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Human Resource Management


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

Business School

The MA in Human Resource Management is a two-year part-time master's programme which will progress your career and enhance your HR professional practice. You will develop core HR skills and knowledge, and become able to understand and evaluate strategic HR practice.

The programme is fully accredited by the CIPD against the Advanced Knowledge Standards, consequently you will gain Associate membership of the CIPD upon your successful completion.

In Year 2, you can choose to study for the full MA in HRM or complete a Postgraduate Diploma in HRM. Both lead to Associate membership of CIPD and there is a full briefing during Year 1 to help you make this choice.

If you already have a PG Diploma in HRM from another educational provider, you can make use of our Direct Entrant or MA HRM Top Up option. This involves one module and a dissertation over one academic year and results in the MA HRM award. See below for more details.

Come to a Postgraduate Open Day

This course is not available to students classed as International for fees purposes.

Available start dates

September 2017 / September 2018

Teaching location

Headington Campus / Wheatley Campus

Course length

  • Part time: PG Dip: 20 months, MA: 24 months, MA direct entrants: 12 months

UCAS Postgraduate code


For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Your career: Oxford Brookes University has been successfully offering development programmes for working HR professionals for many years. Our courses provide you the chance to accelerate your career.
  • CIPD accreditation: Our courses are fully accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Our association with the CIPD increases the value that your education adds to your organisation and your professional profile.
  • Industry relevant teaching: You will be taught by academics who are both researchers and experienced HR practitioners, passionate about their subjects and keen to support you throughout your studies. You will develop an appreciation of the legal framework in which the world of work operates.
  • Professional community: We keep in touch with all our graduates, their employers, and our influential business partners. This puts you in touch with great people from across the industry, and once a year we all come together to hear about developments in the sector at our Business School Open Days, or see our web pages

The MA HRM and PG Dip HRM are practice-based and academically rigorous, providing you with the knowledge, understanding and skills required for the challenging role of a human resource professional. Both programmes are fully accredited by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and mapped against the Advanced Diploma in HRM. Both programmes enable you to gain Associate Membership of the CIPD and as these qualifications are at Advanced Standard, this enables higher membership grades of the CIPD to be achieved with experience, rather than further study.

Please refer to the following course subject charts:

MA Human Resource Management structure chart

Postgraduate Diploma Human Resource Management structure chart

The MA stage is a research-based programme that has been developed to help you progress to management roles or consultancy. Combining theory and practice, it gives you the opportunity to gain specific insights into organisational design, then to focus on an area of HR that is of specific interest.

Leading, Managing and Developing People: You will become familiar with research evidence on employment and effective approaches to human resource (HR) and learning and development (L&D) practice. You will consider significant debates in leadership, flexibility and change management to help you become an effective manager and HR specialist. You will learn to manage others effectively and increase levels of engagement, commitment, motivation and performance.

Employment Law: It is essential for everyone working in HR to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills required to brief organisations on the consequences of current and future developments in employment law, and to give up-to-date, timely and accurate advice concerning the practical application of employment law in the workplace. Key principles that underpin UK and EU law, their purpose, the major defences that employers are able to deploy when defending cases, and the potential organisational costs and reputational risks associated with losing them, will be considered. We will also critically reflect on the application of the law from an ethical and professional standpoint and provide opportunities for continued professional development in this field.

Developing Skills for Business Leadership: Successful leaders have different approaches to their work, sharing a range of diverse personality traits. They are central to a manager's effectiveness and are developed over time and with an awareness of the differing cultural contexts. A key purpose of this module is to encourage you to develop a strong sense of self-awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses as a manager and colleague. In addition you will develop a range of definable skills which are pivotal to successful management practice. These include decision-making skills, team-working, interpersonal skills, accounting and budgeting, negotiating and others associated with developing personal effectiveness. You will develop your skills of reflexivity to explore the implications for professional practice and support career development.

Human Resource Management in Context: This will develop your understanding of the main internal and external environmental situations within which organisations operate. You will compare the role of the Human Resource (HR) manager with other functions to show how these integrate with general management and drive organisational success. You will examine how those in the HR function, and line managers with HR responsibilities, need to recognise this wider perspective. You will be aware that managers and HR professionals in different organisation types have opportunities and constraints when taking organisational and HR decisions.

