labor relations 
  • Compensation admin 
  • Recruitment, selection and placement   

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $7,851
Grad $11,205
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$4,961

Average Net Price:
$13,261

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC

6

American Intercontinental University 

MBA in Human Resources

Online


AIU’s online MBA entails 48 credits, half of which cover SHRM approved courses. In core MBA classes, you study global financial management as well as marketing and strategy. You must complete these before you move onto HR classes. HR classes deal with current legal and ethical principles. So, touch on recruitment, selection and planning. The program also explores international management which may be useful if you work with big companies. Sample topics are: 

  • Leadership and ethics for managers 
  • HR strategy 
  • Employment law    

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $11,965
Grad $21,466
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$5,311

Average Net Price:
$12,555

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges


Penn State’s online Master’s program entails 33 credits and like the MBA, aims to provide practical skills. The program is also for people with a strong base in HR already and if you complete the entire program, your credits may apply to PHR, SPHR and GPHR certs. Given the program focus, you study areas like collective bargaining strategy and labor law. Sample topics are: 

  • HR in multinational enterprises 
  • Strategic business tools   
  • Labor and employment law   

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $13,988
Grad $22,186
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
N/A

Average Net Price:
N/A

Military Programs:
Credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
N/A

8

Strayer University

Master of Science in Human Resources

Online


Strayer online M.S. entails 36 credits and comes with an option or two concentration areas. HR Generalist and HR / Organizational Development. In the core program, you explore current trends in HR focus. This includes consulting as well as public, private, nonprofit, and gov’t sectors. There are also business classes that cover performance metrics, leadership and strategy. Sample topics are: 

  • Business employment law
  • Strategic HR management
  • HR info systems  

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $13,515
Grad $15,135
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$4,576

Average Net Price:
$24,593

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
MSCHE


Amberton’s online M.S. entails 36 credits and highlights strategy and ethics for decisions. You also study ways to assess learning needs, design and deliver training programs. Through research and theory, you may also learn how to set up methods that check org’al processes. Sample topics are: 

  • HR management 
  • Communication 
  • HR Training 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad 7,980
Grad $6,390
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$2,113

Average Net Price:
N/A

Military Programs:
Credit for military training.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

10

University of Maryland Global Campus

Master of Science in Human Resource Management

Online


UMGC online Masters entails 36 credits and covers material aligned with SHRM guidelines. As such, it gets into the practical skills that may help you become a strong decision maker and manager in any human resources setting. You might also explore topics in staffing, compensation, training, change management, labor relations, and more. Sample topics are: 

  • Financial decision making 
  • Issues and practices in HRM 
  • Recruitment and selection   

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,336
Grad $12,132
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,659

Average Net Price:
$14,635

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
MSCHE


Walden online PhD entails from 64 to 120 quarter credits and four residencies. You also have up to eight years to complete your degree. As a student in the program, you conduct your own research and there are classes to guide the way you write and present findings. In other classes, the focus is on global skills for HRM, so you may study solutions and tactics for current issues. Sample topics are: 

  • Complexity and systems thinking  
  • HR strategy   
  • Talent management 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,150
Grad $12,539
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,900

Average Net Price:
N/A

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC


Capella’s online PhD entails 90 quarter credits and three residencies. In some of the core classes, you study research processes, business practices and finance. There are also classes devoted to your dissertation and to strategic HRM. For instance, you may analyze the role of human resources in supporting corporate strategy. Sample topics are: 

  • Creating adaptive, innovative workplaces   
  • Attracting and retaining talent 
  • HR practices for developing talent   

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $14,540
Grad $15,233
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,781

Average Net Price:
$17,368

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC


Sullivan online PhD entails 74 credits and a few residencies. The program format contains three sections (management, research and HRL). In the management core, the classes highlight org’al theory and behavior, strategic and human capital management. While research courses help you develop a proposal and focus on methods, analysis, and design. You also study and research in HR leadership. Sample topics are: 

  • High performance HR leadership
  • Workforce analytics    
  • Proposal development 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,870
Grad $15,060
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$7,717

Average Net Price:
$12,884

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & recognized student vet organization.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

14

University of Texas – Tyler

PhD in Human Resource Development

Online


UT Tyler online PhD in Human entails 60 and there are 5 campus visits in all. The main focus of the program is on the role of HR managers in developing a company’s competitive edge. Studies thus consider specific HR practices and the overall HR framework in enhancing a firm’s performance. As there is a dissertation to complete, you can also expect to undertake research projects with faculty and on your own. Sample topics are: 

  • Advanced HRD theory 
  • Strategic HRM   
  • Advanced HRD research   

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $22,752
Grad $16,056
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$7,463

Average Net Price:
$7,389

Military Programs:
Credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & recognized student vet organization.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

15

Liberty University 

DBA in Human Resources

Online


Liberty offers an online DBA in HR. It entails 60 credits and makes use of hands on case studies. Taught from the Christian lens, the program stresses practical and real world uses of theory. Some of the classes touch on business and management topics. And others focus on the changing nature of the labor market, legal issues and compensation management. Sample topics are: 

  • Workforce planning 
  • Compensation management   
  • Human resource development     

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $22,747
Grad $8,400
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$7,550

Average Net Price:
$28,181

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

*Unemployment Earnings.  Sources for school stats and data include the NCES and IPEDS.