MSHRD student studying in the library

The Master of Science in Human Resource Development (MSHRD) degree is a generalist program that provides students with a comprehensive overview of the HR field. The courses provide a practical environment where students have the opportunity to perform many of the business activities that practitioners regularly encounter.

Students may choose to study the MSHRD in either an on-campus or online format, and you can choose your course modality each term based on your needs and schedule. At Villanova, we value learning together, that's why even our online courses are synchronous, meaning you will meet live virtually each week with your instructor and classmates.


The Master of Science in HRD is a 36 credit program, of which 27 credits are required courses. Students take an additional 9 credits in electives. Some students are eligible to have the 6 credits of prerequisite courses waived (see below). Students must either complete or receive waivers for the two prerequisite courses (3 credits each) prior to beginning the MSHRD program. All 3-credit courses are 8 weeks, and 1.5 credit courses are 4 weeks. Students also complete a capstone experience prior to graduating. The current tuition rate is $940 per credit plus a general semester fee of $50, totaling approximately $34,000.  

View the Course Catalog for descriptions of courses.

Prerequisite Courses (3 credits each)

With one or more years of HR experience, students are eligible to waive the Intro to HR in the Business World course. With prior research writing experience, students are eligible to waive the Evidence-Based HR Principles course. 

  • HRD 8101: Introduction to HR in the Business World
  • HRD 8102: Evidence-Based HR Principles

Total Credits of Prerequisite Courses: 6

Required Courses (3 credits each)

  • HRD 8419: Foundations of Strategic HR
  • HRD 8003: Financial & Human Capital
  • HRD 8215: Employment Law
  • HRD 8210: Strategic Workforce Planning
  • PSY 8475: Training & Development
  • PSY 8875: Organization Development
  • HRD 8006: People Analytics

Total Credits of Required Courses: 21

Elective Courses (9 credits)

The HRD Department offers both 1.5-credit and 3-credit elective courses to complete 9 credits of electives. Not all electives are currently available online. 

3-Credit Electives

  • HRD 8212: Total Rewards - Compensation
  • HRD 8213: Total Rewards - Benefits
  • HRD 8214: HR Technology
  • HRD 8421: Diversity in a Global Economy
  • PSY 8425: Organizational Behavior
  • HRD 8420: Strategic & Global HR Leadership
  • HRD 8007: Quantitative & Qualitative Research Methods (6-credit course/16 weeks)

1.5-Credit Electives (4 week courses)

  • HRD 8345: Relational Capital
  • HRD 8303: Ethics
  • HRD 8304: Emotional Intelligence
  • HRD 8305: Cult Comp, Equity & Social Justice
  • HRD 8306: Measure I&D Initiatives&Effect
  • HRD 8307: Work, Family&Career Considerations
  • HRD 8899: Contemporary Special Topics in HR

Total Credits of Elective Courses: 9

Total Program: 36 credits

To utilize evidence-based HR expertise to support the organization’s strategic goals

  • Use evidence-based HR expertise to set the strategic direction of the HR function necessary for pursuing organizational goals and maintaining a satisfied and engaged workforce.
  • Establish practices and initiatives that allow the organization to meet its talent needs, enhance the capabilities of employees, promote positive relationships, develop a total rewards program and leverage HR functions.
  • Deploy evidence-based interventions to facilitate organizational change and development initiatives.
  • Manage organizational risks and threats to the safety of employees and comply with applicable laws and regulations.

To lead, empower, and support the growth of people through meaningful work experiences

  • Prepare HR professionals to foster enriched work environments, open communications, and to build and maintain professional relationships. 
  • Personalize leadership approaches to positively impact employees’ work experiences.
  • Empower emerging HR leaders to actively engage in complex situations to execute the business goals within an ethical environment.  of employees and comply with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Understand how to facilitate organizations contributing to the well-being and betterment of their communities.

To integrate diversity and inclusion into HR practices and initiatives

  • Cultivate inclusive work environments regardless of employees’ culture, ethnicity, and personal background or lifestyle.
  • Enable HR professionals to develop a diversity-oriented mindset as a professional trait.
  • Create strategies that are adjusted to different cultural backgrounds and international environments.

To create a team-oriented mindset and the highest levels of professionalism

  • Create and maintain a network of professional contacts.
  • Build and maintain professional relationships.
  • Work as an effective member of a team.

To cultivate analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills

  • Develop an ability to source, analyze, and understand the meaning of scientific research, organizational data, professional expertise and stakeholder perspectives.
  • Cultivate an ability to evaluate organizational data to accurately understand key drivers of business and HR strategy.
  • Assimilate the data in an organizational context to generate recommendations and effective solutions.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Statement of Goals
  • Academic writing sample*


  • *Students may apply for a waiver of the HRD 8102: Principles of Evidence-Based HR course by including an academic writing sample that is a single authored research paper using APA citation, and/or having earned a B or better in a research methods class within 6 years from an accredited undergraduate institution with their application.
  • Students may apply for a waiver of the HRD 8101: Intro to HR in the Business World if they have one or more years of HR work experience.

Below a 3.0 Undergraduate GPA

Students with below a 3.0 undergraduate GPA are considered for admission based on work history, GRE/GMAT scores, or other demonstration of ability to handle graduate level work. Please contact the HRD office to discuss your individual situation.

See application details and begin your application.



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Human Resource Development
St. Mary's Hall, Suite 119
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085 

Questions about your application? Email


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New courses begin every eight weeks.

Fall I 2023

  • Application Due - July 26
  • Term Starts - Aug. 28

Fall II 2023

  • Application Due - Sept. 20
  • Term Starts - Oct. 23

Spring I 2024

  • Application Due - Dec. 10
  • Term Starts - Jan. 22

Spring II 2024

  • Application Due - Feb. 14
  • Term Starts - March 18

Summer I 2024

  • Application Due - April 10
  • Term Starts - May 13

Summer II 2024

  • Application Due - June 5
  • Term Starts - July 1

Fall I 2024

  • Application Due - July 24
  • Term Starts - Aug. 26

Fall II 2024

  • Application Due - Sept. 18
  • Term Starts - Oct. 21

Questions about your application? Email us!

Begin your application.

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