Programme Specification for MA Human Resource Management


Final award


Intermediate awards available

Postgraduate Diploma; Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Associate Certificate

UCAS code


Details of professional body accreditation

CIPD (Leads to graduate membership of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development)

Relevant QAA Benchmark statements

Masters Degrees in Business and Management: Type 1 Specialists

Date specification last up-dated

July 2014


The summary - programme advertising leaflet

Programme content

The MA in HRM has been developed to provide you with a comprehensive and systematic theoretical grounding in key HRM topics and their relationship to sustained organisational performance. The programme has been designed to meet the professional standards and behaviours identified in the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) HR Profession Map; therefore, you will gain skills and competencies to apply new knowledge for business and organisational improvements and CIPD accredited membership. You will explore themes of developing talent, employment engagement, effective reward management and effective leadership and people management in uncertain times.

MA in Human Resource Management at UEL

The programme will offer the opportunity to:

  • Focus on the development of HR practitioner skills and behaviours through dedicated skill workshops that will support your HR career
  • Access to teaching staff with complementary HRM academic and HR practitioner experience to support your development in the field
  • Access extra curricular RDBS events, workshops and competitions related to your specialism
  • Work with experienced HR Directors from a range of organisations, as guest speakers   
  • Benefit from access to Knowledge Dock, UEL’s Enterprise Development service  connecting students to business opportunities and RDBS researchers to industry and knowledge exchange

Admission requirements

  • A UK Honours Degree (2:2 minimum) with two year’s relevant managerial or HR Work Experience
  • Equivalent overseas degree recognised by UEL with two year’s relevant managerial or HR work experience
  • Degree-equivalent professional qualification e.g. CPP and two years’ managerial or HR work experience
  • International students require an IELTS score of 7.0 (with no component score less than 6.5).
  • Students meeting the above criteria in their application forms will be interviewed by the Programme Leader prior to a formal offer being made.

In the case of applicants whose first language is not English, then IELTS *** (or equivalent) is required. International qualifications will be checked for appropriate matriculation to UK Higher Education postgraduate programmes.

Students that apply to enter stages of the programme may be admitted through normal Accreditation of Experiential Learning (AEL) or Accreditation of Certificated Learning (ACL) processes. Therefore such applicants must be able to demonstrate and evidence that they have the required learning outcomes as listed in the modules for which they are seeking exemption.

At UEL we are committed to working together to build a learning community founded on equality of opportunity - a learning community which celebrates the rich diversity of our student and staff populations. Discriminatory behaviour has no place in our community and will not be tolerated. Within a spirit of respecting difference, our equality and diversity policies promise fair treatment and equality of opportunity for all. In pursuing this aim, we want people applying for a place at UEL to feel valued and know that the process and experience will be transparent and fair and no one will be refused access on the grounds of any protected characteristic stated in the Equality Act 2010

Programme structure

The programme will be offered on a full-time and part-time basis with a September start. The full-time programme will be taught on a half-day and evening basis for two days a week. If you are studying the programme on a part-time basis you will complete the programme over two years and attend university one day a week on the same half-day and evening basis. The programme also includes a weekend residential for all modules to ensure the opportunity for the fuller and more intensive development of relevant skills and behaviours.

The MA in HRM will consist of five modules, four 30 credit modules and one 60 credit dissertation module. All of the modules are core; however, students will have the option of exiting the programme on completion of four 30 credit core taught modules and a 30 credit Management Report, and will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in HRM.

Learning environment

We see the programme as highly participative; with everyone sharing information, ideas, experiences and values, and helping each other to gain the maximum benefit from the programme as a group and develop as to develop as individual HR practitioners and senior managers. The teaching and learning activities have been designed to encourage these behaviours. Therefore; all modules will consist of a combination of the following learning approaches: schedules lectures; seminars and workshops; organisational visits and weekend workshops focusing on the practical application of key theories and the use of Wiki and online discussion boards. In order support the development of your practitioner skills you will also be exposed to Senior HR professionals who will provide guest lectures on the programme.


Each module is assessed using a range of assessment methods. These may include group presentations, individual written essays, role play and case study report evaluation, unseen examinations and independent research reports. The overall aim of the assessment strategy is to support the ethos of encouraging not just the acquisition of knowledge but the ability to apply this knowledge in realistic and complex business and organisational scenarios. Assignments will be frequently focused your own organisation or organisations you are familiar with. In order to encourage the development of reflective practitioner skills and to receive the CIPD accreditation for the programme you will also be required to submit a Continuing Professional Development record at the end of each module and a CPD plan and CV for the coming year in their final module.

Relevance to work/profession

On completion on this programme you will achieve Graduate Membership status of the CIPD. CIPD accredited qualifications are nationally and internationally recognised and are a requirement for many people management and development roles. In addition to this professional membership status students will gain valuable skills and behaviours that are essential for successful HR careers and people management roles. The programme has been designed to reflect the Professional Areas and HR Behaviours identified on the CIPD's new HR Profession Map.

You will also gain skills in project and change management and leadership in uncertain times and via psychometric tests and assessments in the first module students will also enhance their personal effectiveness and influencing skills that are essential for HR practitioners.

Thesis/Dissertation/project work

During the programme you will have the opportunity to conduct an individual research led investigation into a business issue of your choice. The aim is to analyse and understand organisational issues and make evidence based people management recommendations that will drive organisational performance. If you decide to exit the programme at Postgraduate Diploma level you will conduct a 7000 word investigation into a business issue from an HR perspective or for the full MA in HRM you will be required to undertake an applied dissertation. This project work will be your main learning activity and assessment in the third semester.

Added value

  • CIPD accredited membership status on successful completion of the programme.
  • Enhancement of leadership and people management capabilities and competencies through skill workshops and residentials.
  • Teaching staff with a complementary blend of academic and HR practitioner experience to support student’s development as effective HR and people management practitioners.
  • Leadership and personal effectiveness development test and exercises with experienced SHL consultants and assessors.

Your future career

This programme will support you if you are seeking to develop a senior HR career or if you are seeking to develop your people management capabilities. On successful completion of the programme you will have a solid grounding in organisational analysis and change management issues, which will enable you to contribute to strategic activities within your organisations. The strong focus on providing experience in practical people management skills and the development of appropriate HR behaviours will enable and empower you to access senior HR and people management roles.

How we support you

On joining the programme you will have access to a dedicated programme team who will support you throughout your programme of study. This will start with a comprehensive induction to the programme and the learning resources available to you at UEL. The Programme Leader can be contacted throughout your programme of study if you wish to discuss any academic or non academic issues. They will seek to advise you on how to resolve issues and access specialist support and provide personnel tutorial and pastoral support. In addition during your applied project and/or dissertation, you will have a dedicated supervisor to provide guidance and assist you in formulating and developing your chosen research brief how will be able to provide dedicated academic support services to you. In addition to the extensive HRM related books and journals at UEL, as a student member of the CIPD you will also have extended access to the CIPDs library of HR materials and resources.

Bonus factors

  • Accredited CIPD membership
  • Exposure to industry practitioners through placements, research projects and guest speakers. 
  • Dedicated HR skills workshop that will develop your competence as an HR practitioner.
  • Psychometric tests and analysis with experienced SHL assessors.
  • A participative learning and networking environment with other HR practitioners and senior managers.


Programme aims and learning outcomes

What is this programme designed to achieve?

This programme is designed to give you the opportunity to:

  • Achieve a sound theoretical and conceptual grounding in Human Resource Management, including a systematic understanding of organisations and their context.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of contemporary issues in Human Resource Management and the validity of relevant published research, together with its implications for potential new people management practices.
  • Develop a range of personal and analytical skills, including effective communication and the ability to assume a variety of team and leadership roles.
  • Understand and proactively recognise how new knowledge can be applied to make effective people management interventions during change and for sustained performance.

What will you learn?

On successful completion of the programme students will:


  • Have a critical understanding of how business and HR strategies are shaped and influenced by internal and external environmental factors
  • Be able to critically evaluate major contemporary research and debates within the field of HRM
  • Be able to identify, analyse and make HR interventions to solve business problems

Thinking skills

  • Be able to synthesis knowledge and skills by applying appropriate HR research strategies and philosophies to organisational issues
  • Have developed skills in critical evaluation and reflection that will enhance their influencing  and negotiation capabilities within the workplace

Subject-Based Practical skills

  • Be able to analyse complex people management problems critically and rigorously and make evidenced based recommendations for business improvements
  • Have the ability for self directed learning and the ability to act autonomously by initiating and completing an independent project

Skills for life and work (general skills)

  • Interpret and analyse management information and make informed recommendations
  • Communicate effectively in writing and orally with a range of internal and external stakeholders
  • Have developed their capabilities of leadership and people management


The programme structure


All programmes are credit-rated to help you to understand the amount and level of study that is needed.

One credit is equal to 10 hours of directed study time (this includes everything you do e.g. lecture, seminar and private study).

Credits are assigned to one of 5 levels:

  • 0 - equivalent in standard to GCE 'A' level and is intended to prepare students for year one of an undergraduate degree programme
  • 1 - equivalent in standard to the first year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme
  • 2 - equivalent in standard to the second year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme
  • 3 - equivalent in standard to the third year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme
  • M - equivalent in standard to a Masters degree

Credit rating

The overall credit-rating of this programme is 180 for Masters

Typical duration

The programme will be run on a full-time and part-time basis. Full-time students will complete the programme in a year (three semesters). Part-time students will complete the programme in two years (six semesters). The modules are run in a sequential order so students will be able to move between the modes of delivery to accommodate changes to their financial or domestic arrangements. The structure of the teaching hours (1.30pm-9.00pm) reflects the practical and practitioner focus of the programme, as this allows for part-time students to study and work with minimal extraction costs to their companies and full-time students have the opportunity within their timetables for placement activities.

