MSc Human Resource Management modules

This MSc is designed with your career in mind – opening up a wider range of job opportunities by providing the skills and practice to either accelerate your career or prepare you for a new start.

Through the research-led teaching delivered by Sheffield University Management School’s team of leading experts, you will gain a thorough understanding of the role human resources play in modern organisations. You will explore the implications of different organisational, financial, political, legal and socio-economic environments for the management of people at work. You will also learn about best practice approaches to a wide variety of human resource management concerns, such as pay and rewards, diversity, performance management, wellbeing and international human resource management.

Our MSc Human Resource Management is taught full-time over two semesters. During the third semester students undertake a management project. The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, case studies, group work for collaborative learning and web-based discussion groups. We also run skill sessions, designed to familiarise you with practical challenges that HR practitioners face and provide you with skills and knowledge that you will require in your future careers. Students are assessed through individual assignments, group projects, examinations and the management project. There is also the possibility of undertaking an organisational project, giving you real-world work experience within a company.

Managing People in Organisations

  • Led by Dr Raymond Randall
  • Autumn semester, 15 credits
  • Assessment: Examination

This module aims to introduce students to key aspects of human behaviour in organisations underpinning the developments of the Human Resource Management (HRM) and Organisational Behaviour (OB) disciplines. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, different theories relating to dimensions of workplace human behaviour are explored. In the context of this understanding of human behaviour in organisations, core aspects of HRM/OB are introduced, using research-informed teaching to critically assess relevant models, tools and techniques. Students are encouraged to engage with current debates and provide a reflective analysis of HRM/OB today. Supporting aims of the module are to enable participants to deepen their knowledge and understanding of HRM/OB issues, to develop insights into the changing role of practitioners in the context of ongoing organisational change, and to think about the issues involved in managing people in organisational contexts.

Professional Development

  • Led by Professor Penny Dick
  • Autumn semester, 15 credits
  • Assessment: Delivery of a group workshop, group report and individual reflections

This module is concerned with helping students to develop generic management skills which can be applied within the context of specific HRM domains. It encourages students to reflect upon and account for how specific contexts influence how HR knowledge is applied and managed.

Industrial Relations

  • Led by Dr Caitlin Fox-Hodess
  • Autumn semester, 15 credits
  • Assessment: Examination

This course focuses on the specific nature of the relationship centring on the employment contract, the different ways in which employees may voice their concerns, industrial disputes and mechanisms for dispute resolution, as well as topical issues.

Research Methods

  • Led by Dr Emanuela Girei and Mrs Rose Shepherd
  • Autumn and spring semesters, 15 credits
  • Assessment: Two 1,500 word research proposals, and online exercises

Appreciating research is important for a variety of reasons; in particular, evaluating research reports and papers written by others, commissioning research to help inform management decisions, and planning and undertaking one’s own research. Important aspects of this are understanding how knowledge is produced, the assumptions underpinning the research process, and its limitations. Research design is often based on competing assumptions about the nature of knowledge, and will therefore be conducted with varying methods and degrees of technical expertise. An understanding of the process of knowledge production will enable students to critically evaluate research results – whether other people’s or their own – and to plan a realistic research project for their dissertation.

Employee and Organisational Development

  • Led by Dr Ciara Kelly
  • Spring semester, 15 credits
  • Assessment: Individual coursework

This module aims to introduce students to the theory and practical operation of training and development initiatives from the individual, group and organisational perspective. The focus of the module is on learning and the whole process from needs analysis to evaluation will be covered. Methods and tools for learning and development will be critically analysed and their impact on employee and organisational outcomes assessed. Supporting aims are to enable students to develop a critical understanding of employee and organisational development and learning and to provide them with practical and theoretical insight into the design, delivery and evaluation of learning and development initiatives.

International Human Resource Studies

  • Led by Professor Pauline Dibben
  • Spring semester, 15 credits
  • Assessment: Examination and written report

This module investigates labour market trends and human resource practices within diverse political, economic, social and regulatory contexts. In addition to analysing the impacts of globalisation, international institutions and national governments on employment policy and regulation, it also examines the human resource practices of foreign direct investors, multinational corporations, and public sector organisations in both developed and developing countries. Particular attention is accorded to trends in the deployment of people across the world of work, and to how recruitment, retention and training practices can be utilised within different cultural contexts.

Employee Performance Management

  • Led by Dr Diane Burns
  • Spring semester, 15 credits
  • Assessment: Examination and 1,500 word essay

This module investigates the practical operation of different forms of employee performance management, their implementation, their change and their impact upon the individual with specific reference to motivation theory and reward management. It considers how recent social, economic and technological changes might be impacting upon the members of organisations. The rise in new modalities of employee performance management and control as managers attempt to cope with increasing levels of uncertainty are also considered.

