If you're studying human resources in graduate school, two of your degree options are Master of Science, a M.S. in human resources management, and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in human resources management. The Master of Science degree is a one- or two-year degree typically requiring 30 credits of coursework, while the MBA is a two-year degree that requires 45 to 55 credits of coursework.

Master of Science

A Master of Science in human resources management is intended for students who want an extremely focused graduate degree that prepares them for a career in this field. It is also intended for students who are already working in the field and want to expand their career opportunities. Unlike the more general MBA program, a Master of Science degree is focused exclusively on the business affairs and management of human resources. Furthermore, it also has approximately half the time and coursework of a typical MBA program.

Master of Science Coursework

Degree requirements vary across programs, but most Master of Science in human resources management programs require students to take a certain number of required courses and electives. Required courses create the foundation for the electives that students take later in the program, providing an overview of general business topics and organizational competencies. Required courses include communication, information systems, organizational behavior, general management and leadership. In the second part of the program, students take electives. These vary across programs, but commonly include courses like human resources strategy and policy, benefits, workplace safety and health, workplace security, cultural diversity and training and development.

MBA Overview

An MBA program is a professional degree program that teaches students the application of economic theories to the real world of business and management. This program provides a solid foundation in all aspects of business and management and allows students to concentrate in a particular area of interest such as human resources management. An MBA in human resource management is a program for students who are interested in pursuing managerial positions in a variety of economic sectors including government, finance, private industry, health care and education. Unlike the Master of Science program, this program also gives students a broader and more general education in business and management, allowing them to concentrate in human resources management without devoting their entire graduate career to this one specific area of business.

MBA Coursework

MBA programs typically require students to take a year of required courses to give them a solid foundation in business and a year of electives in a chosen concentration. Required courses can include statistics, accounting, finance, leadership and operations management. Students interested in specializing in human resources management take electives such as human resource staffing, human resources training, human resources management for general managers and negotiation and conflict.