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Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Management (PhD-HRM)

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100% Online PhD-HRM

Complete your studies on your own time.

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New Start Date Every Monday

Start your first course when it’s convenient for you.

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38 Months to your PhD-HRM

Finish your PhD-HRM in just 20 courses.

National and Northcentral have merged, and this program is now offered by NU. Learn more.

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Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Management

Enhance global business environments with the 100% online Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Management (PhD-HRM) degree program at National University. No GRE/GMAT required. You’ll gain the expert-level knowledge you need to take on leadership positions in the private, public, and non-profit sector. Through this comprehensive doctoral degree, you’ll deepen your understanding of human resource theories and practices, including critical thinking and research skills. 

Advance Your Human Resource Career Completely Online

NU’s PhD-HRM program is centered on the evolution of human resources. You’ll explore extrinsic and intrinsic compensation concepts, how to improve organizational effectiveness, and how to motivate diverse workforces. You’ll also learn how to develop and apply quantitative and qualitative research designs and methodologies. Other focus areas in the PhD in Human Resource Management include working within a unionized environment, legal issues impacting human resources, and how to improve diversity and inclusion. 

NU’s one-to-one learning model will provide you with the guidance, attention, and support you deserve throughout your doctoral education.

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Course Details

  • Credit Hours: 60
  • Courses: 20
  • Estimated Time to Complete: 38 months

The Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Management (PhD-HRM) program can be completed in 60 credits. Each foundational course runs 8 weeks, and dissertation courses run 12 weeks.

Course Sequence

This program can be completed with a minimum of 60 credit hours, but may require additional credit hours, depending on the time required to complete the dissertation research. If needed, additional courses will be added to the student degree program in alignment with the SAP and Academic Maximum Time to Completion policies. Students who do not complete their program in accordance with these policies may be dismissed.

Course Name

In this course, you will focus on the development of the human resource function in organizations. From exploring employee recruitment, motivation, performance and various forms of compensation and benefits packages, you will view the human resource function in a strategic role that enhances global business environments.

In this course, you will explore the concepts of extrinsic and intrinsic compensation in the management of today’s diverse and global workforce. The decisions made in these areas, related to compensation and benefits at the Executive and the employee level, can directly impact the strategic nature and direction of the organization.

In this course, you will explore all aspects of labor relations from a human resources perspective. This will include the history, structure, politics, processes, and relationships associated with bargaining units (unions). You will examine how unions can change attitudes and behaviors of both management and employees, as well as the benefits and challenges to working in a human resources position in a unionized environment.

In this course, you will explore how to manage human resources to optimize organizational effectiveness as well as individual outcomes in a global context. You will consider current laws, public policies, recruitment and retention strategies. In addition, you will determine how employees’ concerns and complaints are incorporated into organizational decision-making.

Prerequisites: *Fundamental requirement in General Management

In this course, you will examine supervisory concepts, laws, regulations and HRM practices used in the 21st Century. You will explore techniques for motivating employees as a supervisor of diverse workforces and evaluate the role of supervisors in organizational planning.

This doctoral course examines the uniqueness of culture and its impact on all areas of organizational operations. This includes such aspects as diversity, global transitioning, accommodations, and cross-national teamwork. The Twenty-First century Human Resources professional must have an open mind and a willingness to suspend judgments, ask questions, and listen to answers.

In this course, you will explore multiple levels of employment, including management, full-time employees, part-time employees, temporary employees, and contracted employees based on the passage and interpretation of laws, whether at the federal, state, or local level. Policies such as employment-at-will, right to work, or termination, and other regulations can change with an act of Congress or a state legislature.

In this course, you will explore how the HRM function creates a more inclusive culture by valuing diversity of its workforce. During the course, you will review organizational decisions on diversity issues in order to learn how to avoid discrimination while improving organizational effectiveness. To gain an awareness of corporate best practices, you will examine HRM’s role in diversity and inclusion cases.

