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Last updated on Mar 03, 2020

The Best Online Bachelor’s in Human Resources

An online HR degree is an affordable way to gain valuable skills and professional experience ​
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Elizabeth Rivelli

By Elizabeth Rivelli Contributing Writer

Online colleges are an increasingly popular choice for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree. There’s no need to move to campus, attend classes each day, and spend money on housing or dining. If you’re looking to keep the cost of your education low, an online degree program is a great option.

If you’re thinking about a career in human resources, getting an online bachelor’s degree is an excellent place to start. Several reputable online colleges offer human resources programs, where students can also gain valuable professional experience. With the flexibility of an online degree, many students choose to work a full-time or part-time job, and complete coursework on their own time.

To help you decide which online human resources degree is best for you, we evaluated eight different programs. Specifically, we looked at the in-state tuition cost, graduation rate, admission rate, and loan default rate to provide you with a comprehensive guide.

The 8 Best Online Bachelor’s in Human Resources

  • Florida International University
  • New York University
  • Houghton College
  • Temple University
  • Colorado State University-Global Campus
  • University of Arkansas
  • Athens State University
  • Fort Hays State University

When it comes to online colleges, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Various people look for different things when considering where it makes sense to pursue an online degree or certification. We came up with data-driven rankings below for a broad, quantitative assessment, but acknowledge that doesn’t show the full picture. So we also included specific recommendations where it makes sense for schools deemed the most affordable, or schools with the highest graduation rate.

University
Location
Our Ranking
In-State Tuition
Graduation Rate
Loan Default Rate
Admission Rate
Florida International University
Miami, FL
3.95
$6,546
58%
4.90%
59%
New York University
New York, NY
3.80
$51,828
85%
2.10%
20%
Houghton College
Houghton, NY
3.80
$32,488
91%
2.30%
95%
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA
3.70
$16,970
73%
4.90%
59%
Colorado State University-Global Campus
Greenwood Village, CO
3.65
$8,400
54%
4.80%
72%
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR
3.65
$9,130
66%
5.70%
77%
Athens State University
Athens, AL
3.60
$6,060
54%
6.70%
72%
Fort Hays State University
Hays, KS
3.60
$5,130
44%
6.80%
92%

*Tuition costs are based on 2019-2020 figures and are subject to change per academic year. **Based on overall university rates.

The 8 Best Online Bachelor’s in Human Resources

Florida International University

Florida International University’s online college is one of the top schools in the country. In fact, its undergraduate HR program was ranked by HR.com as the top HR degree program in the U. S. We put Florida International University at the front of our list because it offers a high-quality education at an affordable price.

FIU offers an online BBA in Human Resource Management. Courses teach students the fundamentals of finding qualified employees, matching people to jobs, understanding compensation and benefits, and more. The program is fully online and is aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) HR Curriculum Guidebook.

Every student in FIU’s online HR degree program is paired with a success coach to help them maximize their education and search for jobs before graduation. The school’s online programs start in the fall, spring, and summer, so you can choose to start your education on a timeline that works for you.

New York University

New York University is probably the most recognizable school on our list. NYU is known for being a top tier private university that is competitive with many ivy league colleges. However, many people don’t know that the university also offers an online degree program with the same quality of education students get on-campus.

NYU offers an online BS in Leadership and Management Studies degree. The program’s curriculum has a human resources management focus on real-world trends and skills and helps students integrate their learning from the classroom into the workplace. Every student completes a final capstone project to demonstrate their mastery of the human resources field.

The caliber of education that NYU provides comes at a steep price. It’s the most expensive school on our list, with a tuition rate of nearly $50,000. It’s also extremely competitive—NYU accepts around 20% of students who apply. However, having a degree from NYU on your resume will certainly help you stand out in the job search.

Houghton College

Houghton College is located in New York state, but you can access its online degree programs from anywhere in the world. Of all the schools on our list, Houghton College has the highest acceptance rate of 95%. The college also has an extremely impressive graduation rate of nearly 70%.

Houghton College offers a BS and a BBA in Human Resources Management through its online education program. According to its website, the HR degree program “equips students to handle a company’s most precious resource: its people.” Classes are designed to give students knowledge of important subjects, like recruiting techniques, labor laws, worker benefits, and more.

