MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate Human Resource Management

Entry year
Course code
Bristol Business School
MSc: 12 months Postgraduate Diploma: 8 months
Full-time; starts September
Programme leader
Ceri Vaughan

This course is open for applications.

Page last updated 3 May 2024


Bristol Business School has been a leading provider of professional HRM education for nearly 50 years. With one of the largest teams of HRM experts, long-established links with the CIPD, and up-to-the-minute, practitioner-focused training, we are widely regarded as a leading name in the field.

Accreditations and partnerships:

Why study human resource management?

Imaginative and expertly designed human resource management (HRM) is considered by today's global leaders as central to an organisation's success. HR practitioners around the world are an integral part of that success, and as recognition of the distinctive contribution of HRM grows, it is increasingly valued, both as a career, and as a foundation for careers in other branches of management.

Why UWE Bristol?

Teaching expertise - Bristol Business School has one of the largest and most diverse teams of HRM subject experts of any British university. Many of our MSc Human Resource Management tutors are active in HR-related research and have worked in the industry across a diverse range of sectors globally. Most tutors are CIPD members.

Accreditation and professional links - Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), our master’s provides a route into the people profession in a wide range of industry sectors. We welcome applications from graduates of any discipline from around the world. With our long-established links with the CIPD and variety of businesses, HR experts join us throughout the course to share their experiences and HR career advice. Our course leads to associate CIPD membership and satisfies the core knowledge and behaviours standards of the new Profession Map.

Comprehensive curriculum - Our course offers a comprehensive range of modules that cover the breadth and depth of global human resource management, from strategic HRM to specific issues such as international HRM, employment law, and people analytics. This broad-based approach provides a well-rounded education that prepares you for a variety of HR roles globally.

Choice in your final research project - Choose from a group research project, a 6-week research based placement with an organisation or a traditional dissertation.

Personal approach – This HRM master’s is designed to target the needs of practitioners, with education that is intellectually stretching, practically relevant and up-to-the-minute. A particular feature is the personal interest we take in your development. Using people analytic tools, behaviour development workshops and a range of practical activities, we'll profile your unique attributes, develop your strengths, and offer extensive feedback on your progress throughout.

Where can it take me?

Our intensive course prepares you to immediately contribute to an entry level people profession role, or (if you're already employed within the field) to take your career to a more senior level, either locally or globally. Recent employers include 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. Local employers approach us directly to fill HR vacancies.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



The course content has recently been reaccredited by the CIPD and the modules listed are aligned to core knowledge and behaviours on the new Profession Map.

This course is ideal if you are looking to change career or want a professional qualification that will help you resume working after a break. Contact the Programme Leader for more details.

Option to study for a Postgraduate Diploma instead

You'll have the option of working towards a Postgraduate (PG) Diploma if you are not concerned about achieving a full master's. You'll complete the same taught course as master's students. The only differences are that you don't complete the Research in HRM module and the Research-based placement.

Compulsory modules

The course provides an introduction to the theory, practice and context for human resource management and consists of the following six compulsory modules:

  • Change - considers the causes and nature of change, issues of structuring for change, the cultural and political contexts for change, how to lead change as well as the more practical considerations of designing, planning and implementing change.
  • Critical People Analytics - explores the needs and purpose of critical people analytics, searching and evaluating data suitable for critical analytics, evaluating analytical methodologies, as well as addressing ethical issues in critical analytics.
  • Culture and Behaviour - explores the role played by organisational systems/ processes (including organisational culture and leadership) and individual differences in achieving organisational success and employee well-being. Topics include  personality and work performance, motivation, leadership, understanding individual differences, organisational and national culture.
  • HR Professional Portfolio - evidences the core behaviours which, along with core knowledge and specialist knowledge, comprise the CIPD 2020 Profession Map. The core behaviours are relevant to all people professionals, and the Profession Map sets the international benchmark for the HR profession. There is a focus on ethical and evidence-based decision-making, the portfolio reflecting the CIPD's stance that certain ways of thinking and acting should be universal and consistent, even in changing situations.
  • HRM in the Business Environment - considers how human resources contribute to the organisation's business strategy that both reacts to external influences in the environment and identifies future changes that provide opportunities for advantage in an extremely competitive world. It provides a wider understanding of the context in which business decisions are taken and the major influences on those decisions, critically analysing the role of HR professionals in these processes.
  • People Practice - analyses the theoretical and conceptual frameworks relating to people practice and the link between HRM strategy and practice and organisational effectiveness. It explores the cornerstones of HRM in practice through reviewing how concepts such as people resourcing, rewarding effort, learning and development and employee relations are applied in an organisational context.

