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Postgraduate Certificate in Human Resource Management

If you’re at the start of your a HR career in HR, or aspire to enter the HR profession, or are in a line management position this qualification could be what you’re looking for. It combines an exploration of HR management strategies with opportunities to build skills essential for practitioners. You will develop your understanding of the role of the HR professional, the nature of professionalism and approaches to addressing ethical dilemmas. Throughout your studies, you will be encouraged to explore the challenges facing a rapidly changing profession in a global economy, and consider the relevance of theory to practice in a variety of geographical and sectoral contexts. You will also develop the skills and understanding needed to address business and change management issues and to work at a strategic level. 

Key features of the course

  • Provides a thorough grounding in human resource management
  • A strong emphasis on practice-based learning
  • Develops the people management skills essential for HR work such as interviewing, coaching, managing conflict and managing performance
This certificate is the first stage of a study programme that progresses to the CIPD-approved postgraduate diploma and finally the MSc in Human Resource Management. 


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
1–4 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


To gain this qualification, you need 60 credits and there are two routes to achieving this. 

Route 1

You must study the modules in the order shown. 

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 06 Nov 2021 FINAL
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 07 May 2022 FINAL

Route 2

Compulsory module Credits Next start
HR management in practice (BXM840)

This module introduces the various requirements of a human resource professional in an organisation.

See full description

60 01 Nov 2021

If you are considering progressing to the Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management (E84) or the MSc in Human Resource Management (F68) you are advised to register for a higher level award in the first instance. The MSc in Human Resource Management is the only qualification which provides a route to CIPD Membership.

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 Postgraduate Certificate in Human Resource Management entitling you to use the letters PGCert HRM (Open) after your name.

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. 

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 17 March 2021.

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 two years by studying one module a year. The minimum time to complete is 1 year, based on approximately 12–14 hours of study a week for each 30-credit module. The maximum time to complete is four years.

Career relevance

This qualification provides knowledge and skills relevant to HR practice in the workplace. It will also provide training in academic skills that will prepare you for future study in the field of HR.

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 their organisation.

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