MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate Human Resource Management (part-time)

Entry year
Course code
Bristol Business School
MSc: 2 years 8 months; PG Diploma: 2 years
Programme leader
Matthew Salter

Page last updated 11 March 2021


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

Accreditations and partnerships:

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

The MSc in Human Resource Management (part-time) is for students who are pursuing an HR career in the UK. Tailored to the needs of HR professionals the course is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), providing a route into the profession in a wide range of industry sectors. Applications will be considered from graduates of any discipline.

Teaching expertise

Bristol Business School has one of the largest and most diverse teams of human resource management subject experts of any university in Britain. Many of the tutors on our HRM Masters are active in HR-related research and have worked in the industry across a diverse range of sectors. Most tutors are Chartered Members or Fellows of the CIPD.

Professional links  

We have long-established links with the CIPD and share their aim of championing better work and better working lives. Our courses lead to associate CIPD membership and satisfy the knowledge requirements for the highest membership grades. Student membership of the CIPD comes free with the full-time course. We have close links with the CIPD and encourage you to play an active part in your local CIPD branch.

Personal approach

Whether you study the course full or part time, the Human Resource Management Masters is designed, above all, to target the needs of practitioners, with education that is intellectually stretching, practically relevant and up to the minute. A particular feature 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. Our mentoring programme offers every student a personal link to a local HR professional who will discuss your progress with you and help you to relate the content of the course to practice.

Preparing you for a leadership role in HR

Our intensive course prepares you to contribute immediately in an entry level HR role, or (if you are already employed within the field) to take your career to a more senior level. As a Level 7 qualification, the MSc Human Resource Management is designed to enhance your insight into the strategic role of HR in contemporary organisations and to equip you with a fundamental knowledge of organisations and management that will prepare you for a leadership role in HR. Our careers guidance programme offers practical tips and skills for developing your career. Past students say that the course helped them to advance within their own organisation or to move on to more fulfilling, challenging or senior positions elsewhere. Local employers approach us directly to fill HR vacancies.

Professional networking

Studying on the Human Resource Management Masters means you will also have numerous opportunities for networking with fellow-HR practitioners across the South West.

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

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.

The part-time course is intended primarily for employees who have already begun a career in HR, who are looking for a professional qualification to enhance their professional standing and career prospects. It is also ideal if you are employed outside HR and wish to join the profession. Contact programme leader Dr Sarah-Louise Weller for more details.

The flexible structure of our human resource management postgraduate curriculum means that you can choose to complete the course to either a Masters level or a Postgraduate Diploma level, if you are not concerned about achieving a full Masters. Students who opt for the Postgraduate Diploma will complete the same taught programme as Masters students. The only difference is that you write a shorter management research report in place of the dissertation.

Compulsory modules

The first stage of the course comprising its first year provides an introduction to the theory, practice and context for human resource management. It consists of the following compulsory modules:

  • Managing People in Organisations explores the contribution of people to organisational success in a range of contexts. Topics include team working, motivation, leadership, understanding individual differences in ability and personality, organisational change and culture.
  • Human Resource Management in a Strategic Context considers three areas of influence on the practice of HRM: the external context, including legal, social and labour market issues; the internal context, including roles and organisation of the HR function and its contribution; and the context of organisational strategy-making.
  • Human Resource Management develops knowledge of the main theories underpinning HRM and its links to organisational strategy. It introduces the core disciplines of development, resourcing, employee relations and reward, and considers how they are integrated.
  • 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. Thees include interpersonal skills, interviewing, delivering training and understanding finance.

Elective modules

The electives stage of the progromme comprises its second year and allows you the opportunity to focus in on more specialist interests. You will select four electives from the following list but they may be subject to change and only the most popular four will run:

  • 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.
  • Performance Management* develops insight into the theoretical issues and concepts surrounding performance management. It also fosters an understanding of the practices that contribute to improving the performance of individuals, teams and organisations.
  • 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.
  • 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.

The management research report or dissertation

For the final phase of the course, you have the choice of writing either a dissertation (which leads to a full Masters) or a management research report (which leads to a Postgraduate Diploma). This part of the course is designed to develop your applied understanding and research skills. The project you work on should be of real value to your host organisation. Students typically base their research project on their own 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 will 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 a number of skills workshops are included in the curriculum. The tutors come from a mix of academic and practitioner backgrounds.

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

Study time

The course starts in September.The part-time MSc takes 30 months. During the 18-month taught phase, you will attend classes on one afternoon and evening a week, with occasional all-day training events. Although it is possible to finish the course in 30 months, you can tailor your rate of study to suit your circumstances, or spread the commitment and cost by studying on a module-by-module basis. The part-time Postgraduate Diploma can be completed within two years.

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 Masters level study. This includes a study skills programme in the early weeks and assessment activities, with ready access to tutors' advice and feedback on your progress.


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 is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which represents a worldwide community of more than 135,000 members. You are strongly encouraged to join the CIPD at the start of the course if you have not already done so. Most tutors on the course are Chartered Members or Fellows of the Institute.

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.

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

Professional networking and mentoring

Studying on the Human Resource Management Masters means you will also have numerous opportunities for networking 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. Our mentoring programme offers every student a personal link to a local HR professional who will discuss your progress with you and help you to relate the content of the course to practice.


Careers / Further study

Our intensive Masters equips you with the professional knowledge and skills you will need to make an immediate contribution in an HR role, or (if you are already employed within the field) to take your career to a more senior level.

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

  • practical workshops, to develop your hands-on skills as an interviewer, trainer and negotiator
  • psychometric and motivational profiling, to offer insight into your strengths and attributes of personality which are relevant to your career progression
  • guest speaker events and visits to local organisations where you can learn about current practice in different organisations
  • a mentoring programme, which offers each student a personal link to a local HR professional who will discuss your academic progress with you, help you to relate the content of the course to practice, and discuss your career development and progression
  • a careers guidance programme, which comprises talks by guest HR practitioners on career issues for HR professionals (such as becoming an HR Business Partner) and sessions targeting your CV and your presentation of yourself at interview.

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.


Supplementary fee information

See our funding pages for more information. 


Entry requirements

You will 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 have a first degree, you may still be able to take the course but you will need to complete a written assessment exercise.

Applicants to the part-time course:

Part-time applicants would normally be expected to be working within an HR or similar environment and should explain this on the application form. You will be invited to attend a briefing meeting, to answer any questions you have, and to give you comprehensive information about the course and what it involves.

English Language Requirement

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.

How to apply

Deadline for application:
The deadline for applying for this course is three weeks before the start date.

Read more about postgraduate applications.

For further information