M.S. in Human Resources and Organization Development

Grow Your Skillset. Advance your Career.

Apply TodayWe are proud that the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has acknowledged that our Masters of Science in Human Resources and Organizational Development is officially aligned with SHRM’s HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. The HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates were developed by SHRM to define the minimum HR content areas that should be studied by HR students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The guidelines -- created in 2006 and revalidated in 2010, 2013 and 2017 -- are part of SHRM's Academic Initiative to define HR education standards taught in universities. Our master’s program is listed on the Society for Human Resource Managements (SHRM) website: Master of Science (MS).

Online Info Session
Master of Science in Human Resources & Organization Development
March 19th, 2024 | 11:30 AM ET

US News Grad Education badgeThe labor market data are clear: there is a growing demand for baccalaureate and graduate degree attained human resources staff, managers, and leaders within positions of human resources, organizational development, talent management, and human capital. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupational outlook for managers and specialists in the field of human resources is expected to grow 116% by 2024 (N = 6820) in the State of Kentucky alone, and national levels indicate similar signs of exponential growth. The most recent projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook places employment of human resources managers at 9 percent through 2024, faster than average relative to other occupations, nationwide.

If you value the performance, development, learning of people and organizations, we hope you will consider joining our program!

Program Options

Our innovative master's programs have a common emphasis on leading performance, development, and learning through discovery and critical inquiry.

Human Resource and Organization DevelopmentStrategic and tactical human resources and organization development at the local, national, and global level. Focused on the implementation of human resource leadership, organizational development, and workplace learning and performance.

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Distance Learning

Online Info Session
Master of Science in Human Resources & Organization Development
March 19, 2024 | 11:30 AM ET
US News Grad Education badge

Our Master of Science in Human Resources and Organization Development is fully online therefore, there is no requirement to visit Louisville at any time during the program. All courses in this program require a time each week when students participate in live synchronous online class sessions. Courses are offered through an online course management system called Blackboard, provided as part of UofL tuition. Our online courses allow students to do the following...

  • Read the course materials
  • Submit papers and assignments
  • View grades
  • Participate in live, online class sessions using a headset and/or webcam
  • Discuss case studies or course content with classmates on a discussion board
  • Watch and listen to short lectures from your instructor
  • Participate in case study simulations

The biggest benefit of online learning is that you can earn your degree from home while raising your family, working full time, or while experiencing other life circumstances that make commuting to class difficult or impossible. At UofL, we offer online courses with the same instructors and same requirements as face-to-face courses.

UofL Online Learning website.

UofL Online Learning Request Form.

How you be a successful online learner...

Online learning is not for everyone. Successful online students...

  • Have a desire to learn online
  • Are highly self-motivated
  • Have strong time management and organizational skills
  • Can work independently
  • Are not afraid to speak up when problems arise

For more information, visit the UofL Online Learning website.

For more details about program curriculum, visit the Graduate Catalog.

Admission Requirements

Apply Today

New students can begin courses in the fall, spring, or summer terms. The HROD Admissions Committee has five review cycles each year:

Priority Application DeadlineTermStart Date
August 1Fall ⅠAugust
September 10Fall ⅠⅠOctober
December 10Spring ⅠJanuary
February 10Spring ⅠⅠMarch
May 1SummerJune

Please note: We admit students on a rolling basis. The priority deadlines help you complete the application process on time, be notified of acceptance and enroll before the term begins. We review applications as they become complete, and admit students for a specific term up to the day classes start. We recommend you work on and submit your complete application well in advance of the preferred deadline, as obtaining transcripts and other materials may take more time.

Download Step-by-Step Application Instructions [PDF]

Admission is competitive. Meeting the GRE and GPA minimums does not guarantee acceptance into the program. The HROD Admissions Committee requires the following materials to make a decision about admission:

  • Graduate School Application: Complete the online application to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies or submit a paper application.
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work. Unconditional admission requires a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for all coursework taken.

    Applicants who have attended a college or university outside of the United States are also required to submit an evaluation of their transcript through either WES (World Education Services) or ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators). Please note that transcript evaluations can sometimes take several weeks.

    Please have transcripts sent to:
    School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies
    University of Louisville
    Louisville, KY 40292

    If transcripts are sent electronically,
    please have them sent to the following e-mail: gradadm @ louisville.edu

  • GRE scores are not required but could be recommended for applicants with cumulative grade point averages (GPAs) less than the published minimum. Minimum cum GPA is 2.5 for all undergraduate and graduate coursework. If your cum GPA is below 2.5, please contact Dr. Ron Sheffield to discuss your interest in the program, your academic background and motivations for pursuing a graduate degree.
  • Two letters of recommendation [PDF]. If you have studied at a college or university in the last five years, the admissions committee prefers to see at least one letter from a faculty member. Other references can include work supervisors. Personal references (e.g. family, friends) are not accepted.
  • Goal Statement - The Admissions Committee requires candidates to prepare a formal 1-2 page single spaced statement that describes your interest in the MS HROD program. Candidates should expand upon their personal and professional goals and professional experiences and, their commitment to education and learning are in alignment with this program.
  • Current Resume
  • Students for whom English is not their primary language must show English language proficiency by successfully completing one of the following: Note: International students who have earned a degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S. are not required to complete the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo.

