Human Resource Management - MSc
This course is CIPD accredited, developing HR professionals who understand the business, its context and their role in sustaining the business.Take a look
This course is CIPD accredited, developing HR professionals who understand the business, its context and their role in sustaining the business.
The course fulfils the professional learning, training and development needs of those who are in the early part of their career in human resource management, training and development or employee relations.
It is also a means by which experienced HR or line managers can update their knowledge and understanding of best practice people management and anchor their experience within an applied theoretical context.
Graduates leave the course with a valuable academic qualification in the Master's in HRM and also a professional qualification, that is, Associate Membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Ulster University Business School has an excellent track record of teaching a current, professionally relevant and engaging curriculum from our full-time, subject expert, academic staff.
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About this course
In this section
The aims and learning outcomes of the course are achieved through a variety of teaching and learning methods across the modules including lectures, seminars, tutorials, online learning, case studies, residentials and visiting speakers.
The course team contribute to the research base in areas of Human Resource Management and Human Resource Development which provide excellent local and international case study examples to support teaching.
Students work towards a Postgraduate Certificate during the first year of the course, then a Postgraduate Diploma in the second year and then towards the full Master's qualification.
There are eight taught modules on the programme as follows:
- Leading, Managing and Developing People
- Resourcing and Talent Management
- HRM in Context
- Organisation Design and Development
- Investigating a Business Issue
- Developing Skills for Business Leadership
- Employee Relations
- Employment Law
Alongside the year 2 modules, students also complete a Management Research Report (PgDip exit award) or a Dissertation (MSc HRM) with the guidance of an academic supervisor. Students can opt to complete the Dissertation during a third year of study.
The course lasts for a duration of 2 years.
Students attend lectures on Monday afternoon and Monday evening throughout semesters 1 and 2 (September through to December and February through to May). Each semester is 12 weeks in duration.
In year 2 students MSc HRM students complete their Dissertation during semester 3.
- September 2019
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Students attend two lectures each week on Monday afternoon and evening covering two subject areas. Assessment is via coursework and examination and meets the requirements of the CIPD so that graduates from the course can leave with both a valued academic qualification from Ulster University and a professional qualification from CIPD.
Where possible teaching and assessment is made relevant to the students' workplace and role so that they may see an immediate value in studying for the qualification.
Innovative assessment methods are also employed on the course such as applied presentations and professional discussions.
The course is taught by subject experts and we also invite guest lecturers in to the course in order to explore some subject areas. Many of the teaching staff have experience in working outside the University and are able to bring their knowelege and experience into the classroom.
As students of the course all have some work experience examples from the workplace and students' own experience form the subject of discussion within modules. This allows students to network and learn from one another as well as from the lecturers.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
In this section
HRM in Context
This module will provide the learner with the ability to identify and analyse the major contexts in which organisations operate, which will better equip them as HR professionals in responding to their internal, business and external environmental contexts. Best practice from current research will be explored and used as case study examples. Learning and Teaching methods are varied and assessment is via a 3-hour unseen examination.
Leading, Managing and Developing People
This module will provide the learner with a wide range of theoretical perspectives on individual and organisational behaviour which will better equip them, as HR/L&D professionals and managers, to understand the complexities of motivation and engagement in the workplace. Best practice from current research will be explored and used as case study examples. Students are encouraged to engage with the CIPD HR Professional Map via the module coursework. Learning and Teaching methods are varied and assessment is by a 3-hour unseen examination and coursework.
Organisation Design and Development
The module will examine a range of theoretical and practical approaches related to organisational design and Organisational Development which will be important for those considering how best to use new knowledge to enhance organisational performance. It is presented to masters students who have considerable work experience and the applications of models to organisational practice will be emphasised at regular intervals. Assessment is by 100% coursework.
Resourcing and Talent Management
The purpose of this module is to develop a comprehensive understanding and critical awareness of the strategic importance of resourcing and talent management. Learning and Teaching will be through a range of methods including lectures, readings and research and visiting speakers. Assessment will be via written assignment and a professional discussion.
Investigating a Business Issue
The module seeks to expose students of human resources to the range of research methods and problem solving strategies available in investigating a human resource management issue of strategic relevance. Students will acquire an in-depth knowledge of at least one research strategy and be able to apply suitable project management techniques for the purposes of conducting a management research report. Students will prepare a management research report whereby practical, financially viable recommendations are supported by an empirical investigation and analysis of relevant academic research.
