What is human resources degree?

What is human resources degree?
Last Updated: September 4, 2023

Many people have asked me what human resources degree is. I have always answered that it is an academic program that teaches students how to manage people or human resources in the workplace. The degree intends to educate students on managing human resources. The degree program covers organizational development, labor relations, recruiting and selection, employee training and development, remuneration and benefits. A human resources degree can be earned at the associate's, bachelor's, or master's level, depending on the program.

HRM Degree Programs

A human resources degree offers specialized instruction in the skills and knowledge required to work in human resources. HRM degrees are available at several levels. There are undergraduate programs with an HRM major, master's degrees in HRM, and PhD programs in human resources. There are other MBA programs with an HRM concentration.

According to the Global HR Certification Body, there has been a rise in demand for HR expertise in emerging markets, reflecting the growing recognition of HR's strategic importance in driving organizational success. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that from 2020 to 2030, demand for HR professionals will increase by 7%, faster than the average for all occupations. The healthcare industry is expected to experience significant growth, leading to an increased demand for HR specialists and managers to support workforce management and compliance. The technology sector also requires HR professionals to recruit and retain top talent in a competitive market. This has sparked more interest in human resources degrees.

A bachelor's degree with a major or specialization in human resource management or similar business management/administration fields is often sufficient preparation for entry-level work. However, for upper-level human resource management and administration positions, completion of a bachelor's program followed by a master's in HRM degree plus some field experience is more normal. 68% of senior HR professionals, according to Zippia, have a bachelor's degree, and 16 percent have a master's.

Doctoral degrees are often intended for students wanting to teach at university levels or perform scholarly research.

Master of Science (MS), Master of Arts (MA), or Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in human resource management or human resource development programs often offer a multi-disciplinary curriculum that includes four areas of proficiency:

  • Organizational science studies how organizations are structured and how people relate to one another.
  • Behavioral psychology - Psychological theory explains why individuals behave the way they do, how to resolve conflicts, and how groups interact.
  • Corporate and Labor Law and Ethics - Federal and state rules and regulations that cover hiring procedures, firing employees, other labor-related issues, and the moral issues involved in human resource management.
  • Training and Development – This area covers theories and methods for designing and evaluating training courses and promoting professional growth.

A master's degree gives HR professionals a competitive advantage in the employment market. According to the BLS, the typical yearly salary for HR managers was $121,220 in 2020.

If you want to work in HR leadership at a large corporation, you should prioritize your education. There is a definite association between advanced degrees and HR leadership. Over half (57%) of HR executives hold a master's degree or above.

How Many HR Executives Have Advanced Degrees?


Masters vs Bachelors HR Degree

Figure 1: Masters vs Bachelors (Bamboohr - 2023)

HRM Curricular Components and Competencies

The structure of commercial organizations, employee behavior, and the best ways to use this information in the workplace are all included in traditional HRM curricula. Particularly, these programs provide workforce diversity and inclusion education, professional communications skills, the practical aspects of managing an organization's human resources, and the legal and ethical components of people management. The SHRM Body of Competency and Expertise, which is maintained by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), lists some functional areas of expertise for HRM practitioners and three clusters of behavioral skills (leadership, business, and interpersonal). These behavioral qualities include approaches for critical evaluation, leadership, ethics, and business acumen. The following are the SHRM functional areas:

  • Strategic planning,
  • Talent acquisition,
  • Workforce management,
  • Labor relations with employees,
  • Technology management,
  • HR in a global context,
  • Diversity and inclusion,
  • Corporate social responsibility,
  • Employment law and regulations
  • Employee retention,
  • Learning and development,
  • Compensation,
  • The structure of the HR function, and
  • Organizational effectiveness and development are among the topics covered.

What is human resources major?

What is human resources major? The human resource management major is made to help students learn knowledge and abilities in such management-related areas as remuneration, employee relations, recruiting, training, growth, career planning, and organizational performance.

Only one in five HR managers is certified by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) or other industry bodies.

HR Professional Certifications

Figure 2: HR Professional Certifications - (Payscale -2018)

According to payscale, 34.2 percent of all HR professionals had at least one HR certificate in 2018.
From 2008 to 2014, the popularity of HR certifications slowly fell, but it has since increased in the last four years. Most of the development is due to SHRM, which began offering its credentials (the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP) in 2015.

The management mindset has shifted from asset management to human resource management as the business landscape faced by businesses of all sizes grows more competitive and complex. The responsibilities of the Human Resource (HR) Director have significantly increased while still covering all of the traditional facets of people and labor relations. Many essential organizational responsibilities previously not considered within the realm of people or industrial relations are now included in human resource management.