How the teaching year is divided

The teaching year is divided into two semesters of roughly equal length. A typical student registered in a full-time attendance mode will study two 30 credit modules per semester and a typical student registered in a part-time attendance mode will study one module per semester. The Applied Dissertation module will be undertaken during the summer period.

What you will study when

LevelUEL Module
Module TitleCreditStatus



HRM and Leadership in Context





Resourcing, Managing and Developing People





Employment Law and Regulations





Organisational Development and Research







Core (MA in HRM



MRR Module


Optional if exiting at PG Dip Level

Requirements for gaining an award

In order to gain a Postgraduate Diploma, you will need to obtain 120 credits at Level M

In order to obtain a Masters, you will need to obtain 180 credits atLevel M. These credits will include a 60 credit level M core module of advanced independent research.

Masters Award Classification

Where a student is eligible for an Masters award then the award classification is determined by calculating the arithmetic mean of all marks and applying the mark obtained as a percentage, with all decimals points rounded up to the nearest whole number, to the following classification

70% - 100%


60% - 69%


50% - 59%


0% - 49%

Not Passed

Further information

Masters students who do not achieve an aggregate of 50%, or do not achieve component threshold marks, will be reassessed in the module at the next reassessment point in all components achieving a mark of less than 50%.Component marks of 50% or more are carried forward to reassessment, which takes place in the summer reassessment period. Teaching, learning and assessment


Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching and learning

Key teaching and learning methods to address the learning outcomes:

Knowledge is developed through

  • Participative lectures and seminars
  • Independent research and reading
  • Skill based workshops

Thinking skills are developed through

  • Participative lectures and seminars
  • Online wiki discussion boards
  • Independent research and reading

Practical skills are developed through

  • Skills based workshops
  • Guest lectures from HR Directors

Skills for life and work (general skills) are developed through

  • Skills based workshops
  • Independent research and reading


Programme Assessment methods used to demonstrate the learning outcomes:

Knowledge is assessed by

  • Unseen examinations
  • Individual written assignment
  • Applied Dissertation

Thinking skills are assessed by

  • Unseen examination
  • Strategy Map and critical commentary on organisation
  • Critical literature review

Practical skills are assessed by

  • Croup activity – planning, designing and evaluating a short learning event
  • Role play and case study report
  • Group Presentation and individual reflective account

Skills for life and work (general skills) are assessed by

  • Research Progress Portfolio
  • CPD logs


How we assure the quality of this programme

Before this programme started

Before the programme started, the following was checked:

  • there would be enough qualified staff to teach the programme;
  • adequate resources would be in place;
  • the overall aims and objectives were appropriate;
  • the content of the programme met national benchmark requirements;
  • the programme met any professional/statutory body requirements;
  • the proposal met other internal quality criteria covering a range of issues such as admissions policy, teaching, learning  and assessment strategy and student support mechanisms.

This is done through a process of programme approval which involves consulting academic experts including some subject specialists from other institutions.

How we monitor the quality of this programme

The quality of this programme is monitored each year through evaluating:

  • external examiner reports (considering quality and standards);
  • statistical information (considering issues such as the pass rate);
  • student feedback.

Drawing on this and other information, programme teams undertake the annual Review and Enhancement Process which is co-ordinated at School level and includes student participation. The process is monitored by the Quality and Standards Committee.

Once every six years an in-depth review of the whole field is undertaken by a panel that includes at least two external subject specialists. The panel considers documents, looks at student work, speaks to current and former students and speaks to staff before drawing its conclusions. The result is a report highlighting good practice and identifying areas where action is needed.

The role of the programme committee

This programme has a programme committee comprising all relevant teaching staff, student representatives and others who make a contribution towards the effective operation of the programme (e.g. library/technician staff). The committee has responsibilities for the quality of the programme. It provides input into the operation of the Review and Enhancement Process and proposes changes to improve quality. The programme committee plays a critical role in the quality assurance procedures.

The role of external examiners

The standard of this programme is monitored by at least one external examiner. External examiners have two primary responsibilities:

  • To ensure the standard of the programme;
  • To ensure that justice is done to individual students.

External examiners fulfil these responsibilities in a variety of ways including:

  • Approving exam papers/assignments;
  • Attending assessment boards;
  • Reviewing samples of student work and moderating marks;
  • Ensuring that regulations are followed;
  • Providing feedback through an annual report that enables us to make improvements for the future.

Listening to the views of students

The following methods for gaining student feedback are used on this programme:

  • Module evaluations
  • Student representation on programme committees (meeting 2 times a year)
  • Discussions with the Programme Tutor and Module Tutors

Students are notified of the action taken through:

  • Circulating the minutes of the programme committee
  • Circulating the Programme REP reports a newsletter published three times a year
  • Providing details on module UEL Plus sites

Listening to the views of others

The following methods are used for gaining the views of other interested parties: List the methods that you use:

  • Consultation with members the RDBS Business Advisory Group.
  • Consultation with UEL International office
  • Consultation with UELs Alumni Office
  • Consultation with RDBS Employability Manager

Further Information

Where you can find further information

Further information about the programme is available from:

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