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MA Human Resource Management

MA / PGDip

Oxford Brookes Business School

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

The Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management and the MA in Human Resource Management will progress your career and enhance your HR professional practice. You will develop core HR skills and knowledge as well as the ability to understand and evaluate issues of strategic importance to HRM.

These part-time programmes are studied through a combination of on-campus and online learning. You will benefit from the flexibility of our virtual learning environment and also face-to-face interaction with tutors and classmates.*

The programme is fully accredited by the CIPD against the Advanced Knowledge Standards. You will gain Associate membership of the CIPD on successful completion of your course.

In Year 2, you can choose to study for the full MA in HRM or opt for the 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 Postgraduate Diploma in HRM from any educational provider, you can make use of our Direct Entry MA Human Resource Management Top Up option. This involves one module and a dissertation over one academic year and results in an MA HRM award.

Come to a Postgraduate Open Day or an MA/PG Diploma Information Session.

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

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus / Distance learning

Course length

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

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

This course is suitable for individuals from a variety of educational backgrounds, who may have no previous work experience, wanting to further their knowledge and understanding of business and management to support their career aspirations.

The course is designed to be highly flexible to accommodate students with interests in a variety of different subject areas/roles/sectors.

Our student cohorts are made up of many nationalities and students will benefit from working with staff and peers with varied experiences and perspectives.

Staff teaching on this programme come from a variety of academic and non-academic backgrounds which generates a comprehensive and diverse learning experience.

Students benefit from varied opportunities for business/industry exposure such as company visits, field trips, guest lectures, student projects.

A key element of our teaching and learning ethos is that theory must, at all times, be linked to practice through workshops and seminars, company visits, external speakers and assessment. The programme frequently invites professionals to visit and deliver guest lectures to provide students with practical insights to the world of business and management and to discuss trends and challenges in specific industries. Speakers typically hold the position of managing director. Over the last few semesters we have welcomed speakers from Harley-Davidson, the RAF, the UN, Barclays Bank, and Taylor Wimpey.


As a student at Oxford Brookes Business School you will also benefit from the following:

  • Your career: Oxford Brookes University has been successfully offering development programmes for working HR professionals for more than 25 years. Our courses provide you with the means 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.
  • Flexibility in learning: We combine face-to-face study on campus with online learning to develop you as a successful HR professional who can meet the varied challenges of today's global work environment. This allows you to fit your programme around your work and personal commitments and also benefit from access to a wealth of university facilities and resources on campus and online.
  • 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 also benefit from innovative teaching, assessment and learning materials that will give you access to the latest ideas and research into HRM. As a result your studies directly impact your workplace not just after but also during your course.
  • Professional Network: We actively keep in touch with our graduates, their employers, and local CIPD branch activities. This puts you in touch with great people from across the profession, and once a year we invite all these groups to come together at our Annual Postgraduate HR Research Conference.

Through the MA HRM you will develop a diverse and lasting personal network of other HR professionals working in SMEs, the non-profit sector as well as world-leading, global organisations such as: BMW, Nielsen, Amey, Oxford University and the NHS.

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

On-campus sessions 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 workshops and such events will focus principally on:

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

Online sessions will involve the use of:

  • Highly structured, user friendly written lecture and course materials
  • Audio and video podcast materials specially recorded by course tutors
  • Virtual tutorials, in real time as well as over a period of time
  • Discussion fora - student and tutor led

Both on-campus and online learning are fully supported by our library, with almost all resources (journals, reports and many books) now being available electronically 24 hours a day.

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, presentations, examinations, a portfolio to demonstrate continuing professional development, and individual research reports. Some assessments include an element of peer and/or self-assessment.

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.

Specialist facilities

Oxford Brookes Business School has now moved to its new home at our Headington Campus. The university’s Headington Campus have undergone a £30m refurbishment to provide a new home for the Business School, which consists of a lecture theatre, teaching rooms, social learning space and a café. There is a new modern hall for teaching and special events like graduation.

This new home will help us to collaborate even more closely with university colleagues in other departments. It also provides a new Main Hall and a vibrant gateway into the Headington Campus. With these innovative spaces, students and staff can interact and collaborate in first-class facilities.

The Headington Campus is also home to the new John Henry Brookes Building, being 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. The John Henry Brookes Building brings together the library and essential support services that offer academic, careers and international student advice. Find out more about the John Henry Brookes Building.

Our library provides specialist business resources (both hard copy and via online access) to UK and overseas companies' annual reports, statistics on all aspects of business and management, a wide range of constantly updated key texts, and postgraduate MA, MBA, MSc and PhD theses.

The majority of our student halls are close to the Headington Campus.

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.

Whilst the destination and therefore precise costs vary from year to year, as an example, the programme fee of the study trip to Boston USA in July 2019 was £1580, which included 7 nights’ accommodation in the Boston area, insurance, the company visits (e.g. Facebook, Dunkin Brands, Trip Advisor, Microsoft, Bank of America), group transportation for all activities and some of the meals, but excluded for example International airfare, Visa application fee (if relevant), dinners and activities during your free time.

We also run a study trip to Chengdu, China.

If you choose the study trip, you will be provided with additional details regarding the trip (which runs in July) by March, in order to inform decision making, ahead of the trip in July.

Attendance pattern

The course is mainly delivered through two taught semesters per year running from September to May. Each individual module consists of up to 12 sessions offered through a blend of on-campus and online learning. For each semester the on-campus element will take place through up to five early evening sessions (5-8pm) and three full-day Saturday sessions. In year one the evening sessions are on a Tuesday; in year two evening sessions are on a Wednesday. In addition, there is one full weekend workshop in the first year. Those sessions offered online will on occasion require you to join a virtual classroom at a specific time in the early evening but will mainly be completed in your own time, using online learning materials and taking part in online discussion fora.

If you study the full MA Human Resource Management rather than the Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management you also complete your dissertation over a third semester in the summer of the second year. If you’re completing the full MA, you have the option to do your research methods and dissertation modules entirely online. Note: this revised course delivery pattern is subject to CIPD approval.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - part time fee: 2019/20: £3,590 (Year 1) - Certificate stage only 2020/21: £3,670 (Year 1) - Certificate stage only

2019/20: Second year Diploma fee £3,460, second year Masters fee £4,590 2020/21: Second year Diploma fee £3,530, second year Masters fee £4,750

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.

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

English language requirements

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

  • IELTS minimum 6.0 (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 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


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

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. 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.

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.

Research areas and clusters

Related to this subject there are two research clusters in the International Centre for Coaching and Mentoring Studies and the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice.

Research clusters

Stemming from the nature of the department, research covers a very wide range of subjects in many disciplinary areas. Research areas within the field of human resource management include: employee relations, international human resource management, employee wellbeing , equal opportunities and diversity management.