Dissertation

  • Summer semester, 45 credits

The dissertation is the culmination of your master’s study and recognition of your capability to conduct a research project independently. Students can apply to undertake an organisation based dissertation project, arranged by the Management School. Working with an organisation, students can structure their project around a real business issue of challenge set by the host organisation. A student project will develop your employability skills, enhance your CV and give you the chance to use your insight to help an organisation develop.

Accounting and Financial Management

  • Led by Mr Barry Pierce
  • Autumn semester, 15 credits
  • Assessment: Examination and group coursework

Whether you’re contemplating self-employment or any career in the field of management, an ability to interpret accounting reports and exercise financial judgement is essential. The aim of this module is to equip non-financial students with an appropriate level of financial competence – and confidence – and hence views finance from the perspective of general management: that is, as users of financial information. This means that learning does not take the form of a series of technical exercises but grasping concepts and applying them to the real world, as demonstrated by the module tutors. The accounting element of the module is concerned primarily with the uses and limitations of published financial statements and internal accounting reports and controls. The financial management element of the module examines the role of accounting and market data to support decisions on funding, investment, organisational control and performance monitoring.

Strategic Management

  • Led by Dr David Littlewood
  • Spring semesters, 15 credits
  • Assessment: Written report

Strategic management is exciting but also challenging. Today’s modern managers and the organisations they work in face a multitude of complex decisions, challenges and problems on a daily basis. In the context of rapidly changing global business environments, effective strategic management is therefore imperative if companies are to survive, and to gain and sustain competitive advantage. The field of strategic management is concerned with the intended and emergent initiatives and actions taken by managers, involving the utilisation of resources, aimed at enhancing the performance of firms in their external environments. Strategic management is about the future of organisations, whether multinational or start-up, public or non-profit. Strategic management has implications for an organisation’s purpose, its resources, and how it interacts with its stakeholders and the wider world.
This module aims to provide an overview of key strategic management concepts, theories and models, and strategic management in practice. It addresses the three core areas of strategic management: (1) strategic analysis; (2) strategy development; and (3) strategy implementation. Whilst this module introduces key strategic management concepts and theories it is not exhaustive. The field of strategic management is broad and home to diverse interpretations. Students are therefore encouraged to adopt a critical approach and explore these varied perspectives as the module progresses, and to read widely. Examples from around the world will be used throughout teaching for this module to illustrate strategic management concepts, models and theories, and its practice globally. Students will also apply strategic management concepts, models and theories to case studies during lectures, tutorials, and in completion of the module assignment.

Work and Organisation in East Asia

  • Led by Dr Peter Matanle
  • Spring semester, 15 credits
  • Assessment: Bibliographical skills task and research essay

This module will first introduce you to work and organisation in Japan, focusing on the development of work within a modernising economy in East Asia. Using Japan as model with which to compare China and South Korea, the module will proceed to looking at the structure of employment and organisation in Japan through an examination of large scale data and by international comparisons. We will analyse contrasting experiences of working in Japan, from working for multi-national corporations to
volunteering and day-labour and we will ‘regionalise’ our knowledge of work and organisation by making comparisons with China and South Korea, via student presentations and research essays. The module will provide you with a well-rounded knowledge of work and organisation in the context of East Asia’s development and an appreciation of the range of meanings that Japanese, Chinese and South Koreans attach to their work.

Contemporary Chinese Business and Management

  • Led by Dr Zhong Zhang
  • Autumn semester, 15 credits
  • Assessment: Examination and group presentation

This module aims to acquaint students with the Chinese business environment and practice, to enable them to understand key management issues faced by Chinese managers and to inform them of challenges encountered by international businesses operating in China or doing business with the Chinese. It covers topics such as state-owned enterprise reform, private enterprise development and management of Chinese family firms, the Chinese business culture, foreign trade and WTO accession, foreign direct investment, human resources management and Chinese business leadership, Chinese consumer culture, and reform in the financial sector. An understanding of these topics is highly relevant to companies targeting the China market and essential background for graduates seeking a career in Far Eastern Business. Students are thus encouraged to develop business-related decision-making skills.


I was intrigued by the world class reputation of Sheffield University Management School and greatly motivated by the mission and vision that come with it. However the most important reason why I chose Sheffield University and the Management School is the attitude towards critical thinking and challenging real-world situations with research.

Constantinos Rigas

MSc Human Resource Management (Cyprus)


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated: 29 November 2019


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