Human Resource Development
Online Master's Degree

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The Master of Science in Human Resource Development program is designed to prepare individuals for a variety of human resources, training, and organization development (OD) positions. These may include, but are not limited to trainers, instructional designers, and/or OD practitioners. Both in business and/or the not-for-profit sectors training and development continue to show grow opportunities.

Our program targets a competency based application oriented learning experience. Our students love that they are scholar-practitioners from day one. Learning about the theory and applying it to real world issues benefits the student every time.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has confirmed that the curriculum for this program is aligned with the recommended requirements for HR Degree programs. This means that students can use these courses as acquired knowledge for the SHRM Certified Professional exam.



  • Total per credit hour


  • Credit hours
  • Total minimum tuition = $11,790*
    Total maximum tuition = $13,362*
    *Cost per credit hour and total tuition is based on 2023-2024 academic year tuition rates , master's program option, and assuming all coursework is completed online in the 2023-2024 academic year. Cost per credit hour and total tuition will vary if studies span over one or more academic year.

Additional information

  • More about the program
  • Is this the right graduate program for you?
  • Outcomes
  • Typical job titles for our graduates
  • Student Testimonials
  • FAQs

The program has two specific emphases. Emphasis One = Leadership and Organization Development (LOD). Emphasis Two = Learning and Development (LD).

The LOD emphasis is suited for individuals interested in helping organizations and individuals develop. Each organization and each individual has a certain potential. This emphasis helps practitioners understand what needs to happen if the organization and the individuals in them need to get to their next level.

The LD emphasis is suited for individuals who want to design, develop, and implement training programs in their organizations. This emphasis has two specific courses focused on instructional design and technology.

Students who complete our 30-credit hour MS HRD program are equipped with the tools, models and strategies for improving organizational performance through people and processes.

According to O*Net OnLine, the training and development industry is expected to rise from 10% to 14% (faster than average) since 2016, which is faster than the national average. Prospective students have completed a four-year bachelor’s degree and are interested in pursuing a career in either human resources, training, or management. The program is ideal for those who are work bound and cannot attend on-campus classes at a college or university. The curriculum is planned to provide graduate-level preparation for individuals involved in employee training, education and development, performance improvement, and organizational development in business, industry and private or public service organizations.

To be eligible for the program, candidates need to have an undergraduate degree and a desire to learn about how to develop "human resources" to perform to their highest potential.

If you want to learn about developing organizations and human resources, this is the program for you.

1. Demonstrate general knowledge and skills needed in human resource development by successful completion of a course project reflective of a minimum of three core courses for the Human Resource Development Graduate Comprehensive Examination.
2. Demonstrate general knowledge and skills needed for one emphasis area in HRD—management and consulting, by successful completion of selected emphasis course’s content on the Human Resource Development Graduate Comprehensive Examination.
3. Apply specialized skills associated with selected electives in support of their HRD career by successful completion of course examinations and projects.
4. Use educational and instructional technology theory and models in the development and delivery of courses and instruction, by successful completion of classroom projects, related content on the Human Resource
Development Graduate Comprehensive Examination and documented in a comprehensive program project presentation
5. Engage in internships and/or cooperative programs to demonstrate the knowledge and skills gained in Human Resource Development, as assessed by internship evaluation forms, or a special problem research study or project and documented in a portfolio.
6. Conduct research activities in Human Resource Development, by critiquing research, identifying research topics, completing research activities (e.g., HRD 891 Methods of Research, and respective projects and course exams associated with them); and passing specific content on the Human Resource Development Graduate Comprehensive Examination by completing an oral presentation.
7. Apply critical and creative thinking skills to reasoning, decision making, and problem solving by successfully completing projects simulating real world applications by documenting in HRD 852, HRD 899 and HRD 891 course projects and presenting / passing specific content on the Human Resource Development Graduate Comprehensive Examination.
8. Develop a global and professional perspective through membership, and participation in HR related professional organizational meetings and conferences, as documented in the HRD Graduate Study in HRD Course (HRD 850).
9. Develop their interpersonal skills by interacting with students from other parts of the country and the world through HRD course activities, as documented in class records and activities.
10. Develop knowledge of pedagogy, research methods, and human resources that reflects current trends and practices based on competency studies and certification standards from HR professional organizations.

