MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate Human Resource Management (International)

Entry year
Course code
Bristol Business School
13 - 15 months
Full-time, starts September
Programme leader
Dr Mahwish Khan

Page last updated 4 May 2021


For 40 years, our courses have been recognised in independent audits as among the best taught and managed postgraduate HRM programmes in Britain.

Accreditations and partnerships:

There is growing worldwide demand for professionals and leaders who can devise and apply creative human resource solutions across national and international contexts.

Success in these roles requires mastery of comparative HR practice, combined with sensitivity to context and insight into both employers' and employees' needs.

This course 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're seeking, or have already started, a career in managing people or as a specialist HR professional in any part of the world. 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.

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

CIPD recognition

We have one of the largest, longest established, and most diverse teams of HRM subject experts of any university in Britain.

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 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 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 offer English language and study skills classes free of charge. You can also complete a pre-sessional course in English to help you to get the most from this programme.

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



The department is currently reviewing the curriculum for this course, so the topics of study and modules listed are subject to change.

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.

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

The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change. Only those chosen by at least twelve students will run.

You'll study four of the following modules:

  • 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. It considers the implications of equality and diversity for HR practice in recruitment, reward, management and work-life balance.
  • 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.
  • 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 in the UK, 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 UK employee relations required by HR practitioners. You'll learn about the implications of the internationalisation of employee relations policies and EU membership on employee relations policies, issues and practices.

*You must choose at least two of these modules to comply with CIPD accreditation requirements.

**You must choose at least two of these explicitly comparative/international modules.


The final stage of the course is a 13,000-word research dissertation focusing on a live business issue that 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 will offer 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 ten weeks 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.

Learning and Teaching

We use a variety of blended teaching methods on this course. You'll 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.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching 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 weekday (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'll have access to advice from our careers service.


We use a range of different forms of assessment including written assignments, tests, exams, reflective log, presentations and group exercises.

Assessment of skills and competence also forms part of the overall assessment strategy.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

This course 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 a HR professional

In order to help you to integrate your learning on the course with practice and to prepare you for employment, you'll spend several days shadowing a HR professional during the first two semesters of the programme.

This work experience will be organised by the University on your behalf, and will take place in one of a diverse range of organisations within or close to Bristol.

Host organisations include:

  • Airbus
  • Bristol Sport
  • Integral UK
  • DAS
  • Lloyds Bank
  • Environment Agency.

In addition, Bristol City Council, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, Foot Anstey LLP, Kohler-Mira, Las Iguanas, the Ministry of Defence, NHS Blood & Transplant, South Gloucestershire County Council, the University of Bristol and Western Power Distribution.

We also encourage you to play an active part in your local CIPD branch, which will give you access to HR-related events and regular networking opportunities.

Ten week research placement

We arrange a ten-week placement for many students in the HR department of a local organisation between May and July.

Here, you'll investigate a live HR issue for the purpose of your dissertation research. This challenging project develops research, consultancy, influencing and practical problem-solving skills.

Your workplace supervisor and research tutor will guide you towards a viable, creative and business-focused solution.

Study facilities

You'll 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
  • our 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 course will take place in the University's new £50 million Bristol Business School, which provides a state-of-the-art teaching and learning environment for business and law students.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.


Careers / Further study

This intensive master's 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 and 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 to progress in your career in a number of ways, including:

  • arranging opportunities for you to work alongside HR professionals in local organisations
  • practical workshops that coach you in selection, interviewing, discipline, training and negotiating skills
  • psychometric and motivational profiling, to develop your insight into you're your strengths and attributes which are likely to enhance your career progression
  • guest speaker events where you can learn about HR practice in different organisations
  • access to our award-winning careers advisory service.


Supplementary fee information

See our funding pages for more information.


Entry requirements

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

  • a good honours degree (high 2:2) in any subject
  • 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.

If you do not have a first degree, you may still be able to take the course but you will need to complete a written assessment exercise.

If required, English language and study skills support are provided free of charge to members of this programme between September and December.

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 say in around 500-750 words:

  • 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
  • what personal attributes and experience suit you to a career in HR or managing people.

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 HRM/managing people, 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 Mahwish Khan at

English language support

If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.

Read more about our Pre-Sessional English Programme.

English Language Requirement

If English is not your first language, you will be required to meet the UK Visas and Immigration Agency and the University's minimum English Language requirements for postgraduate study, such as the International English Language Test (IELTS) overall score of 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.

Further details is available on our English language requirements pages.

How to apply

Read more about postgraduate applications

For further information