Human resource management, or HRM, is an area of central concern in the field of business management and administration. How an organization hires, promotes, and coordinates staff and other human assets can affect productivity, efficiency, brand perception, and other key aspects of business operations. These issues and other areas of workforce development and maintenance generally fall under the purview of HR professionals, HR departments, and other administrators who have training and skills in the area of HRM. While this type of training is integrated into the core MBA curriculum, many MBA programs offer electives in various areas related to HRM. There are also MBA programs that provide students with an optional track or specialization in HRM. These programs offer several courses that cover advanced topics in employee relations and management, workforce development, and HRM.
An MBA is a master’s-level degree program that provides general training in business administration knowledge and skills. The core MBA curriculum typically includes courses in accounting, business law, finance, marketing, operations and project management, and organizational communication and leadership, as well as in personnel and human resource management. Some MBA programs offer an optional specialization in HRM, which generally consists of two or more courses that provide additional training and instruction in management strategies and practical concerns for human resource managers. Students in an MBA in HRM program complete the general MBA curriculum and a designated cluster of courses that address HRM topics.
Online MBA programs offer what is generally considered to be a more flexible and convenient alternative to traditional, campus-based MBA programs by utilizing distance-learning technologies. Students in an online MBA program access lectures and other instructional materials through a learning management system (LMS), which typically also allows students to interact with professors and participate in online class discussion groups. These programs are often a good option for students who would prefer not to commute to a college or university campus for classes, and for students who do not live in close proximity to a school offering an MBA in HRM program. Like other types of online MBA programs, online MBA in HRM programs offer all or most of their general and specialized coursework online.
OnlineEducation.com conducts independent research into MBA programs and classifies programs based on several criteria. All programs on the site must be offered by accredited, non-profit colleges and universities, through a school or department of business or management that has programmatic accreditation from one of the three recognized accreditation bodies in the field of business education: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). For programs to be classified as online, they must offer all or most of their coursework online. MBA programs that require students to attend more than two campus visits per year are not currently listed on the site. In addition, programs that are classified as online MBA in HRM programs must provide a designated track of two or more courses in that area of specialization.
Students in an MBA program with an HRM specialization complete a core MBA curriculum that covers knowledge and skills in general business functions. This typically includes coursework in managerial and financial accounting, financial reporting and management, sales and marketing, personnel and project management, and logistics and operations management. It also covers training in theories and practices of effective organizational leadership and professional communication. Students who enroll in an MBA program with an HRM specialization complete a group of additional courses in advanced HR topics. These HRM specialization courses generally cover subjects like labor and employment law, employee compensation and benefits management, and strategic workforce development. Finally, many MBA programs culminate in a capstone project that challenges students to apply what they have learned in their coursework to a real-world issue in business administration. Students in an MBA in HRM program are often encouraged to focus on an HRM topic in their capstone project.
A specialization in an MBA program generally consists of between two and six courses that address topics in that area of business administration. The table below provides an overview of some of courses programs may offer as part of an HRM specialization.
|Course Title||Course Description|
|Employment Law||An examination of laws and regulations that are relevant in the field of HRM, including the National Labor Relations Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and various other laws and statutes regarding the hiring, promotion, and fair treatment of employees.|
|Workforce Training & Development||An overview of various accepted methods for coordinating and maintaining training programs, assessing the effectiveness of those programs, and improving those programs.|
|Compensation Management||The design, management, and evaluation of compensation and benefits packages in relationship to organizational performance and competitive staffing.|
|Labor Relations||An overview of labor relations with a focus on collective bargaining, contract negotiations, conflict resolution, and other issues that affect the relationship between a company and its employees.|
|Strategic Management of Human Capital||Approaches to integrating HRM concerns into a companys larger business strategy.|
|Leadership Communication||Theories of communication and organizational leadership applied to specific concerns in the field of HRM.|
|Organizational Change||Leadership and management strategies for HRM professionals in organizations that are changing and adapting to confront new business challenges.|
Admissions criteria for online MBA programs with an HRM specialization are generally the same as admissions criteria for general online MBA programs. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in order to be eligible for admissions. Some programs have a minimum grade point average that is preferred or required. While an undergraduate degree in business is generally not required, some programs have several prerequisites that applicants must complete before enrollment, such as a college-level economics or introductory business course. In addition to undergraduate transcripts, applicants may be required to provide standardized test scores (GMAT or GRE), letters of recommendation, and/or a written personal goals statement.
There are several variations in online MBA program formats that applicants to these programs should be aware of and may want to take into account when choosing a program. These variations can impact the relative convenience and flexibility of an online program, and may be of particular concern to students who anticipate potential scheduling conflicts due to work and/or other commitments outside of school. The three key areas of format variation are: online instructional methods (synchronous vs. asynchronous instruction), enrollment options (part-time vs. full-time enrollment), and whether or not the program requires students to attend campus-based instructional sessions. For a more in-depth exploration of these issues, refer to our page on Online MBA Programs.