Typical job titles:

Human Resources Director
Human Resources Manager
Recruiting Manager
Talent Acquisition Specialist
VP of Human Resources
Compensation Analyst
Management Development Analyst
Director of Business Relations
Training Consultant
Senior HR Specialist
Business Manager
Career Specialist
Safety and Health Manager
Production Supervisor
Training and Development Specialist
Human Resources Consultant
Client Training Supervisor

Companies who employ our graduates:

Jack Henry & Associates
Freeman Health Systems
City of Joplin
EPC IT Solutions
TAMKO Building Products
Westar Energy Inc.
Modine Manufacturing Company
Visionworks Inc.
Mosaic Sales Solutions
Parsons State Hospital & Training Center

“Pittsburg State University’s HRD program has been a vital tool in the growth and development of our organization. I am proud to be a Pittsburg State HRD graduate and excited to utilize the wealth of knowledge that was gained from this program experience.”

Jessica Ripper, Class of 2018
Employer: Jim Radell Construction Company Incorporated (JRCCI) 
Occupation: Human Resource Office Manager


“Achieving my goal of obtaining a master’s degree in Human Resources Development was a journey that I will forever cherish. As a working professional, I had concerns with my ability to balance work and school, but the flexibility of Pittsburg State University's Workforce Development program, allowed me to complete the coursework for my degree with ease. The design of the program includes rigorous curriculum, collaboration with classmates, and accessible lectures through online chat sessions. The program instructors were knowledgeable and personable, and are dedicated to their student’s learning and success. My experience in the program has prepared me as an HRD professional and will be an asset to my future career endeavors. I am very grateful and glad that I decided to continue my education at Pitt State!”

Sarah Winfrey, Class of 2018
Employer: Ketchum Elementary School
Occupation: Special Education Teacher


“I feel very fortunate to be a part of this outstanding program. The instructors are experts in the HR field and want to see their students succeed in not only this program, but in their careers. I’m able to take information I’ve learned from this program and directly use it in the workplace. I would highly recommend it to any aspiring HR professional.”

Jesse Boone, Class of 2019
Employer: TAMKO Building Products
Occupation: Human Resources Assistant


How many hours can I take in a semester?

There is no limit to the number of courses you can take in any given semester. However, as full-time working professionals, we recommend 6-7 credit hours per semester. If you are interested in accelerating the program, you can take 12 credit hours each semester to finish in a year.

Are there required times I have to be online for class?

The program offers “Chat Sessions” for online instructional learning on various weeknights. However, you are not required to attend the sessions. If you have a conflict with the chat session timing, you can watch the recorded sessions. You are required to keep up with assignment and project deadlines and due dates.

How fast can I finish the program?

Students can finish the accelerated graduate program in one year by taking two semesters of 12 hours, and one summer semester of 10 hours.

What is the cost of graduate school tuition?

The cost of tuition varies each year depending on the universities requirements, but more details can be found online ( or by contacting the registrar’s office.

Do you have any scholarships available?

Every year the college of technology awards scholarships to outstanding graduates.

Can students work full-time will taking courses?

Yes! Most of our students are currently working in full-time positions while taking 6-7 credit hours each semester. Additionally, multiple course projects require students to evaluate their own organization or workplace.

About Technology and Workforce Learning Department

The Department of Technology and Workforce Learning includes several undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Programs of study include two-year associate and certificate programs as well as several undergraduate degree programs in Workforce Development, Vocational Teacher Education, Technology and Engineering Education, and Wood Product Manufacturing.  Graduate programs in Career and Technical Education, Technology, and Human Resource Development are also available.  In addition, one post-graduate program in Workforce Development and Education (Ed.S) is also available.

Technology and Workforce Learning Homepage

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