Postgraduate Course

MSc Human Resource Management

MSc Human Resource Management


The details
Human Resource Management
October 2024
1 year
Colchester Campus

Human resource management is more than just managing the relationship between professional development and productivity; it's about supporting senior and line managers to facilitate the well-being of their employees and helping them achieve both personal and overall business objectives.

MSc Human Resource Management course seeks to equip students with the knowledge and skills to develop a successful career in a range of Human Resource Management roles and specialisms. Fully accredited by the CIPD. learners will explore the topic of HRM through an applied lens examining the practical realties of implementing HR strategies and policies in today's changing work context.

The nature of work and people management across the globe is constantly evolving. HR professionals today require skills in critical thinking and problem solving and working in collaborative and inclusive ways to address the significant organisational challenges of our time. You will learn ways to support senior and line managers to facilitate the well-being of their employees and helping them achieve both personal and overall business objectives.

MSc Human Resource Management gives you the knowledge, skills and understanding to become a successful leader and practitioner in increasingly complex business contexts. You will learn to address practical human resource issues in innovative and sustainable way, while considering the ethical obligations of the human resource practitioner.

You'll experience rigorous and practical training in core HR areas throughout the course. You also have an opportunity to choose from a range of elective modules which reflect your career and/or research interests.

You'll experience rigorous and practical training in core HR areas throughout the course. You also have an opportunity to choose from a range of elective modules which reflect your career and/or research interests.

MSc Human Resource Management covers contemporary management issues, such as:

  • Equality and diversity
  • Digital HR
  • The ethics of human resource management
  • Employment relations in context
  • Agile and hybrid working
  • Managing organisational change

Our course has been designed to meet the needs both of newly qualified graduates and experienced professionals looking to enhance their career prospects. After studying our MSc Human Resource Management you'll be prepared to take a role at the forefront of any human resource department and its parent organisation.

You'll study at Essex Business School. We don't just think about business as being a collection of equipment, buildings and stock, instead we consider a business to be an interconnected group of people. People who have the power to influence, and be influenced by, the operations of that business. This approach to understanding the human aspects of why businesses operate in the way they do lends itself perfectly to the study of human resource management.

Professional accreditation

Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Professional accreditation gives your career a head start by allowing you to move into a professional role faster. Our MSc Human Resource Management is accredited by by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). For more than 100 years, the CIPD have been championing better work and working lives by setting professional standards for HR and people development in the UK and across the globe.

You will become a student member of CIPD when you sign up for the programme, giving you access to research resources, HR professionals networks and events. Your membership lasts 18 months, meaning it extends beyond the end date of your course and enables you to continue to access CIPD resources and events as you enter the world of work. Your CIPD student membership is paid for by Essex Business School for 18 months.

You will achieve a level 7 CIPD accredited qualification. Alongside this qualification you will gain Associate CIPD membership and the knowledge component from applying for Chartered CIPD membership. Both of these membership levels are considered essential around the world for HR practice and progressing your HR career.

Why we're great.
  • Our academics work with business and public sector organisations to ensure your teaching is right up-to-date.
  • 100% of our business and management research environment is world-leading or internationally excellent (Research Excellence Framework 2021).
  • This course provides a solid foundation for a career in human resources.

Our expert staff

Essex Business School has an international reputation for research on workplace inequalities and injustices. Research by our organisation studies and human resource management group covers:

  • job insecurity and its consequences across cultures
  • organisational change, transition and leadership
  • sustainability, ethics and corporate social responsibility
  • workplace wellbeing and mental health
  • agile and hybrid working and its impact on employees

You'll have the opportunity to hear from experts such as Dr Danielle Tucker Senior Lecturer in Management at Essex Business School and Academic Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Dr Tucker's research focuses on evaluating complex change management initiatives for public sector organisations (including the Police, local authorities, local government, NHS Trusts and health and social care providers). Our researcher led teaching team on the programme also includes:

  • Dr Maria Hudson is a Senior Lecturer in Organisational Studies and HRM and is the module leader for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Dr Hudson's research interests include the management of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace and ethnicity, ‘race' and employment with a focus on discourses of institutional racism and intersectionally sensitive approaches.
  • Dr Ian Roper is a Reader in Organisational Studies and HRM whose research interests include; the impact of employment regulation on equality-related issues; the 'professional' nature of HRM; the relationship between corporate social responsibility and HRM and how these relate to the issue of 'Modern Slavery'. Dr Roper's research is published in world leading journals and he is the module leader for Principles and Practice in HRM on this programme.

