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Educational aims

The MSc in Human Resource Management is a career-development, specialist programme for those working, or planning to work, in human resources or related areas who wish to broaden and deepen their knowledge and develop their management and professional skills. While the academic level is masters, there is a strong practical and professional orientation to the curriculum. The programme will build on your bachelors degree and/or professional competencies, developing the knowledge and skills needed for success as a human resources professional. It will address the organisational and wider contexts within which HR is practised, aiming to develop a general understanding of basic business functions in common with the first year of the MBA. It will then go on to cover the basic specialist knowledge required of professionals, more advanced human resource strategy and issues of current concern. You will also study psychometrics in depth. Throughout, but particularly in the final compulsory module, there will be an emphasis on application of learning, development of reflective skills, and commitment to lifelong learning.

As an MSc in Human Resource Management graduate, you will be able to ground your new knowledge within the base of your professional experience. You will be able to reflect on and learn from that experience, and so be able to integrate new knowledge with experience and apply it to new situations. You will be able to challenge preconceptions and to remove some functional boundaries traditionally associated with human resource management, to handle complex situations holistically. You should also have particular strengths in analysing, synthesising and solving complex, unstructured business problems. In addition to being able to communicate your findings, you should have developed the skills to implement agreed solutions effectively and efficiently. You should therefore have strongly developed interpersonal skills and be able to interact effectively with a range of specialists.

The MSc HRM is directed both at the acquisition and critical understanding of a body of knowledge, and at the acquisition of a range of personal capabilities.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

As a master, you will be able to:

  • discuss the importance of context for organisations, including legal systems, ethical, economic, environmental, social and technological change issues, international developments and corporate governance
  •  describe the nature of markets and customers, internal and external, expectations of customers and equivalent stakeholders, and discuss the importance of quality
  • apply and discuss concepts, processes and institutions in the production and marketing of goods and/or services and the management of resources and operations
  • describe and analyse the financing of business and other enterprises, including sources, uses and management of finance, and use accounting for managerial and financial reporting purposes
  • describe the uses and limitations of a range of practical research methods and techniques, both qualitative and quantitative, and discuss their strengths and weaknesses
  • explain the development, management and exploitation of information systems, discuss their impact on organisations and evaluate, in particular, specific approaches to handling HR information
  • summarise organisation theory, describe the effect of culture, discuss issues influencing structural choices, and assess the impact of different organisational forms on HR policy and practice
  • analyse and discuss the context of HR, with specific reference to current forms of work and employment, forms of commitment and flexibility, legal and political frameworks in the European Union and in selected states, and economic and institutional frameworks
  • analyse and evaluate HR specialists’ contribution, their specific skills, and ethical and professional issues of concern to them
  • demonstrate and evaluate practices concerning recruitment and selection, managing performance for added value, maximising employee contribution, managing learning processes, effective employment relations, resolving differences and gaining commitment, motivating staff and rewarding contributions, delivering equity and fairness
  • explain strategy development, and discuss and evaluate the connection between business and HR strategy
  • identify, describe, analyse and evaluate current strategic issues in HR
  • explain principles underlying psychometric assessment in the employment context and interpret test results.

Cognitive skills

As a master, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate a range of cognitive and intellectual skills, interpersonal awareness and interpersonal skills
  • demonstrate critical and creative thinking, initiate and manage creative processes in yourself and others, and demonstrate analysis, synthesis and critical appraisal. This includes being able to identify relevant factors in a situation, identify assumptions in yourself and others, evaluate statements in terms of evidence, detect false logic or reasoning, identify implicit values, define terms adequately and generalise appropriately
  • diagnose problem situations and propose appropriate ways forward using relevant information and decision criteria; implement and evaluate actions.

Practical and/or professional skills

As a master, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate and assess leadership in a professional context, by selecting and appraising appropriate styles for situations, and contributing and discussing relevant expertise, liaising with and assessing professional colleagues, and managing and evaluating a supporting team
  • identify and discuss ethical implications of situations and decisions, and develop appropriate professional stances on these
  • participate in selection of personnel using psychometric testing
  • conduct internal research on HR-related problems at work, and communicate results effectively to colleagues
  • demonstrate continuous learning through reflecting on professional experience.

Key skills

As a master, you will be able to:

  • scan, store and organise data, abstract meaning from information, and share and develop knowledge through group work on problems
  • demonstrate numerical and quantitative skills, including the use of models and formulae
  • use communication and information technology
  • demonstrate communication: listen, negotiate, persuade and influence, orally, in writing and electronically
  • develop personal effectiveness continuously, improve self-awareness and self-management, become more aware of diversity in people and situations, and reflect on practice to develop work skills continuously
  • perform effectively as a team member and leader, encouraging and utilising others’ contributions, and build teams through appropriate selection, development and management.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will be guided through and gain a thorough grounding in practical management techniques and coverage of all the major management disciplines.

You will study from specially written materials, have tutor support (face-to-face and online), and interact substantially with other students, through computer conferencing, day schools and three short residential periods. You will develop as a reflective practitioner, keeping a personal development file throughout the modules making up the qualification.

There will be written assignments (individual or group), often based on case studies, to assess the applications of principles to relatively complex and realistic situations; and examinations to demonstrate your understanding of principles and relevant theories and their application to various situations. The final assignment will be a substantial investigative report addressing a current human resource issue (normally in an organisation with which you are associated).