Course details

Study options

Part-time: 1 year

UK fee

£875 per 20 credits* (2020/21)

Course level




Start dates

January, September


Derby Campus

Course description

Armed with the letters, specialist knowledge and confidence you gain from this MSc programme, you will be able to pitch your career plans at leadership and management roles. 

Accelerate your career development

This course puts you on the fast track to a qualification which raises your professional standing and improves your career prospects. It fully prepares you to meet the CPD requirements of the HR profession.

If you have a Postgraduate Diploma in HRM or HRD – or a CIPD Advanced Level Diploma – you can top these qualifications up to the full MSc award in just a year.

Convenience and flexibility is a hallmark of this course. It is offered on a day release basis so that you can balance your studies with your other commitments.


Transforming business performance

Our emphasis is on how HR strategies and decisions have an important and lasting impact on the performance of organisations, whatever their size, type and sector. We set the HRM specialism firmly within the broader field of business, management and corporate strategy.

Your studies will centre on real work-based issues with strategic implications. By investigating business improvement from a HRM perspective, you can add substantial value to your organisation as you work towards your masters qualification.

You will undertake research within the workplace, so that it is directly relevant to your role and the goals of your employer. Recent MSc projects have spanned subjects such as talent management, employee engagement, the evaluation of learning and training, organisational change, HR analytics and knowledge management.

Build your networks

Figures from the profession will share their knowledge with you. You’ll be invited to masterclasses and guest lectures delivered by influential thinkers. Such as our Visiting Professors in HRM, Dr Linda Holbeche and Professor Lynette Harris we also run ‘expert witness’ sessions where you can question senior HR managers about their careers.

We have strong academic links with the CIPD at local and national levels. The Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire CIPD branch stages events at the University where you can make new contacts in a professional forum.

Chart your future direction

This MSc is for individuals who want to progress rapidly to more senior levels of the profession and to strengthen their CV with advanced research skills. Career development planning is at the heart of the course.

From the outset, you will reflect on your experience, practice, ambitions and skills gaps to create a clear route to future success. You’ll be allocated a personal tutor who will help you develop your critical self-analysis skills and build your professional identity.

A dynamic learning community

We have designed the course to be intellectually challenging but we offer support and guidance all the way to help you excel.

Our MSc attracts a diverse mix of students – established and aspiring HR practitioners from different age groups and from different roles across the public, private and charitable sectors.

Derby Management School brochure

What you will study

You can take two routes to the MSc - via an Independent Study or via two taught modules (this route is subject to demand):

Independent Study: Research Methods (20 credits)
Independent Study: Dissertation (40 credits)

You can explore a theme that particularly interests you, an area in which you see your career developing, or an aspect of your current job role which your studies will benefit.

This will broaden and deepen your:

You’ll use what you have learned to guide your future development via a reflective statement and development plan. This will assist you in undertaking future research into management issues and to evaluate the research analysis of others.

Alternatively, you can take these two modules instead of the Independent Study (this route is subject to demand, please contact us for information regarding availability of this route):

Critical HR Perspectives 
This module will advance your skills in thinking critically, evaluating HR theory, producing robust arguments, solving problems and making organisational decisions effectively. You’ll develop your understanding of scientific methods, research design, data collection, reliability, validity and rigour. You can then apply your critical thinking and evaluation skills to assess current HR research.

Advanced Research in HR
We will deepen your understanding of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods including psychometrics, questionnaires, surveys, interviews and observational data. You’ll then apply your knowledge to design an original HR research project. You’ll build your skills in using data analysis software like NVivo and harnessing qualitative techniques such as thematic analysis, discourse analysis and content analysis.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

Side-on black and white portrait of a young student looking to the sky for inspiration with bokeh lights

Postgraduate Live Online Events

While we’re not able to welcome you in person to our campuses at the moment, we’re not going to let that stop us showing you all the great things about studying at Derby.

We’re currently planning our autumn Open Events to bring you the best possible online and on-campus experience.

Book your Live Online EventBook your Live Online Event

How you will learn

You will develop your knowledge through taught lectures, case studies, student presentations – both formative and summative – enquiry-based learning, and problem-solving activities. Through the Independent Study, you will learn how to apply research methods to contemporary business issues.   

At every stage of the programme you are encouraged to apply your learning to work-based scenarios so that you can make an immediate business impact.

We will also encourage your commitment to lifelong learning and personal growth to help you develop a reflective, self-aware and self-critical approach. The MSc builds your ability to present and justify intellectually rigorous arguments. 

How you are assessed

The course entails written assessment based on your formalised dissertation.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

If your first language is not English you will need a proficiency in English (IELTS 6.5)

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees (August 2020 - July 2021)



£875 per 20 credits*




*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK students

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University


Well regarded by employers, this qualification will add momentum to your career development plans. It will set you apart as a forward-thinking practitioner with high levels of professionalism and a thorough grasp of modern strategic practice.

Our graduates now work across the world in HR management and director positions in public, private and not-for-profit organisations, including Boots, the NHS, Rolls-Royce, Toyota and local authorities. On completing this course, the majority of our students go on to gain promotions or secure more senior roles in other organisations. 

Wherever your career takes you, we equip you with the critical self-analysis and reflective practice skills which will have a lasting impact on your success. They will underpin your career development planning, support your lifelong learning and encourage your personal growth and development.

Gaining a postgraduate degree can significantly boost your earning potential. Latest government statistics* show that postgraduates earn on average £6,000 more per year than graduates.

*Graduate Labour Market Statistics 2015, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Ongoing careers support

Throughout your studies, you will benefit from our Personal Development Planning (PDP) scheme which enables you to reflect on your learning and refine your career ambitions.

Our support continues once you’ve completed your course too: you are entitled to further help and guidance from the Careers and Employment Service for up to three years after leaving the University.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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