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2023 Guide to the Best MBA in Human Resources Online Programs

Build standout business and people management skills by enrolling in an MBA in human resources online program. Find below information on the best programs available today, salary potential for MBA graduates, and much, much more.

An MBA in human resources combines sharp business skills with leading insights on how to successfully manage a business’s most important assets – its people. And through a quality, accredited online program, earning a human resources MBA has never been easier.
MBA human resources online programs feature the study convenience and flexibility that allows you to continue working and tending to all of life’s other responsibilities while pursuing your graduate studies.

Keep reading to get the details on some of the best MBA in human resources online programs available today, as well as learn about program curriculums, job opportunities for MBA graduates, and a whole lot more.

B-School Spotlights: Best MBA in Human Resources Online Programs in 2023

The best human resources online MBA programs are affordable, flexible, and accessible. They combine a solid foundational business education with specialized courses in human resources. These programs prepare graduates for HR leadership roles in organizations and businesses in all sectors of the economy. We’ve spotlighted below three of the very best online MBA in human resources programs available in 2023 to give you an idea of what you should expect from the program you choose. These spotlights also offer a preview of our full program ranking which will be arriving next year, so be sure to check back.

Montclair State University

The online MBA in human resources management program from New Jersey’s Montclair State University teaches students to master the diverse competencies required by HR professionals. The program’s curriculum consists of 39 credits and requires as few as 24 months to complete. Students without prior academic coursework in accounting, statistics, and/or finance may need to complete foundational courses in these subjects before registering for MBA courses.

This MBA in HR is presented 100% online in an asynchronous format. Most MBA applicants admitted into the program have two to three years of professional work experience, but strong academic credentials, personal statements, and recommendations may be suitable substitutes. GMAT/GRE scores are required but may be waived for applicants meeting waiver qualifications, like a 3.0 or higher undergraduate GPA or a previously earned master’s degree in another major.

Applications to Montclair State’s online MBA in HR program are accepted on a rolling basis. Montclair’s Feliciano School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU)

SOSU’s online MBA with a Concentration in Human Resources is designed for those seeking careers as HR managers, HR specialists, or compensation and benefits managers. This MBA in HR online program prepares future HR specialists to lead corporate HR functions with confidence.

Strategic decision-making and supervisory management knowledge and skills gained in this fully online program give graduates a significant competitive advantage in the job marketplace. Course topics include finance fundamentals, accounting, economics, behavior management, research, and data analysis. Particular emphasis is placed on human connectivity and real-world HR applications.

The total cost for SOSU’s MBA in HR online program is $12,132, and its 36 credit hours can be completed in as few as 12 months. Admissions requirements include an online application, a bachelor’s degree, and a minimum 2.5 GPA. A GMAT score is not required. Students can choose from multiple start dates throughout the year. The John Massey School of Business at SOSU is accredited by AACSB.

Colorado Technical University

The online MBA in Human Resource Management from Colorado Technical University is designed for students with solid business backgrounds who want to concentrate specifically on careers in HR leadership. Exploring HR as it relates to a range of industries, the program teaches students how to navigate business fundamentals and HR principles through coursework in employment law, staffing, job design, and employee compensation and benefits. Concentration courses in operational HR management and managing development and change build on core business principles and culminate in the completion of a management capstone project.

Colorado Tech’s MBA in HR online program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and its curriculum aligns with Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) guidelines. Students can complete all program requirements in as little as a year. Classes are five-and-a-half weeks long and begin every eight weeks. The program requires a total of 48 credits, with 32 devoted to business administration and 16 to HR management.

What to Expect from an Online MBA in Human Resources Program

MBA in HR online programs are designed to be student-friendly. This is accomplished by incorporating a number of convenience and flexibility features and options, like self-paced study, accelerated course sequences, and asynchronous class delivery that allows students to fit coursework into their own busy schedules. In addition, many programs are presented 100% online with no required on-campus visits of any kind. In addition to providing advanced business and human resources academics, many MBA in HR online programs (like Liberty University’s MBA in HR) prepare students to pursue any number of HR professional certifications. Examples include the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).

Online MBA in human resources programs combine coursework in core business topics like economics, accounting, marketing, and business policy and strategy, with HR-specific courses like the following:

Common MBA in HR Online Courses

  • Compensation and Benefits

    Courses on compensation and benefits focus on reward systems from various perspectives. Specific topics include writing job descriptions, performing job evaluations, and other essentials related to wages and salaries, such as profit sharing and bonus plans.

  • Recruiting, Retention and Succession

    Courses in recruiting, retention, and succession examine all aspects of employee selection, performance, and career development processes. Emphasis is given to the strategic implications of HR management. Included are discussions of the legal, ethical, and economic factors involved in HR practices.

  • Training and Development

    The Training and Development course covers the subjects of adult education, principles and theories of human performance improvement, and instructional design. It looks at how HR departments can enhance employee performance and manage change. Additional topics include succession planning, onboarding, orientation, performance appraisals, and coaching.

  • Human Resource Management

    Overview of various personnel management systems and how they work together to support an organization’s strategy. Students gain a foundational understanding of the modern methods of selection, appraising, training, and solving personnel problems.

  • Leadership/Supervisory Skills

    This course provides a review of leadership/supervisory theories of communication, motivation, performance appraisal, training, and employee development. Additional topics include leadership development motivation, influence, power, decision–making, and leadership effectiveness.