Resourcing, Talent and Performance Management: A major objective of the human resources function is the mobilisation of a workforce. Organisations can only function if they are able to assemble teams of people with the necessary skills to meet their goals and retain effective performers. You will focus on the practical aspects of recruitment, selection, employee retention and exiting. You will develop the knowledge and skills required for resourcing and talent management within a global context. You will also gain an understanding of how performance management can support the strategic objectives of an organisation, how the performance of people can be enhanced and inspired by leadership, and how it contributes to high-performance work organisations.

Managing Employment Relations: This will develop your understanding of managing employment relations within a global business. Employment relations is a changing subject which is influenced by external factors (political and economic) and internal factors (management and management style). You will explore the impact of different national environments on employment and the roles of different stakeholders in employment relation systems. You will also critically review employment relations in an organisation and make suggestions to drive improvements to Human Resource Management. This module includes a practical skills workshop.

Postgraduate Diploma in HRM

In addition to the modules above, you will take:

Management Research Report:You will investigate a HR management or organisational practice issue using primary and secondary data, justified and supported by detailed reference to relevant theories and concepts from literature. You will make recommendations for implementation and practice. A number of skills workshops throughout the course are designed to develop your thinking and skills and you will be assigned an individual supervisor to support you. One of the key skills for professionals in HR is to be able to investigate, diagnose and report on relevant business issues and make practical recommendations for change or improvement within an organisation. During this module you will be taken through the key areas required to successfully complete the management research report. The applied nature of the report develops a critical evaluative approach, your empirical investigation and analysis skills, and your academic research and business report writing skills.

MA HRM and MA HRM Top Up options

For students taking the MA HRM the module and dissertation listed below will be studied in addition to those for the PG Diploma listed above. For those arriving as direct entrants to year two and who already have a PG Diploma, the module and dissertation below will be the only requirements to top up the PG Diploma to the full MA HRM award.

Understanding and Researching Organisations: You will develop a framework for understanding, analysing and researching organisations. In so doing, it contains both a (traditional) focus on core research methods but also ensures that you have a sound understanding of the organisational context in which management research takes place. The module draws on a range of perspectives from organisation theory and supports a critical awareness of organisations including such things as job design, internal processes, cultural dynamics and change. This awareness will be developed in a manner which prepares students for the completion of, high quality, rigorous and systematic management research required for a dissertation. As part of this, you will also develop an appreciation of the use of primary and secondary data common in organisational research as well as the full range of generic methodological issues, procedures and study skills.

The dissertation: is an in-depth research project into an organisational issue. You will generate high quality, rigorous and systematic applied research. You will reflect critically on the theoretical and philosophical assumptions, alongside the ethics of undertaking management research. Throughout your dissertation you should show sensitivity to the perspectives of others, and a willingness to try and put yourself in the shoes of others, seeing things from alternative perspectives. You will be assigned an individual supervisor to support you. One of the key skills for professionals in HR is to be able to investigate, diagnose and report on relevant business issues and make practical recommendations for change or improvement within an organisation. During this module you will be taken through the key areas required to successfully complete the management research report. The applied nature of the report develops a critical evaluative approach, your empirical investigation and analysis skills, and your academic research and business report writing skills.

As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you choose from may vary from those listed here.

Teaching and learning

This part-time course is principally delivered through half-day and evening workshops. Workshops involve tutor input, analysis of case studies, problem-solving activities, virtual business simulations, presentations, analysis of data for decision making, and directed reading and research. Some skills development is best addressed in more intensive workshop modes

These intensive workshops will focus principally on:

  • team building
  • problem solving and time management
  • people management skill sets (eg. interviewing, negotiating, managing disciplinary and grievances)
  • leadership and influencing skills
  • data handling and presentation skills using IT applications and statistical techniques

Teaching staff are drawn primarily from the Department of Business and Management within the Business School. There are some contributions from specialists in other departments. Visiting speakers from business and industry, local government, consultancies and research bodies provide further input.

Approach to assessment

Each module is assessed individually with a range of assessment methods being used. These include individual assignments, group work, examinations, a CPD portfolio and research reports. Some assessments include an element of peer and/or self-assessment. Some aspects of learning are managed by participants who meet regularly in action learning groups to share their experiences, which helps build practice-based human resource knowledge.

Specialist facilities

At Headington we have developed outstanding facilities. Our John Henry Brookes Building is the most significant project in the history of Oxford Brookes University. Set at the heart of our Headington campus, it has been designed for the future of higher education and has transformed the experiences of our students and the entire University community. Find out more about the John Henry Brookes Building.

