Top Online MBA Programs in Human Resources

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Since most organizations employ human resources (HR) professionals, earning an online MBA in HR can open career opportunities in multiple sectors and industries. Entry-level HR professionals typically hold bachelor’s degrees, but competitors for higher-level management positions benefit from advanced business management degrees, such as an MBA in human resources. Managers in this lucrative field made a median annual salary of $113,300 as of 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The guide below provides an overview of top online MBA programs, including curriculum content and relevant careers in human resources. It also introduces professional organizations and scholarships that can support online MBA students in human resources.

Top 10 Online MBA Programs in Human Resources

Rank School Location
1 Saint Joseph's University Philadelphia, PA
2 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
3 Baker University Baldwin City, KS
4 University of St. Francis Joliet, IL
5 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
6 Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA
7 Endicott College Beverly, MA
8 Champlain College Burlington, VT
9 Lewis University Romeoville, IL
10 DeSales University Center Valley, PA

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Top Online MBA Programs in Human Resources for 2020

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  1. Saint Joseph's University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Saint Joseph's University is a Jesuit Catholic University located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school offers a robust online MBA with a concentration in human resources. This MBA curriculum features foundation, gateway, core, and concentration courses. Students must take nine credits in their selected emphasis area.

    Notable human resources courses include strategic human capital and talent management, human resources technology, and talent selection and retention. The human resources concentration gives students the foundation to become strategic leaders.

    Online classes at SJU take place in eight-week, accelerated sessions, mixing asynchronous learning with real-time synchronous meetings. Full-time MBA students can earn the 53-credit degree in 1-2 years, depending on their academic and professional background. Students do not need work experience for program admission. Applicants must submit official GRE or GMAT scores, but they may qualify for waivers under certain circumstances.

    Other Concentrations

  2. University of Scranton
    Location

    Scranton, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Pennsylvania, the University of Scranton school offers a top online MBA program with a specialization in human resource management. With Scranton's flex curriculum, online MBA learners complete cornerstone and capstone courses first, then four core courses and 3-6 electives.

    The program requires nine credit hours of the human resource management specialization, in which students explore topics such as employee recruitment and effective staffing, workplace learning and performance, employee and labor relations, and reward strategies and systems.

    Scranton's MBA program features 36 credit hours, but some learners may have to complete an additional 12 credit hours of foundation modules, depending on their academic background and professional qualifications. Applicants must hold three years of professional or supervisory work experience, and they do not have to submit GMAT or GRE scores.

    Other Concentrations

  3. Baker University
    Location

    Baldwin City, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Baldwin City, Kansas, Baker University offers a top online MBA in human resources. The curriculum explores topics such as employee compensation and benefits, recruitment, and training and development. Notable classes include staffing, employment law, and global human resources. Students in this program acquire collaboration and leadership skills.

    Asynchronous online courses follow seven-week terms, and distance learners can complete coursework at their convenience. Students typically take one class at a time, but those who maintain a 3.5 GPA may take two classes at a time. Baker's MBA in human resources management requires 39 credits to graduate. Students can earn their degree in 18-20 months, while some students finish in as little as one year.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

    Other Concentrations

  4. University of St. Francis
    Location

    Joliet, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of St. Francis is a Catholic liberal arts university in Joliet, Illinois. The school's online MBA in human resources explores talent management, employment and labor laws, and industry cases and trends. Distance learners in this program gain analytical thinking and decision-making skills, also studying the increasingly competitive world of management.

    Through asynchronous learning, students can take classes at their own pace. They may transfer up to nine credit hours towards their degree, and some learners earn their MBA in just 12-18 months.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in a business-related field from an accredited university. They must have completed two years of full-time employment in a management position or military service. Admission does not require official GMAT or GRE scores, but the school may consider business exam scores in lieu of management experience.

    Other Concentrations

  5. Maryville University of Saint Louis
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart, Maryville University is a private college located in St. Louis, Missouri. The school offers one of the most comprehensive online MBA programs. Students who choose the human resources management emphasis take 12 credits in HR classes. Notable concentration classes include workforce management, employment law and compliance, and compensation and benefits.