Elective modules

We offer a contemporary choice of elective modules, which allow you to focus on more specialist interests. Full-time students can choose from a range of international and comparative modules at this stage of the course. You will select two electives from the following list but they may be subject to change and only those chosen by at least twelve students will run:

  • Employee Relations and Employment Law - considers how people professionals are expected to successfully respond to, if not anticipate, opportunities and challenges underlying the transformation of work. Plus how contemporary processes such as organisational fragmentation, individualisation, internationalisation, digitalisation, and juridification, have profound implications on the management of the employment relationship.
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion from a Comparative Perspective - critically examines equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) from a comparative, intersectional perspective, and in relation to human resource management policies and practices. It explores main theoretical concepts and latest developments in research and these apply practically and within a labour market and organisation perspective.
  • International Employment Relations - explores work and employment in different countries and world regions. A comparative and international perspective is applied to provide a fine appreciation of the cultural and historical implications of work in the global economy. We'll also explore the impact of international and regional labour standards and 'privatised' efforts of multinational corporations and other agencies to promote good employment relations and workplace practice.
  • Learning and Development - aims to blend theory with practice and focuses on the key elements of the theories of learning and skills development. These elements inform an understanding of how individuals learn, and how that affects what individuals choose to do long term in their employment.
  • Managing Reward - explores the strategic role of reward processes in developing organisational reward policies and practices, promoting flexibility and innovation. It analyses 'new pay' and different approaches to rewarding performance at the individual, team and organisational level, reward and diversity (equal pay and job evaluation), the case of 'special groups', the role of international reward and the role of benefits and non-financial reward in total rewards. In addition, the design, implementation, maintenance and evaluation of reward management systems, with regard to professional standards and best practice, on the basis of an accurate diagnosis of an organisation's needs.

Research in HRM module

If you wish to complete the full master's course, then you'll need to complete this module, which is  designed to develop your applied understanding and research skills and prepare you to conduct research (organisation-based, issue-based, desk-based or group-based) from a range of qualitative and quantitative perspectives. The work-based research project you work on should be of real value to your host organisation.

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'll inform you.

Learning and Teaching

We use a range of teaching methods on this course, with the aim of making the content as interactive, theoretically accessible, and practically focused as possible. You will learn through a combination of tutor-led and student-led activities, including small group work, group presentations and discussion, student-led seminars, case studies and role plays. Practical skills development is integral to the course and several skills workshops are included in the curriculum. The tutors come from a mix of academic and practitioner backgrounds locally and globally.

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

Study time

The MSc starts in September and runs for 12 months.

Taught modules are delivered over two teaching terms (between September and April), with the final research project forming the main element in the summer term.

The full-time Postgraduate Diploma can be completed within eight months.

You'll typically need to attend four days per week, so you can seek part-time employment on a regular weekday if you wish to.

Study support

As some students join the course without an undergraduate degree, or after a long break from education, there is plenty of tutorial support while you adjust to master's level study. This includes a study skills course in the early weeks and assessment activities, with access to tutors' advice and feedback on your progress.


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

Learn more about our assessments


Professional accreditation

Studying this course offers many opportunities to network with HR practitioners across the South West. We have close links with the CIPD and encourage you to play an active part in your local CIPD branch. We also work closely with a wide range of businesses, provide opportunities to network with HR experts and develop networking skills. Local HR leaders regularly join us throughout the course, sharing their experiences and offering employability tips/advice.  

The course is accredited at advanced level by the UK Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and leads to Associate membership as well as providing the underpinning knowledge required for professional CIPD membership at Associate, Chartered Member or Chartered Fellow levels.


Final project options

The course offers you the chance to undertake a final research project. If you’re eligible, you can choose to complete a 6-week research placement in an organisation arranged by the university. Or students can complete a group research project (also based in a real organisation, arranged by the university). Alternatively, students can choose to complete a traditional dissertation.

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
  • the University library, 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.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Business Management facilities and see what's on offer here for you.

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

Five reasons to study MSc Human Resource Management at UWE Bristol.


Postgraduate support

Our support includes access to fantastic facilities, study tools and career consultants, plus practical help to access everything from funding to childcare.


A stunning city for student living with all the qualities to make you want to stay.

Sports, societies and activities

There is more to your experience here than study. Choose to make the most of it and try new things.

Health and Wellbeing

We provide support in the way you need it.

Campus and facilities

Discover our campuses and the wealth of facilities provided for our students.


Careers / Further study

This intensive master's course will equip you with the professional knowledge and skills you’ll need to make an immediate contribution in a people profession role, or (if you're already employed within the field) to take your career to a more senior level.

Recent employers include 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 advance your career in many ways, including:

  • A six-week placement in a local organisation.
  • Guest speaker events and visits to local organisations where you can learn about current practice in different organisations.
  • Career development sessions throughout the course, designed and delivered by our careers team, much of which is tailored for international students and/or students looking to pursue a global HR career.
  • Attending networking opportunities and learning how to develop your networking skills. 
  • Access to our award-winning Careers 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.

Learn more about our graduate destinations


Supplementary fee information

For information on fees please see our tuition fees pages.

For more information on funding, please see our funding and scholarships information page.



Entry requirements

You'll need:

  • an honours degree (minimum 2:2) in any subject
  • to be able to demonstrate a keen and informed interest in HRM.

If you do not meet the above grade requirements but have at least 12 months relevant professional experience and/ or equivalent qualifications, we will consider you on an individual basis.

Applicants to the course

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're 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 you have which make you suited to a career in HR or managing people.
  • An overview of your intended career path in HRM.
  • An outline of your proposed learning strategy and intended extra-curricular activities while studying at UWE Bristol.

Wherever possible, your statement should draw on relevant personal experience. When describing the personal attributes and qualities which you believe equip you for a career in HRM/managing people, try to give actual brief examples from your experience where you displayed those attributes and qualities.

You will be invited to attend an open event (usually in June/July) to answer any questions you have, and to give you more information about the course and what it involves.

English Language Requirement

If English is not your first language, you'll 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.

How to apply

Read about postgraduate applications.

Read more about international applications and key international deadline dates.

For further information