The research activities of academics in our organisation studies and human resource management group is supported by the Centre for Work, Organisation and Society (CWOS) which brings together interdisciplinary research on work, society and organisational life. The Centre's research draws on the humanities and social sciences, bringing in perspectives from disciplines such as cultural studies, history, literary theory, philosophy, psychology, sociology and political economy.

Specialist facilities

MSc Human Resource Management is based at our Colchester Campus.

You'll be studying at Essex Business School, home to the first zero carbon business school in the UK – demonstrating our sustainable approach to business first-hand. Set around a lush winter garden, with shared spaces to encourage collaborative working, you'll find a wealth of inspiring teaching and study zones:

  • learn in modern lecture theatres with ‘listen again' recording to aid your study
  • utilise study booths in our winter garden and versatile break out areas for group working throughout the building
  • study skills support provided by the Essex Business School Learning Team
  • networking opportunities with visiting businesses and careers events
  • Bonds café and adjacent foyer to enjoy on-site fresh food and drink

You'll also benefit from fantastic University facilities located close by, including our state-of-the-art Silberrad Student Centre, complete with an open-access 24-hour Learning Hub and a cutting-edge media centre.

Our building is located on the Knowledge Gateway, home to some of the region's most exciting enterprises in the science, technology and creative sectors. The Knowledge Gateway provides potential networking and career opportunities for students directly on campus.

Your future

This course provides a solid foundation for a career in human resources. Many of our graduates also enjoy roles in financial analysis, management, public administration and accountancy, with many using the skills developed at Essex to go into business themselves.

We provide you with the necessary skills to succeed in modern workplaces, fostering creativity, innovation and ethical awareness to help you tackle the many challenges of the business world.

Our graduates have entered high-profile organisations and exciting SMEs, such as:

  • HM Treasury
  • Groupon
  • HP
  • KPMG

Our Student Support team work closely with the University's Employability and Careers service to help you with careers information and advice and CV support. They will help you find work experience, internships, placements and voluntary opportunities and provide access to employer talks on campus. We also work closely with the Essex Startups team to support our budding entrepreneurs get their business ideas off the ground.

“As a part-time MSc Human Resources Management student, I am extremely grateful for having an opportunity to work around my studies. Working as a part time HR administrator at the NHS has allowed me to listen to various solutions to various HR issues in departments including employee relations, recruitment, and workforce planning. Gaining practical experience while studying has helped me to expand my knowledge in HR which I have been able to apply to my module courses including but not limited to ‘personality and work’, ‘leadership’ as well as ‘Learning and Development’. For instance, for my Learning and Development (L&D) module, I was challenged to develop an L&D plan that would help to train and provide the required skills to new staff so the organisation is able to meet its short-term and long-term goals. The knowledge and experience I gained during my internship as a part time HR Assistant at a company called GAO TEK and as a part time HR administrator in workforce planning at the NHS really helped me during this module. I am also proud to say that working around my studies has opened so much career opportunities for me in HR.”

Mariam Nakiboneka, MSc Human Resource Management (Part-time 2021-2023)

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A 2:2 degree, or equivalent in one of the following subjects:

  • Anthropology
  • Business Administration
  • Business Management
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Human Resource Management
  • Law
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

You may also be considered with a lower class degree, where you have at least three year’s relevant work experience in a field such as: Human Resource Management or Management (please provide your CV).

We will also consider candidates with a pass in a relevant CIPD Level 5 qualification, combined with two year’s relevant work experience in a field such as: Human Resource Management, Project Management or Management (please provide your CV).

