What is the Difference Between an MS in Human Resources and an MBA in Human Resources?

When trying to determine whether a Master of Science or a MBA in Human Resources would be the best fit for you, you’ll first need to consider your career goals and whether you’re prepared to make the monetary and personal commitment required to complete a master’s degree in business administration. Although both an MBA and a Master of Science in Human Resources will prepare you to work in the same field, these two degrees are different in several ways.

MBA with a Concentration in Human Resources

The MBA degree with an emphasis on human resources typically offers a curriculum that is mainly focused on business. Students pursuing this degree are required to take a specific number of business courses in order to gain a broad knowledge of how all of the parts of a business work together. The human resources emphasis is confined mainly to the electives the student wishes to take, and these electives do not make up the majority of the credit hours required to earn the degree.

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Graduates of MBA programs are qualified for a number of positions since they have become familiar with the different components of running a business. Although the concentration may be in human resources, graduates may apply for other positions as well. In other words, the MBA is considered more of a generalist degree. Students who wish to work in human resources but who also want to keep their options open for other types of employment would be better served with the MBA in Human Resources.

Keep in mind that the MBA requires a more significant financial commitment than the Master of Science in Human Resources. Although both programs last approximately two years, the cost to attend a high-quality business school can be more than $60,000 per year for tuition alone, according to the US News and World Report. Most students are unable to hold full-time jobs while earning this degree due to the level of commitment required to complete their studies.

Master of Science in Human Resources

The curriculum for the Master of Science in Human Resources degree focuses specifically on the field of human resources. Students who choose this option can expect to take courses that will develop knowledge of recruiting techniques, collective bargaining, retaining employees and how to choose the best candidates for open positions. Other courses offered in this degree program include team coaching, leadership, organizational decision-making and management information systems.

Although the cost of the Master of Science in Human Resources degree is less expensive than an MBA degree, the average tuition hovers around $30,000 per year. Students who wish to focus their professional attention solely on the field of human resources would fare well with this degree, and potential career paths include positions such as a recruiter, employee benefits specialist, human resources manager or compensation manager.

Students who want to focus solely on the field of business and who can see the benefits of investing more money into their education would be better off pursuing the MBA with a concentration in human resources. On the other hand, in a situation where a student is drawn to working in the field of human resources, the Master of Science in Human Resources degree can give him or her the knowledge needed to work in several positions. When considering both the Master of Science and the MBA in Human Resources, you will need to look at how well each degree would help you to reach your professional goals.