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 course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) as an advanced level qualification and provides you with the knowledge indicators required for membership of the CIPD.
This course is supported by a network of Edinburgh Napier academics and HRM professionals employed in both business and research. This gives you access to industry and research practitioners who are at the leading edge of policy and theoretical developments.
MSc Human Resource Management received a number of commendations of good practice from the CIPD, including our responsive and innovative approach to programme delivery and our research-informed approach to teaching. We have also been given the highest quality rating for our research project and dissertation module.
You’ll graduate with an advanced practical and theoretical understanding of all areas of HRM.
Development of research abilities is also emphasised, and 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.
The course starts in September and is studied part-time over two years. It’s possible to exit the course at the completion of Year 2 with a Postgraduate Diploma in HRM.
You’ll learn by a variety of teaching methods including lectures, workshops, seminars and independent study.
- People and Organisational Development
- The Organisational Context of HR
- Employment Law
- Employee Resourcing
- Learning and Development
- Labour Relations
- Research Skills and Professional Development
Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.
Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.
Employers often approach the university with relevant vacancies. In addition, through the workplace placement, you’ll have the opportunity to make valuable industry contacts that could lead to employment.
The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at a 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.
English language requirements
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.
Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.
If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.
Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)
BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
We are committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.
Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.
Modules that you will study* as part of this course
* 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.
The Employee Resourcing module examines the range of methods and approaches used by employers to resource their organisations to enable them to meet their strategic goals. In examining these, the module is structured under the umbrella heading of Talent Management and takes account of both internal and external contextual factors influencing organisational approaches to talent, human resource (HR) planning, flexibility, recruitment, selection, diversity, health and wellbeing, performance management, and reward management. The module recognises the challenge for organisations, HR and line managers to minimise employee costs at the same time as trying to maximise employee value, and it provides scope to debate the theory and philosophy of employee resourcing within the reality of its everyday use.
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.
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 (in particular arising from membership of the E.U.). 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. Key skills and competences are identified in developing policies and procedures, handling conflict (discipline & grievance, collective disputes), negotiation. The module explores the implications of developments in employment legislation and assumes some prior knowledge of Employment Law.
Learning and Development
Foundations of Learning and Development; Theories of Learning, Training Design and Evaluation; Strategic Human Resource Development; Career Development; Knowledge Management; Corporate Universities; Management Development; Organisational Learning; Learning Organisation.
Building on the Research skills and Professional Development module, students are required to revisit key areas of their research project in order to enhance their literature review and research design. Students will then progress to the data collection and analysis stage and will receive formative feedback on drafts of their chapters and the application to their research design. Practical workshops will focus on the requirements of the research project, the process of effective critical thinking/reflection, reading and writing and a revision of the key elements of the research process.
People and Organisational Development
This module includes critical examination of the impact of people management on organisational and individual behaviour in the key areas of organisational change, leadership, motivation, engagement, and employee well-being (including managing emotion at work), within the contexts of HRM, OD and OB. The module examines the changing role of the HR function, its influence on achieving competitive advantage, and the broader context in which it operates. The module is also concerned with learner development 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.
Research Skills and Professional Development
The module takes students through the practicalities of undertaking a research project in the field of human resource management at postgraduate level and sets out to nurture critical reflection and lifelong learning. It examines a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research methods and techniques and addresses different approaches to data analysis and the write-up of a management research report. Emphasis is placed on the development of what the CIPD describe as 'thinking performers', able to capture useful experiences and assessing the practical benefits of what they have learned, plus areas for practice improvement.
The Organisational Context of HR
The module begins with an overview of the various internal and external environmental contexts which shape organisational action (PEST forces) and consideration of organisational objectives. The module then moves onto review competing conceptions of the role and function of management and their implications for practice. Next, an introduction to the links between strategic HRM and organisational strategy is followed by a concise overview of strategic management models. The module then examines the concept of strategic HRM, the variety of ways strategic HR decisions are made within different organisations, the implications for the HR function and critically evaluates the different approaches to aligning organisational strategy with people management practices. In doing so, the module provides a critical understanding of strategic HR. Distinctions are drawn between the different levels of HR strategy and the diverse directions of growth and international strategic choice in a globally competitive environment. The potential ethical issues arising from strategic choices to internationalise the organisation are also considered.
The impact of the increasing use of technology within HR as the function attempts to strategically reposition itself within the organisation is critically evaluated. Mindful of emergent strategies adopted by organisations to quantify the contribution of the HR function to organisational profitability the module also offers an introduction to Human Capital Management. To support this end and in recognition of the centrality of financial planning to organisational success this module provides instruction on the preparation and interpretation of financial statements and data, including profit & loss accounts, balance sheets, cash budgets, capital investment appraisal and break-even analysis.