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MSc Professional Development (Human Resource Management)

  • Delivery:

From September 2017 this course will be replaced by MA Human Resource Management. To register your interest, please complete this form and we will email with more information once the approval process is complete.

This dynamic course has been developed for human resources management (HRM) practitioners who wish to gain the qualifications for professional membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The course is aimed those looking to study on a part-time basis. Upon completing this course, you'll be equipped with substantial knowledge of contemporary HRM theory and the ability to apply that knowledge to real-life situations. We also offer MSc Management with Human Resources for those wishing to study full-time.

With the guidance of our expert academic team, you'll acquire the necessary skills and competence to plan and manage HR activities at both an operational and strategic level in the public and private sectors.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2017


Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


27 months


Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

Relevant subjects:

Business or management

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree, 2:2 or above or equivalent. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.0 (Academic) or above. For more information see our full entry requirements

Course details

The dates provided show when each unit is running in the 2016/17 academic year. If you choose to enrol on the full Master’s in September 2016 you’ll complete the units in year one in the academic year 2016/17 as shown and year two units in the academic year 2017/18 (dates will be available in December 2016 for units running in the 2017/18 academic year).

Year 1

Core units

(7-8 October 2016, 28-29 October 2016)

  • Leading, Managing & Developing People: This unit offers you a rigorous framework of knowledge and understanding concerning people management and development. You'll reflect on theory and practice from an ethical and professional standpoint, providing opportunities for applied learning and continuous professional development.

(18-19 November 2016, 9-10 December 2016)

  • Developing Skills for Business Leadership: Successful HR professionals have different approaches to work, but share a range of traits and beliefs. These underpin skills proficiency, but cannot be described as ‘skills’ themselves. Yet they're often central causes of a manager’s effectiveness and are developed consciously over time with an awareness of differing cultural contexts and operating environments. You'll be encouraged to develop a sense of self-awareness and of your own strengths and weaknesses as a manager and colleague.

(3-4 February 2017, 24-25 February 2017)

  • Human Resource Management in ContextThe internal and external environments of contemporary organisations, including the managerial and business context in which managers, HR professionals and workers interact in environmental turbulence, change and uncertainty. You'll examine how leading organisations respond to these contexts. Managers and HR professionals in different types of organisations (small, large, national, global), not only have opportunities and choices when taking organisational and HR decisions but also face constraints on their autonomy in determining their futures.

(17-18 March 2017, 7-8 April 2017)

  • Knowledge Management & Organisational Learning: Explore the connection between knowledge management and organisational learning, and personal and professional skills linked with designing and executing management strategies that promote organisational learning.

You can exit the course here with a Postgraduate Certificate.

Year 2

(10-11 February 2017, 3-4 March 2017)

  • Managing Employment Relations: Gain an understanding of national and international employment relations perspectives and debates, from theoretical and behavioural perspectives. You'll evaluate competing theories linked with managing employment relations strategies and their outcomes on organisational climate, employees and management.

(31 March-1 April 2017, 28-29 April 2017)

  • Investigating a Business Issue from a Human Resources Perspective: Qualified professionals should be able to research and write reports that can persuade key stakeholders in the organisation to change or adopt policy and practice. You'll have the opportunity to investigate a live, complex business issue from a HR perspective, locate the work in the body of contemporary knowledge, collect and analyse data, to develop supportable conclusions an make practical recommendations for changing and improving current practice.

(30 Sept-1 October 2016, 21-22 October 2016)

  • Employment Law: The knowledge and skills required to brief organisations on the consequences of current and future developments in employment law, and to give up-to-date, accurate advice concerning the practical application of legal principles at work in different jurisdictions. The unit will cover the key principles that underpin UK (or Irish) and EU employment law, their purpose, the major defences employers can use when defending cases, and the potential organisational costs and reputational risks associated with losing them. The focus is on situations that occur regularly in workplaces.

(11-12 November 2016, 2-3 December 2016)

  • Resourcing & Talent ManagementThis unit focuses on the practical and strategic aspects of recruitment, selection, employee retention and dismissal, to teach you about knowledge and skills for resourcing and talent management in a global context. Skills can be sourced by hiring employees and other means such as employing agency workers, subcontractors and consultants and through outsourcing arrangements.

You can exit the course here with a Postgraduate Diploma.

  • Research Project: An opportunity to undertake a significant piece of self-managed applied research in an area that interests you. This adds value to you and your employer.

After completing your Research Project, you'll be awarded your Master's Degree.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for MSc Professional Development (Human Resource Management) (Word doc).

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Selection criteria

Background and experience

For Professional Development (Human Resource Management) we are looking for applicants who:

  • Are currently working in a HRM role
  • Have experience of people management and development
  • Possess excellent organisation skills and can effectively manage their time
  • Have the ability to apply theory to real-life situations.

We encourage applications from those who are hard working and dedicated to gaining a professional qualification. This course has been designed to develop the necessary skills to plan and manage HR activities. You should therefore have the opportunity to effectively apply these skills in your role.

Selection methods

We candidates by looking at their applications. There are no interviews or additional selection activities and therefore we suggest that you make your application stand out from the crowd. For more information, take a look at our post graduate how to apply pages. 

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon a postgraduate taught degree are:

  • Bachelors Honours degree, 2:2 or above or equivalent or the completion of the Certificate in Personnel Practice.
  • For post-experience and professional qualifications, there may be additional entry requirements set by the association or institute that ultimately administers the qualification in question. The qualification description on the course information pages should tell you what these are but please get in touch with the askBU Enquiry Service if you are in doubt.

If you lack the formal academic qualifications needed to enter a postgraduate or post-experience degree, there are several alternative routes to follow. Some of these are based on experience. Contact the askBU Enquiry Service for more information.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (academic) 6.0 overall or equivalent and a minimum of 5.5 in writing.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our postgraduate entry requirements page.


This course will provide you with the necessary skills and competence to plan and manage HR activities at operational and strategic levels in the public and private sectors.

Some of our Professional Development (Human Resource Management) graduates are now undertaking roles such as:

  • Head of human resources
  • HR adviser
  • Business management trainee
  • Financial consultant.

Industries worked in

  • HR
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Management.

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Master's, you can look into our range of doctoral programmes.

*The above are taken from Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) and BU institutional data.

Our lecturers

Our staff are actively engaged in research and professional practice in the business sector which is integrated into the teaching of this course. Find out more about some of the staff and their research activities who will be teaching on this course below.

Dr Simon Roberts

Prgramme leader for MSc Professional Development (Human Resources Management)

Dr Simon Roberts is a senior lecturer in HRM & Organisational Behaviour. His areas of research interest are managing diversity, equality in the workplace, gender and sexual orientation and identity management.

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork, and non-financial support whilst on placement
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsidised travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Optional fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the students section of the website.

Repeat units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies (with or without attendance) you may be required to pay additional fees equivalent to one ninth of the tuition fee per 20 credit unit.

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

Additional information

Career development

Career development

Read about career and development opportunities and discover how gaining industry experience could help you.

Omolola Fagbule

International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.