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Human Resource Management - MA

Why study this course?

The Human Resource Management MA is designed for professionals who wish to further their careers and assume senior positions in human resources (HR). The course is suited both to those already working in HR at any level, as well as those who aspire to work in the field. Successful completion of the course includes the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD’s) Advanced Level Diploma, CIPD Associate Membership and the opportunity to apply to upgrade to CIPD Chartered Membership. In the most recent (2014-15) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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If you want to advance your career within the field of human resource management, gain a professional qualification from the CIPD and study in the global city of London, then the Human Resource Management MA is the ideal course to benefit your career.

We place particular emphasis on promoting a friendly and supportive environment, and our research-active staff will use their own cutting edge work to enhance your learning. You’ll have access to our excellent libraries and specialist collections such as the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Library, and will be welcome to participate in the activities these collections put on (see the Additional activities section for further information).

The core modules focus on leading, managing and developing people and contextualising management. Our specialist option modules also include an international perspective and give you the opportunity to examine resourcing and talent management, learning and talent development, employment law and practice, managing employee relations in contemporary organisations and employee engagement. The option modules are available as short courses, should you wish to get a taste of the subject matter before committing to the MA (see the Short Courses section for more information).

The dissertation is a cornerstone of the course, for which you’ll be assigned a personal supervisor who will guide and help you throughout. By focusing on an area of research and its practical application within organisations, you’ll become an expert in your field and significantly enhance your employability.

Successful completion of the MA and joining the CIPD, will grant you the CIPD’s Advanced Level Diploma, the highest educational award offered by the professional body under its current qualifications scheme. Combine this award with the relevant experience, and you’ll be able to upgrade to the chartered level of CIPD membership.


The assessment for this course is both formative and summative. It is designed to appeal to – and test – students from wide range of human resource management (HRM) traditions. The methods are varied, and include assignments written in report and essay format, comparative analyses, case studies, a skills development portfolio, presentations and group work.

Two exams take place in the first semester and are required by the CIPD across all approved programmes. An exam briefing will be given to help prepare you for these assessments.

There will also be a dissertation which carries 60 credits. The dissertation requires you to conduct a piece of empirical research on a topic of your choice that is approved by your tutor. Most students choose to conduct their research on a key people management issue within their own organisation.

Professional accreditation

You will need to join the CIPD when you begin your course.

Upon successful completion of the MA, you’ll gain Associate Membership of the CIPD from which you can apply for professional upgrading linked to your professional experience to achieve Chartered Membership or Fellowship. Our dedicated CIPD professional adviser can guide you on your application to upgrade to Chartered status.

Upgrading to Chartered Membership or Chartered Fellowship of the CIPD enables you to use the designate letters CMCIPD or CFCIPD, further enhancing your employability.

You will be required to have:

  • a good bachelor’s degree (2.2) in any subject or a three-year diploma in business that includes good grades in human resources (HR) subjects

In exceptional circumstances, applicants with significant HR experience at a senior level may be considered. Interviews are generally required for non-standard entry.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Accelerated study

Following successful completion of the Human Resource Management postgraduate diploma (or an equivalent course meeting CIPD requirements for the Advanced Level Diploma in HRM), you may be considered for direct entry to Human Resource Management MA with credit for up to five modules (100 credits) but will be required to complete 80 credits through the Research Methods in Human Resource Management module, which is worth 20 credits, and the Human Resource Management Dissertation module, which is worth 60 credits.

To be admitted to the Human Resource Management MA top-up course, you are normally required to demonstrate an average of 55% pass marks across the Human Resource Management postgraduate diploma, with 55% or more achieved in the dissertation/management research report/project.

An alternative Human Resource Module MA option module (20 credits) may be taken instead of the Research Methods in Human Resource Management module, provided that you can demonstrate that you have successfully passed an equivalent Research Methods HRM module and supply an accepted dissertation proposal. The assessment of this will be determined by the course/module leader as a condition of entering the Human Resource Management MA course.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2017/18 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday
    • autumn semester - Thursday

    It is increasingly acknowledged that many organisations are functioning in what are turbulent and uncertain environments. Significantly, the CIPD in its position paper People Management Matters placed the role of changes in external markets and associated competitive pressures at the forefront of factors seen to be exerting an influence on organisations, managers and the management of people. Such an approach has also influenced recent academic treatment of people management and is increasingly reflected in government policy towards product and labour markets and in legislation affecting the management of people.

