MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate

Human Resource Management (International)

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Bristol Business School
13 - 15 months
Full-time, starts September
Programme leader:
Dr Michael Clark
Key fact:
For 40 years, our courses have been recognised in independent audits as among the best taught and managed postgraduate HRM programmes in Britain. We have one of the largest, longest established, and most diverse teams of HRM subject experts of any university in Britain.

Page last updated 20 September 2016


There is growing worldwide demand for professionals and leaders who can devise and apply creative human resource solutions across differing national and international contexts. Success in these roles requires high level mastery of comparative HR practice, combined with sensitivity to context and insight into both employers' and employees' needs.

Our MSc in Human Resource Management (International) will equip you with a critical grasp of the issues, themes and challenges central to managing people, whatever the context. The course will suit you if you are seeking , or have already started, a career in managing people or as a specialist HR professional in any part of the world, including Europe and the UK. Its international focus is particularly relevant if your career plans involve working in:

  • countries other than your own
  • international organisations within your home country (including the UK), or
  • home country organisations which emulate the highest standards of HRM practice worldwide.

If you are pursuing an HR career in the UK, we also offer a popular MSc in Human Resource Management, which is tailored to the needs of British HR professionals.

Look at our student profiles and join us on LinkedIn to find out more.

CIPD recognition

The high quality of human resource management teaching and research at Bristol Business School has been recognised by the British professional body for HR practitioners, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. The course leads directly to Associate Membership of the CIPD and also satisfies the knowledge requirements for the higher grades of membership. Student membership of the CIPD comes free with the programme.

Strong links with industry

Alongside up-to-the-minute, practitioner-focused teaching, we will arrange regular opportunities for you to spend time in a local organisation shadowing the work of HR professionals. We also hold regular speaker events where you can hear from inspiring and influential HR professionals discussing leading-edge practice within their organisations.

Personal development     

A particular feature of this course is the very personal interest we take in your development. Using psychometric assessments, skills development workshops and a range of practical activities, we will profile your unique attributes, develop your strengths and offer extensive feedback on your progress throughout. If you need help with your English, we also offer English language and study skills classes free of charge.

Studying in Bristol

Discover Bristol - a superb place to study, with an exciting cultural scene, outstanding music, and a night life which rivals any city outside London. One of Britain's most historic and beautiful cities, Bristol attracts tens of thousands of students from elsewhere in Britain and around the world. It is within easy travelling distance of London, Bath and Oxford. Find out more in our short film about Bristol.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience

Accreditations and partnerships:



Our MSc in Human Resource Management (International) course will equip you with:

  • a critical grasp of issues, themes and challenges central to managing people in different contexts
  • expertise in designing and adapting core HR strategies, systems, processes and practices
  • diagnostic models and conceptual frameworks for matching HR solutions to specific national, international and organisational requirements
  • comparative knowledge of HR practice in specific leading and emerging economies, including the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, China, South Africa and India
  • personal and professional qualities, skills and knowledge suitable for leadership roles in HRM.

The compulsory modules

The first stage of the course consists of five compulsory modules which place international human resource management in the context of political, economic, social, legal, cultural and managerial developments across the world. They engage with ethical and professional issues in managing people, and introduce core concepts and functions of management.

  • Managing People in Organisations offers a dual emphasis on the nature of differences between individuals (and how to measure them), and the management and leadership of organisational structures and change.
  • The International Employment Context maps the factors which interact to create the distinctive character of different countries' labour markets and employment systems, and explores their influence on business strategy.
  • International Human Resource Management introduces the set piece functions and activities of HRM in the context of international, multinational and transnational organisations.
  • Applied Human Resource Management and Business Skills develops professional competency in a range of general management and HRM-specific skills underpinning successful management practice and effective leadership. These include interpersonal skills, interviewing, delivering training and understanding finance.
  • Investigating a Business Issue from an HR Perspective focuses on the nature of research including planning and designing the research, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, and writing-up.

At the beginning of the course, there is also dedicated tuition in skills associated with postgraduate study in the UK.

Optional modules

You then choose four other modules from the list of optional modules below:

  • International Resourcing and Talent Management* ** analyses key linkages between organisational strategy and HR strategy in the areas of employee selection, performance management and career development practices.
  • Equality and Diversity from a Comparative Perspective** charts the rise of equality and diversity concerns within organisations in a comparative international context. Considers the implications of equality and diversity for HR practice in recruitment, reward, management and work-life balance.
  • International Employment Relations* ** takes a comparative approach to studying corporate governance systems, and economic management and labour policies in the economies of the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, China, South Africa and India.
  • International Standards and Employment Law** describes and assesses emerging international (eg United Nations, International Labour Organisation, European Union etc) standards relevant to HR policy and practice in the light of their implications for specific labour markets and for HRM practitioners.
  • Performance Management* develops insight into the theoretical issues and concepts surrounding performance management, and an understanding of the practices which contribute to improving the performance of individuals, teams and the organisation.
  • Managing Reward* considers the strategic role of reward processes in developing organisational change programmes, and promoting flexibility and innovation. Topics include different approaches to rewarding performance, equal pay and gender issues, the case of 'special groups', and the role of international reward.
  • Management and Career Development considers both employees' needs and organisational systems for management and career development. Topics include competency approaches, management development, career management and a practical exercise involving designing and running an assessment centre for developmental purposes.
  • Employment Law enhances your knowledge of employment law in the UK and enables you to make constructive contributions to achieving compliance with relevant legislation in the workplace. The module includes a mock employment tribunal.
  • Resourcing and Talent Management explores the contribution that resourcing and talent management activities can make to organisational success, with topics such as identifying and developing talent, managing turnover and retention, downsizing and rebuilding human capital, and wellness at work.
  • Employee Relations develops the knowledge and understanding of employee relations required by HR practitioners. You will learn about the implications of the internationalisation of employee relations policies and EU membership on employee relations policies, issues and practices.

* At least two modules must be chosen to comply with CIPD accreditation requirements.

**At least two of these explicitly comparative/international modules must be chosen.


The final stage of the course is a 13,000-word research dissertation focusing on a live business issue which suits your strengths and interests. You can choose a project arranged for you by the University in a local organisation, or arrange one yourself in Britain or elsewhere. An individual tutor offers individual support for your research, and close supervision.

You can choose between two kinds of project:

  • Organisation-based projects these are projects which tackle a live HR problem or issue within a specific organisation. You will usually spend two months in the organisation, working with people and data relevant to your research. The topic is generally chosen by the organisation. Either the University will arrange this for you in a local organisation or you can arrange a project of your own, in Britain or overseas.
  • Issue-based projects these projects also tackle a live HR problem or issue, but do not require a placement; instead, the project concerns an issue of interest to you. This option typically offers greater freedom of choice. You could approach a number of organisations for data, or find ways of accessing people, for example through social media or your personal network.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Improving your English                

Continuing support with English proficiency is available during the course free of charge. If English is not your first language, a pre-sessional course in English can help you to get the most from this programme.

Please note course content and structure can change from year to year. As a result, there can be variation between the information shown here and the course when it is delivered. For part-time delivery, the same modules will be studied. However, the structure will differ. 

Learning and Teaching

We use a variety of blended teaching methods on this course. You will learn through a mix of tutor-led and student-led activities, including small group work, group presentations and discussion, student-led seminars, case studies and role plays.

The overall emphasis is on active participation. As well as face-to-face learning in groups, you will have access to our online learning platform, where you can find lectures, relevant articles and book extracts, as well as communicate with your tutors. We also draw on many real-life examples through case studies and guest practitioner speakers.

There is a significant requirement for students to work independently throughout the course, both individually and in groups. This increases as you move into the dissertation phase.

Course tutors come from a mix of academic and practitioner backgrounds.

For more information, see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Study time

The MSc starts in September. It can be completed in 13 months, but additional time (up to 15 months) can be taken if you choose to extend the submission of the dissertation. Taught modules are delivered over a two semester period (between September and April), with the dissertation forming the main element in the summer term.

