Human Resource Development MS

Program Highlights

Offered out of RIT's Saunders College of Business, the MS degree in Human Resource Development is an innovative program that will prepare you to become a dynamic leader and strategic workforce partners within your organization. You will be able to evaluate, plan, and execute on your organization’s present and future workforce needs, as well as maximize the human potential you hire, retain, and grow.

Human development is at the heart of workplace development. Whether you are already working in the human resources field and wish to advance your career, or are beginning a career in human resources, you’ll graduate with this degree as a leader, strategist, and catalyst for the human potential in your organization. 

RIT Saunders College of Business graduate programs are recognized by national and international rankings. Eduniversal 2019 Best Masters Ranking recognized the MS in Human Resource Development program as #21 Best Masters in Human Resource Management.

All students will take four core courses and five electives. To successfully complete the degree, you will choose to complete one of the following as a culminating experience: 

  • Thesis plus Principles of Research Communications
  • Capstone project plus Principles of Research Communications
  • Comprehensive exam plus Strategic Human Resource Development and one elective

In this program you will learn how to: 

  • Successfully plan and execute corporate strategy related to human capital
  • Manage and develop talent to realize a higher return on investment and retain valuable employees
  • Increase workforce productivity
  • Balance the needs of people and profits
  • Empower employees to retain and Improve customer relationships
  • Form strategic alliances

Curriculum packed with high-demand skills

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Demand for quality assurance and control is growing by 40%.

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Demand for performance analysis skills is growing by 8%.

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Demand for onboarding strategy skills is growing by 56%.

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Employer Demand

It’s in our DNA to deliver career-focused education that will have a direct and immediate impact on your career.


To successfully complete the degree, you will choose to complete one of the following as a culminating experience: 

  • Thesis
  • Capstone project
Credits 3
This is an introductory graduate-level survey course on research design/methods and analysis. The course provides a broad overview of the process and practices of research in applied contexts. Content includes principles and techniques of research design, sampling, data collection, and analysis including the nature of evidence, types of research, defining research questions, sampling techniques, data collection, data analysis, issues concerning human subjects and research ethics, and challenges associated with conducting research in real-world contexts. The analysis component of the course provides an understanding of statistical methodology used to collect and interpret data found in research as well as how to read and interpret data collection instruments.
Credits 3
This course introduces students to the concepts that are the foundation of HRD and how these concepts are applied in a real-world environment. Human resource development is a distinct and unique area of practice that focuses on aligning employee learning and development with the strategic direction of an organization. This course provides an orientation to the profession and explores historical perspectives, theoretical foundations, and the practice of HRD.
Credits 3
This course teaches the systematic application of social research procedures to evaluate the conceptualization, design, implementation, and utility of human resource development programs.
Credits 3
This course provides individuals with a framework needed to successfully analyze performance and design learning interventions that drive performance improvements in an organization. Students will examine performance measurement, adult learning principles, and learning styles as well as best practices in organizational learning, employee development, and alternative delivery strategies. Additionally, students will identify how to link learning initiatives with strategy and gain commitment to those initiatives from senior leaders.
Credits 3
This course is designed to develop a student's understanding of cross-cultural communication and adaptation and how to design and deliver formal training. The course provides an introduction to different theoretical perspectives on cross-cultural communication and adaptation and the application of these perspectives to the design of training. Issues examined include culture theory, cross-cultural competence, and techniques and design of cross-cultural training.
Credits 3
Students will apply strategies to solve industry HRD problems as defined by the instructor. This will require the use of strategic HRD practices to influence and support the larger organizational strategy as it relates to their human capital. Incorporated in the course is a review of HRD strategies including an exploration of the boundaries of the practice of HRD; identification of organizational accountability structures and functions; application of strategic HRD concepts taken from core subjects; and identification of strategic HRD tools and interventions. Ultimately students will develop a plan to resolve a strategic HRD issue.
Credits 1 - 6
A thesis is based on experimental evidence obtained by the candidate in an appropriate topic demonstrating the extension of theory into practice. A written proposal which is defended and authorized by the faculty adviser/committee followed by a formal written thesis and oral presentation of findings are required. Typically the candidate will have completed research methods, data analysis and graduate writing strategies prior to enrolling in this course and will start the thesis process as soon as they have completed these courses to allow them to finish the thesis when they have finished their coursework. The candidate must obtain the approval of their graduate adviser who will guide the thesis before registering for this course.
Credits 3
The purpose of this course is to provide students the opportunity to conduct research, develop a plan and evaluation components, and submit the project as a demonstration of final proficiency in the program. The topic selected by the student will be guided by the faculty teaching the class and it will require the student to coalesce and incorporate into the final project a culmination of all their course work in the program to date.


