Do you enjoy working with people and helping them succeed? If yes, then Human Resource Management (HRM) might be the perfect subject for you to study at university. HR Management is all about corporations and their workforce. By studying HRM, you will deep-dive into topics related to the development and the support of employees. This article highlights many of your most asked HRM questions and what it’s like to study in this degree field.
Human Resource Management (HRM) is a field that involves the management and development of a company’s employees (its “human resources”). An HR manager would perform various activities like
Employees are a valuable asset to a company; that’s also why you sometimes hear the term “human capital”. Many aspects of a career in HR are about caring for and helping employees. Overall, human resources involves the care, organization, and management of a company’s employees. In many instances, it can also be called personnel management or talent management by professionals because of the many activities that go into employee personal development.
These characteristics make Human Resources a great choice if you want to study something that will allow you to work with people, rather than only computers.
Human Resources Management (HRM) is a very popular subject. At the Bachelor level, there are not that many programs that only cover HRM, so you would usually study Business and choose HR as an elective. At the Master’s level, you will find many specialized programs to choose from.
Universities that offer HRM Bachelors in English:
Universities that offer HRM Masters in English:
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You’re very interested in studying Human Resources Management (HRM), but you might be surprised that it is not a common undergraduate degree program on its own. Rather, universities offer general programs in Business Administration or Business Management, and then students can focus on HRM as a minor subject, or in elective courses.
University websites usually list the complete course curriculum for a Bachelor’s program, so it’s good practice to review the course descriptions closely to fully understand what mandatory modules you will study, and what elective subjects you can choose from. Bachelor programs tend to take three to four years, and especially in the UK, you can find programs that include work placements. You will typically graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), and sometimes with a Bachelor of Science (BSc).
Maybe you’ve recently completed a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration or similar. Or after years of working as an employee, you’ve decided to pursue a Master’s degree to deepen your knowledge and learn new skills.
A Master’s degree in Human Resource Management has coursework designed to deepen your knowledge of personnel management and development of company employees. You’ll explore topics like
A Master’s degree in Human Resource Management will allow you to dig deeper into the fundamentals, as well as allow you to learn about new theories and models for employee development.
A Master’s program usually takes between one and two years to complete. And to be accepted, many universities require applicants to have an undergraduate degree – or at least a certain number of credits – in a relevant field, like Business Administration. However, you will find that some universities and business schools also welcome applicants from other subject backgrounds.
At the Masters level, you can choose to study Human Resources Management in either an MBA (Master of Business Administration) program, which is usually a more general preparation for management roles; or as an MSc (Master of Science) or MA (Master of Arts) program, which is usually the path you would take for a specialist role.
A Master in Business Administration (MBA) is a very popular higher-education degree program. Many MBAs require previous work experience to be accepted into the program; often two years or more of experience to qualify. This is especially true if the degree is labeled as an “Executive MBA”. Very often, admission requirements also include reaching a certain score in the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test).
An MBA generally covers a wider-range of leadership, finance, marketing, and business administration topics and gives you a broad, solid foundation in all aspects of business. And because of this and their popularity, MBAs are also usually more expensive. Even if you choose to focus on Human Resources Management, your program will most likely cover multiple business subject areas and then your specialization (or elective courses) will allow you to explore the HRM curriculum more deeply. An MBA is specifically designed to provide you with a well-rounded business education and you might find that you’re not able to explore the topic of HRM as deeply as you would like.
In contrast, an MA or MSc program will likely go deeper into HR topics and it will usually not require any previous work experience. It will allow you to spend the majority of your time exploring HR topics deeper. You can view it as a more in-depth investigation into a specific field, but it won’t necessarily prepare you for a wide variety of business topics like in an MBA. If you are passionate specifically about Human Resources Management, and if you have a prior degree in Business, an MA or MSc program might be a better path.
As an alternative to studying on campus, you can also obtain a Human Resources Management (HRM) degree online. Online programs are becoming more and more popular. What they lack in classroom experience they more than make up for with their flexible delivery, making it much easier to study where and when it is convenient for you.
Online education and the internet have very much opened up the possibilities of gaining a higher education in a flexible manner. Human Resources topics can easily be taught online where you enter a virtual classroom, view lectures online by video, and correspond with lecturers and fellow students via chat and email. Like many other Business disciplines, HRM lends itself for distance learning.
Another advantage of an online degree: As an alternative to studying on campus, you can get a high-quality education without having to go abroad for your studies. You can study from wherever you live, and this means you can pursue a degree without the need of obtaining a student visa.
