1 year full time
Starts September 2017

Human Resource Management

Our course equips you with advanced critical thinking skills, a deep understanding of the key issues in the contemporary world of work, and a solid grasp of the remit of human resource management (HRM) as a profession.

You learn how to challenge conventional wisdom and develop your confidence. You cover topics including:

  • contemporary context of work, employment and HRM
  • employee engagement and talent management
  • strategic and international HRM
  • employment relations
  • leading, managing and developing people.

This MSc is for you if you’re planning to pursue a HR-focused management career, or if you intend to go on to further study.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience on this MSc – it’s provided me with countless opportunities for my future career.”Shammi M. H. Kabir
Human Resource Management MSc

Key facts

  • Our Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)-accredited course is designed to prepare you for a successful management career in the private, public or non-profit sector.
  • Learning with people from all over the world will provide you with the expertise and confidence to work and manage effectively in a global context.
  • This MSc is taught by top academic researchers and experienced industry practitioners.

How will I study?

You’ll study core modules and options in the autumn and spring terms. In the summer term you work on your independent project.

You’ll be assessed by a combination of reports, essays, group presentations, group project reports, unseen exams and a research project.

What will I study?

  • Module list

    Core modules

    Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

    • Developing Skills for Business Leadership

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      Develop your leadership skills for a career in management.

      In this module, you:

      • develop your thinking and decision making skills
      • learn about the management of financial information, including working with costings and managing budgets
      • develop your team working and interpersonal skills
      • learn about personal effectiveness and credibility at work.

      You develop specialised skills for effective people management and are given opportunities for applied learning and professional development. 

      You also look at case studies and explore the relationship between theory and practice.

    • Employment Relations

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      Explore employment relations from a social, political, economic, legal and psychological perspective.

      You gain an understanding of the world of work, and study key debates, theories and policies.

      You analyse competing theories associated with employment relations strategy and explore the affect this has on organisational climate, employees and management.

      You use your knowledge and skills for practical activities in a variety of public, private and non-profit organisational contexts. This means you can review and evaluate the roles of stakeholders and the structures and processes needed to understand employment relationship.

      In this module, you are also given the chance for applied learning and professional development.

    • Leading, Managing and Developing People

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      In this module, you look at the key issues in people management and development.

      You examine contemporary research on employment and effective approaches to human resource (HR) and learning development (L&D) practice.

      You focus on the links between people management practices and positive organisational outcomes and research that highlights major changes and developments in practice.

      You also look at the debates surrounding theory and practice in specific fields including: 

      • leadership
      • flexibility
      • change management.

      You will develop the skills to become an effective manager, and HR specialist - learning to manage people fairly and increase levels of engagement, commitment, motivation and performance.

    • International Human Resource Management

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module aims to introduce you to concepts, issues and debates around human resource management and employment relations within the context of the growing internationalisation of business. It will look at the implications of the rise of multinational corporations and foreign direct investment for employment, and the particular challenges of managing a workforce across national borders. The module will adopt a comparative perpective for the discussion of the variability of key human resource practices across different national contexts. The module will weave together two key themes of international differences in HR management and the HRM practices of corporations that operate in multiple country locations.

      Some of the topics that may be included are as follows:

      • Specific HRM function areas (such as pay/rewards systems, working time, employee voice at the company or sector level)
      • The variability in the interpretation of high performance HRM systems
      • The global diffusion of HRM practices
      • Different 'home country' effects shaping MNC employment practices
      • International assignments as an HRM tool
      • The gendered dimensions of MNC HRM practies
      • The role of culture in global diversity management
      • Corporate social responsibility issues
      • Global talent management
      • Implications of outsourcing and off-shoring for HRM etc
    • Research Methods for HRM

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Learn how to collect, analyse, interpret and write up a wide range of data, including:

      • qualitative data (such as interviews)
      • quantitative data (such as questionnaire surveys)
      • secondary data (such as company documents or industry reports).

      You study the rationale behind a variety of research methods, and discover why particular approaches may be appropriate in different circumstances.

      You also learn how to design a research project - from your initial idea through to creating research questions, reviewing previous research in the field, designing your research approach, data collection and analysis.

    • Strategic Human Resource Management and Employee Engagement

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Learn the strategic approaches involved in managing human resources and employee engagement.

      You study how human resource strategy is formulated and implemented into an organisational setting, and gain an insight into the strategic management of people.

      You explore the link between strategic Human Resource Management, employee engagement and organisational performance, and learn about the key factors involved in the design and delivery of an engagement strategy.

