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Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management

This qualification is suitable for those at the start of a career in human resources (HR) or hoping to enter the HR profession and for line managers.  This diploma will deepen your understanding of HR management and strategy, while building the specialist skills essential for practitioners. You will address business and change management issues and work at a strategic level; and explore issues such as employee relations, employee engagement, learning and development, employee resourcing and talent management. There is a strong emphasis on practice-based learning, and you will examine international and comparative practice – preparing you for work in the global economy. You will also evaluate the relevance of research and theory in relation to practice improvement.

Key features of the course

  • Suitable for those at the start of their HR career or aspiring to enter the HR profession
  • Explores the role of the HR professional, the nature of professionalism and approaches to addressing ethical dilemmas
  • Develops people management skills such as interviewing, coaching, managing conflict and managing performance
  • Prepares you for further study, such as the MSc in Human Resource Management. 
This diploma provides a route to professional membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Students following the CIPD route are expected to be student members of CIPD throughout their studies and attend the Human resource management residential school.  


Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
1–5 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


You should study the modules in the order shown. If you want to use this diploma as a route to membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), you will need to study Managing research in the workplace (B865) and attend the HR management residential school (BXR868).  

To gain this qualification, you need 120 credits as follows:

60 credits of compulsory modules:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
The human resource professional (B863)

This module provides an introduction to the various requirements of a human resource professional in an organisation. 

See full description

30 02 Nov 2019
Human resource management in context (B864)

This module examines how HR policies and practices operate at macro (societal and international) and micro (organisational) levels, incorporating resourcing and talent management as examples of HR practice.

See full description

30 04 May 2019

60 credits from this list:

Optional modules Credits Next start
Managing research in the workplace (B865)

This module provides students with an introduction to research skills in order for them to complete a live, work-related research project.

See full description

30 02 Nov 2019 FINAL
Employment relations and employee engagement (B866)

This module explores employment relations strategies in national and international contexts and the associated impacts on employee engagement, as well as the management of change, diversity and conflict.

See full description

30 02 Nov 2019
Workplace learning with coaching and mentoring (B867)

This module explores learning and talent development at strategic and operational levels and provides an opportunity to develop coaching and mentoring skills.

See full description

30 04 May 2019

For CIPD recognition of this qualification:

The Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management is complemented by a residential school that 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 time over an extended time period. The schools provide an additional a three day residential school that provides an additional opportunity to practise and receive feedback on HR skills. The residential school is compulsory for those seeking CIPD membership and is optional for all other students. 

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Human resource management residential school (BXR868)

A residential school only module in human resource management that is required for CIPD accreditation of both the Postgraduate Diploma and the MSc in Human Resource Management.

See full description

0 04 May 2019

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 8th June 2018.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

If you’ve successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you might be able to count it towards this qualification, reducing the number of modules you need to study. You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit  our Credit Transfer website.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you will be awarded the qualification of Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management entitling you to use PgDip HRM (Open) after your name.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Entry requirements

You must hold a bachelors degree awarded by a recognised UK university, or equivalent. Please contact us if you hold a qualification that you believe is an equivalent level to a UK degree, to ensure that it meets the requirements for admission.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 6.5 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.

You will need to be able to draw on experience of working in or with organisations. This experience can be drawn from a wide range of situations such as employment in public and private sector organisations and in self-employed or voluntary roles.

How long it takes

Most students study this qualification in two years by studying two modules a year. The minimum time to complete is one year, the maximum time to complete is five years.

To complete this qualification in one year, you will need to commence study in November of any given year with The human resource manager (B863). Alongside B863 you will need to study Employment relations and employee engagement (B866). In the following May you would then need to study Workplace learning with coaching and mentoring (B867) alongside Human resource management in context (B864). Note that Managing research in the workplace (B865) is not available as part of the one year pathway as study of this module, alongside B863 or B864, is not allowed. The absence of B865 in the one year pathway also means that a one year CIPD-accredited qualification is not available.

Career relevance

This qualification will provide a route to professional membership of the CIPD if you wish to develop a career in HR management. It will also provide training in research and academic skills if you want to develop an academic career in the field of HR management.

More generally, by studying a postgraduate business qualification you can expect your salary to increase and for it to have a positive impact on your career progression, as well as bringing improvements to their organisation.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.