Students studying with a Tier 4 visa will be issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) statement based on the first available dissertation submission date.

Part-time paid employment

Some students work part time to meet the cost of this programme. For this reason, we keep one week day (usually Monday or Friday) free of classes. Obtaining part-time work is your own responsibility. However, many job opportunities are advertised on the campus and you will have access to advice from the UWE careers service.


A range of different forms of assessment are used throughout the course including written assignments, tests, exams, reflective log, presentations and group exercises. Assessment of skills and competence also forms part of the overall assessment strategy.

For more detail see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

The MSc in Human Resource Management (International) is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Student membership of the CIPD comes with the programme, and the University pays your membership fees for your year of study.


Work-shadowing an HR professional

In order to help you to integrate your learning on the course with practice, and to prepare you for eventual employment, you will spend several days shadowing an HR professional during the first two semesters of the programme. This work experience is organised by the University on your behalf, and involves a diverse range of organisations within or close to Bristol.

Study facilities

You will have access to a wide range of facilities to enhance your learning experience. This includes:

  • the facilities at Bristol Business School, including our postgraduate study rooms and computer labs
  • the University library which is open 24 hours a day
  • access to HRM databases such as Business Source Premier, XpertHr and IDS Studies, where you can search for information on employment law, industrial relations and HR policy across case studies, peer reviewed journals and reports.

The University is also investing in new facilities, including a £50m project to build the new Faculty of Business and Law building, which will provide a state-of-the-art teaching and learning environment for business and law students.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.

Work shadowing and networking

As part of this Masters, you will have regular opportunities to shadow HR professionals in local organisations. We also encourage you to play an active part in your local CIPD branch, giving you access to HR-related events and regular networking opportunities.



Careers / Further study

Our intensive Masters equips you with the professional knowledge and skills you need to make an immediate contribution in an entry-level HR role.

Previous members of our Human Resource Management Masters programmes have progressed to high profile roles in international organisations such as Avon & Somerset Constabulary, British American Tobacco, Barclays Bank, Colgate Palmolive, Deloitte, KPMG, L'Oréal (Paris), the National Health Service, Nestlé, and Towers Watson plc.

We prepare you for progressing in your career in a number of ways, including:

  • arranging opportunities for you to work alongside HR professionals in local organisations
  • practical workshops, to coach you in selection, interviewing, discipline, training and negotiating skills
  • guest speaker events where you can learn about HR practice in different organisations
  • access to our award-winning careers advisory service.

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.


Full Time Course (September Start)

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Award Fee8700
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)725
International - Full Time - Module Fee (15 Credit)1042
International-Full Time-Award Fee12500

Supplementary fee information

For information on fees please see our tuition fees pages.

Details of funding options can be found on our funding and scholarships information page.

Scholarship opportunity

Scholarship opportunity available for new and deferred applications.


Entry requirements

This is an intensive full time course. To be accepted you need:

  • A good honours degree (minimum 2:2) from a recognised Higher Education institution within Britain, or equivalent from a recognised overseas institution
  • A keen and informed interest in HRM and persuasive reasons for believing that a career in Human Resource Management is suited to your particular strengths, interests and abilities

English Language
If English is not your first language, you will be required to meet the UK Border Agency and Universities minimum English Language requirements such as the International English Language Test (IELTS) overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component. View further details on our English language requirements pages.

English language and study skills support are provided free of charge to members of this programme between September and December (2 hours per week).

Preparing your application
We want to ensure that the course will suit your needs, so we pay especially close attention to the Personal Statement which forms part of your application to the University. Please take particular care over this statement.

You should show why you are interested in a career in managing people or in specialist Human Resource Management and, if possible, which aspects of managing people or HRM are of particular interest to you. You should also explain carefully why you believe you are suited to such a career. Wherever possible, your statement should draw on relevant personal experience. In describing the personal attributes and qualities which in your view equip you for a career in managing people/HRM, try to give brief actual examples from your experience where you displayed those attributes and qualities.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of our course, please feel free to email the course director, Dr Michael Clark.

UWE Bristol's International College
International students who do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

For further information

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