In this course, you will examine how organizational behavior is relevant to HRM. You will explore theories that support and explain causes and outcomes of typical issues in HRM. In addition to individual behaviors in organizations, team dynamics in relation to organizational structures will be discussed in consideration of organizational goals and employee well-being.

In this course, you will explore the strategic role of human resources in organizations. Through an examination of HRM functions, you will determine how these align with the strategic direction of organizations. In addition, you will consider the potential contributions and challenges that HRM might face, especially during organizational change processes. You will then develop HRM initiatives that help achieve organizational goals.

In this course, you will review policy development processes, how these are implemented and the outcomes resulting from policies being deployed. You will consider various forces that affect HR policies including the needs of global environments, organizations, and employees. You will develop policy implementation plans that include the necessary steps, resource allocations, and measurement of outcomes.

In this course, you will engage in the process of scholarly literature reviews and academic writing. With an emphasis on how to (a) conduct effective literature searches, specifically in preparation for the dissertation, (b) develop a plan for writing comprehensive, critical, and synthesized reviews of research literature, and (c) critically review and write about underlying theory/conceptual frameworks, you will develop a foundation for future research. The overarching goal of this course is for you to conduct an exhaustive search of the peer-reviewed research literature in your topic area and identify potential areas of inquiry for your dissertation.

In this course, you will cultivate a statistical mindset through learning and nurturing skills needed to perform and interpret univariate inferential statistics. The course will facilitate building your statistical confidence in assessing and performing statistics. The course will cover univariate parametric and non-parametric statistical tests, interpretation of statistical output, and introduce skills needed to select statistical tests based on quantitative research questions.

During this course, as a scholar-practitioner, you will build the skills essential for designing quantitative studies; analyzing the data collected in these studies, and interpreting the results of data analyses. You will explore designs and statistical techniques to use with their envisioned dissertation research.

During this course, you will examine qualitative methods for studying human behavior including grounded theory, narrative analysis, ethnography, mixed methods, and case studies. You will explore designs and methodologies to use with your envisioned research.

The Pre-Candidacy Prospectus is intended to ensure students have mastered knowledge of their discipline prior to candidacy status and demonstrated the ability to design empirical research as an investigator before moving on to the dissertation research coursework. Students will demonstrate the ability to synthesize empirical, peer-reviewed research to support all assignments in this course. The Pre-Candidacy Prospectus is completed only after all foundation, specialization, and research courses have been completed.

Students in this course will be required to complete Chapter 1 of their dissertation proposal including a review of literature with substantiating evidence of the problem, the research purpose and questions, the intended methodological design and approach, and the significance of the study. A completed, committee approved (against the minimum rubric standards) Chapter 1 is required to pass this course successfully. Students who do not receive approval of Chapter 1 to minimum standards will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of Chapter .

Students in this course will be required to work on completing Chapters 1-3 of their dissertation proposal and receive committee approval for the Dissertation Proposal (DP) in order to pass the class. Chapter 2 consists of the literature review. Chapter 3 covers the research methodology method and design and to includes population, sample, measurement instruments, data collection and analysis, limitations, and ethical considerations. In this course, a completed, committee-approved Chapters 2 and 3 are required and, by the end of the course, a final approved dissertation proposal (against the minimum rubric standards). Students who do not receive approval of the dissertation proposal will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of these requirements.

Students in this course will be required to prepare, submit, and obtain approval of their IRB application, collect data, and submit a final study closure form to the IRB. Students still in data collection at the end of the 12-week course will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to complete data collection and file an IRB study closure form.

In this dissertation course students work on completing Chapters 4 and 5 and the final Dissertation Manuscript. Specifically, students will complete their data analysis, prepare their study results, and present their findings in an Oral Defense and a completed manuscript. A completed, Committee approved (against the minimum rubric standards) Dissertation Manuscript and successful Oral Defense are required to complete the course and graduate. Students who do not receive approval for either or both their Dissertation Manuscript or defense can take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of either or both items as needed.

Degree Requirements

The University may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better.