    Students in this program gain real-world knowledge while fine-tuning their analytical thinking skills and business expertise.

    Maryville's MBA degree takes place entirely online, with no on-campus requirements. Courses begin at six start dates each year. Students can earn their degree in just one year with no prior business experience. Applicants do not have to submit official GMAT or GRE scores or pay an application fee.

    Other Concentrations

  6. Azusa Pacific University
    Location

    Azusa, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Azusa Pacific University, an evangelical college in California, offers a high-quality online MBA with a concentration in human resources management. Topics include hiring and firing, personnel law, compensation and benefits, and workplace safety. Learners in this program gain analytical, collaborative, and team-building skills.

    APU's online MBA in human resources management requires 39-40 units to graduate. Students typically take one or two classes per session, earning their degree in 15-24 months. Classes run for eight-week terms. Classes meet synchronously once per week.

    Admission requires a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, plus a minimum 2.5 GPA. Some students qualify for GMAT waivers. Online students do not pay out-of-state tuition.

    Other Concentrations

  7. Endicott College
    Location

    Beverly, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Endicott College is a private school located just outside of Boston in Beverly, Massachusetts. The school's online MBA in human resources management gives students a strong foundation in business analytics and teaches them to apply market research and evaluation to real-world business cases.

    Through the core MBA curriculum, students take classes in managerial economics, operations management, and business policy and strategy. Interesting classes from the human resources concentration include compensation and benefits, organizational and individual development, and human resource laws and compliance. Students can complete the 36-credit program in just 18 months.

    Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation, and they do not have to submit official GMAT/GRE test scores or hold professional work experience. Veterans and military students may qualify for application fee waivers. Online learners do not pay out-of-state tuition.

    Other Concentrations

  8. Champlain College
    Location

    Burlington, VT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A small, private college located in Burlington, Vermont, Champlain College offers a 36-credit online MBA in human resources. This program gives students a systems-thinking mindset for handling today's modern business challenges. Core human resources courses include diversity and creating an inclusive culture; human resources analytics; and coaching in the workplace.

    With flexible, asynchronous learning, distance learners can complete Champlain's MBA program on a full- or part-time basis. Online courses run for eight weeks. Many students complete 15-20 hours of coursework each week for two terms each semester, three semesters per year.

    Admission requires a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA from a regionally accredited institution. Students should demonstrate aptitude for success as an online learner. Applicants without business experience may have to take two 500-level business courses in addition to the core curriculum. Admission does not require GMAT scores.

    Other Concentrations

  9. Lewis University
    Location

    Romeoville, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Lewis University is a small, comprehensive Catholic university located just south of Chicago in Romeoville, Illinois. Combining business theory and practical application, the school's online MBA in human resource management features seven foundation courses, including business economics, survey of marketing, and contemporary management practice. Students also take nine credits in the human resources concentration, examining topics such as employment law and organizational behavior and development.

    Lewis's MBA program runs for two eight-week sessions each semester, plus one summer session. Students who work full time are encouraged to take one course each session. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA. Admission does not require a business background or official GMAT/GRE test scores.

    Other Concentrations

  10. DeSales University
    Location

    Center Valley, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    DeSales University is a medium-sized Catholic university with a Salesian mission, located in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. The school offers a top online MBA in human resources.

    MBA students take seven core courses, four concentration courses, and one capstone integrating course. Notable classes include business and society, talent management, human resource law, and executive skills development. Students in this program gain the leadership skills for success in the modern dynamic, complex, and global marketplace.

    Online courses at DeSales are offered in synchronous formats. Distance learners take courses in real time through Blackboard learning. Online courses typically run for 12 weeks.

    Admission into the DeSales MBA program requires GMAT scores or a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA from an accredited institution. Prerequisite courses include principles of macroeconomics, microeconomics, marketing, and management. Prospective students who attend an information session do not have to pay the application fee.