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, we require IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in all other components.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.


Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists. Please be aware that we are planning changes to our first year to make it more relevant to your chosen course.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We'll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website and in line with your contract with us. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, we'll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained


Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.


Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms



For your dissertation, you produce an extended, independent, piece of work based on a live organisational case study. You undertake a thorough review of literature and current knowledge and diagnose a real people management and development issue. The dissertation will demonstrate your ability to synthesise theories, relate them to practice in a critical manner and to make practical recommendations for change. You’re assigned a supervisor for the duration of your project.

View Dissertation on our Module Directory


Principles and Practices in Human Resource Management

This module introduces current theory and practice in human resource management (HRM) and development (HRD) and applies these to different work environments. You learn about the connections between HRM and strategic management and consider employment strategies and concepts, such as flexible working, the ‘contingent workforce’, culture management and the ‘learning organisation’. You explore the distinct characteristics of the public, private and voluntary sectors and how they impact HR managers, as well as the effects of internationalisation, technological and social change. The module enables you to apply your knowledge and skills to the management of practical problems and situations in the workplace.

View Principles and Practices in Human Resource Management on our Module Directory


Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

This module considers key debates and concepts underpinning the development of different approaches to managing equality and diversity within work organisations. You will develop a critical and reflexive understanding of theory and practice and evaluate the role of HR professionals in managing equality and diversity.

View Equality, Diversity and Inclusion on our Module Directory


Research Methods in Organisation Studies and Human Resource Management

This module introduces organisation studies and human resource management research methods, enabling you to explore a complex, practical business issue from an OS and HRM perspective. You explore a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, using case studies to determine the suitability of different types of research in particular situations. You examine the ethics of research and acquire the skills to collect and analyse data in order to undertake a research project.

View Research Methods in Organisation Studies and Human Resource Management on our Module Directory


Employment Relations in Context

This module explores the changing nature of the employment relationship – the legal link between employers and employees - and the challenges this can bring for individuals, communities, employers and labour organisations across the globe. We discuss the different employment practices and regulatory systems around the world and you have the opportunity to focus your studies on a country of your choice.

View Employment Relations in Context on our Module Directory


Understanding Organisational Change

This module encourages you to reflect upon the nature of change in organisations and consider many of the key aspects in preparing for, implementing, and evaluating a variety of types and aspects of organisational changes. Building upon key theories and debates you will explore the process and consequences of introducing change in organisations while recognising the complexity inherent in changing organisations. The emphasis of the module is to develop the analytical skills to understand the broad principles underlying the key stages in a change process that could be then applied to a range of different types of changes within organisations. The course is not driven by providing recipes but more by realising the value of critical analytical and reasoning skills that can be applied to the practicalities of different organisational change interventions.

View Understanding Organisational Change on our Module Directory


Digital Human Resource Management

How is AI influencing human resource management today? How can digital HRM aid productivity in the workplace? This module uses real-life global case studies to demonstrate the practical ways and potential challenges of using digital HRM strategies and tools. By the end of this module, you will be able to think critically about the benefits of digital human resource management in modern workplaces.

View Digital Human Resource Management on our Module Directory


Option from list


  • Tailor the content of your course to more closely fit your interests and aspirations
  • Modules focus on applied skills and links with industry
  • Courses focus on applied skills and links with industry
  • We run an open seminar series focused on key contemporary HRM issues


  • Regular assessment is by coursework, presentations, case studies, group work, tests and examinations


  • You submit a 15,000 word dissertation designed to enable you to demonstrate the knowledge, understanding, and skills gained from the programme by integrating and applying your learning to a current issue in HRM of their choice

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee


International fee


What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday 15 June 2024 - June Open Day
  • Saturday 21 September 2024 - September Open Day
  • Saturday 26 October 2024 - October Open Day


You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we'll ask you to provide as part of your application.

We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply' information.

A sunny day with banners flying on Colchester Campus Square 4.

Visit Colchester Campus

Set within 200 acres of award-winning parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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