Preparation for Dissertation
The module seeks to expose students of human resources to the range of research methods and problem solving strategies available in investigating a human resource management issue of strategic relevance. Students will acquire an in-depth knowledge of at least one research strategy and be able to apply suitable project management techniques for the purposes of developing a research proposal and project plan in preparation for undertaking a human resource oriented style dissertation. Students will prepare a dissertation whereby practical recommendations are supported by an empirical investigation and analysis of relevant academic research.
Developing Skills for Business Leadership
The purpose of this module is to help students to develop core HR and business skills that are vital for professional practice and effective leadership. In addition well informed business decision-making, IT, HR analytics, statistical and accounting skills will help students to gain personal effectiveness and credibility at work. Learning and Teaching methods are varied and offer the opportunity for skills development in a laboratory environment.
Whilst many theorists would claim that people are the most important strategic resource of any organisation, employees may not always be motivated and handled in the best possible way, due to a number of competing tensions between the objectives of organisations and the aspirations of the employee. This module examines the strategies, policies, procedures and structures that organisations adopt in relating to the people it employs and their representatives. Such approaches impact upon employees' living standards and quality of working life. They also impact on the organisations' competitiveness and its role in the wider economy. The HR manager needs to be able to approach the tasks of employee relations with an understanding of the intellectual basis of these relationships and a practical ability to manage relations with others and resolve conflict within the organisation. This module aims to enhance the understanding and skills of key actors in the employment relationship.
The core aim of the dissertation is that students should investigate an important issue in human resource management. It is expected that students will demonstrate an understanding of practical, ethical and strategic issues within their research area. The research should be work-based and it is expected that the subject and design will be such that students will normally be working with primary, as well as secondary data. The total process seeks to develop and test students' conceptual and analytical ability, to enhance both their work related abilities and to prepare students for further research studies.
The importance of the employment relationship between employers, employees, unions and
other statutory bodies and agencies is such that a thorough knowledge of both the context and
the substantive law is necessary for those involved in this area in any capacity. The module
attempts to provide the basis for this knowledge and to put students in the position where they
may not only have an understanding of the law both conceptually and substantively, but also be
in a position to use that knowledge in the solution of problems.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
In this section
Students are usually expected to have a second class honours degree or equivalent, English (GCSE grade C or equivalent) and one year’s experience in an HR or HR-related role, for example, line or supervisory role.
In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee), they may be considered for entry to the course. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.
An interview may form part of the selection process.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Exemptions and transferability
Exemptions may be given on the basis of other postgraduate qualifications and/or the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development’s (CIPD) Advanced Level modules completed at other institutions. Applications for exemption will be assessed by the Course Director and Course Team on an individual basis.
Careers & opportunities
In this section
This course is very relevant to those in the HR profession, seeking to further their experience and/or career development opportunities. In addition, Professional Membership of the CIPD is vital for employability within the HR profession. CIPD are recognised in the UK and Ireland, Europe and increasingly further afield.
Employers' expectations confirm that successful HR professionals need to understand the business, its context and their role in sustaining the business. Above all, employers want the assurance that they are employing someone who can do the job so academic and professional recognition has become increasingly important for employment within the profession. This course attracts a diverse range of applicants from the public, private and third sectors and this provides great opportunity to network with like-minded professionals.
Alumni from this course can be found in leading HR positions both at home and abroad.
Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
ApplyHow to apply Request a prospectus
Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.
For an informal discussion prior to application please contact Jeanette Harrison, Course Director or Nick Read, Business Development Manager at Ulster University Business School.
Jeanette Harrison E: email@example.com
Nick Read E: firstname.lastname@example.org
- September 2019
Fees and funding
In this section
Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
- £14,060.00 Scholarships available
Scholarships, awards and prizes
There are two externally sponsored prizes awarded to students each year based on their performance on the course:
The Labour Relations Agency Prize for Best Dissertation.
Momentum Human Capital Prize for Best Management Research Report.
Additional mandatory costs
CIPD Student Membership costs are paid directly to CIPD. Most recent fees at time of publication £132 - see www.cipd.co.uk/membership/become-member/student
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Jeanette Harrison (Course Director)
Admissions Office queries:
International Admissions Office
For more information visit
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Jennifer Reilly, recent graduate talking about the MSc HRM
Jeanette Harrison, Course Director talking about the MSc HRM