International Human Resource Management MSc /MSc top-up

Why choose this course?

Our International Human Resource Management MSc course gives you a deep insight into the strategies and techniques multinationals use to solve HRM issues when their employees work across multiple countries and leaves you with a respected academic qualification.

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

The MSc top-up course is designed for students who want to upgrade their PgDip in an HR related field or international human resource management to an MSc.

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
Top-up part time 1 year 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, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and through our From Research to Practice seminar series. This 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 for HR professionals, 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 evaluate various external influences on HRM practice in organisations - from global strategic developments to ethical issues and social responsibility.

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. 

You are expected to start thinking about what topic you want to focus on in your dissertation from the moment you enrol. In order to make an informed decision about this, you start with some background reading. The University has a huge electronic library you are encouraged to access from the moment they enrol.

Year 1 MSc

Year 2 MSc (optional)

MSc top-up

You will gain an advanced understanding of cross-cultural issues and human behaviour in international organisations, international labour regulations and standards, and the role of HRM in enhancing organisational and management performance internationally, including different approaches to international recruitment and selection, learning and development and compensation.

You will complete a management report (dissertation) that involves primary research into an HR issue. This meets CIPD requirements and develops the practical skills you need to excel as an HR professional. This research can be carried out with an organisation in the UK or overseas. Historically our students have provided management reports for host organisations such as Transport for London, Prudential and Whirlpool Corporation.

Year 1 is made up of six core modules.

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.

International HRM

30 credits

This module examines the global and national contextual factors that impact on international human resource management and the approaches to managing global workforce. Students will identify the human resource challenges that face multinational enterprises, such as how national and regional differences impact on their human resource management strategies and practices. The module also focuses on international management development, transnational labour regulation and business practice, the complexities of international HRM and employment relations key trends and debates.

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.

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.

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.

This 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.

Core module

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.

This course is designed for students who want to upgrade their PgDip in an HR related field or international human resource management to an MSc.

The 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 international human resources 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. 

Core module

Research Methods and Dissertation

60 credits

This is a core module for students studying at master's level. The module introduces students to the role that research methods play in developing discipline knowledge, and in providing the knowledge that underpins evidence-based practice. Students will develop the ability to critically evaluate research articles and other documents from a methodological perspective. They will develop the skills to conduct high quality research. Core factual material and learning resources will be provided electronically via Canvas. Classroom sessions will take the form of workshops where possible, and will cover topics such as reviewing research literature systematically; research design; qualitative and quantitative data collection methods and data analysis techniques; writing up and presenting research. For the dissertation, each student will have a personal supervisor who will provide guidance on planning and conducting the research, and on writing it up.

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 may help graduates advance their careers in a variety of ways. Some graduates 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 choose a more general HR practitioner position.

Many of our 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 successfully set up their own businesses as career or HR consultants.

Well-known organisations our alumni work 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 roles our alumni hold vary greatly according to each individual's experiences, interests and area of expertise. Examples include: 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.

You are expected to start thinking about what topic you want to focus on in your dissertation from the moment you enrol. In order to make an informed decision about this, you start with some background reading. The University has a huge electronic library you are encouraged to access from the moment they enrol.

Linking with your workplace

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

To apply for either the MSc or MSc top-up, 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, undertaking 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.

Type of teaching and learning

Year 1

Professional placement


Year 1
  • Scheduled teaching: 364 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1436 hours
Professional placement
  • Guided independent study: 50 hours
  • Placement: 1150 hours
  • Guided independent study: 50 hours
  • Placement: 551 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules

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.

Type of assessment

Year 1

Professional placement


Year 1
  • Coursework: 83%
  • Exams: 17%
Professional placement
  • Coursework: 100%
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

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

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:

This course in Russia

The International Human Resource Management MSc is also delivered with our partners in Moscow at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RPANEPA). The modules are identical to those delivered at Kingston University, though some additional workshops and input from local regional practitioners are included. The core curriculum is delivered by Kingston University academics, supported by colleagues from RANEPA.