    Perhaps as significant as the developing competitive context for organisations has been the growing importance of Europe and specifically the European Union. There is little within the people management area, which is not affected to some degree by actions taken by the EU. Of particular importance is the role of EU-inspired legislation in the people management area and this, along with domestic legislation, is combining to bring about significant changes to the personnel/HR role in many organisations.

    Much of what is covered in this module is to take these and other broader contextual issues such as demographic and technological changes and attempt to analyse them in some depth and then explore their implications for organisations, specifically those of strategy and structure, and the management of staff. That is to examine and analyse the contexts in which organisations operate and then to examine how management responds to contextual diversity and continuous change in devising and implementing appropriate strategies for survival and growth.

    Finally, the module engages with the whole area of corporate governance, including CSR but with particular focus on how organisations are owned and controlled and how this plays out in terms of the role and status accorded to people management. This connects with the importance of issues such as shareholder value, and how HR adds value to an organisation, which in turn leads into consideration of the need for HR to be financially aware and to be able to argue its case in accounting and financial terms.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester
    • summer studies
    • spring semester

    The MA dissertation is a triple-weighted module and is designed to provide an opportunity for students to undertake a substantial piece of research in their subject field. The research project is intended to build on the taught modules of the student's MA award and is underpinned by the Research Methods in HRM module. The dissertation is designed to demonstrate the synthesis of knowledge and skills developed throughout the award. It is the largest piece of assessed work undertaken on the award, and is seen as the clearest expression of the student's ability to demonstrate what they have studied at Masters level

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday
    • spring semester - Thursday

    This module aims to provide learners with a rigorous framework of knowledge and understanding concerning people management that they will need whatever the degree of specialism they choose within their careers in HRM/HRD. It seeks to familiarise learners with major contemporary research evidence on employment and effective approaches to HRM and HRD practice. Research focusing on the links between people management practices and positive organisational outcomes is covered as is research which highlights major contemporary changes and developments in practice. In addition the module introduces the major aims of HRM and HRD and explores how these are achieved in practice in different types of organisations. The module covers the CIPD module Leading, Managing and Developing People together with some of the content of CIPD’s HRM in Context (Contextualising Management).

    This module also addresses many of the skills areas required by CIPD in its module Developing Skills for Business Leadership, including encouraging learners to develop a strong sense of self-awareness and of their own strengths and weaknesses as managers and colleagues. Thus, the module is also concerned with developing understanding and skills in a number of areas that constitute effectiveness in management, and specifically the management of self and of others. In addition it seeks to help learners to develop and improve a range of definable skills which are pivotal to successful management practice and to effective leadership in particular. These include thinking and decision-making skills and a range of team working and interpersonal skills and others associated with developing personal effectiveness and credibility at work. Digital literacy is addressed in an integrated manner throughout the module.

    Finally, the module seeks to help learners make the most of their formal programmes of study with the inclusion of key post-graduate level study-skills and aids students in exploring the connection and the implications for - and applications in - professional practice through continuing professional development and personal development planning.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday
    • spring semester - Monday

    The MA HRM Dissertation and the Postgraduate Diploma Management Research Report (MRR) are vital components of courses within the postgraduate framework. By introducing students to philosophical and practical factors associated with understanding and undertaking HRM research at postgraduate level, complemented by formally assessed activity, the module provides a firm framework for critical analysis and evaluation of HRM research plus the subsequent dissertation design and implementation.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday

    Crucial to the delivery of superior organisational performance is the extent to which the employees of an organisation feel involved, committed and engaged. This module explores the different dimensions of employee engagement, that is, the cognitive, affective and behavioural dimensions. It examines and explores what is meant by ‘engagement’ and why some organisations are better than others at creating authentic engagement among their employees, and what any organisation can do, with the aid of its human resource (HR) professionals, to create high levels of workforce engagement.

    The module will equip learners with a comprehensive academic understanding of the concept of ‘engagement’ and how it can be applied in an organisational setting and within an international context. It explores the research-based and philosophical connections between employee engagement and other related beliefs, values, leadership models and management practice. The module will also focus on the multi-dimensional relationships between employment relations, reward, equality and engagement.

    This module provides learners with knowledge and understanding of the rationale for the emergence of employee engagement as a key priority for organisations with high-performance working (HPW) aspirations and will enable them to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to assess the research, experiential and anecdotal evidence surrounding both the processes that facilitate employee engagement and the outcomes that may follow. The module counsels caution in the assessment and interpretation of ‘evidence’ about the processes and benefits of engagement and the need to guard against tendencies towards rhetoric, as many studies lack empirical detail and devote excessive attention to views of those with a vested interest in reporting progress and success. Employee engagement, if properly understood, carefully implemented and objectively measured, is a powerful tool for delivering positive and ‘bottom-line’ outcomes.

    Learners will explore techniques needed to measure engagement, take remedial action or embed engagement-enhancing cultural practices, and to identify, prioritise and evaluate actions to promote high levels of engagement. The module requires critical reflection on theory and practice from an ethical and professional standpoint and provides opportunities for applied learning and continuous professional development.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday morning
    • spring semester - Tuesday afternoon

    This module will enable students to critically analyse contemporary employment law issues, keep abreast of legal developments and appreciate the practical implications of employment law disputes

    Assessment: The module is assessed by 100% coursework. It consists of two pieces of written coursework weighted 75% and 25%.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday

    The module builds upon the Contextualising Management and Leading and Leading, Managing and Developing People modules with a view to developing a more in-depth and integrated appreciation of the field of human resource management. It locates the discussion of employment relations around the central focus of the employment relationship; taking both individual and collective aspects of this relationship and exploring in depth the various ways in which this is managed in both unionised and non-union settings. In this it reflects the thinking within the CIPD, that 'the cornerstone of all human resource activity is the employment relationship’.

    Given the focus on the employment relationship, the module explores the choices available to organisations in managing this relationship, what influences these choices and how the choices are experienced by those working in organisations, thus affecting employment relations practice within these organisations. The module considers shifting priorities in managing employment relations and the diversity of employment relations and practices found in organisations, by making extensive use of case studies and case scenarios. In doing so it adopts a critical orientation and encourages participants to reflect upon practices and in moving forward, the motivation for changing practice in employment relations together with an evaluation of such change initiatives.

    Read full details.
  • No module details available
    Read full details.

Modules include:

  • Contextualising Management
  • Leading, Managing and Developing People
  • Research Methods in Human Resource Management
  • Human Resource Management Dissertation
  • Employment Law and Practice
  • Employee Engagement
  • Managing Employment Relations in Contemporary Organisations
  • Resourcing and Developing Talent

"Studying the two-year Human Resource Management MA course not only provided me with new knowledge on a host of topics, but also provided me with a new network of HR colleagues and friends, interesting insights into the HR sector and built confidence in my abilities as a HR professional."
Former student

"The Human Resource Management MA course was a life-changing experience. I found the course intellectually stretching, gained a greater understanding of the context within which HR operates, learnt the role of strategic HR and discovered the positive possibilities that HR can bring to organisations."
Former student

Achieving the CIPD’s Advanced Level Diploma is of major benefit for gaining HR roles in both the UK and abroad. Our dedicated CIPD professional adviser can guide you on your application to upgrade to Chartered Membership or Fellowship, which will allow you to use the designate letters CMCIPD or CFCIPD, further enhancing your employability.

Graduates of our Human Resource Management MA have gone on to employment in a variety of organisations across the private, public and voluntary sectors. Those who already worked within HR have been able to use the course to specialise in particular fields within their organisation and sector, further enhancing their reputation and employability.

Your course benefits from the research activity conducted by staff. Many of our staff are recognised as world experts in their respective fields, with books, book chapters and academic and practitioner journal articles published. Their research is published in high ranking, internationally recognised peer reviewed journals, and they participate on the editorial boards of academic journals and present their work at academic and practitioner conferences. This activity generates an active research culture, so you will be exposed to the latest developments and ideas throughout your course. You’re welcome to attend regular research seminars and this helps to stimulate ideas for your own dissertation.

You'll be able to attend additional seminars on subjects such as the impact of globalisation; equality, human rights and social justice; public policy; sustainability and corporate social responsibility and HRM and business law issues such as engagement, talent management, reward, work-life balance, work organisation and employment rights. In addition, guest speakers drawn from private industry, the public sector, not-for-profit, consultancy and authors of eminent works will be incorporated into your course.

You can apply to study any of the option modules as a short course. The module leader will check whether you have the prerequisites to undertake the module.

While all the option modules are available for study in this way, the following courses have short course pages that you can read for more detail:

The CIPD has commended London Met’s CIPD-related courses for their:

  • high-level of commitment and support for students
  • currency and quality of curriculum
  • high standard of teaching and learning
  • use of action learning sets
  • strong ethos and benefits of formative feedback

Between 2016 and 2020 we're investing £125 million in the London Metropolitan University campus, moving all of our activity to our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching location of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2017. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

How to apply

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When to apply

You are advised to apply as early as possible as applications will only be considered if there are places available on the course.

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