Welcome to our list of affordable online Master’s in Human Resources degree programs.
Any serious company with more than just a handful of employees undoubtedly has a human resources department. The professionals who work in this department must have a keen understanding of business and managerial techniques, but also must possess the unique ability to connect with employees and solve conflicts. Of course, most people aren’t just born with these skills, which is why a graduate degree can come in handy!
If you have already entered the business world and are thinking of making the transition to human resources, an online master’s degree in human resources management might be right up your alley. You can gain all the knowledge you need to excel in HR – without ever entering a classroom!
The 20 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Human Resource Management Ranking Methodology
For this ranking, we looked for public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities that offer graduate degrees in human resources management online. Because the focus of this list is on affordability, we only considered programs with average* tuition rates of $20,000/year or less.
We also limited our search to programs that are accredited by one of the three business-related accrediting agencies: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).
*For public schools, we calculated the average value of their in-state and out-of-state rates.
After compiling a list of all the colleges that offer online master’s in human resources degree programs and meet the above criteria, we then collected data in three categories:
- Program Popularity: How many graduate students choose to earn their MBA or master’s degree in human resources over other business-related programs? To find out, we looked at both the number of students who earned their master’s degree in HR in the 2015-16 school year as well as the percentage of all business program graduates that that number represents.
- Accreditation: Which specialized business accreditation agency has approved the program’s curriculum? For this category, we awarded points based on the reputation of the agency (AACSB > ACBSP > IACBE).
- Affordability: What is the average annual cost of attendance?
After collecting and sorting all the information, we ranked the candidates according to their performance in each area. Finally, we summed up the results and gave each school a final score using a curve so that the top-scoring program earned an even 100 points.
Read more about the best cheap online MBA in human resource management programs below!
Cheap Online MBAs in Human Resources Management Ranked
20. Concordia University-Wisconsin
Online Master of Business Administration in Human Resource Management
Given its flexible scheduling, required internship, and affordable tuition, it’s easy to see why CUW’s cheap online MBA in human resource management has repeatedly earned accolades from online so that services. In addition, the program features a broad curriculum that covers an impressive range of topics. For example, you’ll learn how to implement competitive employee compensation strategies, aid in conflict resolution, and work with diverse risk management tools. You’ll also complete a 120-hour internship where you put your skills to work in a business setting. Graduates go on to find careers as training and development managers, recruitment directors, risk managers, and more, proving that there’s something for everyone in Concordia – Wisconsin’s MBA program.
Average Tuition & Fees: $10,290/yr
19. Florida International University
Online MS in Human Resource Management
Florida International University looked to industry experts when designing its accredited online master’s degree in human resource management. And its goal was simple: ensure that students will graduate with the skills they need to succeed. The result? A year-long program that stresses skill development (e.g. critical thinking and problem solving) through relevant, concept-focused classes like “High Involvement Human Resource Management” and “Wellness Management.” As a degree candidate, you’ll also acquire practical experience through professional development seminars and possibly an HR internship. Plus, select FIU students can take advantage of a free year-long membership to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Average Tuition & Fees: $17,650/yr
18. National University
Online Master of Arts Human Resource Management
Active-duty military and veterans, in particular, will want to give National University a look. Founded nearly 50 years ago by a veteran, the school is dedicated to providing military students and their families with degrees they can earn from anywhere. Today, National holds a Military-Friendly designation and offers both financial and academic support to its military students. Of course, both enlisted service members and civilians can benefit from National’s affordable online master’s in human resources degree program. The comprehensive curriculum relies on case studies, hands-on learning, and plenty of theory to provide a well-rounded look at HR management. Finally, it wraps up with a research seminar and thesis to help you synthesize what you’ve learned.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,232/yr
17. Wilmington University
Online MSM with a Concentration in Human Resource Management
Wilmington University offers a cheap online master’s in human resources degree program as a concentration within its broader Master of Science in Management (MSM). In this versatile program, you’ll acquire crucial leadership skills and learn to view your work within the context of the global marketplace. And of course, the HR management concentration will take you through all the ins and outs of human resources. You’ll even design and implement an integrative independent study project in an area of your choice. On top of all that, Wilmington gives you the option to add on a professional certificate in a related field like Certified Project Management or Senior Professional HR Management.
Average Tuition & Fees: $8,240/yr
16. University of Saint Mary
Online MBA Human Resources Concentration
All of the University of St. Mary’s distance degrees offer several start dates per year and are available 100% online, making them a great fit for working adults with busy schedules. Of course, the school’s accredited MBA in HR online program is no exception. This program covers conflict management, organizational change, and training, among other topics. And because the Human Resources concentration folds into the larger MBA program, it makes a particularly great choice for students who want to ground their HR studies in traditional business concepts. And if you’re looking for a program that offers ongoing assistance, you’ll appreciate St. Mary’s 24-hour support center and dedicated academic counselors.
Average Tuition & Fees: $10,764/yr
15. Charleston Southern University
Online Master of Science in Human Resource Management
If cost is your biggest concern, you’ll want to consider the cheap online master’s degree in human resource management at Charleston Southern University. With tuition averaging just under $3,800, this is the most affordable program on this list. However, it may not be the best option for non-locals, as the degree requires students to commute to the Charleston campus one night a week. But if you do live locally, you’ll find these trips well worth it to gain access to the program’s comprehensive curriculum and relevant, career-focused electives.
Average Tuition & Fees: $3,790/yr
14. Dallas Baptist University
Online M.A. in Management: Human Resource Management
The top online master’s degree in human resource management at Dallas Baptist University focuses on essential industry concepts like strategic salary allocation, litigation, and personnel development. At the same time, the curriculum also covers more general business coursework ranging from leadership and finance to ethics. Thanks to its Baptist affiliation, DBU also incorporates the concept of servant-leadership into its classes. For example, the required capstone course asks you to apply your newfound skills to an organizational problem and then implement your proposed solution in a real business environment.
Average Tuition & Fees: $16,208/yr
13. Southern New Hampshire University
Online MBA in Human Resources
Southern New Hampshire University has been offering an MBA program for more than 40 years, so providing the degree to distance learners was a natural next step. Today, students who pursue the school’s accredited online MBA in human resource management benefit from its flexibility, networking opportunities, and robust support network. To that first point, SNHU offers rolling applications and five graduate start dates; you might even be exempt from certain core classes if you’ve covered the topics during your undergrad years. And if you want to augment your résumé with additional credentials, you can pursue a graduate certificate in Human Resources Management by taking just a few extra courses.
Average Tuition & Fees: $18,810/yr
12. Clemson University
Online Master of Human Resource Development
At Clemson, the Master of Human Resource Development focuses on developing your strategic thinking and problem-solving skills. The idea here is that these skills will help you address any issues in your organization, even as technology changes the nature of these problems. But the curriculum also makes sure to address key concepts – like instructional systems design, organizational improvement, and talent management – that will have lasting relevance to your career. Lastly, Clemson stands out on this online master’s in human resources degree program ranking by offering an emphasis in Athletic Leadership, which includes four courses that ready you for a career in collegiate athletics.
Average Tuition & Fees: $14,481/yr
11. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Online Master’s in HR Management
The SHRM-aligned curriculum at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota grants you plenty of flexibility in charting your path. Whether you want to become an HR generalist or focus on a specific area (e.g., payroll or recruitment), the school’s accredited online master’s degree in human resource management can help you get there. It’s also a great choice for working adults with particularly busy schedules, as you can take all classes asynchronously and won’t need to visit campus at all. You’ll even receive an iPad pre-loaded with the school’s online learning platform, so you don’t need to worry about setting up the technological component of your studies.
Average Tuition & Fees: $8,100/yr
10. University of Scranton
Online Master of Science in Human Resources
The University of Scranton developed a list of five guidelines for HR leaders that form the foundation to its affordable online master’s in human resources degree program. The guidelines range from inspirational (“Never Stop Learning”) to pragmatic (“Mind Your Metrics”), shaping the theme of each course while also demonstrating the school’s commitment to its Jesuit values. Of course, the curriculum also hits upon hands- on learning through a capstone that asks you to apply what you’ve learned to real-life scenarios. And on the logistical side, the program boasts six start dates per year and a two-year timeline that requires no campus visits.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,402/yr
9. Utah State University
Online Master of Human Resources
While looking into Utah State University’s affordable online master’s in human resources degree program, keep in mind that only out-of-state residents can take advantage of the fully online option. If you live in Utah, however, you’ll need to visit the school’s regional campuses for some courses. Those who do enroll will appreciate USU’s focus on giving online learners the on-campus experience: Classes are live-streamed from the Salt Lake campus, so you can participate in real time. You can also opt for a one- or two-year course plan, depending on your schedule. Finally, ambitious students might want to consider the dual MHR and MBA program to give their résumé a boost.
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,932/yr
8. Western Carolina University
Online Master’s Degree in Human Resources
Western Carolina University incorporated “knowledge areas and competencies” from some of the country’s leading HR organizations while developing its top online master’s degree in human resource management. The two-year program teaches students to become HR leaders who are ethical, strategic, relationship-focused, and able to support their organization’s needs. Indeed, the dynamic curriculum includes classes that apply to any environment (e.g. “Human Resource Development,” “Human Resources Research & Evaluation Methods”) and some that prepare you for specific careers (e.g. “HR Consulting”). You can also choose among quite a few electives to bring further focus to your studies.
