The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment for human resources managers will grow nine percent over the next several years. This is a slight employment growth increase over the average of all other occupations (7 percent). As new companies form and businesses and organizations expand, the need for human resources managers will increase. To accommodate demand to fill these roles, colleges and universities now offer online PhD in human resources management programs.
Top 20 Online PhD in Human Resources Management Programs Methodology
We looked at approximately 55 colleges and universities listed by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator that offered at least one online PhD in human resources management, or a closely related discipline such as organizational leadership or human resource development. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying the following criteria: regional or national accreditation, online or hybrid degree completion pathways, and school rankings with a major publication like U.S. News and World Report. We then listed the programs and schools according to raw affordability.
Below is our list of the top 20 online PhD in human resources management programs.
#20 – The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Online PhD in Organizational Leadership
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $28,927
Though not an online PhD human resources management program, Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a PhD in organizational leadership with HRM applicable concentrations. Focus areas include human diversity and ethics, interpersonal dynamics, organizational interventions, strategic change management, and team-building. All emphasis areas translate to human resources management. The PhD is fully online and takes three years to complete. Admission requirements include three or more years of work experience (preferred), a 500-750-word essay, statement of research, and official transcripts. U.S. News and World Report recognizes the institution and several of its graduate programs among top ranked schools. This recognition coupled with affordable tuition earns the Chicago School of Professional Psychology a spot on our list.
#19 – University of Illinois
Online EdD in Human Resource Development
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,224
University of Illinois offers an EdD program much like typical PhD in human resources management online programs. Successful completion of the degree earns an EdD in Diversity and Equity in Education with an emphasis in human resource development. The program may be completed fully online and requires 64 credit hours. Courses include diversity in the workplace, educational statistics, ethnographic methods in education, historical and social barriers, learning technologies, and organizational development. A thesis and dissertation must also be completed. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Illinois #46 in best national universities. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #16 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.
#18 – Northcentral University
Online PhD in Human Resources Management
San Diego, California
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,526
One of the top online human resource PhD programs on our list can be completed 100% online. Northcentral University’s online PhD in human resources explores leadership and interrelationships within an organization. A total of 20 courses that span 45 months make earning a doctoral degree convenient and rigorous. The accelerated pace is ideal for working students. Courses offer complete flexibility. No scheduled times, no group assignments, and weekly course start dates. U.S. News and World Report recognizes Northcentral University among the top unranked national universities. Also, several online graduate programs have earned top 200 and top 300 rankings out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.
#17 – Sullivan University
Online PhD in Management – Human Resource Leadership
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,460
Sullivan University offers an affordable online doctorate in human resources management. Admission to the PhD program requires no GRE or GMAT testing. The school is considered a teaching university, though research is required. Curriculum is broken into different cores, including the management core, research core, and concentration area. A total of 16 hours is required for primary concentration, which includes human resource leadership. Near the end of the program, a comprehensive exam is offered, and credits awarded on a pass-fail basis. A minimum of twelve credits are awarded for dissertation research. U.S. News and World Report ranks Sullivan University among the pool of top regional universities in the South.
#16 – California Baptist University
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,997
Though not an online doctorate in human resources management, California Baptist University offers an online DBA with courses applicable to the HRM field. The 50-unit program offers an eight-week online course format and follows a cohort model. This model allows students to progress together through coursework and the dissertation process. Courses run eight weeks in length, and residency participation may be required. Some of the courses that appeal to individuals interested in human resources include ethics in organization and management, foundations of organization and management, and topics in human resource management. U.S. News and World Report ranks CBU #32 in best regional universities in the West and #20 in best value schools. Also, the online graduate business programs rank #86 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.
#15 – Regent University
Online PhD in Organizational Leadership
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,326
Regent University is one of the few colleges or universities to offer online PhD human resources management programs. The PhD in organizational leadership offers an emphasis in human resource development designed to prepare students to join the leadership ranks in HRM. This ACBSP-accredited PhD consists of 60 credits, two four-day residencies, and can be completed entirely online. Classes include advanced analysis, autonomous learning and human resource development, design of adult learning communities, ethical human resource development, and human resource development. Applicants must hold a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. U.S. News and World Report ranks Regent #201 in best national universities.
