Academically Aligned

The SHRM Academic Alignment Program establishes partnerships with select academic institutions (domestic and international) that have undergraduate and/or graduate HR degree programs with curriculum that align with SHRM’s suggested HR curriculum guidelines. The partnership also affords students enrolled in their last year of the institution’s HR program the opportunity to earn their SHRM-CP credential prior to graduating through SHRM’s Student Eligibility Program. Faculty members and students may leverage these dedicated resources to learn more about the certification exam.


Student eligibility is offered to students enrolled in a bachelor's or master's HR degree program at a college or university participating in SHRM's Academically Aligned Program. Eligible students must be in their final year of study, be in good standing, and have a minimum of 500 hours of relevant HR experience at the time of application.
Students may track HR Experience hours in the following areas:
  • Part-time or full-time work in HR - If you hold a full-time or part-time job in HR, be certain to track all the hours you work during your academic tenure. You can accumulate 500 hours of relevant HR work experience across your entire time at the university. Your job title does not need to be an HR job title, but your work must be HR-specific. Document this experience the same way you would notate it on a résumé.
  • HR Internships - For an internship to count toward the 500 hours of HR-relevant experience, the internship must be in HR, or a role that involves performing HR duties. An HR-specific job title is not necessary.
  • HR work-study assignments - Work-study assignments generally run concurrently with enrollment in courses and are usually part-time in nature. Document the type of HR-specific work you undertake, regardless of what job title accompanies your work-study assignment.
  • Directed work-related or research-related HR projects - Research projects that contribute to the body of research connected to the practice of HR, support the empirical research efforts of HR faculty member(s) or a university-wide research agenda in HR, and are supervised by an HR faculty member are considered HR-relevant work experience. Similarly, HR-specific research conducted with a faculty member in tandem with a local HR professional to address a need at an organization is also considered relevant work experience. Be sure to document your involvement at each stage of the project and state the link to HR clearly in your documentation.

    Work projects that support the mission of a local HR department, are accomplished outside of in-class time, are supervised by an HR faculty member or an HR professional in the local community or by both jointly, and have specific, targeted outcomes related to accomplishing HR goals of the organization are considered HR-relevant work experience. For example, if the project you are working on for a specific HR department in an organization is focused on designing a program, or analyzing a problem then recommending alternative courses of action and preferred or recommended solution for the company to implement, document the work you accomplished to achieve the outcome.

  • Supervised independent study in HR - Independent study assignments may be formal or informal. A formal assignment is one that you design with the help of a faculty member or guiding committee, and for which you pay tuition to earn credits. The contact hours required to earn the credits do not count toward the 500-hour experience eligibility requirement. However, any additional work executed to complete the assignment and earn the credits does count. For example, you meet with a local HR professional to gather information to inform an independent study project, or you complete a special project for a local HR professional and invest 20 hours outside of 'class time' working on the project.
Students may track their HR experience hours using the Student Relevant HR Experience Verification form. See the Student Resources page to download the form. Note: SHRM will randomly audit a percentage of student applications during each testing window. If audited, candidates will be responsible for providing a completed HR Relevant Experience Hour tracking form to verify their HR experience.

Candidates for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams will have 4 hours to answer a total of 160 questions, of which approximately 95 are stand-alone knowledge items and 65 will be situational judgment items.

Breakdown of Testing-Time:

  • Candidate Confirmation Details: 2 minutes
  • Introduction and Tutorial: 8 minutes
  • Exam: 4 hours (240 minutes)
  • Survey: 5 minutes

Each section shows a countdown timer on the screen, and each section is separate and time-independent. Minutes do not rollover. For instance, if a candidate spends less time in the introduction, extra minutes are not rolled over to the exam portion.

Start with the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge® Guide (the SHRM BoCK®) the blueprint for the SHRM Certification exams, then consider the SHRM Learning System, a SHRM Certification Prep course, or one or more of the SHRM Certification Preparation Webinars. Click on the link for a full list of SHRM learning options.