Postgraduate Course

MSc Human Resource Management

MSc Human Resource Management


The details
Human Resource Management
October 2022
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.

No matter the type of organisation, people need to be recruited, managed and motivated in order to create an effective and successful workplace. MSc Human Resource Management gives you the knowledge, skills and understanding to become a successful leader and practitioner in this increasingly complex business function. You will learn to address practical human resource issues in a critical and independent 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 the research interests of our strongly international faculty.

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

  • the changing strategic role of human resource management departments
  • the ethics of human resource management
  • employment relations
  • international human resource management

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 study at Essex Business School (EBS). 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

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 CIPD, the professional body for experts in people at work. For more than 100 years, they've been championing better work and working lives by setting professional standards for HR and people development; they’re the only body in the world that can award Chartered status to individual HR professionals.

You will become a student member of CIPD when you sign up for the programme, giving you access to resources, 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.

When you graduate, alongside your degree, you will be awarded a level 7 diploma from CIPD, which is considered an essential qualification around the world for HR professionals.

Why we're great.
  • Our academics work with business and public sector organisations to ensure your teaching is right up-to-date.
  • Accredited by CIPD meaning you gain a level 7 diploma from CIPD alongside your degree.
  • 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
  • integrated health care, workplace wellbeing and mental health
  • collective creativity and innovation
  • emotional and aesthetic aspects of work and workplaces

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). For example, she recently co-authored a study on organisational resilience in primary health and social care, which was particularly helpful to frontline services trying to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

90% of University of Essex’s postgraduate graduates are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2021). 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.

“Essex is where I belong. I did my undergraduate degree here and I stayed to do my Masters because this is where I feel at home. The academics are friendly and approachable and my course is developing my skills in teamwork, problem solving and communication.”

Christiana Markou, MSc Human Resource Management (2016)

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A 2:2 degree, or international equivalent, in any discipline.

Your degree must contain at least two of the following modules in the final two years of study: Human Resource Management, Management, Administration, Marketing, Organisational Behaviour or Consumer Behaviour.

If you do not hold a degree which includes relevant modules, then we can still consider you. You should be able to show that you have at least three years relevant work experience in Human Resource Management, Personnel or Management.

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

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.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

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 HRM 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


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 Human Resource Management on our Module Directory


Developing Skills for Business Leadership

This module aims to equip you with the practical skills needed to be a successful manager and leader. We develop your critical thinking, decision making, team working and interpersonal skills. We encourage you to be self-aware and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as both a manager and colleague so you can continue to learn and enhance your skills throughout your career.

View Developing Skills for Business Leadership on our Module Directory


Research Methods in Human Resource Management

This module introduces human resource management research methods, enabling you to explore a complex, practical business issue from a HR 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 Human Resource Management on our Module Directory


Learning and Talent Development

This module focuses on exploring the contribution of organisations' Learning and Talent Development strategies and practices (L&D) with respect to both formulating and achieving organisational objectives. This module will develop your critical understanding of opportunities, but also limitations, of the L&D function at national, organisational, group and individual levels. The module will create opportunities for applied learning and continuous professional development, along with enabling learners to reflect critically on theory and practice from an ethical and professional standpoint.

View Learning and Talent Development on our Module Directory


International Employment Relations

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 International Employment Relations on our Module Directory


Option from list


  • Teaching takes place in afternoon and evening blocks of up to six hours on two days of the week to help you manage your Masters degree around your working week and personal life.
  • Tailor the content of your course to more closely fit your interests and aspirations
  • Courses focus on applied skills and links with industry
  • We run an open seminar series


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


  • You submit a 15,000 word dissertation

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee


International fee


Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

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.


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.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.


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.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

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 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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