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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Human Resources

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Editor's Picks: Online Schools for Human Resources

Villanova University wins the award for best value in an online human resources master's degree. Ranked No. 34 by, Villanova University in-state students see a return on investment of 9.1% without financial aid, and a 13.0% return on investment with financial aid. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Villanova as the No. 1 Regional University in the North for nearly two decades, according to Villanova's website.

The University of Scranton wins best online human resources master's degree program for flexibility. The University of Scranton provides online programs through six terms of eight weeks each per year. The human resources program may be taken by one course per term to complete the 39 credit hours. The University of Scranton also provides a smartphone application to access course materials from nearly anywhere, and 24/7 technical support. Online courses are delivered through the Angel Learning Management System, where students may access discussions in online forums, chat sessions, and instant messaging.

Career Support
Southern New Hampshire University wins for best career support for an online human resources master's degree program. Southern New Hampshire University's Career Development Center provides career counseling, resume review, mock interviewing, networking, and self-assessment opportunities. Students have access to professional social media networking, internship opportunities, and career search resources. Students may also find a job search manual and a CareerShift research tool.

Financial Support
The Online Education Database ranks Herzing University as No. 1 in financial aid for providing 100% of its students with financial aid. Herzing University also provides financial support through grants, loans, and on-campus employment opportunities to supplement the cost of enrolling a master's degree program at Herzing University. Herzing University wins best financial support in an online human resources master's degree program.

Technology Support
U.S. News & World Report ranks Penn State No. 9 for student services and technology. Penn State offers online course compatibility for Apple, PC, Unix, and Linux. Classes are delivered through both live streaming and recorded audio and video. Penn State also offers simulations, online labs, and bulletin boards to support class interactions. Penn State wins best technology support in an online human resources master's degree program.

Student Engagement
The University of Scranton's online master's degree program in human resources wins best student engagement. The University of Scranton is ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report for Student Engagement and Accreditation. Student clubs and organizations have websites accessible through the University of Scranton's Center for Student Engagement, and student publications and student affairs contact information are also available.

Disability Support
Penn State University wins best disability support for an online human resources master's degree program. Penn State provides course accommodations with documentation to support the need of academic adjustments. Students may contact the Office of Disability Services to be considered for course accommodations at the beginning of each semester.

Library and Research Support
The University of Connecticut provides research tools, guides, and the opportunity to contact a librarian or subject specialists. The University of Connecticut also provides copyright basics, citation tools, research tips, and catalog access for online students, in addition to video tutorials on how to use citation and database tools.

Learning Support
Penn State University wins best learning support in an online human resources master's degree program. Penn State's instructors provide live tutoring, discussion boards, and other collaborative tools for student interaction. Penn State also provides mentoring and workshops for its online students.

Faculty Credentials
Herzing University requires its faculty undergo online instruction training in order to teach, and finances that instruction for their faculty. Instructors available for students to contact by email or phone, and may be available for after-hours appointments by phone or online chat. Herzing University wins the award for best faculty credentials in an online human resources masters' degree program.

Faculty Accessibility
University of Scranton wins best faculty accessibility and involvement in an online human resources master's degree program. The University of Scranton's instructors respond within 24 hours and offer at least four hours of office instruction a week. The University of Scranton also encourages the development of peer networks and instructor involvement through small class sizes of 20 students maximum. Students may also interact with instructors and peers by e-mail, online discussion boards, and online chat.

Alumni Engagement
Penn State's alumni association is the largest in the world. Consisting of more than 164,000 members, the Penn State Alumni association offers its first year of membership free after graduation. Penn State Alumni Association members have access to LionLink, where they may volunteer for Penn State events or contact friends or gain professional contacts. Penn State wins the award for best alumni engagement for an online human resources master's degree program.

Prior Learning Options
Herzing University students may gain college credit for work or military training through the American Council on Education (ACE CREDIT) evaluation. Military, employer, government agency, and professional association training is evaluated for college credit, which may be applied to a degree program. Herzing University wins best online human resources master's degree program for prior learning options.

New Online Student Orientation
The online orientation course at Southern New Hampshire University prepares students for online learning through student support tutorials, online learning, and academic policy videos. Students may also access FAQs, course demonstrations, and Blackboard familiarization tutorials to prepare for the beginning of an online program. Southern New Hampshire University wins the award for best new student orientation in an online human resources master's degree program.

Explore a Master's Degree in Human Resources

Human resources is the practice of managing, administering, and training of an organizations employees. An online master's degree in human resources is a good option for human resources professionals who are looking to advance their careers within the field. The degree, which may require the completion of at least 45 credits of academic work, is designed to provide an understanding of successful workplace learning and performance strategies. The length of a human resources master's degree program may vary by institution.

Class Curriculum

The curriculum for a master's degree program in human resources may include courses such as human resource development, employee and labor relations, human and organizational performance, and talent management. Most human resources programs are designed to align with the content areas recommended by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Read on for a closer look at three human resources courses:

  • Development of Human Resources. This course teaches students the methods by which they can develop human resources within an organization. They will learn how to foster a culture conducive to information sharing of professional practices and ways to invest in the talents and expertise of people within the organization.
  • Leading and Evaluating Change. A leading and evaluating change course examines the ways a human resources professional can develop and change an organization. Topics covered in this class include the philosophy, history, models, and methods used in making large and small changes and improvements within an organization.
  • Human and Organizational Performance. This course examines the techniques and strategies for continually improving an organizations performance. The class considers the role of the performance improvement professional in improving individual and team performance as well as the practical applications of human performance improvement research.

Depending on the course, students may be required to apply their knowledge of human resource principles to real-world problems in the form of case studies. In these exercises, students may need to write a job posting and come up with interview questions or a performance appraisal. Generally speaking, students are assessed based on their performance on research essays, quizzes, exams, and writing assignments that test their comprehension of the course material.

Building a Career

A master's degree in human resources may qualify an individual for employment as a human resources manager for governmental agencies, businesses, and other organizations. Human resources managers plan and coordination the use of an organization's workforce to maximize productivity, act as a liaison between management and employees, administer employee services and resolve work-related problems, and oversee an organization's recruitment processes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a successful human resources manager has strong decision-making, interpersonal, managerial, organizational, and speaking skills.

Human resource managers earned a median annual salary of $99,180, according to the BLS. Employment of human resource managers is expected to increase 13%, or about as fast as average, from 2010 to 2020. The BLS reports that employment growth for human resources managers depends on the performance needs of individual companies. New companies may need more human resources managers to oversee and administer organizational programs. Job growth may be limited as more companies adopt computerized human resources information systems. However, remember that none of the BLS' job prospect and salary figures are guaranteed, as those things vary, depending on an individual's work experience, employer, and other factors.