Program Objectives

  1. The operational facets of human resource management, such as pay, hiring, training and development of employees, career development, workplace relations, and collective bargaining;
  2. Incorporating human resource planning into the organizational strategic planning process, The HR Certification Institute (HRCI) outlines the strategic thinking competency of HR professionals.
  3. The creation of effective leadership for organizational implementation;
  4. Managing change and conflict in labor and organizational relationships as a catalyst for increasing operational effectiveness;
  5. The enactment of new workplace legislation, as well as the governing realities of both the state and federal governments

Why Pursue a Human Resources Degree?

According to IBISWorld, there are over 380,000 enterprises with about one million HR personnel. The HR industry is predicted to increase by 12.8% yearly, above the US market average.

Human resource management is one of the key functional areas to learn in management education. Why is this so crucial to the field of study? Shouldn't it be simple to understand how to communicate with and manage others? As simple as it may appear, this is probably the most challenging role. There are human resource management programs that discuss how the position has developed through the years and the impact it has on business..

Human Resource Management not only allows you to focus on theory, but it also allows you to identify your style of people management. Here are some compelling reasons why you ought to pursue a human resources degree:

1. Human Resource Management applies to all industries and geographies

While compliance-related parts vary, fundamentals, principles, and human resource processes will apply to all enterprises. You can apply the underlying knowledge you have gained regardless of the type of industry your company is in or the country in which you are headquartered. There is undoubtedly a need to relate it to the local setting or individual company issues, but most fundamental ideas remain the same. Human resource experts' employment is expected to expand by 8% from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations. On average, 81,900 jobs for human resources experts are expected yearly during the next decade.

2. Human Resource Management Gives You the Ability to Comprehend All Stakeholders

Contrary to popular belief, human resource management is not solely concerned with employees or the workforce. Stakeholder management and HR management are especially related since the leadership and HR teams typically work together. HR also examines processes that may relate particularly from a policy standpoint to external partners such as vendors.

3. Human Resource Management Provides Insights into the Most Significant Competitive Advantage

In the coming years, it will become clear that people are the company's most important assets. Only human resource knowledge will be useful here.

4. Human Resource Management Career Opportunities

The management of human resources is an important function that all organizations perform. The effect of the human resources area is extensive, varied, and profound. One must enrol in one of the reputable human resource management courses to gain a thorough understanding of the field's scope, all the disciplines, and all the subdisciplines. Reading them will provide you insights into the practical use of those principles and the concepts that characterize the human resources framework.

5. Recruitment Satisfaction

The critical responsibility of overseeing learning and development within a company falls to human resources management. Its scope includes re-skilling and up-skilling the workforce in all behaviors and skill sets, as well as assessing the existing learning level gaps. To better identify the abilities that can benefit business success, human resources must also engage effectively with all of the departments, functions, geographical areas, and leadership teams.

An extension of this scope is the talent development sector, which focuses on nurturing recognized high-potential employees. Even Leadership Development, which is now its own field, has developed from this discipline. Here, the emphasis is on designing and implementing the interventions required for leaders.

6. Recognizing and Rewarding Employee Performance

To compare the organization's incentives and acknowledgement practices to the best ones on the market, HR designs, reviews, and benchmarks them. Additionally, it plays a critical role in regulating the link between variable compensation or a bonus and how well it performs in relation to company outcomes.

In some companies, the structure of compensation varies from position to position and from rank to rank. Human resources also deal with the organization's programs, develop new ones, and periodically assess their efficacy or outcomes. They have a connection to worker motivation that cannot be disregarded.

Human resources degree

Careers in HRM

A bachelor's degree in human resources will qualify you for various HR positions.

  • Human resources coordinator,
  • Office manager,
  • Chief people officer,
  • Change management expert,
  • Compensation and benefits manager,
  • Director of diversity,
  • Equity, and inclusion,
  • Director of human resources, and
  • Employee relations manager

Some jobs may need additional training or specialized licensing. You may be more qualified for entry-level positions such as clerk and office assistant with an associate degree. You could work in corporate program development, employee relations, or payroll.

