MSc Human Resource Management

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.

It introduces you to the theoretical and practical business skills you require in the workplace. The Management School offers a similar programme which is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development - click here to find out more.

Key facts

Study mode: Full time
Duration: 12 months
Next start date: September 2019


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.

The programme is delivered by staff members from Sheffield University Management School’s Human Resource Management & Organisational Behaviour division and the Institute of Work Psychology. Both divisions are home to world-class academic researchers who have published on a wide variety of human resource management-related topics. They regularly undertake consultancy and research for businesses and employer organisations, as well as for national and local government, trade unions, NGOs and key international bodies such as the International Labour Organisation.

The Management School offers a similar programme which is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development - click here to read about this programme.

Click here to download a document which explains the difference between our Mc Human Resource Management programmes


Core modules

Managing People in Organisations

Led by Dr Diane Burns

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 Dragos Adascalitei

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.


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.

Optional modules (choose two)

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 Alex Wright

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.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's 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.

We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in a student’s home department, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.

Student insight

Constantinos Rigas, class of 2016

Costas RigasI was always fascinated in the human element of organisations, people are simply the beating heart of any society and the primary driver towards growth and sustainability making it the main reason why I chose this course. 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.

Human Resource Management is about exploring employment relations, motivating and developing staff. A module which includes all these components is 'Professional Development' which has been one of my favourites to study. The general vibe and structure of the module is really enjoyable since we are constantly debating and discussing different issues. Group presentations happen on a daily basis that allows students to enhance our communication skills and become familiar with real life situations in an enjoyable and engaging method.

The Management School's Employability Hub has been tremendously helpful. They provided me with lots of employability material like employer handbooks and brochures to help me find the most suitable job for me. In addition, there is a website that just advertises graduate schemes, placements or internships to help students increase their employability. Furthermore, I recently attended a jobs fair where employers came to campus to meet exclusively with Sheffield University students exclusively. This event helped me better understand the application process as well as giving me the opportunity to network with employers.

Careers and employability

At Sheffield University Management School, we are committed to focusing on employability and our postgraduate students’ future career prospects. We have two specialist careers advisors in the School, dedicated to providing full-time career support throughout your programme.

You will have many opportunities during your course to engage in personal and professional development. Our programmes are designed to enable you to acquire the transferable skills essential for employment: communication, organisation, the ability to deal with complex issues creatively and systematically; and the conceptual understanding required to evaluate current scholarship and research techniques.


This programme is not accredited. However, the Management School runs the MSc Human Resource Management with CIPD Pathway for students interested in gaining future professional qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Click here to download a document which explains the difference between our MSc Human Resource Management programmes

Fees and funding


Tuition fees for 2019-20 are:

GBP 12,250 for EU Students
GBP 22,600 for non-EU Students

You may incur fees for late registration, re-examination and re-submission. Click here to find out more.


There are a number of scholarships which students may be eligible for, visit the following links for more information:
Sheffield University Management School Scholarships
University of Sheffield Scholarships
International Student Scholarships
For more information about fees and funding your studies, click here.

How to apply

Entry requirements

Our MSc in Human Resource Management is designed to appeal to students from a variety of backgrounds. Whether you are already working in human resource management or have an inclination to do so, this programme offers you the opportunity to gain professional recognition and move your career forward. A dedicated careers service is also on hand to support students and put you in touch with employers.

You will have a 2:1 honours degree, or an approved professional qualification, combined with a desire to learn about the principles and practices of people management. For overseas students, Sheffield University Management School’s standard English requirement is IELTS 6.5 (with no less than 6 in each part). For detailed information on our English language requirements, click here.

Apply now

Staged admissions process

Applications to this course are assessed using our staged admissions process.

Stage For applications received by We aim to return decisions by
1 15 January 2019 15 February 2019
2 28 February 2019 31 March 2019
3 14 May 2019 15 June 2019
4 21 July 2019 15 August 2019

You can find information about the process on our staged admissions web page: 

Staged admissions for postgraduate applications 

If you have any enquiries about your suitability, please contact our Postgraduate Admissions Team:
Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 3376