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Human Resource Leadership M.S.

Aug. 21, 2024

Next Start Date


Courses Required


Cost Per Credit Hour
Military Discount Available


Total Credit Hours

Online Courses

Learning Format

Be involved in every part of the business.

With a master's degree in Human Resource Leadership, you'll learn about organizational priorities and challenges, while being involved in finding workable solutions. It's about creating a culture that fosters growth and innovation. With this degree, you'll have a direct impact on a company's future.

Human Resource Leadership is the field of study that focuses on the strategic management of human capital within an organization. As an HR leader, you will be responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs that impact the people who work for your organization.

Offered by the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, the M.S. in Human Resource Leadership plan of study requires 30 credit hours of graduate coursework. The program is designed for working professionals with varying educational and professional backgrounds. Students may enter the M.S. in Human Resource Leadership program at the start of the fall semester, completing the program in 12 or 24-months.

Invest in your future

By focusing on developing advanced professional knowledge, data-driven decision-making skills, and leadership capabilities, our M.S. in Human Resource Leadership graduates will be positioned to complete in a growing market and to see continued upward movement along their career path.

Our graduates will be subject matter experts with the ability to make data-driven managerial decisions and will graduate with the skills to assume leadership roles within their organizations. Students will possess both the technical Human Resource Leadership skills in demand by national employers, as well as the "soft" or "people" skills frequently absent from on-the-job training.

Our students will be educated in how to understand business practice and strategy from an integrated perspective that is not limited to a functional "silo." Students will apply their learning to improve the performance of organizations in local, state, and federal contexts by leveraging the diverse talents of human capital.

SHRM logo.

Academic Alignment

As of July 23, 2023, West Virginia University aligned its M.S. in Human Resource Leadership with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. Throughout the world, more than 500 programs in approximately 425 educational institutions have been acknowledged by SHRM as being in alignment with its suggested guides and templates. The HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates were developed by SHRM to define the minimum HR content areas that should be studied by HR students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The guidelines--created in 2006 and revalidated in 2010, 2013 and 2017--are part of SHRM’s Academic Initiative to define HR education standards taught in university business schools and help universities develop degree programs that follow these standards.

Attend a Virtual Information Session

Thank you for your interest in the Human Resource Leadership program at West Virginia University! Attend a Virtual Information Session and learn more about the Human Resource Leadership M.S. program.


Kelly Legg, Personal Online Admissions Coach

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Kelly Legg, Your Personal Online Admissions Coach

As a graduate of the WVU with a degree in business administration, Kelly understands your needs and is here to support and simplify the enrollment process for you. You can have open and honest discussions with her about how your passion in life can become your career. Contact Kelly today!

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Master's of Human Resources Leadership Admissions Requirements

Human Resource Leadership admission requires successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum of two years of full-time work experience post bachelor’s degree.

  • Create a username and password. Once an account has been created, applicants can edit the application at their discretion.
  • Upload resume detailing employment history, job responsibilities and professional accomplishments.
  • Create a Statement of Purpose – Describe your academic background and work experience (roles and responsibilities) and how they have prepared you to pursue a graduate degree in HR. Explain why you would like to pursue the online MSHRL at WVU. What are your career plans/goals after completing the MSHRL?
  • Request 1 letter of recommendation through the online portal.
  • Applicants will then need to send their transcripts to WVU's Office of Admissions. If the applicant's undergraduate school offers "e-script" (an official electronic copy of transcripts), email the transcripts to This will help expedite the admissions process. If they do not offer this service, please have your official transcripts mailed to:
    • West Virginia University Office of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment
      PO Box 6510
      Morgantown, WV 26506-6510
  • International Students are required to submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo score. The John Chambers College of Business & Economics TOEFL requirement is higher than the University's--applicants must have a TOEFL score of either 580 (paper prior to July 27) or 68 (paper after July 27), 237 (computer), or 92 (Internet-based). If you have taken the IELTS, the minimum score must be 6.5, and the minimum Duolingo score is a 105. English language exam scores should be sent to:
    • Office of Admissions
      West Virginia University
      P.O. Box 6009
      Morgantown, WV 26506-6009.

*The above-mentioned items are required for admission review. Additional documents may be requested after initial evaluation of a student’s admission application.

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Janie Field profile image.

Jamie Field

Human Resource Leadership M.S.
"This online master’s degree is career-relevant and prepares working professionals for leadership roles in their respective field. It can be completed in as little as one year and provides students with an enhanced skill set for career advancement and superior marketability."

Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid

Financial aid is available. Students are encouraged to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine their eligibility for federal and state funds as well as scholarships. WVU’s FAFSA Code is 003827. Please contact the WVU Financial Aid Office at (304) 293-5242 or for additional information.

