How Do I Get a PhD in Human Resource Management?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2019
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To receive a Doctorate of Philosophy, or PhD, in human resource management, you should complete a related undergraduate program and apply at schools that offer an appropriate program. While you can receive a bachelor’s degree in a subject like business administration, many schools also accept students with a background in psychology or sociology to pursue a PhD in human resource management. You can look for programs that offer a master’s degree en route to PhD completion, or programs that offer the two degrees separately. Once you find the schools you like, you should send the necessary application paperwork which may require that you complete certain tests and meet various requirements.

A PhD in human resource management is typically a terminal degree in business administration or organization that focuses on people within a business. The first step toward this degree is often successful completion of an undergraduate program, usually culminating in a four-year degree such as a bachelor’s degree. As you are entering your last year of undergraduate study, you should look for schools that offer a graduate program in business administration, with a degree in human resources or organization.


There are a few different ways in which you can pursue your PhD in human resource management. Some schools may offer a master’s degree first, which you can use toward your PhD. There are also schools that offer a single program, granting you a master’s degree as you are working toward your PhD. Neither type of program is inherently superior; you should choose the school that best meets your individual educational aspirations and needs.

Different schools can have various application requirements, which you should learn about as early as possible to help you apply on time for the semester you want to attend. You are likely to need letters of recommendation from teachers, and some schools may also require professional letters. Many schools also require that you take certain tests before acceptance, such as the Graduate Records Examination® (GRE®) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL®).

Once you are accepted into a program that culminates in a PhD in human resource management, then you need to complete the classes and work necessary to receive your degree. This usually involves one or more years of classes that focus on learning complex aspects of business and human resource organization. Most programs also require that you write and present a dissertation at the completion of your studies, which is a long research paper based on your original ideas. Once you successfully present and defend your dissertation, then you can receive your PhD in human resource management.


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