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Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development (HRD)

MSHRD at Drexel University's School of Education


What is Human Resource Development (HRD)? 

In today's increasingly complex world, organizational leaders must be innovative, adaptive, and global in both thought and action. In the rich, interdisciplinary field of human resource development (HRD), the focus is on improving learning and performance at the individual, group, and organizational level, as well as community and society contexts through several domains of practice, including:

  • Human resource development strategy
  • Training and development
  • Career development
  • Organization development
  • Performance improvement (HPT/HPI)
  • Talent development and management
  • Leadership and management development
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Assessment, measurement and evaluation

Drexel’s Human Resource Development master’s program is recognized by the Academy of Human Resource Development as a Program of Excellence and is aligned with the Association of Talent Development, Society for Human Resource Management, International Society for Performance Improvement and the Organization Development (OD) Network.

What can you do with a MS degree in Human Resource Development?

The Master’s in Human Resource Development degree is a valuable credential and an excellent path to career advancement for a wide variety of roles:

  • Training and development professionals
  • Human resource business partners and consultants interested in talent development
  • Organization development practitioners and change agents
  • Workforce education and development professionals
  • Performance improvement consultants and specialists
  • Leaders and managers interested in developing and engaging their workforce
  • Career changers interested in learning how to facilitate workplace learning, performance, and change in any organizational setting

The MS in Human Resource Development (MSHRD) program at Drexel University's School of Education prepares graduates to become “strategic partners” to senior leaders. Using current research, best practices and cutting-edge technology, students will learn how to facilitate workplace learning and change, while maximizing performance at all levels of the organization.

Start your journey toward a career in Human Resource Development by requesting more information about our HR master's programs.

Master’s in Human Resource Development Graduate Program Options

The Human Resource Development degree program is delivered entirely online as a part-time program. Students take two courses per term and usually complete the program in two years.

Drexel University is a leader in online learning with over 25 years of experience in offering courses online. Students are exposed to the latest technology, tools, and trends by faculty who are currently working in the field.

At Drexel, we believe in putting theory into practice. Our unique curriculum is practice-oriented and evidence based, providing students with the benefits of both.

Human Resource Development Program Eligibility

Applicants for the MSHRD program will follow the university standards for admission to graduate study. Prospective students must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher to be considered for admission (graduate degree GPAs will be considered along with the undergraduate GPA). Provisional admission may be granted with a GPA between 2.80 to 2.99. In addition, prospective MSHRD students are required to submit the following:

  • Completed Application Form, including official transcripts from all universities or colleges attended
  • Two to three letters of recommendation
  • Personal Statement (500 - 750 words) describing your interest in the program. Specifically:
    • How the program relates to your previous educational and professional activities
    • If changing course, why you're moving in this new direction with your educational goals
    • How the program relates to your current line of work
    • How you plan to apply the program to your future goals
  • Resume
  • Additional requirements for International Students

The MSHRD admissions committee will evaluate the applicant’s potential and commitment to succeed in graduate study in the online environment. The applicant’s potential to contribute to the overall quality of the program of study will also be considered.

Interviews, in person or by phone, may be conducted by the MSHRD admissions committee with those applicants who meet Drexel's standard admissions criteria. Decisions will be made using dates corresponding to the regular university schedule for rolling admissions in Graduate Admissions.

Master’s in Human Resource Development Courses and Curriculum

The Master’s degree in Human Resource Development is a unique two-year program, developed by faculty who are leading researchers and practitioners in their field. Their experience and knowledge of current trends and evidence-based practices lends a customized aspect to every area of study, from core courses to the capstone research sequence that are offered with this program.

Through a successful blend of experiential-based learning, broad research, and in-depth academics, students graduate with the following outcome-oriented competencies and capabilities.

  • Formulate adult learning, training and development and HRD strategies that develop and retain the best people in organizations.
  • Design and implement workplace learning, change, and performance interventions to achieve employee and organizational goals.
  • Develop effective consulting, coaching, and mentoring skills to sustain learning, performance, and change in the workplace.
  • Lead strategic change initiatives and manage learning and development initiatives in any organizational setting.
  • Evaluate training, learning, and other HRD programs and interventions to determine their quality, value, and effectiveness.

