Question: Does the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Accredit Master’s in Human Resource Management (HRM) Degree Programs?

Answer: No, SHRM does not provide formal accreditation for master’s in HRM degree programs or for other types of HRM degree programs. However, SHRM publishes curriculum guidelines for baccalaureate and master’s programs that offer HRM training and maintains a database of programs that align with their guidelines. In addition, SHRM offers two professional certifications — SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP — for those working in the human resource field, both of which received accreditation from the Buros Center for Testing in 2016. While the SHRM certification exams are accredited, SHRM is not itself an accreditation organization.

What is SHRM?

SHRM is a professional society based in Arlington, VA that represents the interests of human resource professionals and provides resources, training seminars, and certifications for those working in the field of HRM. Founded as the American Society for Personnel Administration in 1948, the organization changed its name to the Society for Human Resource Management in 1989 and initiated its SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certification programs in 2014. In addition to advocating and lobbying on behalf of HRM professionals, SHRM has fostered a relationship with schools that offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in HR and HR-related disciplines. SHRM does not accredit academic programs. However, in 2013 the society provided formal recommendations for professional training and instruction in HRM through its SHRM Human Resource Curriculum: An Integrated Approach to HR Education. Many HRM programs offered at the baccalaureate and master’s degree levels adhere to the SHRM guidelines.

SHRM Curricular Guidelines

Through its guidebook for undergraduate and graduate programs, SHRM offer templates and sample course outlines for various types of HRM programs, including Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in HRM programs, and Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in HRM programs. While HRM programs are not required to follow SHRM guidelines, many programs align their curriculum with SHRM’s educational recommendations. SHRM maintains a directory of HRM programs that cover the content areas specified in its HR curriculum. These content areas include:

  • Employee and Labor Relations
  • Employment Law
  • Ethics
  • HR’s Role in the Organization
  • Job Analysis and Job Design
  • Managing a Diverse Workforce
  • Outcomes: Metrics and Measurement of HR
  • Performance Management
  • Staffing: Recruitment and Selection (including organization entry and socialization)
  • Strategic HR
  • Total Rewards (compensation, benefits)
  • Training and Development
  • Workforce Planning and Talent Management

SHRM Certifications

SHRM offers two widely recognized professional certifications: SHRM-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). Both certifications require candidates to pass an exam administered by SHRM once they have met the eligibility requirements listed below.

SHRM-CP Eligibility Requirements
Educational AttainmentHRM Work Experience
High School Diploma4 years
Associates Degree in HRM3 years
Bachelor’s Degree (any major)2 years
Bachelor’s Degree (HRM major)1 year
Graduate Degree (any discipline)1 year
Graduate Degree in HRMCurrently employed in HR
SHRM-SCP Eligibility Requirements
Educational AttainmentHRM Work Experience
High School Diploma7 years
Associates Degree in HRM6 years
Bachelor’s Degree (any major)5 years
Bachelor’s Degree (HRM major)4 years
Graduate Degree (any discipline)4 years
Graduate Degree in HRM3 years

Both exams are four hours in length and include 160 questions, 95 of which test specific HRM knowledge areas, and 65 of which assess an individual’s situational judgment. The questions are based on the SHRM Body of Competency & Knowledge (SHRM BoCK), which encompasses three behavioral competency clusters:

  • Leadership: Leadership, organizational guidance, and ethical practice
  • Interpersonal: Relationship management, communication, and global & cultural effectiveness
  • Business: Business acumen, consultation, and critical evaluation

The exam is further broken down into three primary knowledge domains:

  • People: HR strategic planning, talent acquisition, employee engagement & retention, learning & development, and total rewards
  • Organization: Structure of the HR function, organizational effectiveness & development, workforce management, employee & labor relations, and technology management
  • Workplace: HR in the global context, diversity & inclusion, risk management, corporate social responsibility, and US employment laws & regulations

Who Accredits Master’s in HRM Degree Programs?

Currently, there is no organization specifically tasked with accrediting HRM degree programs. Master’s in HRM programs are often offered through schools of business and/or management, which may receive accreditation from three organizations: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International); the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP); and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). In addition, the colleges and universities that offer a master’s in HRM program should receive institutional accreditation from one of six bodies recognized by the US Department of Education for schools that grant bachelor’s and graduate degrees:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and University (NWCCU)
  • The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • The Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

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