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HR personnel meeting employee

MSc in Human Resource Management

This qualification is suitable for those at the start of a career in HR or hoping to enter the HR profession and also line managers. This MSc combines an in-depth understanding of human resource (HR) management with a broader exploration of its organisational and management context. Whether you’re at the start of your career in HR, aspiring to enter HR or an experienced professional, it will give you up-to-date knowledge of organisational theory and behaviour and the specialist skills essential to practitioners. You will explore HR strategy both within organisations (including issues such as employee relations and employee engagement; learning and development, and employee resourcing and talent management) and in relation to the external environment – including globalisation and international forces, social and technological change and government policies and regulation.

Key features of the course

  • Develops the skills essential for HR work such as: leading and working in teams, making decisions, managing  financial information, communicating effectively and helping others to learn
  • A strong emphasis on practice-based learning; you will be asked to evaluate research and theory and consider its relevance to practice
  • Develops academic and research skills such as assessing information and critically evaluating its relevance, and prepares you for higher level study.
The qualification provides a route to professional membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Students following this route are expected to be student members of CIPD throughout their studies and attend the Human resource management residential school

Masters degree

Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
2–7 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


You should study the modules in the order shown. However if you wish to start in May, you can do so by taking Workplace learning with coaching and mentoring (B867) first as a standalone module. When you register for The human resource professional (B863) and meet the entry requirements for the qualification, B867 can be linked to the qualification.  

As part of this qualification you'll need to study two optional modules. We strongly recommend that you study Employment relations and employee engagement (B866) and Workplace learning with coaching and mentoring (B867), rather than Managing research in the workplace (B865), as the research methods and work-based project elements for the MSc in HRM are covered by the compulsory module Dissertation (HRM) (B804). 

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

60 credits of compulsory modules:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
The human resource professional (B863)

This module provides an introduction to the various requirements of a human resource professional in an organisation. 

See full description

30 02 Nov 2019
Human resource management in context (B864)

This module examines how HR policies and practices operate at macro (societal and international) and micro (organisational) levels, incorporating resourcing and talent management as examples of HR practice.

See full description

30 02 May 2020

60 credits from this list:

Optional modules Credits Next start
Managing research in the workplace (B865)

This module provides students with an introduction to research skills in order for them to complete a live, work-related research project.

See full description

30 02 Nov 2019 FINAL
Employment relations and employee engagement (B866)

This module explores employment relations strategies in national and international contexts and the associated impacts on employee engagement, as well as the management of change, diversity and conflict.

See full description

30 02 Nov 2019
Workplace learning with coaching and mentoring (B867)

This module explores learning and talent development at strategic and operational levels and provides an opportunity to develop coaching and mentoring skills.

See full description

30 02 May 2020

a final 60 credit compulsory module:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Dissertation (HRM) (B804)

This is the final module in the MSc in Human Resource Management (HRM). You will carry out a research project and write a dissertation based on a work-based project. 

See full description

60 02 Nov 2019

For CIPD recognition of this qualification:

The MSc in Human Resource Management is complemented by a three day residential school that provides an additional opportunity to practise and receive feedback on HR skills. The residential school is compulsory for those seeking CIPD membership and is optional for all other students. 

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Human resource management residential school (BXR868)

A residential school only module in human resource management that is required for CIPD accreditation of both the Postgraduate Diploma and the MSc in Human Resource Management.

See full description

0 02 May 2020

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 20th March 2019.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

If you’ve successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you might be able to count it towards this qualification, reducing the number of modules you need to study. You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you will be awarded the qualification of Masters in Human Resource Management entitling you to use the letters MSc HRM (Open) after your name.

You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Entry requirements

You must hold a bachelors degree awarded by a recognised UK university, or equivalent. Please contact us if you hold a qualification that you believe is an equivalent level to a UK degree, to ensure that it meets the requirements for admission.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 6.5 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.

You will need to be able to draw on experience of working in or with organisations. This experience can be drawn from a wide range of situations such as employment in public and private sector organisations and in self-employed or voluntary roles.

How long it takes

Most students study this qualification in three years by studying 60 credits a year. From November 2015, the minimum time to complete has been two years by studying more than one module at a time. The maximum time to complete is seven years.

Career relevance

This qualification provides a route to professional membership of the CIPD if you wish to develop a career in HR management. It also considers international examples of human resource management and some aspects of comparative HR practice, helping to prepare you for work in the global economy. If you want to develop an academic career, the course provides training in research and academic skills and is ideal preparation for doctoral studies in the field of HR management. 

More generally, by studying a postgraduate business qualification you can expect your salary to increase and for it to have a positive impact on your career progression, as well as bringing improvements to your organisation.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.