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,396/yr
7. Fitchburg State University
Online Master of Business Administration in Human Resources Management
If you’re looking for a way to earn a cheap MBA in HR online while still cultivating relationships with classmates and instructors, check out Fitchburg State University. Here, you’ll participate in lively online discussions and group work as you advance through the program, giving you a chance to network and learn from your classmates. But a collaborative environment isn’t all FSU has going for it: It’s also affordable, flexible, and quick — you can finish in just 12 months of full-time study. Plus, its IACBE accreditation means the curriculum aligns with international business education standards and readies you for work in both business and administration.
Average Tuition & Fees: $5,742/yr
6. Central Michigan University
Online Master of Business Administration (MBA): Human Resource Management
Although Central Michigan University’s top online MBA in human resource management is technically a concentration of the broader MBA program, don’t let that distinction worry you: The degree leaves you well-prepared to use data, fiscal management, and team-building practices in any environment. You’ll also take HR-specific classes that touch on management and hiring, while an organizational development capstone will walk you through the process of planning and implementing change at a high level. As an added perk, state employees, their spouses, and their dependents all qualify for a generous 15% tuition discount, helping reduce the cost of this already affordable program.
Average Tuition & Fees: $15,224/yr
5. Tiffin University
Online MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management
Tiffin asks its students to draw on their life experiences in the classroom, which leads to lively class discussions and new perspectives on important topics. As you earn the school’s cheap online MBA in human resource management, you’ll benefit not only from classmates who come from myriad fields but from faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping you succeed. In fact, Tiffin frequently draws praise from graduates specifically because of its personal support network. And on the academic front, you’ll take highly focused courses that provide in-depth reviews of specific topics like “Managerial Economics,” “Negotiations and Conflict Management,” and “Human Resource Planning and Talent Acquisition.”
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,600/yr
4. Ottawa University
Online Master of Arts in Human Resources
As the role of the human resources professional has evolved from an administrator to a high-level strategic planner, Ottawa University has updated its M.A. in HR accordingly. Today, the program uses case studies and research to help you develop the skills you need to guide your organization. The program also stands out on this online master’s degree in human resource management ranking for its two concentrations: Population Health/Health Care Management and Leadership and Management. Both options bring focus to your studies and help you stand out from the competition as you apply for jobs. In particular, the Population Health concentration provides a rare opportunity to acquire specialized HR training as it pertains to hospitals and other healthcare settings.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,485/yr
3. Brenau University
Online Master of Business Administration in Human Resource Management
The best and most effective HR managers have experience in both HR and business, according to Brenau University. That’s why its MBA program teaches you to take sound HR practices and incorporate them into your company’s larger strategy and mission. As you earn this accredited MBA in HR online, you’ll focus on key topics like talent acquisition, employment law, total rewards, and more. Plus, you’ll take at least one “Global Sequence” class to gain a worldly perspective and understand your role in a larger context. With options such as “International Finance,” “Cross-Cultural Business Challenges,” and “International Travel Experience,” there’s no doubt you’ll find something that appeals.
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,136/yr
2. Indiana State University
Online MS in Human Resource Development
At Indiana State University, the accredited M.S. in HR has lots to offer any student. For one, it’s a flexible program you can customize to meet your career goals by designing your own specialization. Alternatively, you can choose a ready-made specialization in Higher Education and Industry – the perfect option if you want to work in government, social services, or education. It’s also one of the few programs on this online master’s in human resources degree program ranking to require an internship, which you can complete while still retaining your current employment. Plus, the program is quick: You can finish it in only one and a half years of full-time study.
Average Tuition & Fees: $10,757/yr
1. Colorado State University-Global Campus
Online Master of Human Resource Management
The folks who developed CSU’s master’s in human resource management know that graduates will want to pursue various careers in the field, so they created a flexible curriculum that will help you meet your goals. Indeed, courses prioritize the development of critical thinking, time management, problem solving, and other versatile skills. This program is also an especially suitable choice for students who are concerned about earning an accredited MBA in HR online that’s overly traditional or broad in its focus. In fact, Colorado State’s program provides a uniquely contemporary perspective by emphasizing 21st-century topics like data, metrics, systems, and critical analysis.
Average Tuition & Fees: $9,000/yr
Thanks for reading our ranking of the 20 top cheap MBAs in HR online!
Published April 2018