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Human Resource Management MSc

Develop your existing HR skills and knowledge as you grow your leadership and management skills. Graduates meet the requirements for CIPD HR Professional Map at Advanced Level 7.

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This course is Accredited

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Build on your UK business experience and prepare to pursue a career in the HR industry. Our highly practical course offers workplace placements and regular opportunities to engage with the business world as you apply your learning in industry.

This accredited course reflects current practice and HR thinking in the UK and Europe. During your degree you’ll study areas including leadership, learning and development, and employment relations, and explore topical issues such as toxic leadership structures and sustainable business practices. 

You’ll build on your interpersonal, communication and persuasion skills as you prepare for a career in UK or European HRM. During our Professional Skills module you'll develop your professional and managerial skills, ready for your work placement. In addition to your placement with a local business, you'll be able to meet and network with other industry professionals while you study. 

After you graduate you'll be eligible to apply for associate membership with CIPD, and upgrade to full chartered membership if you have the relevant work experience. This shows employers that you've trained to a professional standard and have the knowledge and experience to have an impact in the workplace.

Our course has been designed to align with CIPD professional standards and to prepare you for a rewarding career with valuable, innovative and up-to-date modules and topics. You'll learn from experienced industry professionals and receive a practical point of view as you discover the industry and continually put your learning into practice through assessments and practical placements. 

This degree is a stepping stone into HRM from any degree background. You may have studied business, social science or technology in the past, and be looking to start your career in human resources. You do not need to work in human resource management to apply. 



This course accepts UK, EU and international students.

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Course highlights

  • Gain workplace experience with optional industry placements
  • Learn from professionals with years of experience   
  • Qualify for professional CIPD membership when you graduate   
  • Attend talks from industry experts including speakers from CIPD 
  • Build on your academic experience, whatever your subject
  • Study at a CIPD accredited centre
  • Prepare to start your career in the HR industry


This course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). On successful completion providing students are in active CIPD membership students will automatically gain Associate membership of the CIPD. They will also gain the eligibility to potentially upgrade their membership to Chartered depending on their experience.

This course is aligned with the standards laid out in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) curriculum. With over 300,000 HR and business executive members spanning 165 countries, SHRM is the largest human resource management association on the planet. This recognition confirms the high level of HR education we uphold, and our role as a springboard for exceptional human resource professionals.

The University of Portsmouth has earned business accreditation from the AACSB in recognition of the outstanding quality of its business and management education. Less than six percent of the world's schools offering business degree programs hold AACSB business accreditation.

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

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Entry requirements

September 2024 start

  • A second-class honours degree or equivalent in any academic subject and seeking to pursue/continue an HR career.
  • Applicants with Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Level 3 or Level 5 and/or candidates with appropriate work experience will also be considered.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, you’ll need to show you meet the UK entry requirements listed above.

To find out if your non-UK degree or other qualification is accepted, please visit our page for your country and view the UK equivalent of your qualification. 

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2024 start)

  • Full time: £12,000

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £12,000

  • Full time: £17,900

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

Female Master's student
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International students

Discover how you could join students from more than 150 counties in Portsmouth, and get all the information you need to apply for a degree course with us, wherever in the world you may be.

International Student Profiles for Global
Explore your options

Fees and funding for Master's courses

Explore Master's funding options, including loans, scholarships, bursaries and more.

Explore funding

Additional costs

These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees, so you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. Additional costs could include:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages.
  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: Such as photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.


What you'll study

All modules on this MSc Human Resource Management course are core.

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to: 

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of social, environmental and economic challenges affecting modern business

  • Evaluate organisations against the theoretical frameworks of ethics, governance and sustainability

  • Analyse and identify the wider stakeholder implications of a range of alternative business models

  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of how expectations of responsible business influences the role of HR practice within organisations

Explore this module

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to: 

  • Analyse the nature of employment relations, the different perspectives relating to employment relations, and the role and functions of the different parties in influencing employment relations

  • Critically examine management strategies, policies and practices in employment relations

  • Critically evaluate the nature, characteristics and relevance of efforts by working people, and their representative institutions, particularly trade unions, to influence the management of employment relations'

  • Critically examine both the internal (organisational and institutional) and external (political and economic) contexts within which employment relations is experienced and undertaken.