A new fresh space on the Headington Campus is being created specifically for the Business School and our business students.The Clerici building is being refurbished to accommodate new teaching rooms, a lecture theatre, new social learning spaces, offices and a clear glazed new entrance.

At the current Wheatley campus our Business School Postgraduate Centre offers a state-of-the-art lecture theatre, well equipped seminar rooms and a postgraduate lounge and private study area.

The Wheatley Campus library provides specialist business resources including UK and overseas companies' annual reports, statistics on all aspects of business and management, postgraduate MA, MBA, MSc and PhD theses in marketing and marketing examination papers.

Field trips

We offer an International Business in Practice Study Trip module. The purpose of this study trip is to give postgraduate students a hands-on, intensive experience with the ideas and practices of global business. The programme will include presentations from local management executives and experts. Students will have direct interaction with management executives and practices through site visits to major corporations and agencies.

This study trip is voluntary and all costs associated with the trip will need to be funded by you. It is not linked to university assessments in any way. If you successfully complete this module you will have the following non-credit bearing module recorded on your transcript: P58335 International Business in Practice: Study Trip.

Attendance pattern

The course is principally delivered through 12 weekly half-day and evening workshops. One full weekend plus three single day events are also provided in the certificate stage and one weekend in the diploma stage.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - part time fee: 2017/18: £3,450

Second year Diploma fee if taken in 2017/18: £3,320, second year Masters fee if taken in 2017/18: £4,410, MA HRM top up 2017/18: £2,200

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see funding for Postgraduate students from the UK and EU

Entry requirements

Applicants are normally graduates with at least one year's experience in a full-time HR role. Non-graduates require at least 3 years' experience in an HR role or a role with significant responsibility for people management.

Direct entrants for the MA:A Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management from a recognised institution.

Please also see the university's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you will need to have the following level of English language competency:

  • Minimum 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in reading and writing and 5.5 in listening and speaking).

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

This course is not available to students classed as International for fees purposes.

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • If you need to take a pre-master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course, you can take our two year master’s course. This course combine the pre-master's diploma and your master's in one application. You can apply for one visa for the two years of study.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

You apply for this course through UCAS Postgraduate.

Through UCAS Postgraduate, you should use the UKPASS portal to make your application, which will then be forwarded directly to our Admissions Office. You should send supporting documentation to us directly using the email addresses on the UKPASS application form.

Please contact Business School enquiries if you need help with your application or require any further information.

Conditions of acceptance

When you accept our offer, you agree to the conditions of acceptance. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

You will develop practical knowledge, expertise and valuable insights from visiting HR professionals and specialists from a wide range of industries who run workshops and deliver lectures.

This programme is an excellent way of providing you with a springboard for progress in your career in HR. The programme enjoys a high completion rate and is supported by a tutorial team comprising research active and experienced HR practitioners.

Through workshops and group working you develop your team working skills and build long-lasting networks, enabling you to share your experiences as you progress in your career.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

Staff in the HRM team have a wide range of research and consultancy experience and interests. This body of research and expertise will help to guide your own research projects and assignments. Individual tuition through the dissertation phase will support you to develop your research ideas.

In addition, the school has a panel of visiting practitioners and specialists from industrial, commercial, voluntary sector and public sector bodies who are invited to contribute to the programme.

All the Support Services at Oxford Brookes will be recommended to you during the Induction Sessions. Induction is a really important stage of the programme and we will ensure that your feel confident to start and progress your studies.

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Research highlights

The Business School's growing international reputation for research has been confirmed with the publication of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 results.

The REF results show that 96% of this research is "internationally recognised", with 58% judged to be of "world leading" quality or "internationally excellent".

Research within the department of Business and Management brings together corporate strategy,competitive strategy,growth strategies,global business,international trade and foreign direct investment with subjects that focus on leadership, culture, motivation, practices, strategic human resource management and the management of the globalisation process. Stemming from the nature of the department, this research covers a very wide range of subjects in the disciplinary area.

Some examples within the field of human resource management include: employee relations; labour economics and reward strategies; labour migration; international human resource management; employee welfare and stress management; equal opportunities and diversity management.

Research areas and clusters

Research in this department is grouped around two clusters: Critical Management Studies, and Work and Organisations.