Most corporations and organizations recognize the importance of managing their human resources and must maintain a separate department for this purpose. Additionally, there are organizations that are experts at handling hiring requirements as well as other human resource tasks for businesses that wish to outsource these duties. According to the SHRM, the HRM curriculum is created to prepare students for the difficulties encountered as a human resources manager or expert, training manager, labor relations specialist, benefits and compensation manager, and human resources consultant for businesses requiring such expertise. The SHRM's 2016 HR Jobs Pulse Survey shows typical duties held by HRM specialists. These consist of:

  • Compensation & benefits
  • Diversity/Equal Employment Opportunity compliance
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Health, safety, & security
  • Hiring & recruitment
  • Human resources consultancy
  • Human resources information technology & payroll systems
  • International workforce management
  • Labor relations
  • Organizational administration
  • Organizational communications
  • Organizational training & development

Depending on the business size, a skilled HRM specialist's job description might involve two or more of the duties listed in the SHRM survey. For instance, a mid-sized business could need an HRM specialist to supervise employee growth initiatives and safety and health protocols. However, a larger business might have human resource managers responsible for labor relations or managing a multinational workforce.


A human resources degree is a versatile and priceless certification that may prepare you for various careers in the human resources field. With a degree in human resources, you may develop important abilities, including teamwork, leadership, communication, and problem-solving.

The human resources degree provides learners with the aptitude and skills necessary to succeed in any HR profession, such as recruitment, training, salary, benefits, labor relations, and employee relations.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Is Human Resources Degree?

1. Is HR a good degree?

Yes, a degree in human resources can be a fantastic decision for people who want to work in managing people. Human resources is a vital function within firms, and the need for competent human resources experts is likely to increase.

A degree in human resources can offer individuals the information and abilities needed to excel in this industry. Human resource management, labor law, organizational behavior, benefits and wages, and employee relations are typical subjects in the curriculum.

Furthermore, obtaining a degree in human resources can give students prospects for job progression and increased earning potential. Many firms demand a bachelor's degree in human resources or a similar discipline for entry-level HR employment, while higher-level positions frequently require a master's degree.

2. What do human resources do?

Human resources (HR) is a department inside a business that is in charge of personnel management and making sure the organization's human capital is successfully utilized. Human resources' primary functions include:

  1. Recruitment and Selection: Human resources is in charge of attracting and hiring skilled applicants to fill unfilled jobs within the firm. Developing descriptions of positions, posting job opportunities, evaluating applications, interviewing individuals, and making hiring decisions are all part of the process.
  2. Employee Development and Training: Human Resources ensures that staff have the abilities and knowledge required to do their jobs successfully. This includes offering training and development opportunities, such as hands-on instruction, seminars, and workshops.
  3. Performance oversight: Human resources is in charge of evaluating employee performance and offering feedback to assist employees in developing their abilities and reaching their objectives. Setting performance objectives, performing performance reviews, and implementing performance improvement plans as needed are all part of this.
  4. Compliance: Human resources ensure the firm complies with all employment rules and regulations. This includes monitoring and enforcing rules, including the Labour Laws for that country/region.

Overall, the function of human resources is to manage the business's most precious asset - its people - and to guarantee that the business has the capacity and assets it requires to fulfil its objectives.

3. Is a Human Resources Degree Hard?

HR degrees can be challenging since they combine business and human relations training. However, students who prepare properly and follow good study habits should find this curriculum no more challenging than other business disciplines.

4. What are the best degrees in HR?

There are various degree possibilities in human resources (HR). The appropriate degree program for a person will depend on their job objectives and interests. Some of the most popular HR degrees are listed below:

  1. Bachelor's in Human Resources: A bachelor's degree in human resources is a standard degree program for people just beginning their careers in HR. Topics, including employment legislation, employee relations, pay and benefits, and human resource management, are all covered in this curriculum.
  2. Master's Degree in Human Resources: A master's degree in human resources is a more advanced degree program that gives individuals a more in-depth grasp of human resource management and leadership. This curriculum covers organizational behavior, staff administration, planning for success, and analytics for human resources.
  3. MBA with a Human Resources specialization: An MBA with a human resources specialization is a degree program that integrates business administration with HR management. This program includes financial accounting, marketing, management of operations, and human resource management.
  4. Industrial-Organizational Psychology Master's degree: A master's program in industrial-organizational psychology concentrates on the psychology of the workplace and the psychology of work. Topics, including job analysis, performance evaluation, learning and development, and organizational growth, are covered in this curriculum.
  5. Bachelor's or Master's in Labor Relations: The legal and policy facets of the employment interactions between management and labor unions are the emphasis of a labor relations degree. Topics, including collective bargaining, labor legislation, and grievance processes, are covered in this curriculum.

The ideal degree program for a particular person ultimately relies on their interests and job ambitions. People should thoroughly examine each program before selecting the one that best suits their professional goals.

Richard Mapfuise
This article was written by Richard a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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