The tuition rate per credit hour listed above is for the 2024-2025 academic year. Tuition and fees increase beginning in the fall term of each academic year.

Tuition and fees are usually not the only educational expenses you may have while pursuing a degree. You may have other costs such as books, supplies and living expenses. Please see the Estimate Costs and Aid webpage for how to estimate and plan for other potential expenses.

Your future in Human Resources Leadership

As a graduate of the Human Resources Leadership program, you will compete in a growing market and see continued upward movement along your career path. You will possess both the technical skills and the “people skills” to assume leadership roles within your organization.

Why are human resources leaders important?

Human resources leaders play a vital role in any organization, as they are responsible for attracting, developing, and retaining talent. Additionally, HR leaders help to create and maintain a positive work environment, which can impact everything from employee productivity to customer satisfaction.

What job titles do HR leaders have?

There are many job titles that HR leaders can have, depending on the size and type of organization they work for. Here are just a few examples:

  • Human Resources Manager
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Vice President of Human Resources
  • Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Senior Vice President of Global Talent

As you can see, the job titles, roles, and leadership opportunities for human resource leaders are wide-ranging, which makes this field even more exciting!

Career Outlook for Human Resources Leadership

Information Technology Project Manager
Projected Growth: 5-7% *Bright Outlook

Administrative Service Manager
Projected Growth: 5-7% *Bright Outlook

Business Continuity Planner
Projected Growth: 5-7% *Bright Outlook

Financial Manager
Projected Growth: 8% or higher *Bright Outlook

Human Resources Manager
Projected Growth: 5-7% *Bright Outlook

Agent or Business Manager
Projected Growth: 8% or higher *Bright Outlook

Business Intelligence Analyst
Projected Growth: 8% or higher *Bright Outlook

Treasurer and Controller
Projected Growth: 8% or higher *Bright Outlook

Administrative Service Manager
Projected Growth: 5-7% *Bright Outlook

Information about careers on this list comes from the Occupational information network (O*NET) of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and TrainingAdministration (USDOL/ETA).

Course Title Credit Hours
HRL 503 Performance Management Systems & Strategies 3
HRL 510 Recruitment, Assessment, and Selection 3
HRL 541 Total Rewards Systems 3
HRL 551 Human Resource Development 3
HRMG 548 Strategic Management for Human Resources 3
BADM 621 Business Research 3
BADM 633 Leadership 3
BADM 641 Decision Analysis for Executives 3
BADM 644 Legal Environment and Ethics 3
ECON 571 Economics of Labor 3

Total Hours: 30

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the projected job growth for HR Leadership?

As the field of human resources evolves, so too does the need for HR leaders who are equipped with the latest knowledge and skills. An online master's degree in human resources leadership can give you the edge you need to succeed in today's competitive marketplace.

Currently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects an average of 14,800 human resources manager openings becoming available each year. With plenty of job opportunities and salary ranges consistently above 100K, earning a Master's in Human Resource Leadership is definitely a good investment.

What can you do with a Master's in HR?

A Master's degree in human resources leadership can prepare you for a variety of exciting and rewarding careers. Here are just a few examples:

  • Human Resources Manager
  • Labor Relations Specialist
  • Training and Development Manager
  • Compensation and Benefits Manager

Whether you're looking to move up the corporate ladder or break into the HR field, an online master's degree in human resources leadership can give you the skills and knowledge you need to succeed. Plus, pursuing your degree online gives you the flexibility to earn your degree while working full time and/or managing family and personal responsibilities.

Is Human Resources a good career?

Human Resources is a great career with steady job growth and high earning potential. Plus, it encompasses a variety of job types and work environments, with plenty of opportunities for specialization and advancement.

Why should I get my Master's in Human Resources?

A master's degree in human resources can prepare you for the challenges of today's ever-changing workforce. Additionally, it can help you qualify for more senior, human resources manager positions, which often require applicants to hold a Master's degree or higher in order to be considered.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resources specialists, a position that typically requires a Bachelor's degree, have a median annual salary of $62,290. The median salary doubles for advanced degree holders, with human resource managers earning a median annual salary of $126,230!

Earning your Master's in Human Resources means more professional opportunities, higher earning potential, and obtaining an advanced skill set that is in demand across a wide range of industries.

Human resource managers go on to work in corporate jobs, non-profits, government, healthcare, and more.

What is the difference between an MBA and a Master's in HR?

The short answer is that an MBA is a more generalized advanced business degree, whereas a Master's in Human Resources is a specialized advanced degree focused solely on HR.

If you are an existing HR professional with a Bachelor's degree or looking to specialize within the field of human resources, then obtaining a Master's in HR over an MBA makes a lot of sense.

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