This program is open to all eligible students regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.

If you have questions about applying to the program, please contact an Admissions Counselor at 502-852-0953.


Dr. Brad Shuck
Professor, Human Resources and Organizational Development
Educational Leadership, Evaluation, and Organizational Development
College of Education and Human Development
University of Louisville
Louisville | Kentucky | 40292
Office: 502.852.7396 (p)
brad.shuck@louisville.edu (e)

For more information about the Master's of Science in Human Resource and Organization Development program, please contact us by email at HROD@louisville.edu or by phone at 502-852-6475

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Resources and Certification Information for Human Resource Management Professionals

The Master of Science in Human Resources and Organizational Development (MSHROD) is officially aligned with, and recognized by, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the premiere professional home for professionals in the Human Resource field, as being a partner program. Being SHRM aligned ensures prospective students that the MSHROD prepares graduates within SHRM’s recommended guidelines for excellent Human Resource education at the graduate level. Prospective students can be sure that the MSHROD program offers a broad and comprehensive curriculum in Human Resources that reflects industry agreement regarding the standards that constitute a broad and deep education in the field of Human Resources.

The MSHROD at the University of Louisville is the only school based in Kentucky recognized by SHRM as an aligned school. Guidelines for SHRM alignment are revalidated every three to five years.

UofL SHRM Student Chapter

UofL SHRM (chapter 5082) is a student chapter that is affiliated with the Society for Human Resources Management, a national association for emerging and seasoned Human Resources professionals.

The student chapter provides University of Louisville students with the opportunity to gain knowledge and insight into the effective management of human capital in the field of Human Resource Management

Learn More     Join Today!


SHRM-CP Exam and Certification

Starting Fall 2017, students who are in their last semester of the MSHROD will be eligible to sit for the SHRM-CP exam. To qualify for this incredible benefit offered only through SHRM aligned programs, students must be in their final semester of course work from a SHRM aligned program such as the MSHROD, be in good standing for graduation, and have a minimum of 500-direct hours of hands on, real world experience in the areas of human resources (hours can include in-course projects as well as course-related field work and experiences such as those in the MSHROD). The SHRM-CP is the standard in certification for Human Resource professionals across the globe, and according to SHRM is "among the first HR certifications that is focused on teaching and testing the practical, real-life information HR professionals need to excel in their careers today."

More information about the SHRM-CP exam can be found here:

Resources and Certification Information for Learning and Development Professionals

For students in the Leadership, Training and Organization Development (LTOD) track in the undergraduate degree (B.S. Organizational Leadership) and students in the M.S. HR and Organization Development (MS HROD) degree program, the Association for Talent Development (ATD), is the premier national organization for learning and development professionals. ATD is heavily vested in higher education, especially in the areas of talent development, training, and organizational development. ATD offers professional certifications, scholarships, and dissertation awards in addition to many other content-related services.

Curriculum in the LTOD track (BS OLL) and in the MS HROD program at the University of Louisville are aligned with the newest ATD standards and competencies. Each class throughout our undergraduate and graduate program is grounded in real-world practice and designed for the scholar-practitioner. Students who complete their degree at the University of Louisville will be well prepared to sit for either the Certified Professional in Learning Performance Certificate (CPLP) or the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) certifications. More information about each of those certifications can be found here https://www.td.org/Certification.

Below is a comprehensive list of resources that ATD provides for students enrolled in aligned curriculum:

Local ATD Chapters

There is likely a local chapter of ATD in your area that you could join at a reduced cost. These chapters promote student activity through service work, presentation opportunities and above all networking opportunities. The local chapter in the Kentuckiana area is located right here in Louisville (http://atdky.org) with an ATD Geographic Interest Group (GIG) in Lexington, which is part of local Louisville-based chapter. Both of these organizations meet monthly on different dates.

For more information on chapters nation-wide, check out the National Chapter Locator.

Financial Aid

For current tuition information, please see the FAQ tab.


Tanisha Hackett

My decision to pursue a master’s degree in the HROD program was questionable due to the 13-year gap in receiving my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Although I had set goals for this pursuit, I was not confident of my outcome. The program's curriculum, real life work experience, networking, resources, expectations, encouragement, guidance, compassion, and dedication from the professors, advisors, and CEHD staff were instrumental in the plethora of knowledge and confidence I gained. My outcome: graduating with honors and being a recipient of the R. Wayne Pace Award..

Tanisha Hackett, MS HROD Alumna

Dr. Laura Lohman

I choose this program because I was looking for a master’s degree in human resources with a fully online option that I could complete in a reasonable amount of time and at a reasonable price. I was especially attracted by the breadth of this program. Many other programs that I considered forced me to choose a narrow specialization within human resources. I felt that the broader and flexible approach of this program would serve me better in the long run. I also felt confident in the quality of the program because it was SHRM-aligned.

I really enjoyed how each course provided an opportunity to apply key concepts and techniques to a project of my choice that was relevant to my industry. I work in higher education, and so many of my course projects focused on faculty. These projects accelerated my understanding of concepts in each course and increased my confidence in my ability to make a difference in my industry. At the same time, I also enjoyed being able to learn about how other students in military, hospitality, and financial settings were applying what we were learning to their workplaces. The faculty are highly experienced and did a great job of giving us specific feedback and supporting us in applying concepts from each course through our projects.

I enthusiastically recommend this program to anyone who is interested in contributing to excellence in their industry through the development of people, teams, and organizations. You’ll leave this program with a broad understanding of human resources and organizational development concepts that are applicable to all industries. You’ll also leave with the practical skills needed to make a difference in key areas such as recruitment, learning and development, and organizational change.

Dr. Laura Lohman, MS HROD Alumna
Director of the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence
Queens University of Charlotte

Frequently Asked Questions

I have some credit hours from another program/university. Can the credit be transferred?

Once you are admitted to the program, you may request to transfer up to 6 credit hours if the HROD Program Committee approves the request. Courses can be transferred only if they cover the same content as a course in our program. After HROD approval, transfer requests are submitted to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

What is the cost of the program?

Tuition amounts may change each year as determined by the UofL Board of Trustees. For current tuition rates, please visit the Bursar's Office Tuition page.

Career Goals and Interest

Students should select the best elective courses which align with their career goals and interests. For example, students who desire a stronger emphasis in Human Resource functions might consider electives such as LEAD 612 and LEAD 631. For students desiring a stronger focus in Workplace Learning might consider electives such as LEAD 663 and LEAD 672.

Our SHRM-aligned curriculum is built by industry experts therefore students acquire the knowledge and abilities needed to efficiently implement human resource leadership including improving workplace learning and performance, talent acquisition, and using evidence-based research for decision-making. This program includes professional portfolio completion to better prepare students for their next career move.

What's the typical student like?

Our student population is very diverse. Students range from recent college graduates to seasoned HROD professionals with years of experience. Approximately 30 percent of our students currently work in HROD-related positions, 30 percent are full-time students, and the remainder work in other full-time positions.

What are the assignments like?

All courses require readings, smaller assignments, and a Hallmark Assessment. The Hallmark Assessment is the culminating large project that requires that you integrate most of the course content into one large task. Most Hallmark Assessments require that you conduct a project in a real organization. For example, rather than learning about how to conduct a needs assessment of an organizational problem, you will actually conduct a real needs assessment in an organization.

How much work does the program require?

This graduate program is intense. The faculty expect that you work hard, think deeply, and apply what you've learned to real-life situations. The courses require that you think seriously and use sound ideas, in order to move beyond fads and temporary trends. You'll find that each course requires you to apply what you've learned to the HROD field. These projects can require more work than you might find in other courses, but our students report that the reward is worth the extra effort.

How long does it take to complete this degree?

Full-time students need at least a year and a half to complete the degree. Most part-time students complete the program in 2-3 years; however, you can take up to six years. Students with full-time jobs cannot take more than two courses per semester.

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APPLY NOW Welcome to the University of Louisville Fort Knox Extended Campus where military students and dependents as well as civilian employees are valued. As a military friendly school, we strive to provide you with an exceptional learning experience at every stage of your career. Based on the advancement of technology, continually learning will become the "norm" and we're ready to serve you.

If you're preparing for your first or next promotion or maybe preparing to transition out of the military, look to UofL College of Education and Human Development. Our expert faculty and practitioner faculty will provide you with a vigorous educational experience as well as relevant 21st century leadership skills to manage organizational change and drive results. If you're seeking to enhance your HR career and/or seek to consult companies and organizations (OD), check out the highly ranked, online and some face to face Master of Science in Human Resources and Organization Development. SHRM aligned, you're ready to sit for the SHRM-CP exam upon graduation. And, receive the active duty tuition rate of $250.00 per credit hour! The time is now. Take the next step.