What You Can Do with an MBA in Human Resources

An MBA in human resources prepares graduates for a number of HR-specific careers while additionally providing a solid business base that reaches beyond the human resources field. While many companies still employ their own HR specialists, outsourcing of HR services is becoming more common. Regardless of how human resource services are administered, the demand for HR professionals is strong and expected to remain so into the foreseeable future. Individuals with certification and/or an MBA or other master’s degree, especially those concentrating in human resources management, have the best prospects for filling HR management roles when compared to job seekers with only a bachelor’s degree lacking advanced HR training.

Below are five careers common to graduate of MBA in human resources programs

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers plan, coordinate, and direct the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee the acquisition new staff and consult with top executives on strategic personnel planning. An MBA in human resources provides job seekers with the advanced business knowledge and HR expertise to stand out in the job market, especially when vying for senior-level positions.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$68,300

$116,720

$205,720

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Human Resources Specialist

Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place employees. They often handle tasks associated with employee relations, compensation, benefits, and training. An MBA opens advancement opportunities for human resources specialists both inside and beyond the department.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$37,180

$61,920

$105,930

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Compensation and Benefits Manager

As the title implies, compensation and benefits managers oversee employee compensation and benefits plans within organizations. Responsibilities include setting up pay and benefits structures, monitoring competitive wages, and ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$69,870

$122,270

$208,000

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Training and Development Manager

Training and development managers plan, coordinate, and direct internal training programs. They assess employee training needs and align training programs to meet organizational goals. An MBA is preferred by many employers for this position since it involves engaging with individuals at all levels within organizations.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$64,720

$113,350

$196,070

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Labor Relations Specialist

Labor relations specialists interpret and administer labor contracts related to wages, healthcare, pensions, and management practices. They facilitate and lead interactions between management and labor, and investigate labor grievances. MBA in HR students develop the decision-making, interpersonal, and communication skills essential for excelling in labor relation specialist roles.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$19,230

$69,020

$124,380

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online MBA Degrees in Human Resources

Pursuing an MBA in human resources online requires a significant financial commitment, so you’ll want to have a plan for paying for your education in place before enrolling. Available financial aid resources include scholarships, grants, assistantships and fellowships, VA benefits (for active military and veterans), employee tuition reimbursement program, and federal, state, and private student loans.

Most schools provide information on funding options through their financial aid offices and on their websites. For example, Liberty University’s Scholarship Opportunities offers detailed information on both in-house and external scholarships available to their online students, including those in master’s programs. Another example, the University of Southern Indiana, provides information on student loans, Federal Work-Study, and graduate assistantships.

Be sure to visit OMD’s financial aid page for more information and guidance on degree program funding options.

How Much Your Online MBA in Human Resources Might Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

30

$430

$12,900

45

$565 (full-time)

$615 (part-time)

$25,425 (full-time)

$27,675 (part-time)

36-42

$842

$30,313 – $35,364

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Human Resources MBA Programs

What are the typical admissions requirements for an online MBA in Human Resources?

Quality online MBA in human resources programs require a bachelor’s degree earned with a stated minimum cumulative GPA (typically 3.0). Common application materials include a complete admissions application, official college transcripts, current résumé, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and proof of English language proficiency (for international students). Additional admissions requirements may include:

  • Undergraduate business course prerequisites. Many programs have specific course requirements for all applicants, while others waive this requirement in lieu of qualifying GMAT scores.
  • Minimum GMAT or GRE score. Some programs consider waiving this requirement based on undergraduate business prerequisites and minimum GPAs. Some programs have no GMAT/GRE requirements of any kind.

Are there quality online Human Resources MBA programs that don’t require the GMAT?

GMAT requirements vary from program to program. As mentioned above, some programs (like Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s) program, have done away with GMAT requirements completely. Others, like Montclair State University’s program require GMAT or GRE scores but waive the requirement for applicants meeting certain qualifications. Still others programs (like Colorado Technical University’s) use GMAT scores of 500 or above to waive prerequisite course requirements for students coming from non-business bachelor’s programs.

How long will it take to finish my MBA in Human Resources online?

MBA in human resources online program lengths vary from as little as a year to up to 27 months, with total credits ranging from 30 to 48. Factors impacting program length include individual pacing, accelerated curriculum options, and part-time versus full-time study. Additionally, programs like the MBA in HR at Liberty University allow for transfer credits of up to 50% of the degree total, allowing the potential for substantially shorter completion times.

Can I earn my MBA in Human Resources 100% online or do I need to go to campus?

Most MBA in HR online programs, including all of those featured here, are 100% online. Some schools, like Johnson & Wales University, offer self-paced MBAs with an accelerated schedule. Others, like the MBA in HR from Montclair University, feature asynchronous content delivery allows for a highly personalized approach to study pace. To meet the needs of today’s busy professionals, many online MBA programs focusing on HR require little, if any, online collaboration.

What’s the difference between an MBA in Human Resources and a Master’s in Human Resources?

An MBA in HR provides substantial business skills enhanced with specialized knowledge and training in human resources management. A master’s degree in HR focuses primarily on HR coursework is suited to those who already have a solid business education foundation. Both degrees qualify you for careers in the human resources field. However, a master’s degree in HR prepares you specifically for HR management positions while an MBA with an HR concentration provides you with a comprehensive business education alongside an HR concentration suitable for a wider range of business occupations.

Does a master’s in human resources sound like the better degree choice for you? Then be sure to check out OMD’s guide to the best online master’s degrees in human resources.