2020 Best Online Master's Programs Badge

2020 Best Online Master's in Human Resources Degree Programs

By the GradReports team | Updated 4/1/2020

The 25 schools on this list offer the top online Master's Degrees in Human Resources, based on median salary one year after graduation. University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign is ranked #1 with a salary of $87,700. Western Carolina University has the lowest median debt on the list, at $18,069. Students who graduated with a Master's Degree in Human Resources from the schools on this list earned median starting salaries in the $52,300-$87,700 range.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

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Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 Champaign (IL) Champaign (IL) $32,416 $41,607 $87,700
#2 #2 Hamden (CT) Hamden (CT) $20,740 $41,000 $79,400
#3 #3 San Francisco (CA) San Francisco (CA) $19,875 $31,324 $78,900
#4 #4 Washington D.C. Washington D.C. $57,049 $54,000 $78,000
#5 #5 Villanova (PA) Villanova (PA) $21,307 $34,166 $77,800
#6 #6 New York (NY) New York (NY) $39,592 $76,561 $76,600
#7 #7 Philadelphia (PA) Philadelphia (PA) $37,074 $54,418 $72,900
#8 #8 Houston (TX) Houston (TX) $13,324 $44,416 $71,200
#9 #9 Greenwood Village (CO) Greenwood Village (CO) $9,000 $43,697 $66,900
#10 #10 State College (PA) State College (PA) $42,151 $41,000 $66,500
#11 #11 Denver (CO) Denver (CO) $55,563 $40,230 $65,600
#12 #12 Virginia Beach (VA) Virginia Beach (VA) $17,628 $39,524 $64,700
#13 #13 La Jolla (CA) La Jolla (CA) $15,912 $35,204 $62,500
#14 #14 Cullowhee (NC) Cullowhee (NC) $17,973 $18,069 $60,100
#15 #15 Clemson (SC) Clemson (SC) $23,912 $38,957 $59,900
#16 #16 New Brunswick (NJ) New Brunswick (NJ) $34,182 $28,934 $58,900
#17 #17 Multiple Locations Multiple Locations $14,481 $51,250 $56,200
#18 #18 Stephenville (TX) Stephenville (TX) $14,829 $27,937 $56,100
#19 #19 Saint Paul (MN) Saint Paul (MN) $8,550 $29,800 $54,900
#20 #20 Stony Brook (NY) Stony Brook (NY) $25,733 $20,200 $54,500
#21 #21 Scranton (PA) Scranton (PA) $11,630 $43,883 $54,300
#22 #22 Melbourne (FL) Melbourne (FL) $22,588 $53,700 $51,250
#23 #23 Winona (MN) Winona (MN) $11,835 $41,000 $53,000
#24 #24 Manchester (NH) Manchester (NH) $11,286 $34,199 $52,300
#25 #25 Multiple Locations Multiple Locations $10,098 - $14,772 $46,236 $52,300

2020 Best Colleges Highlights

Learn more about the top colleges for a Master's in Human Resources degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

Median Salary $87,700
Median Debt $41,607
Annual Tuition $32,416

Through its School of Labor and Employment Relations, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign offers a Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations (MHRIR). This 48 credit degree is fully online, is usually completed in two years, and includes both synchronous and asynchronous courses. The format is two 8-week courses per semester, including summer. Prior work experience is not a requirement but is strongly encouraged. One unique feature for online students only is a Professional Advancement Workshop.

The goal of the program is to train students to be effective and ethical managers of an organization's personnel. Students will learn data analysis for HR, the ethical and legal aspects of HR, and current best practices in HR and IR. Seventy-four percent of online students are promoted or change employers within six months of graduating. Courses offered in the program include Compensation Systems, Managing Diversity Globally, Quantitative Methods in Human Resources and Human Resources Management and Strategy. UI is located in east-central Illinois, south of Chicago.

Visit University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign's website.

Hamden (CT)
Median Salary $79,400
Median Debt $41,000
Annual Tuition $20,740

Quinnipiac University features a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) that has a Human Resource track. The program is based in the school's College of Business. The degree requires 33 credits: 24 in the core and 9 in the focus track. The degree can be completed in two years part-time, and faster full time, depending on the number of courses taken per term.

The program focus is training students who will be able to balance organizational goals with the capabilities of its personnel. Emphasis is placed on data-driven critical analysis, strategic thinking, communication, professionalism, and ethics. Students will learn about data-driven performance analysis, social and emotional intelligence in the HR context, corporate social responsibility and best practices in HR management.

Courses in the program include Leadership Across Boundaries, Employment Law for the Non-Lawyer, Ethics and Governance, and Performance Management. Quinnipiac is located in Hamden, Connecticut.

Visit Quinnipiac University's website.

San Francisco (CA)
Median Salary $78,900
Median Debt $31,324
Annual Tuition $19,875

Golden Gate University has an online Master of Science in Human Resource Management (MSHRM). The degree is offered through the school's Edward S. Ageno School of Business. The program available on campus, as a hybrid, and online; and the curriculum and instructors are the same throughout. This 27 credit degree can be completed in one to two years online, depending on course load. Golden Gate's online programs are consistently rated as excellent.

The program's focuses are effective personnel management practices, employee engagement and development, information management in HR, and professional ethics. Students will learn current trends and practices in HR, including the use of metrics in the HR context, best responses to emerging issues and the ethical and legal aspects in the field.

Courses in the program include Work and Workforce Trends, Human Resources Data and Performance Metrics, Ethics in Managing People at Work, and Total Compensation.

Golden Gate's home campus is in San Francisco.

Visit Golden Gate University's website.

Washington D.C.
Median Salary $78,000
Median Debt $54,000
Annual Tuition $57,049

Through its School of Continuing Studies, Georgetown University offers an online Masters of Professional Studies (MPS) in Human Resources Management. This 33 credit degree can be completed in less than two years of full-time study. The full-time progression is usually three courses in Fall, three in Spring and two in the Summer term.

The program offers a choice of five focus areas (these are clusters or courses, not concentrations): Foundational HR Management, Strategic Human Capital, International HR Development, Diversity and Inclusion, and HR/Organizational Development. The program's emphasis is on developing ethical professionalism and analytical skills for effective leadership in HR. Students will learn data analytics for HR, assessment and evaluation of performance, and the legal and ethical aspects of HR.

Among the courses in the program are Workplace Ethics, Human Capital Analytics, and Foundations of Human Resources. Georgetown is located in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1889, it's the oldest Catholic university in the country. Its Jesuit tradition merges academic quality with a service ethic.

Visit Georgetown University's website.

Villanova (PA)
Median Salary $77,800
Median Debt $34,166
Annual Tuition $21,307

Villanova University offers an online Master of Science in Human Resource Development. This 36 credit program can be completed in two years or less, depending on the number of courses taken per term. Students in the program can simultaneously pursue a graduate certificate as a specialization (these are not tracks in the degree program). The certificates are in HR Business Partner, HR Leadership, HR Analysis and Research, and Organizational Development. Many students acquire a Certificate to strengthen their credentials.

The focus is on ethical and evidence based assessment, functional and strategic HR management, and the outlook that HR professionals support, motivate and develop an organization's human capital. Students are grounded in an ethical approach, and will learn to recruit, train and develop diverse candidates, use data to make informed decisions, and understand best practices in the field.

Among the courses in the curriculum are Foundations of Strategic Human Resources, Human Resource Ethics, Diversity in a Global Economy, and Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods.

Villanova University is located in Philadelphia. A Catholic university, it is the only Augustinian institution in the country.

Visit Villanova University's website.