Credits 3
As organizations undergo continual change, HR leaders play a pivotal role enabling their organizations to anticipate, plan, and profit from change. This course introduces the student to theories and practices of organization development and change leadership. Such leadership requires competencies of identifying and framing challenges, consulting with clients, researching solutions, creating, implementing, and evaluating action plans. Through study, practice, and application, students will gain knowledge and skills to foster change, innovation, and the adaptability of an organization.
Credits 3
This is an introductory graduate-level survey course for organizational learning and knowledge management. The course will provide a broad overview of the concepts, practices, and challenges associated with learning in organizational contexts. Principles, techniques, and structures used to create, capture, store, value, distribute, and leverage knowledge to enhance organizational performance in continuously changing environments will be examined. Topics covered include types and nature of knowledge, levels of organizational learning, communities of practice, social and technological systems for capturing, storing, and distributing knowledge, valuation of knowledge assets, innovation and creativity, barriers to organizational learning, and knowledge as a source of competitive advantage.
Credits 3
This course provides skills to develop, retain, and engage the best available talent required for current and future success. Students examine benchmark practices from all industry types to derive effective strategies for their own organizations, develop a human capital strategy development, and complete an integrated set of projects to implement selected components of the strategy.
Credits 3
Global human resource development is a method for developing employees in global organizations. In this course, students will be exposed to the fundamentals of developing HRD programs within a multicultural framework. The need to be aware of cultural differences and how to best address them is critical for the global company. This course will explore globalization and HRD, design and development of global HRD programs, delivery and assessment of global HRD programs, and consulting across cultures.
Credits 3
Major change initiatives within organizations fail because of lack of understanding of the process of change and the lack of deliberate and focused attention to the change process. This course teaches students the change process and the alterations required in structures, processes, and activities to effectively implement change initiatives within organizations. The components of this course include applied approaches and tools to help analyze barriers for change, leverage power and influence, and provide frameworks to plan and implement change.
Credits 3
The workforce of the future is changing. It is creating challenges for organizations to continue to grow and develop their human capital. The role of the HRD professional is to act strategically, utilizing information system tools to ensure the workforce has the skills to meet the challenges of tomorrow. This course will provide a comprehensive overview of information systems used in HR to develop, assess, and provide data analysis of the workforce to meet the present and evolving needs of the organization.
Credits 1 - 3
This course provides the student with the opportunity to apply their graduate course work to the world of work. Students will participate in internship opportunities in a work scenario similar to their ultimate career choice in the field. A mentor for the student must be identified in the place of the internship. The role of the mentor will be to work with students to develop a plan for the internship, facilitate the internship experience, and verify the student's accomplishment of specified outcomes as a result of the internship. Once the mentor approves of the plan of work and student accomplishments at the conclusion of the internship they will send this final report to the student's program adviser.

Admission Requirements

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above (or evidence of relevant professional performance)
  • Submit two letters of reference
  • Submit a writing sample designated by the department
  • Participate in an interview with a faculty member (when required by department)
  • A test of English Language aptitude (TOEFL) is required of all applicants and course registrants whose native language is not English. 


The online MS in Human Resource Development requires 33 credits and costs $1,237 per credit hour (Academic Year 2021 – 2022). This tuition reflects the RIT Online discount of 43% off the MS Human Resource Development campus-based program cost. 

Keep in mind that there are many options available that may help you lower your costs including: 

  • Military tuition benefits
  • Support from employers 
  • Private scholarships 
  • Financing 
  • Payment plans

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