One of the things we like about Houghton College is that it focuses on flexibility. Students can choose to pursue an HR degree full-time or part-time, there are no scheduled class times, and professors don’t give tests. Courses are eight weeks long, and most students complete their degree within 18 months.

Temple University

Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has an exceptional online education program that many students are taking advantage of. The school offers a wide variety of online undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as certificate programs that are taught by world-class faculty.

Temple University offers an online BBA in Human Resources Management through the Fox School of Business. It’s the same program that is offered on-campus and focuses on both the human and business sides of an organization. Courses provide students with a range of skills, including managing workplace personnel, resolving disputes, understanding bargaining procedures, finding qualified workers, and learning how to improve a company’s reputation.

The school offers two start dates—fall and spring. Each semester is 15 weeks on average, although Temple does offer accelerated six or seven-week sessions. The degree program is fully digital, but students are encouraged to attend weekly web-based live sessions.

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Colorado State University’s online program draws more than 10,000 students every year. The school’s tuition is relatively affordable at $8,400 for an undergraduate degree. CSU was ranked No. 1 among the top affordable online colleges and universities in Colorado by TheBestSchools.org. One of the major downsides of CSU is that it has a decent graduation rate of just over 60% for undergraduate students.

CSU’s online BS of Human Resource Management provides students with the fundamental knowledge and skills to succeed in a career in HR management. There are a wide variety of courses offered, and students can choose to focus on one area of study, such as team management, conflict resolution, business policy, employee law, training, or professional development.

If you’re a full-time employee who is looking to go back to school and get a degree, you may be eligible for a discount on your tuition. CSU partners with over 3,000 companies nationwide, and gives its employees a 10% discount on tuition.

University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas’ online education program consistently earns impressive rankings. The university recently appeared on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of the best online bachelor’s and graduate degree programs.

The University of Arkansas offers a BA in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education. Students learn skills like organizational development, career planning, counseling, and creating evaluation programs. On average, it takes students from the University of Arkansas between two and four years to complete their online HR degree. Online students also get access to technical support, tutoring, and library services.

One of the reasons why the University of Arkansas fell towards the bottom of our list is because students have a relatively high loan default rate of 7%. However, one of the perks of the university is that every online student pays in-state tuition, regardless of where they are living and completing their coursework. The school also offers financial aid for students who want to keep the cost of their education low.

Athens State University

Athens State University is a lesser-known college located in Athens, Alabama. It’s a small school with about 3,000 students enrolled, and even fewer in the online program. Because of its size, Athens State is relatively affordable, with a tuition of just under $4,000 for 15 hours of undergraduate studies for in-state students. And the loan default rate is near the lower end, at 5.53%.

Athens State offers a BS in Human Resource Management. In the program, students learn about recruiting, hiring, compensation, performance management, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, training, and more. The school also has a chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Club, which provides resources and opportunities to network with HR professionals.

Athens State offers a variety of majors, which are divided among three colleges: arts and sciences, business, and education. However, the college’s website does not contain much information about its online program, so it’s difficult to determine what schedule classes operate on, or how the courses are structured.

Fort Hays State University

The final school on our list is Fort Hays State University, which is located in Hays, Kansas. One of the draws of Fort Hays State is its acceptance rate—roughly 91% of applicants are accepted. It also has the lowest tuition rate of the schools we analyzed. The major drawback of this school is its high loan default rate of over 6%.

Fort Hays State offers a BBA in Human Resource Management. A majority of the school’s required credits are business courses, followed by management courses, and eight different courses that are specific to human resources. Students in the program can also complete an internship for college credit.

Fort Hays is dedicated to its online students by keeping class sizes small, allowing for individual attention. Online students also get access to one-on-one advising and career counseling before graduation.

Methodology

We started by coming up with a list of 50 well-known and well-regarded schools, based on lists and rankings from other online reviewers, and from other general and publicly available data about colleges. From there, we found schools in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) database and filtered out any school not eligible for federal financial aid. Then we gave each school a score for the following parameters: tuition, graduation rate, and loan default rate (LDR is our way of measuring return on investment, assuming if graduates are defaulting on their student loans, they probably could not get a job shortly after graduation). Lastly, we weighted these scores for tuition, graduation rate, and LDR to calculate our final score.

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