Master’s of Science in Human Resource and Organization Development

This master's program and concentration is ranked 25th in the U.S. by Eduniversal.

The Master's in Human Resources and Organization Development educates professionals who lead people, performance, development, and learning. Through the program, you can develop skills by exploring cutting-edge concepts and designing hands-on projects related to:

  • Human Resource Management
  • Human Capital
  • Organization Development

The MS HROD Program is...

  • Relevant. The program has a strong emphasis on hands-on, applied projects that provide direct application to the field. Our instructors have practitioner experience in the field and many currently work in HR-related positions in Louisville and around the country.
  • Rigorous. Expect to work hard and complete challenging assignments. Our goal is to help you develop the skills to think unconventionally about conventional problems.
  • Research Based. The program is approved by the Society of Human Resource Management as aligning with their guidelines for HR graduate programs. Faculty members have strong theoretical and conceptual backgrounds that guide both their teaching and their practical approach to the field.

In this program, you gain skills to lead human resources at both the strategic and tactical levels by facilitating discovery and critical inquiry at the individual, team, and organizational levels.

Back to - M.S. Human Resources and Organization Development

Elizabeth Aubrey"I am confident that the program has given me a foundation that will advance my career as an HR professional. The application of coursework to the workplace results in students that are equipped with the skills they need to be highly effective."Elizabeth Aubrey
Planning and Human Resource Specialist
River Road Asset Management
"Professors in the program are supportive and interested in ensuring that we can apply what we learn to our daily work life. They understand that many of us are adult learners who juggle classes with full-time jobs and families. This program is especially helpful in expanding my experience in the area of Human Resources research. I use it often to inform the decisions that I make in my role."
Jacinta Nelson
System Associate Vice President of Human Resources
Norton Healthcare


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Distance Learning

The master's program with a concentration in Human Resource Leadership can be completed 100 percent online.

All courses may be taken online and can be accessed at home or from anywhere in the world. You can complete the program entirely or partially online. Students who take all courses online are not required to visit Louisville at any time during the program. All courses require a time each week in the evening 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.

How you can 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.


All courses are offered online and in the evening. Most full-time students complete the program in a year and a half. Most part-time students complete the program in 2-3 years. However, you can take up to six years to finish.

The program requires 11 courses--33 hours (portfolio/fieldwork option) or 36 hours (thesis option).

We develop practitioners who strive to move into leadership positions within the field of human resources. Competencies are developed through five program goals and a final capstone experience:

Investigate Gap

Produce Interventions

Implement and Lead Change

Evaluate Outcomes

Integrate Foundational Knowledge and Skills

HR Management Core:

The current Program Requirement Form [PDF] outlines specific requirements.

Admission Requirements

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

Admission CycleDeadline for Submission of ALL MaterialsTerm for Admission
Fall Admissions CycleJune 15thFall
Spring Admissions CycleOctober 15thSpring
Summer Admissions Cycle February 15thSummer

Please note: If you cannot complete the application prior to the final admission cycle deadline, contact the HROD Program at, to determine whether space remains so that you can be considered for admission.

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.

  • GRE Scores (required for some): For applicants with less than a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work and no terminal degree (e.g., M.D., D.D.S., Ph.D.), you must submit GRE scores.
    --GRE scores prior to August 1, 2011 must be a minimum of 800 (combined verbal and quantitative) for consideration for unconditional admission.
    --GRE scores under the current exam must be a minimum of 146 (verbal) and 140 (quantitative) for consideration for unconditional admission.
    Please note: when submitting GRE scores through ETS, have scores sent to the general University of Louisville code, 1838.
    Need help preparing for the GRE? Sign up for a GRE Information Session.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Score (required for some): For international students from countries where English is not the native language. Students holding a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited institution in the U.S. are exempt from this requirement.
  • 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 Sheet [PDF]. The Admissions Committee evaluates applications based on how an applicant's goals, professional experiences, and commitment to education are an appropriate fit with this program.
  • Current Resume


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

Organizational Leadership & Learning Faculty and Staff Listing

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?

The program requires 11 courses. For additional information about tuition/fees, please visit the Bursar's Office website and go to their tuition/fees page.

Tuition remission is available to all full-time and most part-time University of Louisville employees. Books and/or other course materials must be purchased by participants.

Please note: Our program at the Ft. Knox Extended Campus is offered at a rate of $16,500 ($1,500 per 3-hour course), if the program is completed in four years.

What types of jobs do graduates from this program attain?

Recent graduates from this program, without previous full-time experience in the field, typically work as HR Specialists, Recruitment Specialists, HR Representatives, Employee Relations Specialists, and HR Coordinators. Graduates with more previous experience hold roles such as HR Manager, Employee Relations Manager, Director of Human Resources, VP of Human Resources, and Chief HR Officer.

Who applies to the program?

Our student population is very diverse. Students range from recent college graduates to seasoned HR professionals with years of experiences. Approximately 40 percent of our students currently work in HR-related positions, 30 percent are full-time students, and the remainder work in other full-time positions.

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 to finish. Students with full-time jobs cannot take more than two courses per semester.

Is the Program Accredited?

Our Human Resource Leadership concentration is approved by the Society for Human Resource Management as aligning with their standards for graduate programs in Human Resource Management. This designation is the primary recognition process for HR programs in the United States.

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 work situation. For example, rather than merely learning about how to develop a selection process for a position, you will actually develop a valid selection system based on a real job analysis that you conduct in an organization. Many of our students conduct projects at work and integrate their job and school assignments.

How much work does the program require?

This program is intense. The faculty expect you to work hard, think deeply, and apply what you have learned to real-life situations. The courses require that you think critically 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 HR field. These projects can require more work than you may find in other courses, but our students report that the reward is worth the extra effort.