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Postgraduate Certificate in Human Resource Management

The qualification is designed to provide you with specialist skills, knowledge and capabilities in human resource management. You’ll begin by examining the research and theory about the work of HR professionals and develop the skills needed to work as an effective HR professional. You’ll progress to exploring the contexts within which HR strategies and policies are developed and the implications of adopting the different strategies to an organisation. You’ll also gain training in academic and research skills as preparation for further study and research in the field of human resource management.

Key features of the course

  • Gain an understanding of the HR professional’s role, addressing ethical dilemmas, inclusivity, diversity and sustainable HR management.
  • Develop essential people management skills such as interviewing, training, and managing performance.
  • Learn to address business and change management issues and work at a strategic level in the organisation.
  • Gain an understanding of organisational strategies in relation to HR issues such as employee relations and employee engagement.
This certificate is the first stage of a study programme that progresses to the postgraduate diploma and finally the MSc in Human Resource Management.


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 year
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


To gain this qualification, you need 60 credits and we recommend that you study the modules in the following order:

The role of the human resource professional (B810)

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

See full description

30 04 Nov 2023
Human resource management in context (B811)

This module examines how HR policies and practices operate within economic, political and social contexts at organisational, societal and international levels.

See full description

30 06 May 2023

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 20 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

If you later choose to progress to the Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management (E87) or MSc in Human Resource Management (F93) you are advised to register for a higher-level award in the first instance. The MSc in Human Resource Management is the only qualification which provides a route to CIPD Membership.

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 more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Postgraduate Certificate in Human Resource Management. You’ll be entitled to use the letters PG Cert HRM (Open) after your name.

You can progress from this Postgraduate Certificate in Human Resource Management to our Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management (E87) or our Masters in Human Resource Management (F93).


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. 

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 14 March 2023.

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.

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.

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.

How long it takes

Most students will study this qualification in two years by studying one 30-credit module a year, based on approximately 12–13 hours of study a week for each module. The minimum time to complete is one year, the maximum time to complete is four years.

Career relevance

This qualification provides knowledge and skills relevant to HR practice in the workplace. It will also provide training in academic skills that will prepare you for future study in the field of human resource 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 your organisation.

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