Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Southampton Business SchoolPostgraduate study

MSc Human Resource Management (1 year)

Prepare for success in human resource management anywhere in the world on this professionally accredited MSc. Its analytical, evidence-based approach and global perspective sets it apart from many other UK masters courses in HR management.

Due to high demand, this course will close to international applicants at 23:59 (UK time) on 23 December 2019. This course remains open for UK and EU applicants. Any non-UK/EU applications received after this time will not be processed. We have a range of other related postgraduate courses that you may want to consider.

Not sure if you classify as an International student? Check our fee status page

Introducing your degree

Learn about human resource management policies and practice and engage in current debates about the changing world of work on this professionally accredited masters degree. Its distinctive evidence-based approach means you’ll learn about proven concepts and techniques, while its focus on international HR management practices will prepare you for a global career. Taught by leading researchers in the field, you’ll be encouraged to develop your analytical and critical skills as well as practical people management capabilities. You’ll also benefit from being part of a supportive peer group known as an action learning set. This will enable you to collaborate on group assignments, learn from others’ experiences, gain insights into group working and reflect on your performance.

Focusing on both operational and strategic issues, and covering contemporary debates and challenges in the field of human resource management, this masters degree provides an excellent foundation for a career in general or specialist HR management roles.

The course has two particular strengths – an evidence-based approach that ensures you are learning the most effective concepts and techniques, and a focus on HR management in an international context. You’ll learn about current practice in the established industrialised world and in emerging economies, encouraging you to compare diverse ways of working and analyse the impact of different approaches on people management. This global view will prepare you for a career overseas or in a multinational organisation.  

We also emphasise the importance of analytical thinking throughout the course, encouraging you to think precisely and take a rigorous approach to your own research.

This programme will be of interest if you are keen to specialise in HR management following your undergraduate studies; many of our students come from a business studies or social sciences discipline. Or you may be a professional who is seeking to advance or change your career.

View the programme specification for this course for 2019/20 entrants

View the programme specification for this course for 2020/21 entrants


The MSc in Human Resource Management is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), demonstrating that the course meets the CIPD’s exacting educational standards. This accreditation entitles you to CIPD membership; during your studies you will be able to become student CIPD member (additional CIPD fee), and on successful completion of the course you will become a CIPD Associate Member. As well as enhancing your CV, this provides you access to specialist online resources and a community of HR practitioners. You will also be accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Programme Structure

This is a one-year, full-time masters degree. You will take compulsory and optional modules during the first nine months of the course; the final three months will be spent on your dissertation.

The course covers contemporary organisational policy and practice as well as key operational and strategic topics. For example, you will: 

  • Explore the relationship between human resource development and an organisation’s strategic objectives
  • Learn about key aspects of employee relations, including the complex impact of emerging economic trends on employee relations
  • Take a critical and analytical review of current ideas in human resource management
  • Gain an understanding of organisation development
  • Develop the practical skills needed to become an effective HR professional
  • Choose from optional modules covering topics such as European labour markets or comparative and international people management in more depth

Depending on the subject matter, some modules will hone your critical and analytical capabilities, while others offer a more practice-based or self-reflective approach. For example, Contemporary Issues in People Management modules use group exercises and role play to encourage you try out your management skills and reflect on your own professional practice.

A module covering quantitative and qualitative research methods will equip you to undertake your dissertation, which is an opportunity to study an area of interest in more depth. Our research-active academics are well placed to help you identify and formulate your research proposal and advise on suitable methodologies.

Action learning sets

A key feature of this degree is the use of action learning sets, where you are placed with a group of fellow students at the start. See Learning & Assessment tab for more information.

Research-led teaching 

Our academics include researchers at the forefront of various HR management specialisms. Their involvement in research activities enables them to bring the latest findings to the course. For example:

  • Dr Guy Vernon, the programme leader, has an impressive track record of research in employee relations, with a focus on cross-national comparative and internationally oriented studies. He is also an author of a widely used text book, International Human Resource Management. Guy leads two modules: Employee Relations, and International and Comparative Human Resource Management.
  • Professor Yehuda Baruch is a leading researcher whose specialisms include career mobility in the context of globalisation and the concept of ‘boundaryless careers’. He has extensive research and teaching experience and has undertaken consultancy work for UK and multinational firms. He contributes to the Strategic Human Resources Management module.

