Human Resource Management - MSc

2024/25 Part-time Postgraduate course


Master of Science


Ulster University Business School


Department of Management, Leadership and Marketing


Belfast campus

Start date:

September 2024


Developing HR Professionals of the Future


A highly relevant course, the MSc Human Resource Management develops HR professionals capable of facing organisational challenges now and into the future. This course will enhance your people management knowledge and skills with immediate impact on your organisation. Topics include Resourcing and Talent Management, Organisation Design and Change, Employee Relations and Engagement and Employment Law.

The Labour Relation Agency acknowledges high achieving students with an award for best dissertation, the research and recommendations of which provide people management and development business solutions. Both CIPD NI and CIPD National Awards for Outstanding Student of the Year were won by two of our students in 2018 and 2019 and again the former in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Professional membership of CIPD is vital for employabiliy in the HR profession. Get professional membership alongside your MSc HRM. The course has been mapped to the new CIPD Profession Map. CIPD is recognised in the UK, Ireland, Europe and Australia. Employers want people who can make a difference - get the academic and professional recognition you deserve!

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About this course


Currently there are eight taught modules on the programme as follows:

Year 1
- Organisational Behaviour and HRM
- Strategic HRM in Context
- Resourcing and Talent Management
- Management Research for HR Practice

Year 2
- Organisation Design and Change
- HR Analytics
- Employee Relations and Engagement
- Employment Law

Self-Driven Module with Academic Supervision Year 2 or Year 3:-12,000-word Dissertation

New Developments! The course has recently been redesigned in line with the new CIPD Profession Map; new areas include analytics, diversity, change and students will gain key skills and knowledge required for the HR profession such as ethical practice and creating value.



The course lasts for a minimum duration of 2 years part-time.

Monday afternoon and Monday evening throughout semesters 1 and 2 (September through to December and end of January through to May). Each semester is 12 weeks in duration.

In year 2 MSc HRM students complete their Dissertation during semester 3 or there is the option of completing in a third year.

Start dates

  • September 2024

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Students attend two lectures each week on Monday afternoon and evening covering two subject areas. Assessment is via 100% coursework (there are no exams) 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 at Associate level from CIPD.

Teaching and assessment is relevant to the students' workplaces and roles so that they may see an immediate value in studying for the qualification. Innovative assessment methods are employed on the course such as applied presentations and online journalling.

The course is taught by subject experts and guest lecturers are invited to showcase current industry perspectives.

Students are encouraged to share their work experiences and to learn from each other as well as from their lecturers. Networking with peers is a valuable learning experience and is encouraged - this is fostered right at the beginning of the programme with a 2-day, outdoor, development residential.

Attendance and Independent Study

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:

  • 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, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses 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. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. 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

    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 assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

    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, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. 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. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

  • 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

    Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) 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 and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance HE - 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 from the academic year 2022-2023.

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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

Year one

Strategic HRM in Context

Year: 1

This module will provide the learner with opportunities to identify and analyse the major contexts in which organisations operate. This will better equip the students as HR professionals in responding to their internal and external contexts. Topical issues and current academic theory will be explored and supported with case study examples. Learning and teaching methods are varied and assessment is via two pieces of assessed coursework.

Organisational Behaviour and HRM

Year: 1

This module provides the learner with a wide range of theoretical perspectives on individual, team 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. Examples of good practice from contemporary research are explored and used as case study examples. Students are required to engage with the CIPD Profession Map as a tool for personal and organisational development. Teaching and learning methods are varied and assessment is via 100% coursework.

Management Research for HR Practice

Year: 1

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. On completion of this module students will be able to proceed to undertake a management dissertation or simply be equipped with the management research skills to identify, investigate, and produce a set of applied outcomes in HR practice.

Resourcing and Talent Management

Year: 1

The purpose of this module is to develop a comprehensive understanding and critical awareness of the strategic importance of resourcing and talent management. Students will be able to evaluate recruitment, selection, induction and retention processes, comparing ways in which organisations build and maintain positive reputations in key labour markets. In its focus on the importance of succession planning and employer branding to support sustainable organisational performance, this module goes beyond the transactional focus of recruitment and selection processes and emphasises the longer term strategic issues associated with resourcing and talent management.

Year two

Organisation Design and Development

Year: 2

The module will examine a range of theoretical and practical approaches related to organisational design which will be important for those considering how best to use this new knowledge to enhance organisational performance. It is presented to masters students who have considerable work experience and will explore issues relevant to the design of organisations and the process of change management. Assessment is by 100% coursework.

Employee Relations and Engagement

Year: 2

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, and in particular focuses n conflict resolution practices, that ultimately 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.


Year: 2

Within the Dissertation module and its research process students will investigate an important issue within their own organisation and within the broad area HRM. It is expected that students will demonstrate an understanding of practical, ethical and strategic issues within their research area. it is the normal expectation that within the subject area and research design students will be working with primary, as well as secondary data. The module seeks to develop students' subject and professional knowledge, conceptual and analytical abilities, critical, systems and anticipatory thinking; key skills of self-awareness, effective communication, collaboration, information literacy and digital capabilities, an to prepare students for further potential research studies.

HR Analytics

Year: 2

Neatly summarised by Marler and Boudreau (2016: 5) HR analytics is "a number of processes, enabled by technology, that use descriptive, visual and statistical methods to interpret people data and HR processes. These analytical processes are related to key ideas such as human capital, HR systems and processes, organisational performance, and also consider external benchmarking data." The module is designed to deepen students' understanding of the value of HR analytics; how to identify, gather, analyse and present data; to have meaningful conversations with stakeholders; to design measures and develop insights that improve working lives and inform strategic decision-making in their organisations.

Employment Law

Year: 2

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.

Standard entry conditions

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.

Entry Requirements

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 subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee 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 but these would have to be approved by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) to ensure the CIPD Profession Map requirements have been covered in modules for which exemption is being claimed.

Careers & opportunities

Career options

This course is very relevant to those in the HR profession, seeking to further their experience and/or career development opportunities and for line managers wishing to develop their knowledge and expertise in people management. In addition, Professional Membership of the CIPD is increasingly important for employability within the HR profession.

Work placement / study abroad

Not applicable.

Professional recognition

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).


Start dates

  • September 2024

Fees and funding

Important notice - Tuition fees for this course may vary

Visit Tuition Fees pages for more details on the price of this course.

Scholarships, awards and prizes

There is one externally sponsored prize awarded to students each year based on their performance on the course:

The Labour Relations Agency Prize for Best Dissertation.

Additional mandatory costs

CIPD Student Membership costs are paid directly to CIPD. Most recent fees at time of publication £140 (included a one-off joining fee of £40) - see membership information.

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

For more information visit


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Jennifer Reilly, MSc HRM graduate talking about her experience on the masters

You can contact the course director Dr Paul Joseph-Richard by email: