Dissertation (HRM)

This is the final module in the MSc in Human Resource Management (HRM) and combines research method skills and dissertation writing, enabling you to demonstrate the research skills expected at masters level. These include the ability to: formulate a research problem; review relevant literature; design research to address the problem; collect and analyse data; and communicate findings and conclusions effectively in writing. The module is a 12-month course which requires you to carry out a research project in HRM and write a dissertation. Throughout the module you will be supported by a tutor and will be allocated to a small tutor group of approximately five students.

Vocational relevance

The module provides you with an opportunity to carry out a research project which has relevance for business and HR practice.


B804 is a compulsory module in our:

  • MSc in Human Resource Management (F68)
This qualification is no longer available to new students.


Module 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.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

What you will study

The module is organised into the following five stages and each stage supports the drafting of different parts or chapters of the dissertation:

  • Stage 1 - Preparing for your dissertation and starting your research
  • Stage 2 - Reviewing the literature and refining your research ideas and question(s) 
  • Stage 3 - Research methodology: Research approach, design, and methods 
  • Stage 4 - Carrying out your research and analysing your data 
  • Stage 5 - Completing, Writing Up and Concluding. 

Each stage will include learning material that will support the carrying out of the research and the writing of the dissertation. Some stages will provide detailed material, while others require greater independent work and thus are shorter in learning content. Stage 2 and 3 are the two stages that provide the largest volume of taught material. Greater independence and self-study are expected in Stages 4 and 5. 

At the end of your dissertation, you'll have to include a reflective account. This element is a requirement of the MSc in Human Resource Management and is also a CIPD requirement. It fits into the notions of the reflective practitioner, whereby effective HR professionals consciously reflect upon, and learn from, their work-related experiences. To this end, the reflective account supports the development of the professional skills encouraged throughout the previous modules. 

The final end-of-module assessment submission will include the dissertation and, for those seeking CIPD membership, it will also include the updated Continuous Professional Development (CPD) plan and record.

As well as the module website there are various other resources available to you. The set book Business Research Methods by Bryman and Bell provides thorough guidance on how to design and carry out business and management research projects. It's likely to be particularly useful as a resource when you are thinking about the particular methods of data collection and analysis that you want to use. It also provides some guidance on a range of relevant topics such as planning a research project, reviewing the literature, research ethics and writing up research. As you are reading articles for your literature review, you'll also find it is a useful reference book to look up topics if there are methods and techniques you are not familiar with.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor, who'll also be your research supervisor, to help you work through the study programme and mark and comment on your written work, and your contact for advice and guidance. You can contact your tutor by telephone, email or via your tutor group forum on the B804 website.

The B804 website enables you to have online interaction with your tutor and other students studying the same module. We will offer online tuition. Your tutor group is much smaller than the other modules, in fact each tutor will supervise only four students in order to guide them more thoroughly during their research study.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

This module is assessed by four tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) before submitting the final end of module assessment (EMA), which is the dissertation itself. The TMAs are essentially drafts of dissertation chapters, and so build towards your final dissertation. The TMAs are formative (that is to say they don’t carry any marks) but compulsory; you must submit them in order to pass the module. Their purpose is to enable you set out your ideas and get feedback from your supervisor.

Professional recognition

This module is part of a qualification recognised and approved by Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). It demonstrates the acquisition of professional knowledge and competence and covers the CIPD module 7IBB.  Please contact Credit Transfer if you wish to convert your CIPD award into a MSc.

Course work includes

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

Future availability

Dissertation (HRM) starts once a year – in November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2023 when we expect it to start for the last time. A replacement module is planned for November 2024.


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

Entry requirements

This is a compulsory module in the MSc in Human Resource Management and will be the final module that you study. The module requires 600 hours of study over 12 months.

You must have studied the compulsory modules The human resource professional (B863) and Human resource management in context (B864) and it is recommended that you complete your optional modules before taking this module.

If you have completed a CIPD diploma elsewhere you can take this module in order to gain a CIPD validated MSc in Human Resource Management.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of this module and best time to start, please speak to an adviser.


Start End England fee Register
04 Nov 2023 Oct 2024 £3550.00

Registration closes 12/10/23 (places subject to availability)

November 2023 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

Future availability

Dissertation (HRM) starts once a year – in November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2023 when we expect it to start for the last time. A replacement module is planned for November 2024.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

Ways to pay for this module

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

Study materials

What's included

Online study units and other web-based materials, including the B804 website, the study guide, online discussion forums, the set book. In addition, you have podcasts, interviews, extensive electronic journal articles and access to the full electronic resources of the OU library.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future. 

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.

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