#14 – Johnson & Wales University
Online DBA in Organizational Development
Providence, Rhode Island
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,008
Johnson & Wales University offers a DBA that is ideal for those seeking online human resource PhD programs. The online DBA offers a concentration in organizational development focusing on advancing employee and organizational performance. Flexible online classes run eight weeks in length and allow students to move through them quickly. Students focus on one course at a time and are able to finish the program in three years. To graduate, students must complete all coursework, achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0, and complete dissertation requirements. U.S. News and World Report ranks Johnson & Wales #74 in best regional universities in the North.
#13 – Atlantic International University
Online PhD in Human Resource Management
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,000
Atlantic International University’s online PhD human resources management boasts flexibility and affordability. This fully online PhD program helps students consult, lead, and teach in the field of human resources within a global business environment. Courses include adult learning and motivation, cross-cultural management, diversity in the workplace, human resource management, leadership and communication, managing and organizing people, and theories of leadership. Each PhD candidate completes, or is encouraged to complete, a doctoral dissertation in human resource management. AIU is accredited by the Accrediting Service for International Schools, Colleges, and Universities (ASIC). AIU offers one of the most affordable PhD programs on our list.
#12 – Wayland Baptist University
Online Doctor of Management (DMGT)
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,450
A top online doctorate in human resources management on our list is the online doctor of management (DMGT) at Wayland Baptist University. This totally online degree consists of 60 semester hours of coursework in areas of management theory, organizational behavior, and human resource management. The program uses a cohort model where students take courses as they are offered. Courses often run in 11-week terms. Courses include group and team processes, human resource development, human resource management and strategy, strategic management, and theories of employee and labor relations. Admission to the program requires applicants submit official GMAT or GRE scores and three professional or academic recommendations. U.S. News and World Report ranks Wayland Baptist #96-#127 in best regional universities in the West.
#11 – Colorado State University
Online PhD in Education and Human Resource Studies
Fort Collins, Colorado
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,035
Colorado State University’s online human resource PhD program pushes students to become leaders and researchers in the field. The program takes 3.75 years to complete with most classes offered online. Students take two courses per semester, and each course meets eight Saturdays per semester at the Denver Learning Center. Some of the required courses include evaluation and assessment in organizational learning, performance, and change (OLPC); foundations of educational research; scenario planning in organizations; systems leadership; and theory and practice of change. Admission requires GRE or GMAT scores and ten to twelve years of advanced experience in a related discipline. U.S. News and World Report ranks Colorado State University #140 in best national universities and #141 in best value schools.
#10 – Old Dominion University
Online EdD in Occupational and Technical Studies – Human Resource
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,904
Old Dominion University’s online PhD human resources management is a sixty-hour EdD program. This fully online program focuses on occupational and technical studies and human resource training. Students complete core courses in research and occupational and technical studies electives, HR concentration classes, and a dissertation. Two 2-week summer intensives are required at the main campus in Norfolk, Virginia. Courses include foundations of distance education, foundations of adult education and training, readings in occupational and technical studies, and trends and issues in training – modeling and simulation. U.S. News ranks Old Dominion University as a top national university and public institution. Also, several online graduate programs have received top 50 and top 75 rankings out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.
#9 – Ashford University
Online PhD in Organizational Development
San Diego, California
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,514
One alternative to a PhD in human resources management online degree, though related in curriculum and research, is the PhD in organizational development at Ashford University. This online doctoral degree consists of 62 credits and classes that run six to nine weeks in length. Online courses include advanced topics in performance management, assessment tools for organizational leadership, leading organizational change, and professional and business ethics in organizational leadership. Admission requirements include a master’s degree from a regionally approved and accredited college or university with a 3.0 GPA. U.S. News and World Report recognizes Ashford among the unranked regional universities in the West.
#8 – Bellevue University
Online PhD in Human Capital Management
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,770
Bellevue University offers an accredited type of online human resource PhD degree. The PhD in human capital management online degree equips graduates to be effective leaders in designing human capital development programs. Courses are delivered online and include advance analysis and presentation methods, economics of human capital valuation issues, human capital development and productivity, and research in organizations. An 18-credit dissertation is also required. Admission requirements include a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a 3.0 GPA or better, five years of professional experience, and statement of interest. There is no GRE or GMAT requirement. U.S. News and World Report ranks Bellevue among the top regional universities in the Midwest.