The human resource development graduate program is 45 credit hours, consisting of 12 foundational credits in education, 15 core credits in HRD, and a nine-hour capstone research sequence that includes a research methods course and capstone research track (thesis, practitioner, or lesson study track), as well as nine credits of professional electives.

The Human Resource Development curriculum provides a comprehensive understanding of human resource development, from its foundations to the most successful workplace learning, performance, and change strategies.

MS in HRD Capstone Courses

Students in the MS in Human Resource Development program complete a research capstone course where they are introduced to various types of research designs and learn to be both consumers and producers of research. Following completion of the research course, students will complete a capstone experience by selecting one of the two-course multidisciplinary sequence options below:

  • Thesis (Part I and II) - Students who select this option will be required to complete a master’s thesis which consists of a well-written research paper, comprised of five chapters that posits a research question and uses logical arguments & data to address/answer a gap in research
  • Lesson Study (Part I and II) - Students who select this option will be required to complete a research-based lesson design and analysis project
  • Practitioner Course (Part I and II) - Students who select this option will be required to complete a master’s project related to HRD. Examples include: A front-end assessment or performance analysis,, white paper or policy analysis, or program evaluation

For full graduate human resource development course descriptions, please see the Drexel University Course Catalog.

How to Apply for Master’s of Science in Human Resource Development

The MS in Human Resource Development program is offered entirely online. The application can be started and completed entirely online and all documents (transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) can be uploaded electronically. 

Start an Application

Human Resource Development Graduate Program Tuition & Fees

Drexel aims to make the cost of education as affordable as possible. Student in this online program receive a 25% discount off the cost of regular tuition. Drexel also offers tuition discounts to alumni, members of the military and their families, and members of certain organizations and employers. Click here to view tuition costs for the MS in Human Resource Development. 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Master’s in Human Resource Development

How is an HRD (Human Resource Development) degree different from a Human Resource Management degree?

A Human Resource Management (HRM) degree will focus more on the transactional functions of HR (such as recruitment, compensation, benefits and compliance). The Human Resource Development (HRD) degree prepares professionals to focus on the strategic aspects of human resource (e.g., training and development, organization development, career development, leadership development and succession management, coaching and mentoring, talent development, employee engagement and retention). Students in the program will learn to facilitate workplace learning, performance, and change at the individual, group, and organizational level in any organizational setting regardless of sector and industry.

Is a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development worth it?

It does not matter whether you aspire to serve as a senior leader, mid-level manager, individual contributor, or consultant or coach, earning a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development will get you on the fast track by equipping you with the skills and tools you need to advance your career and increase your earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021), HRD professionals at the specialist level —who typically hold a bachelor’s degree—earned a median annual salary of $62,290. HRD managers and leaders, on the other hand, generally hold an advanced degree and earned a median salary of $126,230 during that same time. 

MS in HRD Salaries
HRD Professionals  $62,290
HRD Managers and Leaders $126,230

Is Human Resource Development a Good Degree?

A degree in Human Resource Development is a good degree with tremendous employment opportunities. Careers in the HRD field include Employee Relations Administrator, Human Resource Developer, and Vice President President for Human Resources, among many, many more. Job growth in the field of human resource development is expected to grow between 8% to 10% over the next several years.

How long does it take to get a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development?

Drexel University's Master’s in Human Resource Development is a unique program designed for part-time, working professionals to complete the program in as little as 2 years.

Why is the M.S. in Human Resource Development offered through the School of Education rather than the Drexel Lebow College of Business?

While HR Management (HRM) programs typically reside in Colleges of Business, HRD programs largely reside in Schools of Education. According to the Academy of Human Resource Development, 92% of the top HRD programs reside in a College/School of Education given its training and development, adult learning, workforce education, career development, and organizational learning and development orientation and roots.

Who may I contact to learn more about the MS in Human Resource Development?

You may contact the program manager, Andréa Guy at or 215-571-4471 for general questions about the MS in HRD program, admissions, enrollment, deadlines, and course scheduling.

If you have any specific questions about the field and practice of human resource development, you may contact Program Director, Dr. Salvatore Falletta at

Program Director

Smith Drexel University School of Education alumna

Salvatore Falletta, PhD
Program Director

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Program Questions

Jack Barnes Director of Student Recruitment Drexel University School of Education

For questions about School of Education academic programs, please contact Jack Barnes (