USU Adds Online HR Master’s Degree –

Utah State University wanted to reach a broader audience outside of the State of Utah, which is why the school is launching its online Master of Science in Human Resources.

The new MSHR program, which was previously offered on-campus and in a broadcast format, will encourage students to explore the objectives of a firm. Offered through USU’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, the online MSHR can be completed in one year. Previously, students taking the broadcast format had to come to the Salt Lake City campus every Friday night and Saturday morning and it took two years to complete the program.

“We’re one of the few schools nationwide whose program meets all of the guidelines of the Society for Human Resource Management,” said Steve Hanks, USU’s director of graduate studies for human resources. “It’s competency-based and in addition to teaching theory, many of the courses involve projects, so students do more than just study theory and take tests.”

Students pursuing this degree program will take 12, seven-week courses covering various topics, including employment law, talent acquisition and retention, organizational behavior, remediation and negotiation, human resource strategy, and human resource analytics.

“Our focus in HR is enterprise. We want businesses to make sure they have the right talent in the right place at the right time, and we want them to know how to build the right organization systems and processes,” Hanks said. “I think that’s where the entrepreneurial spirit comes into our program. We’re about business and driving business performance.”

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Hanks said the program will include plenty of faculty involvement.

“We have a faculty in tune with adult learners, both on and off campus. There are a lot of business programs that have only one or two HR faculty and we have 10 engaged in this program,” he said. “I think the passion and caring of the faculty is really the hallmark of our program. Each course will have a designated coach, in addition to a faculty member, who will work with students on any challenges or concerns.”

The school is currently enrolling its first set of students in the program, for which classes begin March 4.

“Our market for graduates of this program has remained pretty stable throughout the recession,” Hanks said. “Our economy is moving from a manufactured-based economy to a knowledge-based economy. Companies recognize that their competitiveness is based on talent, and when companies recognize that, human resources becomes really critical in that process.”

Hanks said the school hopes to see an enrollment of 100 students in the first year of the program.

“By delivering world-class education to a broader audience, we can make a difference to those that want to take their career to the next level,” he said.

USU, which has offered distance education for more than 25 years, also offers online bachelor’s degrees in agribusiness and economics.

USU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business’s programs in business and accounting are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

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