Explore this module

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to: 

  • Discuss and explore leading edge research into HR policy and practice within a variety of global, international and comparative contexts

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of how HR practices and policies differ from and are implemented in a global business environment

  • Working with others, develop a critical understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion across cultures and the HR policy and practice implications from a strategic and global perspective

  • Develop an awareness of global leadership competencies to support individual and organisational relevance

Explore this module

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to: 

  • Critically analyse the influence of the external environment on organisational strategy and strategic HRM

  • Determine the impact of internal and external forces on the development of strategic HRM policy

  • Evaluate how organisations respond to relevant national and international contextual changes and trends

Explore this module

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to: 

  • Select an appropriate HRM issue and formulate Master's level research objectives

  • Critically evaluate existing relevant literature

  • Design Master's level research using appropriate concepts, theories and techniques

  • Collect analyse, and synthesise data

  • Communicate clearly, concisely and effectively at Master's standard, for appropriate audiences drawing conclusions and making recommendations

Explore this module

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to: 

  • Review and critically evaluate major contemporary leadership styles and research debates and practice in the fields of HRM

  • Critically evaluate leadership development strategies

  • Critically assess the contribution of both the leadership role and the HR role in delivering effective organisational change management

Explore this module

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to: 

  • Critically evaluate the academic and theoretical aspects of Learning and Development

  • Reflect upon and critically discuss contemporary practice in Learning and Development

  • Compare and contrast the theory and practices of Learning and Development

Explore this module

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to: 

  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of yourself and your impact on others in a professional context

  • Critically evaluate the people management skill-set needed to operate effectively at work

  • Critically assess the need for professional courage to challenge and influence the decisions and actions of others

  • Critically evaluate sound and justifiable evidence-based situational decision making and problem-solving skills

  • Demonstrate a commitment to reflective practice, critical thinking and a passion for continuing professional development

Explore this module

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to: 

  • Critically evaluate the academic and theoretical aspects of strategic people management

  • Reflect upon and critically discuss contemporary practice in people management

  • Compare and contrast the theory and practice of strategic people management

Explore this module

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.


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How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

Course structure

You will study this course full time on campus. You’ll study 4 modules in teaching block 1, and another 4 modules plus your dissertation in teaching block 2. 

You can expect:

  • to attend classes on 2 days per week, typically on Wednesdays and Thursdays
  • classes to generally be held between 10:00am and 5:00pm
  • some additional study days in the second teaching block
  • weekly optional drop-in sessions with your tutor

Teaching on this course includes:

  • lectures
  • classroom teaching 
  • seminars 

Each module also has a scheduled online session where you can drop in and ask your lecturers specific questions about your learning. 


You'll be assessed through:

  • assignments 
  • group presentations
  • open book exams

Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project/dissertation.

See key dates

Career development

Careers this Master's prepares you for

This human resource management Master's will prepare you for your career in HRM. You'll graduate with professional workplace experience and a CIPD aligned degree, which means you'll be eligible to apply for associate membership with the CIPD. This shows employers you're ready to start your career in human resources and make an impact in the workplace. 

This course is a way into the HRM industry, whether you have an existing business background or not.

You’ll build relationships with other professionals in the industry through placement opportunities and our existing relationships with companies including the local CIPD branch. 

Graduates of this course have gone onto roles such as:

  • HR business partners
  • Learning and development specialists
  • Pay and benefits specialists
  • Recruitment consultancy members
  • HR consultants
  • General management and HR roles

Career outcomes shown are sourced from the latest available graduate outcome surveys. The data shows career outcomes at 15 months after graduation.

9 reasons to do a Master's

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert careers advice from our Careers and Employability Centre, your tutors and our Student Placements and Employability Centre. You can access support from our Careers and Employability Centre for up to 5 years after you graduate.

Student asking for advice at employability desk

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • Applied projects with companies such as IBM, Boeing and Hampshire County Council
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • 1-to-1 appointments 
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Support starting your own business
Learn more about your career support

Placements and industry connections

During this course you'll typically complete 15 days of HRM work experience activities with an employer. You'll complete one day per week on a day that is mutually agreed with the employer and University, but not on Wednesday or Thursday as these are teaching days.

Depending on your particular circumstances, a minimum of 10 days of work experience may be accepted. This needs to be agreed between you, the University and the employer.

You'll also have the opportunity to:

  • complete unpaid work experience with a local employer, arranged by us, or
  • arrange and complete your own placement

If you choose to organise your own placement, you can arrange to experience a range of HR components in one business.

We also run events throughout the year to help develop your professional skills and knowledge. These include:  

  • Practitioner day — a guest speaker event where you'll hear from several HR practitioners about their roles in the real world
  • Professional guest speaker talks — focusing on topics such as study skills and professional skills, and usually hosted during consolidation week

As well as these University events our ongoing relationship with the local CIPD branch means you'll have specific networking opportunities and be able to attend local CIPD events throughout your studies.

Supporting you

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you'll also have access to our student engagement officers. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing, and refer you to specialist support services if you need extra help or support.

The Maths Cafe offers free advice and help with maths skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your maths skills at a workshop, or use our online resources.

You'll have help from a team of study support tutors. Based within the Faculty of Business and Law, these tutors are familiar with the specific requirements your assignments and work closely with faculty academics. This means they can give you focused support with the specific study skills you need to be successful on your course. They're available face-to-face, by phone, email, and by video call.

They can help with:

  • academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations, projects and literature reviews)
  • reflective writing skills
  • critical thinking skills
  • delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

If you're a mature student, specialist support to help you return to learning is available.

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September to apply, you may find that the course is full.

If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Extra information for international students

If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

You could also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Start this course in September 2024

Apply now (Full-time)

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2023, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.