The HR Graduate Program Directory is a centralized source of information on HR-related master's programs in the United States.
This data can be used in a number of ways: Students and professionals selecting a master's degree program will find a broad range of information and a good overview of the various degree options together in one place. College recruiters deciding which campuses to target can use this publication to locate master's programs with an emphasis on the skills most needed by their organizations, such as labor relations or global business. College or university professors and administrators who are creating a new HR master's program or modifying an existing degree program will consult this directory to benchmark and learn about other programs.
This directory presents detailed information on more than 120 master's degree programs. The data is self-reported by the universities and is provided for informational purposes only. Any college or university with an HR-related master's degree program was eligible for inclusion in this directory and the universities were not charged a fee to participate. Inclusion in this publication should not be construed as an endorsement by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) or SHRM Foundation of any college, university or degree program.
Participation is voluntary, and it can therefore not be assumed that a degree program not included in this publication is of any lesser quality than those listed here.
For ease of use, the survey data has been organized into the sections listed below. The following information explains the meaning of the data in each category, how it was compiled and how the information can best be used.
After the name of the institution, each profile lists the city and state where the college or university is physically located. Since many programs offer online courses and distance learning, do not assume that a program is inaccessible because it is located far away. A list of programs offering these learning options can be found in the Index. After the school's location, a specific college or department may be listed. If provided by the institution, this information tells you where the specific degree program is located within the college or university. This information gives you an important clue to the program's focus. If the program is part of the business school, it will likely be taught from a business perspective; if the program is located in the school of psychology, you can expect a greater focus on understanding individual behavior in the context of scientific and research data.
HR-related master's degree programs vary widely in their scope, required courses and focus. If you are seeking a broad-based business degree, then an MBA might be right for you. If you want only in-depth HR knowledge, then an MS-HRM degree is probably the answer. This book profiles many different types of degrees. For more information on the various HR degrees available, see the article Which Degree Is Right for You?. Since the content of degree programs varies widely from school to school, be sure to look closely at the required and popular elective courses listed for each program to get a better idea of each program's emphasis.
University Overview/Program Description
This section provides a quick overview or snapshot of each college and university. When reviewing programs, this information can help you get a big picture view of the institution.
Use the information here to find out how many credits must be completed to earn a degree, whether transfer credits are accepted and the average and maximum amount of time it takes to complete the master's program. Full-time programs can generally be completed in as little as one year or as long as four years. Part-time programs can take from one and one-half years to four years or longer to finish. Some programs require as few as 10 courses to complete the degree (three credit hours per course, on average); some (often MBA programs) require as many as 25 courses. Most programs will consider the transfer of a limited number of graduate credits from other accredited institutions.
Tuition figures are presented in two ways: per year and per credit hour. Information may be listed in one or both of these formats depending on what the institution supplied. Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates are listed for institutions that provided this information. While researching universities, you will consider whether you would prefer a large research institution or a smaller private school. Tuition costs for out-of-state students at public, state-funded institutions can be triple the cost for in-state students. However, some graduate programs offer in-state tuition for graduate students. Private institutions generally have higher tuition rates, but charge the same fees for in-state and out-of-state students.
The term "traditional day program" means a majority of master's students are enrolled full-time and attend day classes on a traditional college schedule. A "nontraditional program" provides more flexibility in when and how students attend class. To accommodate working students, classes may be held in the evening, on weekends or even online. Most of the students in a non-traditional program attend part-time, and they tend to be working adults juggling multiple work/family commitments. Other program formats, including study abroad, distance learning and executive education, are also noted in this section.
The number of faculty in the degree program is a good indication of the size of the program and the breadth of perspective you will be exposed to. Full-time faculty are more likely to be involved in ongoing research while part-time faculty are more likely to be working or consulting outside the university. The faculty to student ratio can give you an indication of how much personal attention you can expect to receive in the program, and the primary teaching methods will give you an idea of what the classes are like.
"Total enrollment" should refer to enrollment in the degree program only. However, some institutions may include the total enrollment for the college or department in this number, so it is best to verify this with the university itself. The full-time enrollment number, the number of students working full time and the average age of the students tells you whether the program is primarily a traditional day program or a non-traditional program for working adults. The demographic information gives you a good picture of the diversity of the student body. The minimum admission requirements and average student profile, where supplied, offer you a benchmark to help you determine your competitiveness as an applicant to that program.
Institutions use many criteria in the decision to admit graduate students. Undergraduate grade point averages (UGPAs) and entrance exams are very important; however, they do not give the whole picture. Letters of recommendation, personal statements, work experience and even personal interviews often influence the decision. Communicating with admissions directors will help you understand how to make yourself a more attractive candidate to the degree programs. Do not assume you are not qualified for a program based on the minimums presented here. Be sure to verify this information by speaking to an admissions representative at any university you would like to attend.
This section gives you an overview of the additional resources available to supplement a degree program. At some universities you are now required to have your own computer to complete assignments or access information. Some non-traditional programs may offer access to online library facilities but have no physical library. More programs now offer assistance in preparing for professional certification in human resource management.
Many programs have SHRM student chapters or affiliations with local professional SHRM chapters. SHRM's Student Program has an online directory of more than 370 SHRM student chapters in the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam. These chapters will help you to develop your HR professional networks, and they also encourage preparation for professional certification through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI).
While researching programs, you should investigate financial aid opportunities such as fellowships, scholarships, assistantships and loan packages. Fellowships are awards based on academic merit and sometimes include tuition and fee waivers. These packages range in value between $4,000 and $20,000 annually and are generally available only to full-time students.
Scholarship awards come from many sources and generally do not include tuition packages. They may be awarded to full-time or part-time students and can be based on many factors (including academic merit and community service). Scholarship awards can range from $500 to $5,000 per academic year.
Assistantships are generally of two types, research and teaching. They are usually half-time appointments (20 hours of work per week) and almost always include tuition and fee waivers. These are generally available to full-time students, and their value can range from $6,000 to $22,000.
The SHRM Foundation also funds scholarships for national SHRM members.
Both required and popular elective courses are listed in this section. Reviewing the list of courses that make up the degree provides a good overview of what you will learn in the program. Your career aspirations should determine whether you will look for a well-rounded generalist curriculum or a more specialized program. While some programs have very structured curriculum requirements with few electives, others have only a few required courses and offer a broad range of electives to allow you to tailor the degree to your needs. Where available, career tracks and concentrations within the degree program are listed. If an internship is required as part of the program, that is noted as well. For more details on specific program requirements, visit the university web sites listed in the "Contact Information" section of each profile.
Since traditional students go to school full time and have less work experience, traditional day programs tend to emphasize internship and job placement services. An active career services office will work with anywhere from 10 to 100 college recruiters annually who conduct campus information sessions and recruiting activities. Approximately 75 percent of the students in these programs compete for jobs in the national labor market, while the remaining students compete in international or local labor markets. Most traditional day programs collect placement data that include placement percentages and salary information. Your research on such programs should include a list of companies that recruit and other placement statistics.
Since nontraditional programs are designed for the working professional, they are less focused on job placement and rarely collect placement and salary data. Most of the nontraditional programs surveyed did offer some type of career services activities to their students. These opportunities include alumni networks, resume services, interview training, mentoring and online job posting (which are also available in most traditional programs). It is important to point out that the placement information for schools offering the MBA with HR concentration degree includes all MBA graduates in the class. That means the average starting MBA salary will also include those specializing in finance, marketing, computer science and other management areas. Starting salaries for MBA/HRM graduates might be lower than the figures listed here, so we recommend that you verify these salary numbers with the universities.
Points of Excellence
In this section, universities may highlight something unique or special about their program. Points could include faculty research, curriculum content, teaching format, career services or other program activities.
Faculty and administrative contact information is included to assist you in contacting a college or university.
This section lists the deadlines for admission. For programs you are interested in, we encourage you to verify this information directly with the university. Many programs now offer online admissions packages. If a program offers an online application, that is noted here as well.
This directory represents a valuable first step in identifying HR master's degree program options. However, it should not be relied upon as your sole source of research. Since degree programs constantly change, we encourage you to consult university web sites and contact admissions offices for the most current information. If you are planning to begin a graduate degree, we wish you well on your experience. Thank you for using this directory.
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