      Topics include:

      • the strategic context of Human Resource Management and engagement
      • corporate strategy, strategic Human Resource Management and organisational performance
      • the strategic role of the Human Resources department
      • Human Resource strategy development and implementation
      • employee engagement concepts and ideas
      • designing and delivering an employee engagement strategy.
    • Talent Management

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      In this module you will trace the historical development of people working in HR as well as academic interests in talent management. It also reviews debates around the concept.

      It then looks at a range of HR resourcing activities as part of a larger general study. These include both practical aspects of recruitment and selection, employee retention and dismissal along with strategic aspects in the context of international employment markets and global competition.

      The module adopts a critical and comparative perspective in discussing key issues related to talent management.

      You should end up with the knowledge and skills to carry out activities including HR planning, job design, recruitment, selection, induction, retention, succession planning and dismissal to a high standard.

      Possible lecture topics include:

      • Employment Markets and Regulations
      • Recruitment and Selection
      • The New Employee
      • Flexibility
      • Employer Branding
      • Human Resource Planning and Succession Planning
      • Dismissal, Redundancy and Grievances
      • Managing Diversity
      • Talent Management Strategies
    • Research Project in Human Resource Management

      45 credits
      Summer Teaching, Year 1

      In this module you have to see through an independent piece of research, starting with a research question and ending in the presentation and critique of findings.

      To start off, you identify a strategic business issue and formulate an HR-related research question after rigorously reviewing and understanding existing research and literature.

      You're assigned a supervisor and they work closely with you to develop the project and write up a 12,000-word Management Research Report. This must clearly outline the theoretical approach and foundations of the project, analyse data and generate well-supported insights linking theory and data. It must also recognise shortcomings and develop concrete HR-relevant proposals.

      You are expected to draw on your entire training from the first two terms of the academic year, using both substantive and methodological knowledge from completed modules. You are then expected to develop the research project and essay based on your theoretical and empirical interests.

      You're expected to independently work on all steps of the research and collect data as you go, although the nature of this data and how you collect it is down to you.

      You will also deal with research access and ethics approval processes.

      Research methods can include:

      • face-to-face interviews
      • focus groups
      • participant and/or non-participant observation
      • archival research
      • discourse analysis
      • textual and statistical analysis.


    Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests.

    • Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module is aimed at students on the range of 'conversion' type of MSc programmes across the department and is delivered in the International Accounting and Governance programme as a core. The focus is on contemporary perspectives and practices within the broadly defined areas of Corporate Social Responsibility and Governance.

      The module starts from the premise that CSR is a contested, problematic and developing area of study. There is an acceptance that an understanding of ethical frameworks is required to inform debate on this subject and that research generated evidence and insights are necessary to substantiate assertion.

      The focus is also practical, and you will individually undertake research into an organisation's orientation and practice towards its stakeholders. A critical and questioning approach to this will be encouraged and required to 'see beyond' the often platitudinous veneer that can characterise this relationship.

      Throughout the module the emphasis will be on devloping your own coherent and informed view of matters such as corporate and governance, together with issues of professional ethics within a globalised context. In particular, we examine the extent to which corporate governance practices are moving towards convergence.

      The coursework requires you to work individually to produce a case study analysis of contemporary stakeholder issues and to thereby further your understanding and exercise research skills and judgement. Supporting and underpinning this is a week by week seminar programme requiring you to ascertain and appreciate your own and others' 'ethical profiles', locate and interpret research-based insights and undertake case study analysis of organisational practices and professional ethical dilemmas.

      An examination will test your grasp of relevant concepts, theory and ability to apply insights.

    • Managing Knowledge

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module outlines the key institutional and organisational forms underpinning the emerging knowledge economy, looking closely at the pivotal role that knowledge workers play in the creation, application and diffusion of knowledge within and between firms.

      You will consider new approaches to managing learning processes in the firm, including recent developments such as knowledge management and novel organisational structures. You will explore the role of labour mobility through different types of knowledge worker communities and networks. You will also consider the role of open-source innovation and knowledge transfer within and across epistemic communities, the role of new human resource management approaches, and network mapping techniques. You will go on to consider how certain skills are coming to play a critical role in the knowledge economy, such as knowledge brokering and gate-keeping. Finally, you will explore how labour market institutions that impact on careers shape different approaches to knowledge generation, and be introduced to key concepts associated with knowledge transfer, including social capital, knowledge exploration and exploitation, and the role of key actors in knowledge transfer.

Find out about studying business and management at Sussex, including finance, banking, logistics and entrepreneurship

Entry requirements

An upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above in a management, humanities or social science subject would be the best preparation for this course; applicants from science, technology or quantitative subjects will need to demonstrate that their previous study required extensive reading. Applicants with an equivalent professional qualification may also be considered.

English language requirements

Standard level (IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section)

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our Masters courses.

