5 Reasons to get a Human Resources Master’s Degree

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Last updated: January 26, 2024

The workplace is constantly evolving, and organizations need human resources leaders who can effectively guide them through adjustments and change. Whether you’re looking to make a career shift or take the next step up in your career, a master’s degree in human resources can be the boost you need to fill those dynamic roles. Here are just a few of the many benefits that a graduate degree in HR will give you:

1. Increased earning potential

There are many factors that affect salary like experience, specialization, industry, and more. A higher level of education often correlates to a higher earnings potential.

A graduate of the Masters in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the Carlson School is looking at a starting base salary of $82,500. This is above average compared to peer institutions.

The MHRIR degree also provides benefits as you advance your career. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that human resources managers, a role that often requires or prefers a master’s degree, earn nearly 51% more than HR specialists, who typically require only a bachelor’s degree. In 2022, managers earned a median annual salary of $130,000, compared with $64,240 for specialists during the same time period.

2. Specialize to stand out

Pursuing an advanced degree in human resource management can give you a deeper dive into a specific area that interests you—whether you want to be a generalist or focus on a specialty such as recruitment or compensation and benefits. This specialized knowledge is just another way a master’s degree in HR can help you reach your career goals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) makes the point that candidates with master’s degrees may be preferred for management positions, often because a master’s degree in a specialized field of study can help you stand out in a pool of candidates.

3. New and advanced opportunities

Putting in the time and effort to earn a master’s degree will open you up to new opportunities and more advanced positions in the HR field. Graduates are valued for their expertise, often leading to management roles and job duties that allow you to play a higher-touch role in shaping your company’s future. Best of all, in such a dynamic field as human resources, you’ll find a wider variety of positions available to you.

4. Expand your network

What better way to build your network than to have a built-in community of professors, peers, and alumni through a master’s program. There will be numerous opportunities to meet new people and grow your professional network in and outside the classroom. Those relationships can really pay off when you’re looking to step up your career. Whether it’s connecting you to others in a new industry, sharing tips for navigating the field, or providing references to companies you’re interested in, the advantages only expand as your network does. At the Carlson School, you will have the added benefit of learning from a diverse and international student body, which has a larger population of international students when compared to a typical cohort at peer institutions.

5. HR Management is evergreen

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resource management is expected to grow at a steady rate of 5-6% from 2022 to 2032. This is faster than average for all occupations. Whether through HR firms or internal departments at companies, recruiters, benefits and compensation specialists, and other HR personnel will continue to play integral roles in organizations. Although technological advances have added some automation to duties over the years, the HR profession requires a human touch for a job role that can have an outsize impact on many lives.


Now that you’ve learned of some of the benefits of an HR master’s degree, learn more about how the Carlson School Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations degree provides our full-time and part-time students with a multi-disciplinary foundation to reach your goals.

Accelerate your human resources career

Learn how the Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations degree helped three alumni launch and accelerate their human resources career at three different companies.


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