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In today’s dynamic business landscape, obtaining an MBA in human resources can unlock numerous career opportunities. These programs give students the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in HR leadership roles across diverse industries. Graduates are prepared for high-paying positions such as:

  • HR managers, with a median salary of $126,230
  • Training and Development Managers, with a median salary of $120,130
  • Compensation and Benefits Managers, with a median salary of $127,530

Online MBA programs offer the flexibility to study at your own pace, typically taking around two to three years to complete. While costs vary, the average tuition for online MBA programs was $19,749 for the 2020-2021 academic year.

How to Choose an Online MBA in Human Resources

Choose your area of study

You may want to concentrate your MBA in human resources, but you can focus your studies further by choosing an additional specialization. Specializations within HR, such as talent management, training and development, and organizational development, allow students to develop expertise in specific areas. The specialization that you choose will depend on your unique career goals.

For example, students interested in recruitment and talent acquisition may find a talent management specialization suitable. In contrast, those interested in shaping organizational culture and improving employee engagement may opt for organizational development. Training and development may be attractive to those interested in enhancing corporate-level education.

Research schools and programs

Once you’ve chosen your specialization within HR, you can research the schools and programs that align best with your professional goals. Explore university websites, program descriptions, and course offerings to identify schools that offer specialized tracks or concentrations in your area of interest. You can also leverage resources like rankings, student testimonials, and industry publications for insights into program reputation and quality.

Prepare for tests and applications

Now that you know the programs and schools you plan on applying to, it’s time to prepare for tests and applications. First, thoroughly research the admissions requirements for your target programs and ensure that you meet all criteria. While many schools have similar admissions requirements, they may have specific prerequisite courses if your bachelor’s degree was in a different field than business or Human Resources. You will want to watch for any requirements that may differ depending on the program.

You can also prepare for standardized tests, like the GRE or GMAT, by utilizing study resources like practice exams and enrolling in a test preparation course.

Select your program

Once you have received offers of admission, the next step is to select the program that meets your needs. You’ll want to carefully evaluate the program’s reputation, accreditation, and faculty expertise in HR. Assessing the curriculum and course offerings, particularly in your desired specializations, is crucial. Additionally, consider the program’s flexibility and networking opportunities. These opportunities are essential for online programs, as they typically lack the networking opportunities that in-person programs are known for.

Lastly, compare tuition costs and financial aid options. Tuition prices can vary significantly between schools, and you’ll want to be sure that your program has adequate financial aid resources to help alleviate the financial burden.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

While the cost of higher education can be significant, there are many financial aid resources to reduce your debt load. With the proper planning, you can eliminate it entirely.

First, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will determine your eligibility for federal student loans, grants, and work-study programs. Additionally, research and apply for scholarships and grants targeted explicitly towards MBA students or those pursuing careers in HR. Many universities and private organizations offer scholarships based on merit, need, or diversity.

If you’re actively employed, check with your employer about tuition reimbursement programs. These programs cover a portion of your tuition if you continue working in the same industry.

Best 52 Accredited Online MBA in Human Resources Programs

Best MBA in Human Resources Programs Badge

Johnson & Wales University

Liberty University

Columbia College

University of North Alabama

Southern New Hampshire University

National University

Lynn University

Concordia University

Fort Hays State University

Averett University

Campbellsville University

McKendree University

Webster University

Union University

City University of Seattle

University of Mary

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

University of Wisconsin - Whitewater

Anderson University

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Fitchburg State University

Maryville University

Everglades University

University of St. Francis

Pittsburg State University

California State University, Stanislaus

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Montclair State University

North Greenville University

University of Northern Colorado

North Carolina A&T State University

Oklahoma State University

Regis University

University of Scranton

DeSales University

University of West Florida

University of Houston at Victoria

University of Southern Indiana

Wayne State University

Clayton State University

University of North Texas

Regent University

University of Houston - Clear Lake

Nova Southeastern University

University of Bridgeport

Northwest Missouri State University

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How We Rank Schools

This list features some of the best online MBA in human resources programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. Many of the schools on our list have been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which assesses business-related programs’ objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, reputation, and the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online MBA in human resources programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect From an Online MBA in Human Resources?

An online MBA in human resources is a wide-ranging degree program that will prepare you for leadership roles in the field. Curriculums typically cover various aspects of HR management, including talent acquisition, employee relations, compensation and benefits, organizational development, training and development, and strategic HR planning.

The duration of an MBA in this field varies, but it usually takes around two years to complete full-time. Part-time and online options may be available for those who need additional flexibility.

While some programs may require occasional on-campus sessions or residencies — especially for networking events, team projects, or specialized workshops — many programs are entirely online. This flexibility can make earning higher education possible for working professionals who must balance their learning with a full-time job or other responsibilities.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online MBA in human resources program

  • Strategic Human Resources Management: Often a required course for MBA students concentrating in Human Resources, this class explores the strategic role of HR in achieving organizational goals. Students will learn to align HR practices with business strategies, assess human capital needs, and develop HR plans supporting corporate objectives. They will gain knowledge of strategic workforce planning, talent management, and succession planning.
  • Employee Training and Development: As one of the most in-demand specialties within this field, this course teaches the theories, strategies, and practices involved in effectively training and developing employees within organizations. Students explore techniques for conducting needs assessments, designing training programs, delivering engaging training sessions, and evaluating the effectiveness of training initiatives.
  • Organizational Behavior: A critical cornerstone of Human Resources, this class teaches the psychological, social, and managerial aspects that influence individual and group organizational behavior. Students study motivation, leadership, communication, and organizational culture.
  • Talent Acquisition and Marketing: Another in-demand specialty, this class focuses on effective recruitment strategies and techniques to attract, select, and retain top talent. Students will learn about sourcing methods, candidate evaluation, interviewing techniques, and talent development strategies. They will understand how to align talent acquisition with organizational goals and create a positive candidate experience.