The PHD-HRM degree program in the School of Business has the following graduation requirements:

  • A minimum of 48 credit hours of graduate instruction must be completed through NU
  • Grade Point Average of 3.0 (letter grade of “B”) or higher
  • Satisfactory completion of the PHD-HRM Pre-Candidacy Prospectus
  • University Approval of Dissertation Manuscript and Oral Defense completed
  • Submission of the approved final dissertation manuscript to the University Registrar, including the original unbound dissertation manuscript and an electronic copy
  • Official documents on file for basis of admission: a conferred master’s degree from an accredited academic institution
  • Official transcripts on file for all transfer credit hours accepted by the University
  • All financial obligations must be met before the student will be issued their diploma and/or degree posted transcript.


  • Human resource manager or specialist 
  • Postsecondary teacher
  • Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialist
  • Business partner
  • Manager
  • Director
  • Recruitment/placement specialist
  • Human resource employee relations manager
  • Business intelligence analyst
  • Compensation analyst
  • Assistant professor of management (college and university professors, faculty members) 

Work Settings

  • Public administration (Federal and State governmental agencies, VA, Forest Service Bureau of Prisons, Environmental Protection Agency, etc.)
  • Colleges and Universities seeking academic faculty members
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services (Management consulting companies like Deloitte, Accenture, or government contractors offering consulting services) 
  • Healthcare (Managed care providers, hospitals, medical facilities, residential care facilities)
  • Manufacturing (Aerospace, defense, biotech, pharma, and other large private sector corporations)
  • Large retailers like Amazon and Wayfair
  • Information Technology
  • Finance and insurance

*Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond completing this degree program. Many roles may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met.

SOURCE: Emsi Labor Analyst- Report. Emsi research company homepage at https://www.economicmodeling.com/company/ (Report viewed: 4/13/2022). 

DISCLAIMER: The data provided is for informational purposes only. Emsi data and analysis utilizes government sources to provide insights on industries, demographics, employers, in-demand skills, and more to align academic programs with labor market opportunities. Cited projections may not reflect local or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Current and prospective students should use this data with other available economic data to inform their educational decisions.


Faculty assist each NU Doctoral candidate to reach this academic goal through a systematic process leading to a high-quality completed dissertation. A PhD-HRM dissertation is a scholarly documentation of research that makes an original contribution to the field of study. This process requires care in choosing a topic, documenting its importance, planning the methodology, and conducting the research. These activities lead smoothly into the writing and oral presentation of the dissertation.

A doctoral candidate must be continuously enrolled throughout the series of dissertation courses. Dissertation courses are automatically scheduled and accepted without a break in scheduling to ensure that students remain in continuous enrollment throughout the dissertation course sequence. If additional time is required to complete any of the dissertation courses, students must re-enroll and pay the tuition for that course. Continuous enrollment will only be permitted when students demonstrate progress toward completing dissertation requirements. The Dissertation Committee determines progress.

Program Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of National University’s Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Management (PhD-HRM) program, you’ll be able to:

  • Evaluate human resource theories, concepts, and scholarly research
  • Recommend best practices in hiring, retaining, supporting, and motivating employees
  • Determine the impact of employment laws in domestic and multinational organizations
  • Contribute to the body of theory and practice in human resource management


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Our course structure is built to make earning your degree accessible and achievable by offering a rigorous, yet flexible program that works with your schedule.

Finish Your Dissertation!

Dissertation Completion Pathway (DCP) is a 100% online pathway helping students “All But Dissertation” finish their doctoral degree.

  • Block transfer of credit from your previous institution
  • Flexible monthly start dates
  • Highly trained faculty providing feedback each week on your dissertation
  • Strategic support and targeted resources to help you finish

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Frequently Asked Questions

With a PhD in HR, you can pursue various career paths. These include academic positions such as teaching and conducting research in universities, research and development roles in government or private organizations, or leadership roles in HR departments in corporations or non-profit organizations.

Pursuing a PhD in HR depends on your career goals and interests. If you want to become a professor, researcher, or hold high-level positions in HR departments, a PhD from National University can be beneficial. It can also lead to higher salaries and job security.

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.