Human Resource Management MSc/MSc top-up

Why choose this course?

Our Human Resource Management MSc is perfect if you want to build and develop your career in human resources. It will give you a deep insight into leading, managing and developing people from different levels and perspectives. 

You will learn about the role of the HR profession and its role in relation to an organisation's strategic objectives and the broader environment. 

The MSc course has been designed to meet employers' needs and gives you the tools you need to succeed in a career in human resources. You will be taught by expert academics, leading researchers, alongside many guest speakers, visiting professors and fellows.

Our Human Resource Management MSc top-up course provides a quick and flexible way for students who have completed a PgDip in an HR related field to 'top-up' to a full Human Resource Management MSc. The course is carefully designed to meet employers' needs and is recognised for its quality, giving you the tools you need to succeed in senior human resources roles, executive training and development roles.

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement September 2020
Part time 2 years September 2020
Location Kingston Hill

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Kingston has over 30 years' experience of teaching programmes in human resources.
  • We have excellent industry links and networking opportunities via our alumni, guest practitioners on the programme and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Our From Research to Practice seminar series is co-presented by academics and practitioners from well-known companies such as the BBC, Lloyds of London, Xerox and Capgemini.
  • The MSc course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the world's oldest association in HR field with over 150,000 members internationally. Students who complete this programme are eligible for CIPD membership. Please note: the MSc top-up programme is not a CIPD-accredited course.
  • Free car parking at the Kingston Hill campus is available for students of this course. The campus can also be easily accessed by public transport. Halls accommodation is just a walk away from the classrooms.

Kingston Business School Accreditations

Kingston Business School holds the prestigious international accreditation by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) in recognition of the excellence of its business education. This accreditation has been earned by just 5% of the world's business schools and recognises the high quality and standard of our business degree offering.

Kingston Business School Accreditations


Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Kingston Business School is a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Approved Centre and this MSc course is accredited by the CIPD (Note: the MSc top up is not accredited).

The learning outcomes of this MSc programme are aligned to the CIPD's learning outcomes.  This means that after successfully completing our masters you will be eligible to independently begin your journey, without the need to take extra training units, towards gaining Chartered status with the CIPD. 

What you will study

Following an induction programme that prepares you for intensive study, you will delve into theoretical HR topics whilst relating them to the current HR environment.

Year 1 MSc

Year 2 MSc (optional placement year)

MSc top-up

Core modules

Leading, Managing and Developing People in Context

30 credits

You will evaluate human resource management in the context of national political, economic, social and technological environments. This module focuses on strategy, change management and the contribution the HR function makes to organisational performance. You will develop the confidence to be responsible for leading, managing and developing people within organisations at operational, tactical and strategic levels.

Investigating a Business Issue

30 credits

You will complete a management research project (dissertation) that involves researching an HR issue and producing a management report containing the implications for theory and recommendations for practice. You will learn a variety of research methods, identify and investigate a business problem, apply the findings to create solutions and present the conclusions in the form of a management report. You may also present your findings to clients.

Resourcing, Talent and Reward Management

30 credits

You will critically evaluate and implement policies and practices to attract, reward and retain a competent workforce. You will investigate how HR professionals attract people with the skills, attitudes and experiences an organisation needs to achieve its strategic objectives. You will discover reward methods that enhance a highly effective employee's fit in the organisation and help you to retain their talent. By the time you have finished studying this module, you will understand employee resourcing, talent and reward management from academic, strategic and practical perspectives. You will apply your learning in this module and develop professionally.

Managing Employment Relations and Employment Law

30 credits

This module expands your understanding of employee relations and employment law in economic, social and political contexts. You will:

  • identify the key employment actors that manage and shape workplace relations; and
  • build a solid knowledge of individual employment rights and relate these to the application of the law in employment relations issues.

With all these facts memorised, graduates can confidently advise managers about applying the law to specific employment relationship problems, and propose appropriate legal and HR policy measures to comply with law and best practice.

Strategic Leadership Development and Performance Management

30 credits

This module provides you with a theoretical grounding in the fields of strategic leadership and performance management. You will develop critical perspectives on:

  • how performance at organisational, group and individual levels can be enhanced and inspired by strategic leadership and direction; and
  • an understanding of the role of performance management in supporting the strategic objectives of the organisation in different business environments.

These theoretical foundations will be illustrated with examples and integrated with practical exercises in order to help you develop the knowledge, skills and capabilities to assume a substantive strategic leadership role within an organisation in both a domestic and international context.

Engagement of Employees and Organisational Learning

30 credits

This module develops your understanding of the concepts of employee engagement, and of organisational learning, in the context of designing and managing work and jobs to enhance organisational performance and productivity. You will learn to:

  • critique concepts related to engagement and identify strategies for enhancing engagement with work; and
  • critically evaluate proposals for engaging employees and enhancing organisational learning, and to propose theoretically and empirically supported plans.

The professional placement year is optional. It takes place after the full time year. It allows students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The work placement is an assessed part of the course and is therefore covered by a Tier 4 visa. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

Optional modules

Professional Placement

120 credits

The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a Master's programme that incorporates an extended professional placement that follows completion of the first 180 credits of taught modules and project or dissertation. It provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in an appropriate working environment, and to develop and enhance key employability skills and subject specific skills in their chosen subject.