#7 – Bowling Green State University
Online PhD in Technology Management
Bowling Green, Ohio
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,608
Another alternative to the online doctorate in human resources management is the technology management degree at Bowling Green State University. The program offers five specializations, including human resource development and training. Eighteen hours of specialization courses in HRD & T are required. These courses are offered fully online and include career development theories and techniques in human resource development (HRD), evaluation of human resource development programs, evaluation of learner performance improvement, legal and ethical dimensions in HRD practitioners, and management and coordination of training and development. To apply, the school requires a master’s degree in a relevant field with a strong GPA of at least 3.5. GRE or GMAT scores are also required. U.S. News and World Report ranks Bowling Green #215 in best national universities and #121 in top public schools.
#6 – Liberty University
Online DBA in Human Resources
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,723
Liberty University’s PhD in human resources management online degree program requires 60 credits and takes three years to complete. The online DBA in human resources is a 100% online program designed to prepare individuals for high leadership roles in HR. Classes are delivered online and include 48 hours of core courses and 12 hours of human resources cognate courses. Some of the courses include compensation management, contemporary issues in human resource management, human resource development, strategic thinking and decision-making, and workforce planning and employment. Admission requirements include a regionally or nationally accredited master’s degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA. U.S. News and World Report ranks Liberty #230-#301 in best national universities.
#5 – University of Arkansas
Online EdD in Human Resource and Workplace Development Education
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,571
One alternative to the PhD in human resources management online degree, like the one University of Arkansas offers, is the online EdD in human resource. This fully online program prepares doctoral students in fields like psychology, organizational behavior, consulting, and human resources. You must take the GRE exam to be considered for admission. Also, admission requires a complete application, autobiographical sketch, and resumé. Students have up to seven years to complete the online doctoral program. To graduate, individuals must also successfully complete a candidacy exam and dissertation. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Arkansas #152 in best national universities and #78 in top public schools.
#4 – University of Southern Mississippi
Online PhD in Human Capital Development
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,218
The University of Southern Mississippi offers a type of online doctorate in human resources management degree known as the PhD in human capital development. Through research and practice, the program prepares students to position themselves as leaders in human capital and organizational strategy. Classes are delivered mostly online through web-based instruction. Minimal face-to-face meetings or courses may also be required. Courses you can expect to take include advanced workforce analysis, change leadership, foundations of human capital development, research in human capital development, survey design and administration, and workforce development models. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #230-#301 in best national universities.
#3 – Indiana State University
Online PhD in Technology Management
Terre Haute, Indiana
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,472
Indiana State University is one of our top affordable picks for an online human resource PhD or related degree. The PhD in technology management is a 66-credit hour program that offers the option of earning a specialization in a particular area of interest. If HRM is an area you want to pursue, the degree may be personalized to include courses in human resource management or development. Courses are delivered online and include 12 credits in general technology, a minimum of 27 credits in research and dissertation, and a minimum of 18 credits in a technical specialization like human resource development. Students also take at least nine credits of electives. U.S. News and World Report ranks Indiana State #230-#301 in best national universities.
#2 – The University of Texas
Online PhD in Human Resource Development
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,700
The University of Texas offers an accredited online PhD human resources management intended primarily as an executive-based program. While the program is not fully online, an executive format is used whereby students only meet five times each semester. Most classes will be delivered online. To apply to the program, certain requirements must be met. Admission requires unofficial transcripts from all universities from which you earned a degree, three letters of recommendation, a master’s degree in human resource development or closely related field, and satisfactory GMAT scores. U.S. News and World Report ranks UT-Tyler #81 in best regional universities in the West and #27 in top public schools.
#1 – California Miramar University
San Diego, California
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,535
A DBA, like the one offered at California Miramar University, may provide an alternative route for individuals seeking online PhD human resources management programs. The online DBA program offers various specializations that incorporate topics in human resources and organizational development. For example, the international business administration specialization offers courses in international human resources management. This program is ideal for those interested in both business and human resource management. The program requires the completion of 66 graduate semester credits beyond the master’s degree. Also, degree candidates must pass a comprehensive exam prior to approval of the dissertation proposal. California Miramar is the #1 most affordable school to offers an online doctoral program for those interested in human resources management.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do with an online PhD in human resources management?
Human resources management professionals work in a variety of settings to ensure the organization and workplace is safe and respectful. HR managers implement policies that provide support, recruit new job candidates, and fill vacant positions. With an online PhD in human resources management, leadership roles in HR are available.
Duties of human resources managers vary with organizations, but most oversee the recruiting process, manage human resources personnel, and conduct interviews when hiring new staff. Human resources managers often work closely with top organization executives to coordinate the work of a team of specialists. They serve as consultants to department heads and other organization managers and advise them on issues specific to human resources. Issues involving sexual harassment and equal employment opportunity are typically handled by the human resource manager.
Other roles of human resource managers include structuring competitive compensation packages. To remain competitive as an organization and attract qualified candidates, an equally attractive compensation package must be offered. HR managers make recommendations on potential policy changes, benefits modifications, and pay scale structures.
With an online PhD in human resources management, teaching is also an option. Colleges and universities hire qualified instructors and professors to teach students within the human resources program.
What is the career outlook for individuals with an online PhD in human resources management?
The United States Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports employment of human resources managers is projected to grow nine percent through the year 2026. This is a slightly faster growth rate than the average for all other occupations.
Employment growth depends largely on the expansion of companies and organizations over the next several years. As new companies form and businesses expand their services and operations, more human resource services will be needed to oversee hiring and recruitment, as well as day-to-day administrative HR duties.
Also, human resources managers will be in demand as policy changes occur within organizations. Complex employment laws, equal employment opportunities, and changes to retirement plans and healthcare will impact the need for qualified specialists. Candidates with adequate training and education, such as an online PhD in human resources management, will be sought after to fill leadership roles.
Candidates with a master’s degree or PhD should have the best job prospects, as education is highly valued in this field. Although job opportunities are expected, they will vary among industry. Healthcare, education, and tech companies should present the highest demand for HR personnel. Top level HR positions will face the strongest competition. Qualified candidates will be vying for few available positions, thus adequate education and experience are a must.
What will I earn with a PhD in human resources management online?
The median annual wage for human resources managers, according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), was $110,120 in 2017. Today, the earnings for an individual with an online PhD in human resources management is slightly lower.
PayScale, a global compensation research organization dedicated to gathering data and calculating average salaries, reports the average salary of an individual with a PhD or doctorate in human resources management earns $81,000 per year. The maximum salary reported for an individual with a doctorate in HRM is $117,000.
Education and years of experience impact compensation. The more educated and the more experience an individual has, the higher the earning potential. PayScale reports an experienced human resources manager with employees and ten to twenty years of experience earns an average total compensation of $70,000.
Location also impacts earnings. Human resource managers in large cities and urban locations generally earn more than their peers working in small and rural towns. The difference in pay may be offset by cost of living expenses. For example, San Francisco offers one of the highest earning potentials for human resources managers but also has one of the highest cost of living indexes in the country.
How long does it take to earn an online PhD in human resources management?
Plan on taking time to earn the proper education needed to land a top-level human resources management job. Candidates need a bachelor’s, master’s, and in some cases a PhD to secure management roles. Due to competition for the highest leadership positions in human resources management, a PhD will add value to your resumé.
Earning an online PhD in human resources management takes time. There are no shortcuts to earning a PhD, but online programs generally offer a work-at-your-own pace environment. Many of the online PhD in human resources management programs on our list take two to four years to complete on average.
Completion time varies with enrollment. If you plan to enroll in a full-time program, you may shave months off your completion time. A full load of classes means you will not take as long to complete your degree as a person taking few classes each year in a part-time program. However, there are benefits to enrolling part-time. Less class time, more freedom to balance outside obligations, and more time to focus on research adds value to a part-time program. This is something you must consider before enrolling in an online PhD in human resources management program.
What are the admission requirements for an online PhD in human resources management?
As with all PhD and doctoral programs, qualified individuals with academic promise are considered for admission. Programs vary in terms of requirements for admission, but for online PhD in human resources management programs, similar criteria apply.
Most programs look for the basics. Does the applicant have the required education for admission? Programs may ask for an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, while others ask for a master’s degree. Not all programs require an undergraduate or graduate degree in human resources. Programs select candidates from all academic backgrounds. This means an applicant for an online PhD in human resources management program may hold an undergraduate degree in business or related field.
GRE or GMAT test scores are often required by top ranked programs and highly ranked institutions. If a program asks for GRE scores or other graduate examination scores, an average may be required. Most programs publish the average GRE or GMAT scores of accepted applicants, though not always. Also, some programs may offer a range or give no indication of qualifying test scores. Most programs do review the application as a whole.
Additional requirements vary among programs. Letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to your academic and research potential, a statement of purpose, writing sample, and official transcripts are among the most common application requirements.
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