What Can You Do With an Online MBA in Human Resources?

Career outlook

The career outlook is positive for students earning an online human resources MBA. The HR field has experienced slow but steady growth over the past several decades, which seems likely to continue. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the need for human resource specialists will increase by eight percent by 2031, requiring roughly 58,800 new professionals to meet demand. These specialists are paid a median salary of $62,290 annually, with the top ten percent making more than $108,160.

Career paths

An online MBA in human resources equips individuals for various management and leadership positions within HR departments. Large companies throughout the economy employ HR professionals, from business and industry to healthcare and transportation. Organizations with large and complex HR functions, such as multinational corporations or government agencies, may need MBA-trained professionals more.

Numerous specializations can be accessed by those earning an MBA in human resources. These lead to a variety of possible positions, including the following career paths:

  • HR consultant — works with organizations on a contractual basis, providing expert advice
  • Talent acquisition manager — develop recruitment strategies to attract top talent
  • Compensation and benefits manager — design and administer compensation and benefits programs
  • Training and development manager — identify training needs and design and implement training programs
  • Employee relations manager — create and maintain a positive work environment

Human Resources Specialist

Earning Potential: $37,680-$108,160

Education Required: bachelor’s degree in business, HR, or related field; MBA in HR

HR specialists select, screen, and interview job candidates, considering the specific needs of the organization for whom they are hiring. They check applicants’ references and do any necessary background checks. HR specialists need to have an excellent understanding of the benefits and challenges of specific jobs to convey this information to applicants. They handle new or existing employees’ compensation, benefits, training, and orientations. They may keep employment records and should have good general computer skills to maintain employee databases.

Human Resources Manager

Earning Potential: $75,000-$208,000+

Education Required: bachelor’s degree in business, HR, or related field; MBA in HR

HR managers plan, coordinate, and direct the administrative functions of an organization’s HR department. They are employed in nearly every industry sector, from healthcare to IT, and are generally found in companies with over a dozen or so employees. These individuals may coordinate employees’ job duties and liaise between management and staff. They oversee the recruitment and hiring of new staff and orientation or training for new or existing employees. They handle employee disputes or complaints and direct any necessary disciplinary processes. They consult with managers of other departments about HR issues such as sexual harassment claims and may work with senior leadership to determine staff needs.

Organizational Development Manager

Earning Potential: $117,082-$153,012

Education Required: bachelor’s degree in business, HR, or related field; MBA in HR or organizational development

Organizational development managers work to enhance an organization’s effectiveness and efficiency by taking a close look at its structure, culture, and processes. Then, they develop and implement initiatives and training to improve teamwork, leadership development, and overall performance at the organizational level. OD managers must have a deep understanding of organizational structure and the ability to translate that understanding into actionable programs and procedures that improve a company’s ability to meet its goals. OD managers may oversee other staff members and are likely to work with leadership teams and liaise between management and employees.

Online MBA in Human Resources Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online MBA in human resources degree program?

You can begin applying at most institutions through the university’s admissions portal. The specific requirements may vary, but standard requirements include providing official transcripts from previous institutions, submitting a resume or CV, writing a statement of purpose, and obtaining letters of recommendation. Some programs may require GMAT or GRE scores, while others have moved to test-optional policies. In addition, many schools will require prerequisite coursework if your bachelor’s degree is in a field other than business or a closely related industry.

It’s essential to consult with an admissions counselor in the early stages of your application preparation for additional guidance and assistance in preparing a solid application. They can help you gather accurate information about specific program requirements and ensure a smooth application process.

How much does an online MBA in human resources degree cost?

As of the 2020-2021 academic year, the cost of an online MBA averages $19,749. However, some institutions may charge higher or lower rates depending on the program’s reputation and duration.

When budgeting for your MBA, it’s crucial to remember the additional costs associated with earning your degree. These costs can include course materials, technology fees, textbooks, and any required residencies or in-person components for online programs. While these costs can add up, remember that you can always seek financial aid options to help alleviate a portion of the cost.

How long does it take to earn an online MBA in human resources degree?

The timeline of completing your online MBA in human resources can vary depending on program structure, credit requirements, and whether you’re enrolled part- or full-time. On average, a full-time MBA program can be completed in approximately two years, while part-time enrollment may extend the duration to three or more years.

Since online programs allow for a certain degree of flexibility, they may have different completion times than their in-person counterparts. It’s important to note that the total number of required credits can also impact program duration — with most MBA programs requiring 32-54 credits to complete degree requirements.

Is an online MBA in human resources worth it?

The value of an MBA in human resources depends on your circumstances, goals, and career aspirations. It allows you to consider employment in various industries and organizations, including higher education, government work, and the nonprofit world. The field is growing slowly but steadily, so you will likely find a good selection of jobs available upon graduation.

Your MBA opens the door to more lucrative positions in the human resource world. According to, a talent acquisition manager with an MBA and five years of experience earns a median annual salary of $128,940.

Your MBA provides a strong foundation of basic business fundamentals, including finance, marketing, and operations, which makes you more versatile and desirable to employers, allowing you to contribute to a business’s general operations and provide a broader view of business operations.

Earning your degree online gives you the flexibility that an on-campus program can’t offer. It shows employers that you have excellent time management skills, self-motivation, and the ability to juggle multiple priorities to pursue your education.