    Other Concentrations

What Is an MBA in Human Resources?

Designed for students with business backgrounds, the best online MBA programs in HR cultivate leadership skills and provide foundational business administration knowledge in areas such as operations management, financial analysis, and business ethics.

Graduates who meet work experience requirements may land jobs as HR managers, HR specialists, benefits managers, or training and development managers. BLS data projects above-average job growth for HR managers and training and development managers from 2018-2028.

Why Should You Get an Online MBA in Human Resources?

MBA programs in HR allow graduates to increase their salary potential and expand their career options from the comfort of home. Distance learning proves invaluable for many students with time and location constraints, such as family or job responsibilities.

As advanced degrees, MBAs distinguish graduates from bachelor’s degree-holding job competitors. Many business professionals pursue online MBAs in the broad field of HR to access advanced careers in new industries. Top industries employing HR professionals include company management, local governments, consulting services, and computer systems design. Top-paying industries include finance, scientific research and development, information services, and computer manufacturing.

Experienced HR professionals often use MBAs in human resources to qualify for more advanced, higher-paying management positions. According to the BLS, many human resources managers, benefits managers, and training and development managers make over $100,000 annually.

What Can You Do With an MBA in Human Resources?

  • Human Resources Manager


    These professionals recruit, hire, train, and supervise HR and benefits departments, which manage the staffing and training of company employees. These professionals need strong skills in change and performance management. HR managers also use tact and leadership skills to liaise between company leadership and other employees. These professionals make a median annual salary of $113,300 and enjoy a promising job outlook. The BLS projects a 7% job growth for HR managers from 2018-2028.

  • Human Resources Consultant


    HR consultants foster employee effectiveness through skillful recruiting, hiring, training, and performance tracking. They also support employee relations and wellbeing by ensuring workplace safety and fair treatment. HR consultants need excellent communication, diplomacy, and interpersonal skills to address sensitive workplace issues. HR specialists made $60,880 in median annual pay as of 2018, according to the BLS. The BLS projects a 5% growth for these professionals from 2018-2028.

  • Director of Human Resources


    Depending on company size, HR directors may lead several departments and make final decisions on hiring, firing, and disciplinary measures. HR directors also ensure their companies’ programs meet legal and professional standards and requirements. These professionals participate in HR budgeting and business planning, and they oversee employee complaints, benefits, and payroll. HR managers need strong leadership and operations management skills. HR directors make a median salary of about $88,000 annually, according to PayScale.

  • Compensation and Benefits Manager


    These managers supervise payroll and administration of insurance, retirement, and other employee benefits. These professionals must be clear communicators with comprehensive knowledge of legal and professional standards for compensation and benefits. Compensation and benefits managers consult with executives and may assist in budgeting decisions. BLS data projects slower-than-average job growth (3%) for these professionals from 2018-2028. Compensation and benefits managers made an ample median salary of $121,010 as of 2018, according to the BLS.

  • Labor Relations Specialists


    These professionals mediate between management and union laborers. They also create labor contracts and train and advise management on labor relations. Labor relations specialists facilitate the collective bargaining process and administer labor contracts regarding pay, benefits, and workplace practices. BLS data indicates that labor relations specialists made a median annual salary of $67,690 from 2018-2028.

Online MBA in Human Resources Curriculum

Curricula for online MBAs in human resources vary by program, but all include core business and HR courses focused on management, HR ethics and standards, and communications. The sample courses described below appear in many HR MBA programs.

  • Organizational Development

    This course teaches students to create policies and compensation and benefits packages that align with legal and professional standards.

  • Labor Relations

    Labor or employee relations courses cover labor law compliance and contract negotiation. Students also cultivate conflict mediation and resolution skills essential to HR professionals.

  • Performance Management

    This course discusses successful management principles, policies, and systems. Students develop staffing and performance evaluation skills useful for HR consulting and manager roles.