View the programme specification document

Key Facts

An evidence-based course that offers a distinctive international perspective on human resource management issues.

A blend of learning methods will enhance your critical and analytical capabilities, your practical skills and your capacity for self-reflection.

The use of action learning sets – a structured peer-group approach to learning and self-development – will enrich your learning experience.

Taught by academics who are at the leading edge of research in areas such as employee relations and career mobility.

The course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; you can opt to become a student member of this professional body (additional CIPD fee) and upgrade your membership on graduation.

Programme Leader

Typical entry requirements

Bachelors degree

2:1 classification UK bachelors degree or equivalent.

Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Acceptable subjects: Social science eg business admin, communication, economics, education, government, linguistics, sociology, political sciences – a wider range can be accepted if applicant has work experience

Required module areas: Evidence of essay based study

Excluded subjects: English translation, Art/Performing Art, Vocational Studies

Work experience can compensate for a degree subject not listed above.

Selection process

The University’s Admissions Policy, available on the University Admissions Policy page, applies equally to all programmes of study. These are the typical entry criteria to be used for selecting candidates for admission. The University’s approved equivalencies for the requirements listed will also be acceptable. The entry criteria for our programmes are reviewed annually by the Faculty. Those stated were correct as of July 2015. Applicants should refer to their specific offer conditions on their offer letter.

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to demonstrate that you have reached a satisfactory standard in an approved English language test.

The following scores are accepted for direct entry:

  • IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in all components.

All tests must be no more than two years old at the time of enrolment.

For more information visit a list of equivalent English language tests that are also accepted.

Visit our International Office website or the NARIC website for further information on qualifications.

Pre-sessional courses

Our pre-sessional English language courses are the best way to prepare for study at the University of Southampton. The courses will improve your capability and confidence in using English language in your studies.

Pre-masters course

If you do not meet our entry requirements for direct entry to one of our MSc programmes, you could progress to one of them via the University's Pre-masters course

Recognition of prior learning (RPL)

If you have professional experience, or credit through prior learning at another institution, you may be eligible to use this experience against some of the programme requirements for period of study. You will need to present evidence that you have met the learning outcomes of the programme. Read the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning Policy.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Typical course content

The modules for MSc Human Resource Management are detailed below.

Year 1

Semester One
Core [?]
A core module is a module which must be taken and passed.
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Semester Two
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Core [?]
A core module is a module which must be taken and passed.
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Tuition fees

List of tuition fees for this course and it's variations
Course TitleAwardYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
Human Resource ManagementMSc 2020Full-time£12,950£20,728
View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items (eg pens, pencils, notebooks, etc). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However, due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Printing and copyingIn most cases, written coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations are submitted online and by hard copy. The costs of printing a hard copy for submission of such coursework will be the responsibility of the student. The cost of photocopying will also be the responsibility of the student. For more information about University printing costs, visit
TravelSome modules may include optional visits. You will normally be expected to cover the cost of travel and admission, unless otherwise specified in the module profile.
OtherCandidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

You’ll learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, group work and private study. Our lecturers use a range of teaching methods that suit the different types of module content, including group discussions and presentations, case studies, problem solving exercises and role play.

Assessment methods vary from module to module, but include exams, individual coursework, group assignments and personal reflective reports.

Action learning sets

A key feature of this degree is the use of action learning sets. At the start of your studies, you will be placed with a group of fellow students - your action learning set. For the duration of the course you’ll work in this group on collaborative tasks and assignments in class. You’ll also meet regularly outside of class times to discuss your learning experiences with a view to improving your performance. Working within an action learning set will enrich your learning by enabling you to:

  • Tap into group members’ ideas, knowledge and experience
  • Gain a greater understanding of team dynamics and appreciate the contributions of people with different skills and attributes
  • Receive feedback and reflect on your own learning approach and management style

Additional support and resources

Many modules will involve working collaboratively with other students in your action learning set (see above). During your induction you’ll receive guidance on how this works and what to focus on during your initial action learning set discussions. 

While you are studying with us you can opt to be a student member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (additional CIPD fee), giving you access to specialist online resources and a virtual community of HR students and professionals.

In addition, you’ll have access to a range of facilities and support services in the Business School and the wider University. You’ll be allocated a personal academic tutor who can answer any questions you may have about the course.

Study locations

Share this course Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings