Skip to main content

College of Education and Allied Professions

Master's Degree in Human Resources

WCU's online Master of Science in Human Resources (MSHR) is designed to meet the needs of busy professionals who are looking for advancement in the human resources field or who hope to make a career transition into HR. The 36-hour program can be completed in two years while working.

M.S. Degree Program in Human Resources Mission Statement

The mission of Western Carolina University’s MSHR program is to prepare strategic HR leaders for the profession. We do this by developing our courses based on the knowledge areas and competencies identified by the Academy for Human Resource Development, the Human Resource Certification Institute, the Association for Talent Development, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and Bersin by Deloitte Talent Management, and through innovative teaching which emphasizes using evidence-based practices, approaching HR from a global perspective, and applying the theoretical knowledge acquired in courses through consulting for organizations. We strive:

  • To provide an exceptional learning experience for our students that enhances their knowledge of and passion for the potential of people in organizations.
  • To be one of the premier graduate human resources program worldwide.
  • To be the premier graduate human resources program in NC.

MSHR competency model

The MSHR Program Competency Model highlights the leadership emphasis of our program. Therefore, our courses develop competencies within each of the MSHR Program’s four Leadership Competency domains: 1) Relational HR Leadership; 2) Strategic HR Leadership; 3) Operational HR Leadership; and 4) Ethical & Socially Responsible HR Leadership.

Program application deadlines are April 1 and November 1 and admission to the program involves a few simple steps.

To be admitted to WCU’s online master’s degree program in human resources (HR), you must have:

  • Earned an undergraduate degree from a fully accredited university
  • Maintained a 3.0 (B) GPA.
  • You must also submit three letters of recommendation from individuals who can vouch for your scholarly abilities and good work habits. Current or former job supervisors and former professors are ideal references (recommendations from friends, colleagues or former staff members are not sufficient).  All official transcripts should be mailed directly to the graduate school.

Prospective students with strong grade point averages and references may be allowed to enter the program with "conditional status" and take up to two courses before GRE scores are submitted.

Only applicants who have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.25/4.0 or higher will be considered for conditional admission, which allows them to take classes for one semester while preparing for and taking the GRE. All others need to submit GRE scores in order to have their application considered.  Applicants who already have earned a graduate degree do not have to submit GRE scores. 

If you took the old GRE, the MSHR program seeks applicants with a combined verbal and quantitative score of 900 and an analytical writing score of 3.5.  If you took the new revised GRE the MSHR program seeks applicants with at least a score of 150 on the Verbal Reasoning, a score of 141 on the Quantitative Reasoning and an analytical writing score of 3.5.


Please Note: International applicants must also take the TOEFL exam and complete additional forms. They should also contact WCU's International Programs & Services Office.

The MSHR program is a 36-credit hour program, in which the curriculum consists of 7 required courses that all students take and 5 elective courses, all 3 credit courses.

HR 602, HR 605, & HR 610 are taken at the beginning of the program; HR 670 and HR 671 have prerequisites of 18 credit hours and HR 670 must be taken before HR 671; Students with more than 5 years of full-time human resources-related work experience may substitute another WCU HR course for HR 671. HR 698 is usually taken during a student's last semester in the program.
All courses have been designed to align with the MSHR program competency model; therefore, our courses develop competencies within the program’s four Leadership Competency domains: 1) Relational HR Leadership; 2) Strategic HR Leadership; 3) Operational HR Leadership; and 4) Ethical & Socially Responsible HR Leadership.

Required Core Courses

  • HR 601: "Organization Acumen for HR Leaders"
  • HR 602: "Human Resources Research & Evaluation Methods"
  • HR 605: "Principles & Practice in Human Resources"
  • HR 610: "Human Resource Development"
  • HR 670: "HR Consulting"
  • HR 671: "Advanced HR Consulting"
  • HR 698: "Capstone Seminar in Human Resources”

Popular Electives Courses

  • HR 613: "Coaching for Performance"
  • HR 614: "Talent Acquisition and Retention"
  • HR 615: "Organization Development"
  • HR 660: "Talent Development"
  • HR 662: "Total Rewards: Strategy and Plan Design"
  • HR 665: "Responsible HR Leadership: The Regulatory Environment, Ethics, & Social Responsibility"
  • HR 675: "Leadership in Human Resources"
  • HR 693: "Selected Topics in Human Resources"

Course scheduling is subject to change. For a list of courses available each semester, view our Course Availability page.

Tuition and fees vary year to year and program to program.

The Masters of Science in Human Resources is an online program. You can explore detailed information about tuition for online and distance programs HERE

Dr. John Sherlock - Professor and Program Director

Dr. Marie-Line Germain  - Associate Professor

Dr. Siham Lekchiri - Assistant Professor

Dr. Sarah Minnis - Assistant Professor

Request more info!

Office of Web Services