Plymouth Business School

MA Human Resource Management (top-up)

Equip yourself with the skills and capabilities required for a strategic role in HR on this top-up course. Through lectures informed by active research and opportunities to gain important work related competencies, you will develop the necessary skills for contemporary HR management, in a business and organisational context.

Key features

  • Tailor your time at university to meet your needs by balancing your study around your work and personal commitments. Lectures take place in the afternoons and evenings thereby minimising the impact on everyday work commitments.
  • Learn from staff research active academics with professional and industry experience.
  • Add value to your professional development by combining academic knowledge and rigour, and build important work-related skills and competencies.
  • Complement your professional qualification with a masters’ degree in Human Resource Management when you successfully complete the  HR masters dissertation with a research methods module 
  • Join a diverse student body – this course appeals to both recent graduates who wish to enter the HR profession as well as those working in HR who wish to gain professional chartered status and strengthen their employment prospects. 
  • Deepen your knowledge by studying a range of modules such as the critical role a human resources professional plays within the work environment, how best to lead, manage and develop employees, appropriate HR policies and strategies, maximising the contribution, growth and wellbeing of employees, including an ethical sensibility towards the practice of HRM.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • Core modules
    • HRL704 HR Research Methods

      This module enables learners to understand the nature and processes involved in business and management research, equip them to carry out their own research and to be aware of the philosophical and ethical contexts in which research takes place. Students will be expected to develop a suitable and realistic research proposal.

    • HRL713 HR Research Project

      This module provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to diagnose and investigate a live, complex business issue from an HR perspective, to locate the work within the body of contemporary knowledge, to collect and analyse data, to derive supportable conclusions and to make practical, actionable and costed recommendations for change, improvement or enhancement of current practice. It will also enable learners to understand the nature and processes involved in business and management research in the context of their own research.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MA Human Resource Management 17 18 4330

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements


120 postgraduate credits in a relevant subject. Non-standard applications will be considered on a case by case basis.


Please view the country specific pages for further information regarding the equivalency of your degree. International applicants will be required to provide evidence of their English language ability, for example by achieving an IELTS score of 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in each element) or equivalent. Pre-sessional English language courses are available if you do not meet these requirements.


Scholarships are available for postgraduate taught programmes. Tell me more about scholarships and bursaries.

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September, with some January starts also available. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

CIPD accreditation

We are pleased to confirm that students who complete our programme can benefit from accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) reflecting how our course aligns with professional qualifications in this sector. Upon successful completion of the programme students will also have the necessary knowledge criteria to upgrade to Chartered or Fellow membership (depending upon their level of work experience).

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

Let our graduates inspire you

"I found a really good job in a HR position and this is thanks to how the masters was designed.

"The position is within the company that I was working for as a waitress. They were looking for someone with a good background knowledge of HR issues such as recruitment, training, staff development and awareness about the HR legal framework."

Natalia Juarranz  – MA Human Resource Management graduate

“Thank you for all of the support you have given me in the last few years. I have greatly enjoyed the whole experience. 

"I have developed and matured as a reader, thinker and writer. I have hopefully helped my Corps in some way too; be that LGBT awareness, the retention paper and just being better able to offer constructive critical advice to marines or generals.”

Lieutenant Colonel Aldeiy Alderson Royal Marines – MA Human Resource Management graduate

Graduate viewpoint

Students on this programme come from a range of backgrounds and business sectors, from those with a wealth of industry knowledge and experience to those looking to start a career HR.

Graduates Isobel Ryder, Donna Ronan and Julie Wills share talk about the course and how it has benefited them personally and professionally

Jayne Marsh – MA Human Resource Management graduate

The modules at Plymouth were practically relevant to the workplace and delivered by an academic team who inspired thought-provoking and inspiring debate, which translated into the reality of working in an HR team.
Read more about Jayne's experiences

Cheryl Meek – MA Human Resource Management graduate

"Studying at Plymouth dramatically changed my career direction ... The support, people, resources and location all contributed to my achievement of a distinction and place on the Deans List for 2016. I have made many connections in the industry I now work in and get to see the theory I've acquired working in practice."

Find out more about Cheryl's experience

Emma Neave – MA Human Resource Management (top up) graduate

“For me, Plymouth University was an ideal place to study whilst still working full-time. It provided an opportunity to build a support network of HR professionals that live and work in the South West.”

Since graduating in 2015, Emma has gone on to become the HR Manager for Watergate Bay Hotel in Newquay

Find out more about Emma Neave

Human Resource Management case studies

Find out what our current students have to say about the course and why they chose to study here.
Read the case studies

Jasmine Kelland – MA Human Resource Management Programme Lead

“Jasmine is the most helpful lecturer, she really wants you to do well and will help with anything she can. After hearing about her employment career it makes me extremely excited to start mine. I hope one day I can have the success and achievement that Jasmine has after working incredibly hard. I would like to say a massive thank-you to Jasmine for inspiring me and keeping me focused on my end goal.”

Valerie Stephens – postgraduate student

"Jasmine is an amazing lecturer and person whom inspired myself and others to continue into postgraduate this year for the MA Human Resource Management course. Jasmine's not only a lecturer but a great support. She deserves to be recognised for being a true inspiration and I can't thank her enough!"

Chloe Pearson – postgraduate student

"We offer a programme rich in expertise with the development of each individual at its heart." Jasmine Kelland, Programme Lead

Learn more about Jasmine

Study part-time

Tailor your time at university to meet your needs by fitting your study around work and personal commitments. Studying part-time gives you the flexibility to:

  • study at a pace which suits you
  • obtain CIPD accreditation and develop your academic skills 
  • benefit from professional networking and the shared experiences of other part and full-time students

  • continue to work and develop professionally
  • plan ahead - teaching takes place on one day per week, Tuesday in year one and Wednesday in year two
  • complete your studies within two years. 

Further information

Two year part-time option 

Research opportunities

The People Organisations and Work (POW) research group brings together academics who undertake critical interdisciplinary research that contributes to the promotion of positive and sustainable organisational environments and fulfilling and rewarding work. 

Find out more about research opportunities

The Future of HR Conference

The Future of HR Conference brought together practitioners, undergraduate and postgraduate students. More than 100 delegates from across the South West attended a conference at Plymouth University exploring some of the HR challenges facing business.

Find out more about the Future of HR Conference


Master Your Future – Faculty of Business Professoriate Scholarships

The Faculty of Business Professoriate Scholarships of £1,000 are awarded to selected students undertaking postgraduate study each year.

The opportunity to apply for a professoriate scholarship is available to applicants currently in receipt of an offer for postgraduate study.

Find out more and how to apply

Postgraduate loans

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £10,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

The loans will be available for both taught and research masters programmes across all disciplines and subject areas.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

Postgraduate students

Postgraduate study in the Faculty of Business can help you realise your ambitions and develop your potential as a manager and leader of the future. Whether you come to us as a newly qualified graduate or after a successful track record in industry we provide high quality, professionally accredited postgraduate programmes, and PhD and professional doctorate supervision.

International community

Play your part in out thriving international community of 3,000 students from over 100 countries studying full and part time programmes at the University.

We'll help you at every step of your journey from applying to settling in, during and after your postgraduate studies.