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MSc in Human Resources Management - Learning Outcomes

Educational aims

The MSc in Human Resource Management provides you with a masters-level educational experience in the specialist area of human resource management.

The key objectives of the qualification are to:

  • enable you to understand the role of the HR professional, the nature of professionalism and approaches to addressing ethical dilemmas
  • provide you with the skills and understanding needed to address business and change management issues and to work at a strategic level in the organisation
  • provide you with the skills and understanding needed to develop specific organisational strategies in relation to HR issues such as employee relations, employee engagement, learning and development, employee resourcing and talent management
  • provide you with the skills to conduct research into business and management issues from a human resources management perspective
  • provide you with the skills to assess the relevance of theory for practice and apply it where appropriate to improve practice
  • develop people management skills essential for HR work such as: selection interviewing; appraisal interviewing; disciplinary interviewing; delivering training; making presentations; project management and managing performance.

Learning outcomes

The qualification provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the role of the HR professional, the nature of professionalism and approaches to addressing ethical dilemmas
  • organisational theory and behaviour, including the future of organisations and the management of change, and their relevance for the choices made about human resource management strategy
  • the impact of the external context on the choices made about human resource management strategy; this includes globalisation and international forces, social and technological change and government policies and regulation
  • the leadership management and development of people within the organisation
  • employee relations and employee engagement strategies, learning and development strategies and interventions and employee resourcing and talent management.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this degree you will be able to:

  • access and evaluate relevant published research and information across a range of areas relevant to the management and development of people in organisations
  • assess the relevance of theory for practice and apply it where appropriate to improve practice
  • develop and justify original arguments and reference the work of others.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this degree you will be able to:

  • lead and influence others effectively
  • learn through reflection on practice and experience
  • recognise ethical issues and use professional and ethical values to address these
  • conduct research into business and management issues from a human resource management perspective, using digital information technologies as articulated in the Digital Information Literacy Levels Framework.
  • demonstrate people management skills essential for HR work such as: selection interviewing; appraisal interviewing; disciplinary interviewing; delivering training; making presentations; project management and managing performance
  • interpret financial information and manage financial resources
  • manage and communicate information using IT applications and software packages, in accordance with the requirements of the Digital Information Literacy Levels Framework.

Key skills

On completion of this degree you will be able to:

  • communicate effectively, orally and in writing, using a range of media and including writing assignments and business reports
  • demonstrate self-awareness and the ability to reflect on experience and to plan and carry out continuous personal development
  • manage interpersonal relationships, demonstrate sensitivity to diversity and perform effectively in a team environment
  • use information technology effectively in communicating and working collaboratively with others, and in accessing and managing information in accordance with the requirements of the Digital Information Literacy Levels Framework.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

The overall teaching across the qualification will offer an integrated learning experience. This will include study of materials supplied by the OU, online tuition provided by the tutor, activities including reflective practice, practical exercises, literature review and critiquing and collaborations with other students and finally continuous and end-of-module assessment.

The study materials will include a range of specially written materials, case studies, original texts, study guides and assignments and multi-media material.

You will be expected to engage in range of activities including reading texts, solving numerical problems and scenarios, researching and using relevant literature on contemporary issues and applying theories to practical situations

Your tutor is your first point of contact and they will communicate with you via a tutor group forum. They will answer questions on materials and mark assignments.

You will be allocated a specialist HR tutor who will present online tutorials and online activities, give advice and guidance and assess assignments.

Knowledge and understanding will be assessed through examinations, assessed assignments and online collaborative activities. The dissertation module will provide training in research skills and will be assessed through a 10-15,000 word dissertation. The dissertation will be an independent piece of academic or applied research that will provide opportunity for you to develop and demonstrate research skills, and to develop deeper understanding of one or more parts of the curriculum.

Cognitive and practical skills are developed through a range of activities in each module. Case studies allow you to engage with human resource management issues in a range of contexts, and these will include international case studies. You will be prompted throughout the modules to search for and retrieve information in a digital environment, and will be given guidance on the use of databases. Online discussions and assessment activities will help you to develop and demonstrate critical thinking about the application of theory to practice.

Self-awareness, reflective learning and continuous professional development will be introduced in compulsory modules of B863 and B864  and you will be expected to keep a portfolio which will evidence your development of these skills. Further development of these skills will be a continuing theme throughout the programme. Guidance on communication skills will be provided in study materials, and they will be further developed through written assessments and online discussion forums. You will work collaboratively online with colleagues in activities which will contribute to module assessments.

Human resource management residential school (BXR868)

This module is only required if you are seeking Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) accreditation of this qualification. This residential school will give you the opportunity to practise and receive feedback on the skills introduced in the human resource management (HRM) modules: The role of the human resource professional (B863), Human resource management in context (B864), Employment relations and employee engagement (B866) and Workplace learning with coaching and mentoring (B867).

The residential school is available to register on once you have successfully completed B863 and B864. The residential school is offered in two formats; a three day face-to-face residential school or as an online alternative residential school where there is daily contact over an 18-day period that includes some real-time synchronous tutorials which students are expected to participate in. The learning objectives and outcomes are related to professional skill development and are complementary to the learning outcomes of the HRM modules.

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