Understanding the complex nature of business organizations takes dedicated professionals who understand leadership, teamwork, and workplace culture. A doctorate in human resources helps managers and consultants tackle these subjects to improve corporate social environments, teach business administration as professors, or conduct industry research at the nations top universities. According to PayScale, holders of a PhD in Human Resources can earn an average salary of $95,000.
What Are The Admissions Requirements For A PhD In Human Resources Program?
While admissions requirements vary by school, most universities expect students to have a degree in a related field such as a master’s in human resource management or business administration. Additionally, most programs require a minimum average GPA (usually around 3.0 or higher) and meet a minimum score on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Some schools expect doctoral candidates to have hands-on work experience.
How Long Will It Take To Earn A Human Resources Doctorate?
In general, expect the program to take four to five years of full-time study. Some schools measure their degrees in credit hours; usually between 60 to 90 credits total. Most programs are not offered on a part-time basis and there is a maximum amount of time students are allowed to complete their degree.
|Cornell University – PhD Human Resources – 80 Points
|Ithaca, New York
|Purdue University – PhD Management: Organizational Behavior, and HRM – 72.5 Points
|West Lafayette, Indiana
|University of Southern Mississippi – PhD Human Capital Development – 70 Points
|Long Beach, MS
|The University of Tulsa – PhD Industrial-Organizational Psychology – 70 Points
|University of Wisconsin-Madison – PhD Management and Human Resources – 58.75 Points
Our Top 20 Best PhD in Human Resources Programs
We’ve compiled a list of 20 schools offering a PhD in human resources and related majors. Our list focuses on affordability and class size to choose the best needs-focused programs in the country. Check out our rankings below!
Cornell University – PhD Human Resources – 80 Points
Cornell’s doctoral program blends the field of human resources with related subjects like public policy, organizational psychology, and labor relations. While the school’s general graduate tuition is not the cheapest, those accepted into the program are usually “guaranteed full funding” while conducting research. Applicants are required to submit two academic letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample such as a master’s thesis.
Purdue University – PhD Management: Organizational Behavior, and HRM – 72.5 Points
The research-focused doctoral program at Purdue prepares students for careers at leading universities. Students can choose from a variety of research project subjects such as leadership roles, workplace equity, and employee stress factors. Interested applicants must provide a resume, statement of purpose, and at least two academic or professional letters of recommendation.
University of Southern Mississippi – PhD Human Capital Development – 70 Points
The University of Southern Mississippi’s human capital development program teaches professionals to assist organization leaders in developing effective workplace environments. Courses are available in an executive hybrid format that is partially on-campus and partially online. Applicants must have a 3.5 or higher GPA, current resume or CV, three letters of recommendation, and submit a Statement of Qualification.
The University of Tulsa – PhD Industrial-Organizational Psychology – 70 Points
The I-O Psychology program at the University of Tulsa focuses on the science of pairing the right people with the right jobs. Students are taught the skills needed to improve worker wellness and workplace efficiency. This degree is ideal for those looking for corporate or governmental consultation careers as well as academic positions. Applicants are required to have at least a baccalaureate degree, a background in psychology, a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and letters of recommendation.
University of Wisconsin-Madison – PhD Management and Human Resources – 58.75 Points
The University of Wisconsin prepares doctoral students for academic careers as assistant professors and researchers in areas such as organizational behavior, human resources, and entrepreneurship. Students take two years of coursework before focusing on their own research projects and developing a dissertation. This highly selective program requires applicants to meet the admissions requirements for both the Graduate School and School of Business.
University of Illinois-Chicago – PhD Business Administration, HRM Emphasis – 56.25 Points
This PhD program at the University of Illinois-Chicago teaches students the research fluency needed to become published and highly-respected educators in the field. Students can expect two years of coursework and seminars followed by dissertation work and a full year teaching one course. Applicants must have a baccalaureate with credits in math/statistics, computing/analysis, and business, as well as a 3.0 GPA, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement of interest, and a writing sample.
*All 23 students admitted to the program over the past 10 years have received tuition waivers, a fellowship, and a graduate assistantship. In other words, if the value of the tuition and fee waiver is included, students are receiving about $50,000 per year to be a student in the program.
Temple University – PhD Business Administration, HRM/OB – 52.5 Points
Temple University’s Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior PhD aims to place graduates in academic research careers. Students will work with journal-published faculty to develop their own research papers and dissertation over approximately five years of study. For this highly competitive program, applicants must have a current resume/CV, two references, and ideally a GPA of 3.7.
University of Arkansas – EdD Human Resource and Workforce Development Education – 52.5 Points
This education doctorate offered by the University of Arkansas is designed for those seeking careers as leaders in education, business and industry. Unlike most other doctorate programs, this degree may be earned in an entirely online setting. Individual research and a doctoral dissertation are still mandatory. Applicants must have at least a post-baccalaureate degree with a 3.0 GPA, a current resume, and submit an autobiographical sketch.
University of Miami – PhD Business Management/Organizational Behavior – 51.25 Points
The University of Miami’s Organizational Behavior PhD intends to place students in academic careers as university professors and researchers. Students can expect to teach an undergraduate course and work on empirical and theoretical research for publication in academic journals after completing two years of core curriculum. Interested students must have at least a baccalaureate degree, provide a current CV, and three recommendation letters.
University of Minnesota-Minneapolis – PhD Organizational Leadership, Policy, And Development – 48.75 Points
This PhD program from the University of Minnesota helps students research human resource development topics to provide insight into how workers interact, learn, and progress through organizations. Graduates often go into careers as executive consultants and academic faculty. Applicants must have a master’s degree or equivalent and a graduate GPA of 3.4 or higher.
University of Alabama – PhD Management, HR Study Focus – 43.75 Points
The PhD in Management program at the University of Alabama prepares students for career advancement in management and potential academic positions. In addition to studying human resources, students can choose to focus on other related subjects such as organizational psychology, entrepreneurship, and strategic human capital. Interested applicants must have at least an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA.
Michigan State University – PhD Human Resources and Labor Relations – 41.25 Points
Focused on developing high-quality researchers in the field, Michigan State University’s PhD program is for scholars interested in placement at top research universities upon graduation. Applicants must hold a graduate degree and submit a CV, personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.
Louisiana State University – PhD Leadership & Human Resource Development – 41.25 Points
Louisiana State University’s PhD in Leadership & Human Resource Development may be tailored to suit the student’s personal research interests in the field. The goal of the degree is to place students in careers in professional consulting, organization development leadership, and academics related to their individual interests. Admission criteria includes a graduate degree with a 3.0 GPA, resume or CV, personal statement of interest, and three letters of recommendation.
Auburn University – PhD Management, Human Resources/Organizational Behavior – 38.75 Points
The PhD in Business Management with a specialization in Human Resources/Organizational Behavior from Auburn University intends to turn students into well-respected faculty at leading national universities. Students in this program often have their research contributed to industry journals prior to graduation. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree at minimum and may be required to take prerequisite courses if they do not have a graduate degree.
University of Pittsburgh – PhD Organizational Behavior and HRM – 36.25 Points
Researchers in this PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh study how individual workers and teams drive business success, how society influences work culture, and how social responsibility influences work performance. This is an extremely competitive program where typically only two new students per year are accepted. Basic application requirements include graduate degree transcripts and three letters of recommendation.
Indiana University – PhD Organizational Behavior/HRM – 35 Points
Indiana University’s PhD coursework intends to place students into research positions by focusing on research methodologies and statistics. Students may choose a minor field of study interest that is approved by an advisor within the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship. Approximately three new students are admitted per year and applicants must have a graduate degree with a 3.5 GPA, three letters of recommendation, and must be deemed a good fit with faculty interests.
University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign – PhD Business Administration, OB Emphasis – 33.75 Points
The program for Business Administration with a focus on Organizational Behavior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign boasts flexible coursework and 1-on-1 faculty mentorship as students study how workers influence the economy and social environments within organizations. Since 2005, 98% of graduates from this program were placed in academic careers. Admission prerequisites include a master’s degree with a 3.0 GPA, proficiency in statistics, resume, and three letters of reference.
The Ohio State University – PhD Business Administration, HRM – 27.5 Points
Doctoral students of the Ohio State University’s Business Administration PhD program may choose from several areas of specialization including Human Resource Management. All students admitted to this program are fully funded from four to six years at the discretion of the academic department. Acceptance into this program is very limited and applicants must provide graduate academic transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and an essay statement of intent.
Texas A&M University – PhD Organizational Behavior/HRM – 26.25 Points
Texas A&M’s PhD concentration on Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management focuses research on topics such as individual worker’s influence on the workplace, effective leadership strategies, and the impact of public policy on human resource programs. Graduates typically find employment through a faculty network with other institutions or professional associations partnered with the university. Applicants must submit graduate transcripts, a personal statement essay, professional resume, and three letters of recommendation.
University of Houston – PhD Management & Leadership – 16.25 Points
In addition to their PhD coursework and research projects, Management & Leadership students at the University of Houston are typically hired as Research Assistants within the department where they receive financial stipends and may receive tuition waivers. Doctoral students will typically teach three or more courses and submit two research journal papers prior to graduation. Applicants will need to submit a statement of purpose, resume/CV, and three references.
Our Ranking Methodology
We obtained a list of universities offering PhD programs in Human Resources or related fields and ranked them on a 100 point scale across two factors: tuition and student-faculty ratio. Tuition made up 50% of the score with 25% in-state tuition and 25% out-of-state tuition, with lower cost receiving high points. The other 50% points were awarded to school-wide student-faculty ratio where lower class sizes received more points.
By sorting these points and then adding them together we arrived at the total used for our ranking.
For more programs check out our online doctorate degrees in human resources.
We strive to be as accurate in our data as possible. If you work for a school on this list and see an error, please contact us so we can make a correction.