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What Can You Do With a Master’s in Human Resources?

An MS in Human Resource Management can help you take your HR career further.

Whether you’re just starting a career in human resources (HR) or you’ve been working in HR for years, earning an MS in Human Resource Management can be a great choice. Why? Because, no matter where you are in your HR career—or where you want your HR career to go next—there is a master’s in human resource management degree track and/or a degree specialty that’s right for you.

Two HR Degree Tracks for Master’s Students

In the best MS in Human Resource Management programs, there’s one degree track for those who don’t yet hold a professional certification in human resources and another for those who do.

What Can You Do With a Master’s in Human Resources?

If you’re early in your HR career or are considering one, the first track prepares you with the foundational knowledge you’ll need to pursue professional certification in addition to the advanced knowledge provided by a master’s degree program. If you’re further along in your HR career and have certification from one of the industry’s recognized certifying organizations, the second track offers you the opportunity to customize your program according to your professional needs and interests.

Three Master’s Degree Specialties Leading to a Variety of HR Careers


In addition to a general HR master’s program, the top human resources degree programs also offer specializations to help you focus your studies. These specializations include:

Functional Human Resource Management

If you’re ready to begin a career or broaden your functional skills in the field of human resource management, a specialization in Functional Human Resource Management provides a solid foundation. It can help you prepare for positions in:

  • Employee recruitment, staffing, and workforce planning
  • Training and educational program development
  • Compensation, benefits, and rewards administration
  • Employee relations or labor relations 
  • Safety, health, wellness, and security
  • HR information systems (HRIS)
  • HR metrics  

Integrating Functional and Strategic Human Resource Management

If you’re a mid-career professional who wants to move from a generalist or functional role to a position with more strategic responsibilities, a specialization in Integrating Functional and Strategic Human Resource Management may be right for you. It can help you prepare for a position in:

  • Workforce planning and staffing, including organizational structure, design, and redesign
  • Training, appraisal, and development program planning and administration
  • Compensation, benefits, and rewards planning and administration
  • Employee relations, labor relations, including arbitration, and contract negotiations 
  • Safety, health, wellness, and security, including workers compensation and (OSHA) Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • HR Information Systems (HRIS) development and/or coordination
  • Internal consulting with mid- or senior-level management  

Organizational Strategy

If you’re an experienced human resources professional preparing for a more senior-level position, a specialization in Organizational Strategy can help you gain the tools and skills you need to contribute to your organization’s long-term strategy and success. It can help you prepare for HR positions in:

Senior specialist management

  • Talent acquisition
  • Talent management
  • Total Rewards 
  • Safety, health, wellness, and security
  • HR information systems (HRIS) planning
  • Labor contract negotiations  

Chief human resources officer

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Organizational effectiveness 
  • Organizational design/development
  • Long-range organizational strategy  

An Online Learning Option for Earning Your Master’s

The days of having to take time off from your career to earn a master’s degree are over. Thanks to online education, you can earn your master’s on a schedule designed for working professionals like you.

When you earn a human resources degree online, you get to choose when in the day you attend class, which makes it possible to fit your studies around your work schedule. Additionally, an online MS in Human Resources Management program makes it possible to take your courses right from home or from anywhere else you have internet access.

Earning your human resource MS degree online can give you the career boost you need. It’s a great way to make your goals more attainable.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Human Resource Management degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of a degree program.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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