MSc in Human Resource Management
The MSc in Human Resource Management offers an in-depth understanding of human resource (HR) management combined with a broader understanding of the organisational and management context within which HR management specialists must operate. It combines an emphasis on the development of HR management strategies with opportunities to develop specialist skills essential for practitioners. It is suitable for those who are at the start of their career as an HR professional or who aspire to enter the HR profession and it is also relevant to the experienced manager/HR professional with a degree who wants to gain a postgraduate qualification. The qualification is intended to provide a route to professional membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development CIPD (provisional approval for the qualification has been obtained from CIPD).
Throughout the MSc you will be encouraged to explore the strategic choices available to organisations in relation to human resource management and development. You will also consider international examples of human resource management and some aspects of comparative HR practice which will help to prepare you to work in the global economy. There will be a strong emphasis on practice-based learning so that you will be asked to evaluate research and theory and consider its relevance to practice. Training is also provided in academic and research skills, as preparation for further study and research in the field of HR management.
This qualification is offered online and so offers you the flexibility to study in your own time and to fit your study around your family and work commitments. You will take part in online discussions and work collaboratively with students from a wide range of organisational backgrounds including those working in other countries. You will need to be able to draw on experience of working in or with organisations but 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.
Through studying the MSc in Human Resource Management you will be able to:
- understand the role of the HR professional, the nature of professionalism and approaches to addressing ethical dilemmas
- gain an up to date perspective on organisational theory and behaviour
- assess the impact of the external context on the choices made about human resource management strategy; this includes globalisation and international forces, social and technological change and government policies and regulation
- develop organisational strategies in relation to HR issues, including employee relations and employee engagement; learning and development, and employee resourcing and talent management
- access and evaluate relevant published research and information across a range of areas relevant to the management and development of people in organisations
- develop the skills to assess the relevance of theory for practice and apply it where appropriate to improve practice
- conduct research into business and management issues from a human resource management perspective
- develop skills essential for HR work such as: leading and working in teams, making decisions, managing financial information, communicating effectively and helping others to learn.
The MSc in Human Resource Management provides you with a masters-level educational experience in the specialist area of human resource management.
The key objectives of the qualification are to:
- enable you to understand the role of the HR professional, the nature of professionalism and approaches to addressing ethical dilemmas
- provide you with the skills and understanding needed to address business and change management issues and to work at a strategic level in the organisation
- provide you with the skills and understanding needed to develop specific organisational strategies in relation to HR issues such as employee relations, employee engagement, learning and development, employee resourcing and talent management
- provide you with the skills to conduct research into business and management issues from a human resources management perspective
- provide you with the skills to assess the relevance of theory for practice and apply it where appropriate to improve practice
- develop people management skills essential for HR work such as: selection interviewing; appraisal interviewing; disciplinary interviewing; delivering training; making presentations; project management and managing performance.
Practical and/or professional skills
On completion of this degree you will be able to:
- lead and influence others effectively
- learn through reflection on practice and experience
- recognise ethical issues and use professional and ethical values to address these
- conduct research into business and management issues from a human resource management perspective, using digital information technologies as articulated in the Digital Information Literacy Levels Framework.
- demonstrate people management skills essential for HR work such as: selection interviewing; appraisal interviewing; disciplinary interviewing; delivering training; making presentations; project management and managing performance
- interpret financial information and manage financial resources
- manage and communicate information using IT applications and software packages, in accordance with the requirements of the Digital Information Literacy Levels Framework.
Teaching, learning and assessment methods
The overall teaching across the qualification will offer an integrated learning experience. This will include study of materials supplied by the OU, online tuition provided by the tutor, activities including reflective practice, practical exercises, literature review and critiquing and collaborations with other students and finally continuous and end-of-module assessment.
The study materials will include a range of specially-written materials, case studies, original texts, study guides and assignments and multi-media material.
You will be expected to engage in range of activities including reading texts, solving numerical problems and scenarios, researching and using relevant literature on contemporary issues and applying theories to practical situations
Your tutor is your first point of contact and they will communicate with you via a tutor group forum. They will answer questions on materials and mark assignments.
You will be allocated a specialist HR tutor who will present online tutorials and online activities, give advice and guidance and assess assignments.
Programme days will be provided as an additionally-priced resource, and will be compulsory if you are seeking CIPD accreditation. These will provide opportunities to practise professional skills and to work collaboratively on case study activities with other students. They will also incorporate some face-to-face teaching.
Knowledge and understanding will be assessed through examinations, assessed assignments and online collaborative activities. Each 30-credit module will have two tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and an examination or end-of-module assessment (EMA). The 60-credit dissertation module will provide training in research skills and will be assessed through a 10-15,000 word dissertation. The dissertation will be an independent piece of academic or applied research that will provide opportunity for you to develop and demonstrate research skills, and to develop deeper understanding of one or more parts of the curriculum.
Cognitive and practical skills are developed through a range of activities in each module. Case studies allow you to engage with human resource management issues in a range of contexts, and these will include international case studies. You will be prompted throughout the modules to search for and retrieve information in a digital environment, and will be given guidance on the use of databases. Online discussions and assessment activities will help you to develop and demonstrate critical thinking about the application of theory to practice.
Self-awareness, reflective learning and continuous professional development will be introduced in compulsory modules of B863 and B864 and you will be expected to keep a portfolio which will evidence your development of these skills. Further development of these skills will be a continuing theme throughout the programme. Guidance on communication skills will be provided in study materials, and they will be further developed through written assessments and online discussion forums. You will work collaboratively online with colleagues in activities which will contribute to module assessments.
The University wishes to emphasise that, while every effort is made to regularly update this site, the material on it is subject to alteration or amendment in the light of changes in regulations or in policy or of financial or other necessity.
For the academic year 2014/15 the tuition fee for students based outside the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland is £12,030.
Unlike many schools, the OU fee includes the cost of books and study materials, access to a bespoke e-learning environment and project supervision.
The MSc can be achieved in three years based on approximiately 12 hours of study per week. You can complete the MSc in a shorter time but you should allow 12-13 hours of study a week for each 30 credit module you study.
From November 2014 you will have the option to complete your MSc in two years, but you will only have a full selection of optional modules if you take your first module in November rather than May.
You must complete this qualification within seven years.
This qualification is intended to provide a route to professional membership of the CIPD if you wish to develop a career in HR management. It will also provide training in research and academic skills if you want to develop an academic career 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 their organisation.
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