See More Top MBA Programs

How to Choose the Right Online MBA in Human Resources Program

As you research the best human resources MBAs available, prioritize programs at regionally accredited schools, which garner more respect from employers. Accreditation status may affect credit transfer and financial aid opportunities, as well. Top MBA programs usually hold programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

HR MBA program curricula may vary, so look for programs featuring curricular tracks or courses aligned with your interests and goals. The best online MBA programs include capstone projects and/or internships, so check extracurricular requirements carefully to make sure you can fulfill any on-site and daytime requirements.

Since many schools partner with local businesses, attending a school within reasonable driving distance can facilitate networking and employment opportunities in your area. However, given that online learners can study from anywhere, you may prioritize enrollment in nationally reputed programs over location.

Consider any schedule constraints when choosing a program, as well. Students with more available time may pursue full-time and/or accelerated MBA programs, while those with considerable external obligations often choose programs allowing part-time attendance.

Experienced HR leaders may find that executive MBA programs offer curricula tailored to their expertise level. Executive MBA programs typically provide the best networking opportunities for established HR professionals, as well.

Scholarships for Human Resources MBA Programs

College students often save money through scholarships offered by schools, professional organizations, and other public or private funders. HR graduate students can apply for many HR-specific scholarships, as well. The aid opportunities highlighted below provide a sample of the many HR scholarships available to students based on financial need, academic performance, and/or identity.

  • Society for Human Resource Management Graduate Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: Current SHRM members currently accepted to or enrolled in HR-related graduate degree programs at regionally accredited schools may apply. Eligible applicants boast a minimum 3.5 graduate GPA. Application materials include transcripts, short answer essays, and one reference letter.

    Amount: $5,000

    Apply for Scholarship

  • Michael R. Losey Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Students accepted to or enrolled in HR-related master’s programs in the greater Philadelphia or Valley Forge area may apply. Application materials include essays, faculty recommendations, and a review of performance in HR coursework and extracurriculars.

    Amount: $3,500

    Apply for Scholarship

  • Drew Young Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: HR graduate students enrolled in six or more credit hours with a minimum 3.0 GPA may apply. Applicants must belong to a Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM) student chapter. Applicants submit transcripts, recommendation letters, and a 100-word essay.

    Amount: $2,000 and registration for the HRSouthwest Conference

    Apply for Scholarship

  • National Forum for Black Public Administrators Excellence in Human Resources Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Full-time students in HR-related degree programs may apply. Eligible applicants have a minimum 3.0 GPA, extracurricular activities (beyond sports) in their background, and skills in leadership and communication. Eligible students do not work full time and have one or more semesters remaining.

    Amount: $2,500 annually

    Apply for Scholarship

  • HR Payroll Systems Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Eligible applicants boast a minimum 3.0 GPA and have completed at least one HR course in an HR-related graduate degree program at an accredited U.S. school.

    Amount: $1,000

    Apply for Scholarship

Professional Organizations for Human Resources

HR-related professional organizations can support learners on their MBA journeys by providing professional development resources, networking events, and considerable HR knowledge banks. These organizations often run conferences, maintain job boards, and offer leadership opportunities. Some organizations even feature scholarships and discounted memberships for students.

Society for Human Resources Management

This large, international HR professional organization connects over 285,000 members worldwide. The SHRM provides continuing education, networking events, scholarships, and an online resource library.

National Human Resources Association

Since 1951, this nonprofit organization has supported HR employees by providing networking, career services, and professional development events. The NHRA offers discounted memberships for students.

Academy of Human Resources Development

Focused on solving HR problems through academic research, the AHRD runs an annual conference and publishes the online AHRD Digest. AHRD also features special interest groups based on location and/or topic.

Professionals in Human Resources Association

This California-based HR association runs annual conferences and provides continuing education, networking, and advocacy for HR professionals.

International Public Management Association for Human Resources

The IPMA supports its international network of public sector HR professionals by providing assessment services, testing, professional certifications, and other continuing education programs. It also facilitates networking and knowledge-sharing in 13 specialized HR knowledge areas.

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Advertisement OnlineMBA.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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