Getting an HRM degree online is celebrated for its flexibility. Many students need to work during their studies—and an online degree offers students the flexibility of both a part-time and full-time option to finish the coursework.
But don’t underestimate the difficulty of studying online, especially when it’s part-time. Being able to schedule your studies flexibly also requires a high level of self-discipline. Studying remotely with no physical connection to professors and students can be cumbersome. And when studying part-time, you might find it difficult to balance the demands of your job with a rigorous online curriculum. Studying remotely is not the right choice for everyone, so try to find a university that allows you to cancel after a trial period. Keep this in mind as you decide to approach an HRM degree online.
Universities that offer online degrees in Human Resources:
Note: If you find a program listed as “blended” or “mixed learning”, this usually requires some presence on campus. The setup and timing varies between universities, but many universities try to have the on-campus lectures and seminars in as few of blocks as possible throughout the program.
The typical cost for an HR Management degree can vary a lot. Tuition fees will be a fundamental component in deciding which university you will attend, and as with many Business subjects, it can get expensive. What you will pay depends on multiple factors, but the main contributors to price are
Below you find an overview of what you typically should expect to pay for HR-focused degrees in some European countries:
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As a recent graduate of a Human Resources Degree (HRM) degree in an entry-level position, you will finally get the chance to apply first-hand what you learned at university.
The theoretical knowledge will be a strong foundation—but the experiences you gain in your first job will carry with you throughout your career. As someone just getting started in an HRM position, you might find yourself with responsibilities like
In an entry-level role, you might find that much of the work you perform is administrational or team-based. Don’t shy away from tedious tasks: Recent graduates often get what seems like thankless chores, but you ought to look at it as a learning opportunity. As you advance in your career, you will be offered more responsibility and the opportunity to tackle harder projects.
Graduates for entry-level HR positions are always in demand, but it is difficult to determine exactly what salary you can expect. This is because multiple factors like industry, location, and the demand for a position all play together in determining an HRM average entry-level salary.
But getting an HR Management degree can still be worth it, and the pay tends to increase a lot with experience. To determine how much you can earn in your first years, you should look at average graduate salaries in typical jobs that HRM graduates have qualified for. The table below gives you an idea for a few countries in Europe:
|Country||Average annual entry-level salary in HR|
|Netherlands||26,400 to 54,000 EUR|
|Sweden||336,000 to 408,000 SEK|
|United Kingdom||21,000 GBP|
There are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind:
Don’t let uncertainty about your first salary unsettle you too much. Once you start working in Human Resources, you pretty much sit “at the source”: It will be very easy to find out what typical salaries are, and what you can expect when you get promoted or change jobs.
Having a career in Human Resource Management (HRM) is a very rewarding experience. There are several good reasons why pursuing a Human Resources degree sets you up for an exciting future:
Maybe you’re someone that already has a background in a field outside of Human Resource Management (HRM). While employers prefer graduates to have a specialization in HRM, it is possible to start a career in HR with an education in a different field.
Do take note, that many times these positions will be entry-level, and in many ways, basic administrative work. With that said, it pays off to enter the workforce with a formal education in HRM simply because it will provide you with more opportunities for growth, to apply for job opportunities, and seek longer-term job safety. Set yourself up for long-term career success by getting an HRM degree.
You’ve been contemplating a formal degree in Human Resources Management. A career in HRM provides countless growth and career opportunities. By far the best thing about HRM is the people you will work with and positively impact. Over time, you will see how much your support and position make in the difference of a company’s employees, and you will help people reach their full professional potential. It can be a very rewarding career indeed.
But like any career, no job is perfect—and HRM can have downsides. As an HRM professional, you will also have to deal with difficult situations like team disputes, terminations and downsizings, upset employees, and even sexual harassment cases. It’s all-important work and contributes to the well-being of a team. But it’s not without emotional conflict and tough times.
Despite the downsides to a career in HRM, the positives clearly outweigh the negatives and over time you can truly see the impact you have on people within your organization.
After research and review, you might find that Human Resources Management (HRM) isn’t the right career path for you. Honest reflection and acknowledgment of this fact are very normal for an aspiring student. But you will find that many of the aspects that originally intrigued you about HRM can be found in similar degree programs. And many of them can still allow you to grow into an HRM role later on if you change your mind.
Suitable alternatives to HR include, but are not limited to:
Best of luck with your research! Overall, an HRM degree, whether it’s a Bachelor’s or a Master’s program, is a rewarding educational experience that transcends into a career choice with countless opportunities to grow and have a satisfying career.77 Human Resource Management Programmes in Europe