It is the responsibility of individual students to locate and secure a suitable placement opportunity; this will normally involve one placement which must be completed over a minimum period of 10 months and within a maximum of 12 months. The placement must be approved by the module leader prior to commencement to ensure its suitability.

As a fast and flexible way to progress from your PgDip in HRM or International HRM to a Human Resource Management MSc, this programme consists of a research methods and dissertation module. This guides you through all stages of a research project step by step, from developing and clarifying the research idea to writing up the final dissertation. You will learn about:

  • literature review;
  • research design;
  • qualitative and quantitative data collection methods; and
  • data analysis techniques.

Your dissertation will look at an HR issue in depth. You will be given supervision as you analyse and structure the problem, examine relevant source material, carry out research and produce an action-orientated report on your findings.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

After you graduate

This course can help graduates advance their careers in a variety of ways. Some may be interested in talent acquisition or performance and reward; others may pursue a career in organisational development, employee engagement or learning and development. Equally, some may prefer to pursue a more general HR practitioner position.

Many alumni use the knowledge gained to perform at a higher level within the HR sector, either within their current industry or taking the opportunity to transition into a new role or sector. Others have successfully set up their own business as a career or HR consultant.

Examples of well-known organisations our alumni have worked for include Unilever, Capgemini, Ogilvy & Mather Group, Hewlett Packard, HSBC, Surrey County Council, GSK, Sheraton Grand Hotel, Amazon, Apple, NHS, and Barclays Investment Bank (UK).

The types of role our alumni have held vary greatly according to the individual's experiences, interests and area of expertise. A selection of positions includes: HR business partner; global HR manager; head of talent acquisition; head of HR; compensation & benefits manager; associate director ethics; HR officer; head of reward & HR services; international mobility manager; and head of people and culture.

MSc top-up attendance

The taught part of the programme is normally during four weekends. While you are expected to be physically present on these four weekends, the dissertation supervisor meetings can be held online and via email.

Links with business and industry

You will investigate a business issue during your consultancy project, which could be for a host organisation or for your own employer. These experiences give you the opportunity to put theory into practice, provide a valuable service for your organisation and prepare you to develop your career in human resource management.

Entry requirements

Typical offer MSc

The minimum entry qualifications for the Human Resource Management MSc are:

  • A good honours degree or an equivalent qualification from a recognised international higher education provider and a clear interest in studying HRM at a postgraduate level, with a view to CIPD membership and a career in HR management; or
  • some experience as an HR professional who has already completed CIPD qualifications to Intermediate level; or
  • at least two years' HR and/or management experience.

Typical offer MSc top-up

The minimum entry qualifications for the Human Resource Management MSc top-up are:

  • To apply for this course, you need 120 credits at level 7 in a human resources related subject.
  • All candidates must demonstrate their motivation and ability to work at postgraduate level.
  • Students need to be well-prepared, self-disciplined and able to manage their time and workload effectively.


Please note: most students from countries outside the European Union/European Economic Area and classified as overseas fee paying, are not eligible to apply for part-time courses due to UK student visa regulations. For information on exceptions please visit the UKCISA website or email our CAS and Visa Compliance team.

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

The following information reflects the current course structure, which is subject to change. Updates may be made on an annual basis.

Human Resource Management MSc

20% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Professional Placement Year

100% of your time is spent on guided independent study and placement.

Human Resource Management MSc top-up

8% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Human Resource Management MSc

Professional Placement Year

Human Resource Management MSc top-up

Human Resource Management MSc
  • Scheduled teaching: 364 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1437 hours
Professional Placement Year
  • Guided independent study: 50 hours
  • Placement: 1150 hours
Human Resource Management MSc top-up
  • Guided independent study: 50 hours
  • Placement: 551 hours

How you will be assessed

The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows. It reflects the current course structure, which is subject to change. The percentages may differ depending upon the optional modules you choose.

Human Resource Management

Professional Placement Year

Human Resource Management MSc top-up

Human Resource Management
  • Coursework: 75%
  • Exams: 25%
Professional Placement Year
  • Coursework: 100%
Human Resource Management MSc top-up
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetables

Each student receives a personalised timetable. This is usually available after you have completed your online enrolment, which typically accessible 1 month before the start of your course.

Class sizes

You will be part of an intimate cohort of students which provides dedicated academic guidance and advice and the opportunity to build a life-long network of colleagues. Some modules are common across other postgraduate programmes therefore you may be taught alongside students who are on these courses within the Business School.

Who teaches this course

On the MSc you will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on this course. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience. The following group of staff members are currently involved in the delivery of different elements of this course. This pool is subject to change at any time within the academic year.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MSc full time £10,080
  • MSc part time £5,544
  • MSc top-up part time £3,060

ELQ (Equivalent Level Qualification) fee 2020/21

  • MSc top-up part time £3,506

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MSc full time £15,300
  • MSc part time £8,415
  • MSc top-up part time £4,525

Fees for the optional placement year

If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni: