Human Resource Management MSc

Learn about the latest developments in HRM to develop and enhance your knowledge and skills on our CIPD-accredited Masters


At Edinburgh Napier University we aim to be recognised as a University that is professional, ambitious, innovative and inclusive. In our dealings with you we will act with respect and integrity. We will create an environment to enable you to feel proud to be a student of the University, to feel confident, challenged and supported.

Effective human resource management (HRM) is recognised as vital to organisational performance. Our programme will enable you to make a significant contribution to people management practice and develop a deep understanding of the changing role of HRM in the development and implementation of employment policies and procedures. It is designed for those who desire a comprehensive knowledge and development of professional competencies in this field. The focus on reflective practice enables you to make a sustainable contribution to HRM practice within your own or your client organisation. Edinburgh Napier University is a CIPD Accredited Programme Provider.

Reflecting the strategic role of HRM within organisations, the programme focuses on how the function can develop high quality leaders and practitioners who make a positive and enduring difference to the wellbeing of organisations and society. It emphasises HRM as an integral part of corporate strategy and demonstrates its links with other managerial activities. You will learn the specialist skills and expertise you need to be effective and influential in an HR role at both strategic and operational levels and acquire an in-depth understanding of key HRM policy areas such as organisational development, recruitment and selection, sustainable working practices, employee relations, diversity management, business analytics and change along with pivotal employment law regulations.

Our MSc in Human Resource Management has a 91% overall student satisfaction score (PTES, 2023). 

Two people talking over a coffee, at the Apex Cafe in Merchiston

Mode of Study:

Full-time (available as Part-time)


1 years

Start date:


Course details

Our overarching philosophy is to follow the principles of practice-based learning and active learning. We encourage you to adopt an evidence-based approach to learning and practice, drawing on research and theory to challenge the assumptions, processes and mindsets which drive actions. This provides you with an opportunity to apply academic learning to practice and to develop a deeper understanding of what happens in practice and why this may happen, while being aware of the benefits to your ongoing sustainable personal and professional development. This helps facilitate the transfer of learning and encourages you to make closer connections between the acquisition of new knowledge and the application of this to your current and future practice.

The programme is structured to provide you with a strong sense of programme identity, building your professional and scholarly skills, knowledge, and confidence throughout your student journey. Aimed at both newly qualified graduates and managers already working in the field of people management, as well as those who see their careers developing in this direction. The face-to-face taught learning strategy of the programme ensures you develop as a confident individual with advanced, high-quality knowledge, skills and behaviours that are recognised and valued by you, your employer(s) and the wider community in all areas of HRM. This full-time course is based within the Business School. We work closely with industries and draw from an extensive network of academics and practitioners who provide a unique blend of expertise in HRM, wellbeing and leadership practice.

Modules you will study on our programme:

  • People and Organisational Development
  • Business Analytics and Change
  • Employment Law
  • Employee Resourcing
  • Labour Relations
  • Skills in People Management
  • Research Methods for HRM
  • HRM Masters Research Project

When you graduate (and achieve all CIPD requirements), you can become a CIPD Associate Member and use the designation Assoc CIPD. You may also be eligible to become a CIPD Chartered Member or CIPD Chartered Fellow, depending on your experience. Our programme has been accredited by the CIPD for over 25 years, offering a strong focus on theory to practice and developing students’ knowledge and behaviours as HR professionals. We have received several commendations of good practice from internal and external stakeholders including the CIPD, recognising aspects such as our responsive and innovative approach to programme delivery, our engagement with the CIPD professional standards and our research-informed approach to teaching.

The CIPD has been championing better work and working lives for over 100 years. It helps organisations thrive by focusing on their people, supporting our economies and societies. It’s the professional body for HR, L&D, OD and all people professionals – experts in people, work and change. With almost 160,000 members globally – and a growing community using its research, insights and learning – it gives trusted advice and offers independent thought leadership. It’s a leading voice in the call for good work that creates value for everyone.

This is the CIPD narrative from within the brand guidelines.

How will my degree reflect sustainability and sustainable development?

The Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) – established under the UN Global Compact – places a clear onus on Higher Education to ‘transform management education and develop the responsible decision-makers of tomorrow to advance sustainable development’. The Business School is a PRME signatory, and we seek to influence professional practice and policy nationally and internationally, helping to drive key societal, economic and environmental impacts.

Our mission is ‘to empower communities to apply business knowledge for positive societal impact’ and we work constantly to embed practical actions into our curriculum, to promote sustainability and relate these to the key ideas of sustainability, as reflected in the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes now reflect one or more of the SDG, and our research is targeted to solve real world problems, mapped against the criteria used in the Times Higher Education’s Impact Ranking. 

The most recent annual league table for Sustainability - compiled by People & Planet, the UK’s largest student campaigning network - again places Edinburgh Napier in a top 3 position among Scotland’s 19 universities. This reflects their assessment of our performance across a range of environmental and ethical considerations, which include carbon reduction and management, and education.

What is distinct about equality, diversity and inclusion?

Edinburgh Napier University is enriched by the diversity of perspectives, cultures and backgrounds brought by all within our global community. We are committed to a positive environment where diversity and inclusiveness is celebrated and everyone is treated fairly regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, disability, age, ethnic origin, religion or belief, marital or civil partnership status or whether pregnant or on maternity leave. We commit ourselves to providing a learning, working and social environment that is free from discrimination, prejudice, intimidation, stigmatisation and all forms of harassment and bullying.

The Business School's vision: 'To be the Business School for empowerment, enterprise and employability for all'.

Our mission statement: 'Empowering our communities to apply business knowledge for positive societal impact'.

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    How you’ll be taught

    This is a one year full-time course starting in September and is split up into three trimesters.
    You’ll learn by a variety of te

    This is a one-year full-time course starting in September and is split up into three trimesters. You’ll learn by a variety of teaching methods including lectures, external professional speakers, role-play, workshops, seminars and independent study.

    A key feature of the Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) strategy is ensuring an appropriate balance of theory and research alongside a practical application of the subject area with relevant work-based examples, thus encouraging you to examine the subject area and your practice from a more critical stance as is appropriate at Masters Level. This approach is encouraged in class activities, through appropriate lecture/seminar style and format and high-quality specialist workshops. We also draw on elements of active learning where we will encourage you to be actively engaged in and think about the learning process and how it affects you, personally and professionally, and how it might influence or enhance your learning and understanding of other modules and disciplinary areas.aching methods including lectures, external professional speakers, role-play, workshops, seminars and independent study.
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    Knowledge and understanding are assessed by a range of assessments strategies including report-style work based or case study assignments, portfolios, oral presentations, group-based assessments, online examinations and a dissertation. Behaviour and competencies encapsulated are further assessed through development discussions, individual and group reflections, role play activities, debates and group work. Formative assessment takes several forms, being either oral or written and includes tutor and peer feedback.

    The strong focus on theory to practice and reflective practice are integrated the programme by acquiring professional accreditation this aligns with the employability agenda of developing professional highly skilled students. You'll learn techniques and strategies that will enable you to critically reflect on your workplace experiences and create your own on-going programme of professional development. Formative and summative assessment plus, a practice-based research project develops and measures your knowledge and skill-based development on a continuous basis.

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    Work placement

    We offer a voluntary placement, in the Human Resource department (or equivalent) of an organisation, undertaken alongside and integrated within the programme of study. This is a highly beneficial opportunity for a variety of reasons and is especially useful for those who do not have any relevant HR employment experience. This opportunity facilitates the development of employability skills, and reflective practice whilst providing access to organisational practice along with a primary data research source.

    For the research element (dissertation) of the MSc HRM programme a 'problem-based learning' approach will be utilised and will help to ensure projects have the potential to add real and immediate value in your current workplace or placement organisation, thus enhancing employability and transfer of learning. Integrating reflective practice within this research process will facilitate your learning and development. We encourage you to engage with your employer, host organisations or contact(s) when formulating your research topic and potential future implementation of appropriate research-based recommendations for practice. Moreover, you are encouraged to reflect on your own CV when deciding upon a research focus, in terms of your future career direction and employment prospects.


Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Business Analytics and Change ( HRM11127 )

This module has a focus on change management and people analytics and importantly contributes towards a greater understanding of how to manage change and the key levers which support the successful implementation of change projects. People analytics plays an important part in this and this module explores how to develop people measures to diagnose potential areas of concern and to measure and track progress of change projects to inform current and future organisational strategy. The ability to manage change is a key HRM skill and often it is people professionals who lead and support both the diagnosis and implementation of organisational change projects. This module is focussed upon helping you to understand the complex nature of change, the different strategies that can be employed to manage it, the issues that people management professionals involved in the implementation of organisational change can face, and the key levers and mechanisms that can be used to both implement change successfully and to maintain change over the longer term. The module begins with consideration of the nature of the different types of organisational change which take place and the change models available to support both the diagnosis and management of change. It then goes on to consider how to identify and manage resistance both before and during change, as well as an examination of the key levers and mechanisms that can be utilised to help overcome resistance and sustain change over the longer term. Communication and participation are then studied in the context of leading change and overcoming resistance with a focus on how HRM professionals can involve people in the implementation of change and facilitate buy-in to different change outcomes.Reflecting on how culture change is altered over the longer term is a core aspect of sustainable change programmes and the theory is presented and discussed. Finally, the latter half of the module has a focus on people analytics and how measures can be developed to diagnose strategic activity and manage change, it also looks at how the presentation of data through a scorecard approach can be utilised to inform and measure the pace of change over the short and long term as well as informing both current and future strategic direction.

Further information

Employment Law ( LAW11101 )

European, statutory and common law rights: Employment courts and procedure; institutions of employment law; Human Rights.The employment relationship: formation and sources of the contract of employment; specific and implied terms and the legal consequences of unilateral change.Contractual and statutory protection on dismissal; redundancy; transfer of undertakings and deficient wages.Unlawful discrimination and remedies.Equal pay; maternity pay and family friendly rights.Intellectual Property; Data Protection; confidential information and 'whistle-blowing'.Health and Safety law.Collective employment law: trade unions; immunities and industrial action.

Further information

HRM Masters Research Project ( HRM11126 )

The Masters Research Project module provides you with the opportunity to undertake an independent research project and develop advanced skills in planning and conducting the research, analysing the data, reporting on the results and writing evidence-based conclusions. You will also develop skills in writing practice-based recommendations and writing a concise extended abstract outlining key learning and findings/conclusions and practice-based recommendations. The module is undertaken in Trimester 3 (from early May to August). It builds upon the learning and academic work previously completed as part of the Research Methods in HRM module, but work previously completed, will be marked only on the basis of enhancements and improvements made. You will complete a practice-based research project, collect primary research data, and analyse and complete your project ‘write-up’ within a predetermined timeframe, which from start to finish lasts approximately 4 months (May through August). Undertaking the project requires you to develop a deep level of analysis and understanding of a clearly defined issue within the field of HRM. It allows you to develop your experience and expertise in planning, designing, executing and reporting a significant piece of individual applied HRM research. The module also provides you with experience of the practical, analytical and academic processes involved in research, such as obtaining primary data/information from respondents, securing their cooperation, and analysing and evaluating that data using a method appropriate to the research design, drawing conclusions and framing practice-based and theoretical recommendations. You will learn how to communicate complex ideas to an academic and practitioner audience and build information and arguments in a coherent, succinct and structured manner.

Further information

Labour Relations ( HRM11103 )

The module establishes a theoretical framework for the critical analysis of labour relations, the political significance of emergent issues and the impact of changing contexts on national trends and organisational practice. The development of new approaches to labour relations, in both private and public sectors and the influence of government on these, is of particular relevance. The module covers both an analysis of trends and an examination of management in the workplace, focusing on the contribution that effective management of labour relations makes to the achievement of key business objectives and organisational change and the interconnected nature of labour relations issues. Key skills and competences are identified in developing policies and procedures, handling conflict (discipline & grievance, collective disputes, employee voice), negotiation. The module explores the implications of developments in employment legislation and assumes some prior knowledge of Employment Law.

Further information

People and Organisational Development ( HRM11115 )

Framed within the wider context of strategic HRM, this module includes critical examination of the impact of people management practices on organisational and individual behaviour. The module begins with an exploration of the managerial and business environments within with HR professionals work and evaluates how HR
strategy is shaped by and developed in response to internal and external environmental
factors. The focus then narrows to examine the changing role of the HR function, its
influence on achieving competitive advantage, and the broader context in which it operates. Further to this, you will explore the application of key contemporary people practices relating to fields of Organisational behaviour (motivation, engagement, employee wellbeing etc...) and Organisational Development, and their impact on both individuals and teams. The module is also concerned with your development as a learner, of a business orientation, a concern with adding value through HR practice, and a range of
skills pivotal to successful people management practice and effective leadership. This
includes critical reflection, problem solving and decision-making skills; enhanced IT
proficiency; a range of team working and interpersonal skills and others associated with
developing personal effectiveness and credibility at work.

Further information

Research Methods in HRM ( HRM11125 )

The Research Methods in HRM module is delivered across 2 trimesters (Trimester 1 and Trimester 2) to the MSc HRM students (full-time and part-time) as a long-thin module, and is designed to provide a thorough introduction to research philosophy, methodology and design and how this can be applied in researching HR and people management issues. The assessment comprises a research proposal (2500 words) where you plan and justify your topic area and evaluate the best methodological approach and design, considering both qualitative and quantitative approaches. This is followed by a scoping Study (7,000 words) which forms the first 3 chapters of your subsequent masters research project (the introduction, the literature review and the research design/methodology chapters). The module is divided into 3 parts. The first part of the module examines the research process, deciding on your dissertation topic area and writing your aim and objectives and the research ethics and research integrity requirements and processes, to enable you to apply these principles at every stage of the research process; The second part of the module covers how to prepare for and write a literature review and critically analyse relevant literature. In the third part, the module explores research design, philosophy and methodology. You will examine both quantitative design, collection and analysis of data (using SPSS) and qualitative design, collection and data analysis (coding qualitative data, thematic analysis and other approaches).The module will prepare you to complete an independent practice-based research project in Trimester 3, and develop your knowledge and skills in critical reading, writing and evaluating research and other relevant materials, within your chosen field of study.

Further information

Skills in People Management ( HRM11128 )

The module focusses on the theory and practice of contemporary organisational people management. It examines underpinning theory and core concepts and considers people management skill development trends, processes and practices. The module provides advanced content exploring academic/theoretical understandings of self awareness, self management, individual and organisational relationship management and social and environmental awareness to enable you to reflect on generic and vocational skill enhancement.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.



Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Human Resource Management?

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at 2:2 or above. We look for applicants to have a background in any discipline in order to be eligible for the programme.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient professional work experience within the industry.

Can I get admission into Human Resource Management based on my working experience in this sector?

This course has academic entry requirements which are assessed alongside relevant work experience. Full details of any relevant work experience, including references should be submitted with your application and may be considered for entry where the minimum academic entry requirements are below those required.

Usually, unrelated work experience is not considered sufficient for entry without meeting the minimum academic entry requirements. Please contact us with your specific circumstances by submitting an enquiry form above and we will be happy to discuss your options.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the postgraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £8,300 £8,715
Overseas and EU £17,090 £18,800
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes. The discount can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount. For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.

Please note:

The discount for Edinburgh Napier alumni can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount.

For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.

Please read our full T&C here


What can you do with a degree in Human Resource Management?

Effective development and implementation of human resource management (HRM) strategy is seen as increasingly important in achieving business success and positively influencing the performance and well-being of employees. Studying an MSc Human Resource Management at Edinburgh Napier University will enable you to make a significant contribution to people management practice and develop a deep understanding of the changing role of HRM in the development and implementation of employment policies and procedures.

You will learn the specialist skills and expertise you need to be effective and influential in an HR role at both strategic and operational levels and acquire an in-depth understanding of key HRM policy areas such as talent management, recruitment and selection, employment law, organisational behaviour, and employee relations. This will prepare you for roles that involve handling various aspects of the employee lifecycle. It offers a versatile skill set that is applicable across industries, allowing professionals to pursue diverse career opportunities.

On successful completion of this programme, you will have the knowledge, understanding, and skills to gain postgraduate-level employment in Human Resource Management and related professions. Your CIPD membership and accreditation demonstrates your professionalism and dedication to managing people within organisations. You will gain a range of highly desirable transferable skills, including problem-solving, leadership, conflict resolution and mediation, ethics, and communication, which are valued by employers within multiple areas of the organisation. Additionally, you will be eligible to apply or seek entry to doctoral-level study at Edinburgh Napier University or another higher education institution.

What does a People Professional do?

People professionals act as a bridge between employees and the organization, ensuring that the workforce is supported, motivated, and aligned with the company's objectives. They focus on creating a positive work environment and managing various aspects of the employee lifecycle to maximize productivity and employee satisfaction. These roles also put change management and people management skills to the test.

Responsibilities may include;

  • Talent management
  • Employee experience
  • Managing change
  • Employment relations
  • Policy and strategy development
  • Managing employees and leading on effective HR policies
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