MBA vs. Master’s in Human Resources – Which Degree Is Right for You?


A master’s degree is compulsory for human resources professionals thinking of taking their careers to the next level. However, choosing between the two available categories for this program often puts these professionals in a dilemma. So, MBA vs. Master’s in Human Resources – Which Degree is Right for You?

Determining which master’s degree program is right for you depends on your career goals and preferences as a human resources professional. While the differences between these graduate-level programs may not be readily perceived, it is these differences that make one a better fit for you than the other.

Today, holding a master’s degree in human resources will no doubt increase your earnings and improve your chances of qualifying for high-level human resources jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resources manager jobs have a faster growth rate than the average work position.

To choose correctly, you need to understand what each program entails. So let’s take an in-depth look at them.

MBA in Human Resources

For many human resources professionals looking to take their careers to the next level, an MBA program in human resources is usually their first consideration. This is because most MBA programs, including accelerated online MBA programs, offer a foundational business and management skills curriculum that gives them a head start in virtually every area of discipline.

Along with the technical skills and business concepts required to run an organization, the MBA program teaches human resources professionals to incorporate the principles of human resources to position organizations for growth. This makes the MBA program perfect for those seeking to gain some business knowledge while taking a deep dive into their area of specialization.

The MBA degree also provides flexibility for professionals who may end up changing careers or would like to explore other business professions. A typical MBA degree program includes:

  • General business skills
  • Courses in finance, strategy, operation, accounting, marketing,g and so on
  • Human resources education

Master’s in Human Resources

Unlike human resources MBA programs that bring together the business and human resources aspects of operating an organization, the master’s in human resources program offers a more in-depth insight into the world of human resources. This makes it a good option for human resources professionals with a foundational business background who want to focus on specializing in this area.

In a master’s in human resources program, you are expected to complete the same human resources courses as with the MBA before moving on to more concentrated courses to improve your understanding of human resources. Some master’s in human resources programs even give you the option to complete graduate certificates in human resources-related areas such as:

  • Leadership
  • Positive organization development
  • Employment law

With the master’s in human resources program, you can develop skills that align with the purpose of human resources and act as an organization’s inside specialist regarding challenges. It also provides you with the opportunity to explore the human resources field and stand out as a well-rounded professional.

Factors that Determine What Master’s Degree Program is Right for You

When determining whether an MBA or Master’s in human resources degree is right for you, there are two factors to put into consideration. They are:

Your Career Goals

Since getting a master’s degree is an important step human resources professionals need to make to take their careers to the next level, it will only be fair for you to put your career goals into consideration. This includes both long-term and short-term goals.

Although these graduate-level degrees provide flexibility, they are different in the sense that they cater to the varying career needs of human resources professionals. Typically, an MBA program in human resources is perfect for professionals who would like to combine business and human resource knowledge to explore various business fields.

On the other hand, professionals who want to gain more in-depth and specialized knowledge in the area of human resources and focus primarily on the field find a master’s in human resources to be a natural fit for them.

Your Business Background

Before enrolling in any of the master’s degree programs for human resources, you should consider what your business background is once you have identified your career goals. By doing this, you get to eliminate the possibility of choosing a degree program that doesn’t cater to your needs.

If you already have a background or degree in business, then it would be unnecessary for you to enroll in an MBA program in human resources. However, if you don’t have any business knowledge then the MBA program would be a great opportunity to gain that knowledge along with human resources education.

Related Questions

Is It Better to Get an MBA or Master’s in Human Resources Degree?

When it comes to getting either of the two categories of master’s degrees in human resources, it will be unreasonable to say that one degree is better than the other. This is because these degrees cater to varying human resources professionals and their needs.

The most important thing is that the one you choose provides the flexibility and knowledge you need to take your career to the next level.

Can You Become a CEO with an MBA in Human Resources?

Yes, absolutely! An MBA in human resources holder can become a company CEO. So, you can opt for this without any fear of career setbacks.


MBA and Master’s in human resources are the two categories of master’s degrees with which professionals can take their careers to the next level. However, the decision as to which of them is right for you comes down to what your career goals and preferences are.

Jeff Campbell