Human Resource Development (M.S.)

Prepare for a professional career in HR management or general administrative positions.

Human resource office scene

Through well-organized and implemented classroom-based, hybrid and online instruction, you will gain knowledge, skills and abilities.

The Human Resource Development program focuses on the professional practice of human resource management, development, leadership and organizational change and effectiveness. The program is ideal if you are looking to enter the human resources profession, seeking to expand your knowledge and expertise or wanting to improve your practice and advancement opportunities.

You can view admission and degree requirements in the Graduate Catalog. No prior experience in the HR field is required for admission.

Emphasize Your Area of Study

The Human Resource Development (M.S.) program provides you with a core education in the fundamentals of human resources while offering you the flexibility to select the courses that are most meaningful to your career plans and aspirations.  Students may emphasize, through their electives, one of the following areas:

Areas of study

General Human Resource Management

As part of your studies towards the MS in HRD degree, you can select from a broad array of courses directly applicable to the general practice of Human Resource Management. All of the major functional areas of HRM are covered, including recruiting and selection, compensation and benefits, employee relations, talent management. In addition, student may select more advanced electives in international HR, employee wellness, diversity management and risk management. By choosing courses along these lines, you acquire not only knowledge of the concepts and theories most critical to this field but also develop the skills and capabilities for performing at the highest level in general human resource management. 

Required courses for hrd degree elective courses
HRD 601: Intro to HR* HRD 629: Staffing, Recruitment and Selection
HRD 605: Applied Research HRD 630: Compensation and Benefits Management
HRD 606: Organizational Behavior HRD 635: Managing Employee Relations
HRD 607: Managing Change HRD 639: Human Resource Information Systems
HRD 627: Training HRD 650: Employee Wellness and Healthy Workforce Management
HRD 699: Capstone HRD 655: Talent Management and Human Capital Development
  HRD 658: Managing Workplace Diversity
  HRD 660: Human Resources Risk Management and Revenue Production
  HRD 665: International Human Resources: Issues and Applications

*Individuals with 3 or more year's experience as an HR manager or director may request that this course be waived. Of course, the student would still need to complete the 36 hour degree requirement by completing an additional elective. 

Industrial and Organizational Psychology

As part of your studies towards the MS in HRD degree, you can combine advanced coursework in research methods and statistics -- and complete a research thesis-- with such traditional I/O subject areas as training, staffing and selection, group dynamics, and leadership. By choosing courses along these lines, you acquire a solid foundation for applying to doctoral programs or for professional work in the I/O field. 

Required courses for HRD degree Elective courses*
HRD 601: Intro to HR Psy 687: Adv Experimental Design I * (prereq: undergraduate course in Statistics with a grade of B or better)
HRD 605: Applied Research Psy 688: Adv Experimental Design II *
HRD 606: Organizational Behavior Psy 898: Thesis *
HRD 607: Managing Change HRD 679: Special Topics: Planning Research in I/O Psychology (prereqs: 18 credit hours in HRD courses, including HRD 605, and Psy 687, 688?) *
HRD 627: Training HRD 629: Staffing, Recruiting and Selection
HRD 699: Capstone HRD 640: Leadership
  HRD 644: Group Dynamics and Team Building

* Students focusing their studies in I/O Psychology are expected to take these courses

Leadership and Organization Development

The common narrative today is that organizations must become more agile, nimble, adaptive and innovative if they are to survive. To get to this point, strong leadership is needed along with the abilities to facilitate and manage the process of change effectively. But in addition, managing change means being able to understand the broader context of employment relationships and the importance of connecting change efforts to HRM.

If you are looking to focus your career in the areas of change management and facilitation, leadership and organization development, there are a number of elective courses that can help you reach that goal. The framework of courses to emphasize your studies in leadership and organization development is shown below:

Required courses for HRD degree Elective courses
HRD 601: Intro to HR HRD 640: Leadership Theory and Practice
HRD 605: Applied Research HRD 643: Business Fundamentals for the HRD Professional
HRD 606: Organizational Behavior HRD 644: Group Dynamics and Team Building
HRD 607: Managing Change HRD 646: Advanced Topics in Organization Development: Conflict Management and Resolution
HRD 627: Training HRD 650: Employee Wellness and Healthy Workforce Management
HRD 699: Capstone HRD 658: Managing Workplace Diversity
Employee Training and Development

Human Resource Development has its origins in the important function of employee training and development. Applying ways to make training most effective, developing and using educational technologies, and promoting learning and employee development are vital to the success of organizations today and into the future. By combining coursework in HRD with more technical courses in Instructional Technology, you can develop the skills needed to support the best in employee training, organizational learning, and career development.

Required courses for HRD degree Elective courses
HRD 601: Intro to HR ISTC 541: Foundations of Instructional Technology
HRD 605: Applied Research ISTC 605: Web-based Instruction
HRD 606: Organizational Behavior ISTC 655: Multi-media Design
HRD 607: Managing Change ISTC 667: Instructional Development
HRD 627: Training PSYC 606: Career Development
HRD 699: Capstone  

Meet Professor Alan Clardy

Professor Clardy describes the human resources program and how it prepares students for management and leadership roles in businesses, nonprofit associations and government.

why towson?

Learn from Experts

Small classes taught by experienced faculty give you opportunities to interact with fellow classmates and faculty who have extensive professional and senior-level experience in a range of human resources-related positions.

National Recognition

Towson’s master’s in HRD-Professional fully aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. HRD courses are worth 30 PHR recertification credits.

Flexible Formats

The 36-credit hour curriculum makes it possible for most students working full time to complete the degree in two years of part-time study. All courses are offered in the evenings to give you maximum flexibility. Courses are either offered fully on campus or partially on campus and partially online in a hybrid format. A few advanced electives are offered totally online.