Pre-Masters in Management and Finance

Need to boost your academic skills for your taught course? Find out more about our Pre-Masters in Management and Finance.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Fees and scholarships

How much does it cost?


Home: £10,250 per year

EU: £10,250 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £10,250 per year

Overseas: £17,450 per year

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters loans

Borrow up to £10,280 to contribute to your postgraduate study.

Find out more about Postgraduate Masters Loans


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship (2017)

Open to students with a 1st class from a UK university or excellent grades from an EU university and offered a F/T place on a Sussex Masters in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship

Postgraduate Economics Scholarship for African students. (2017)

The scholarship is for a student from a sub-Saharan African country studying for either the Development Economics MSc or the Economics MSc

Application deadline:

1 July 2017

Find out more about the Postgraduate Economics Scholarship for African students.

SPRU 50th Anniversary Scholarship (2017)

Five £10,000 scholarships for outstanding applicants who have accepted a place on one of SPRU’s five MSc courses.

Application deadline:

1 July 2017

Find out more about the SPRU 50th Anniversary Scholarship

St. Kovachev Scholarship for International Marketing MSc (2017)

The scholarship is for a UK/EU student studying for the International Marketing MSc.

Application deadline:

1 July 2017

Find out more about the St. Kovachev Scholarship for International Marketing MSc

St. Kovachev Scholarship in Economics MSc or International Business Economics MSc (2017)

The scholarship is for a UK/EU student studying for the Economics MSc or International Business Economics MSc

Application deadline:

1 July 2017

Find out more about the St. Kovachev Scholarship in Economics MSc or International Business Economics MSc

Sussex Graduate Scholarship (2017)

Open to Sussex students who graduate with a first or upper second-class degree and offered a full-time place on a Sussex Masters course in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Graduate Scholarship

Sussex India Scholarships (2017)

Sussex India Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from India commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex India Scholarships

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Malaysia commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Malaysia Scholarships

Sussex MBA Scholarship (2017)

The Sussex MBA Scholarship is available on a competitive basis to UK, EU and international applicants who have been offered a place on The Sussex MBA.

Find out more about the Sussex MBA Scholarship

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships are worth £3,500 or £5,000 and are for overseas fee paying students from Nigeria commencing a Masters in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Nigeria Scholarships

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Pakistan commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Pakistan Scholarships

The Hornsey Scholarship (2017)

A £10,000 award for an outstanding student on the MSc in International Accounting and Corporate Governance.

Application deadline:

31 July 2017

Find out more about the The Hornsey Scholarship

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


Meet the people teaching and supervising on your course.

  • Faculty profiles

    Prof Katie Bailey
    Professor Of Management

    Research interests: Change Management, employee engagement, gender and employment, HRM in the public sector, Human resource management, knowledge-intensive firms, meaningful work, strategic human resource management

    View profile

    Dr Odul Bozkurt
    Senior Lecturer in International Human Resource Management

    Research interests: employment studies, globalization and work, Green Economy, international human resource management, Japan, repair work, retail employment, skills and employment, social class and employment, Sociology of work and organizations, UK retailing, vintage sector

    View profile

    Dr Alfred Crossman
    Teaching Fellow in Human Resource Management/Marketing

    View profile

    Dr Benjamin Everly
    Lecturer In Organisational Behaviour

    Research interests: Diversity management, gender and management, Intergroup relations, Race and gender equality

    View profile

    Dr Kevin Masters
    Teaching Fellow in Strategy & Marketing

    View profile

    Dr Matias Ramirez
    Senior Lecturer in Management

    Research interests: Land Use

    View profile

    Dr Natalia Slutskaya
    Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management

    View profile

The MSc has input from faculty and the CIPD – we’re confident you’ll find it rewarding, and develop advanced skills and competencies.”Ödül Bozkurt
Senior Lecturer in International Human Resource Management


Graduate destinations

95% of students from the Department of Business and Management were in work or further study six months after graduating. Our graduates have gone on to jobs including:

  • human resources administrator, Hanson 
  • customer manager, Guotai Junan Securities Co. Ltd. 
  • senior civil servant, UK Civil Service.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Post Graduate Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

Our course provides a comprehensive curriculum so that you can enter a range of careers in the field of human resources and take up roles such as:

  • compensation and benefits adviser
  • diversity and inclusion manager
  • employee engagement consultant
  • employee relations expert
  • head-hunter
  • HR generalist
  • HR information systems adviser
  • recruitment and development administrator
  • reward manager.

We offer advanced research methods training and the opportunity to carry out an independent piece of research. This prepares you for further study at PhD level or for a career in research consultancies and research institutes. 

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work