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Master of Science in Human Resource Development Curriculum

Students in Villanova University’s online HR master’s program must complete 12 required classes for a total of 36 credit hours. Those who enroll in consecutive terms can earn their degree in less than two years. Students may apply for a waiver for up to six credit hours if they have one or more years of HR experience or by including an academic writing sample with their application. At Villanova’s discretion, a maximum of six credit hours may be transferred from another accredited university.

All students in the program must also successfully complete a Capstone Experience in order to complete their degree requirements. Student may choose from one of the three options:

  1. Pass the SHRM Certification Exam (SHRM-CPTM/SHRM-SCPTM), SHRM Assurance of Learning Assessment, or the HRCI Certification Exam (PHR®/SPHR®/GPHR®).
  2. Pass the VU MSHRD departmental written comprehensive exam.
  3. Complete an experiential project, fulfilled in conjunction with an HR internship or a work project proposal.

You do not have to wait until the end of your degree program to take any of these tests, so plan ahead and schedule accordingly.

The Master of Science in Human Resource Development (36 Credits):

Course Number Course Title Credits
HRD 8101 Introduction to HR in the Business World

Students may apply for a waiver of HRD 8101 Introduction to HR in the Business World course if they have one or more years of HR experience.

HRD 8102 Critical Evaluation and Research Writing

Students may apply for a waiver of HRD 8102 Critical Evaluation & Research Writing course by including an academic writing sample with their application.

HRD 8419 Foundations of Strategic Human Resources 3
PSY 8875 Organization Development 3
HRD 8006 HR Analytics 3
HRD 8213 Total Rewards: Benefits 3
PSY 8475 Training and Development 3
HRD 8212 Total Rewards: Compensation 3
HRD 8215 Employment Law 3
HRD 8214 HR Technology 3
HRD 8003 Financial and Human Capital 3
HRD 8210 Strategic Workforce Planning  3
Total: 36

Note: All courses are subject to change.

We encourage students to take one of the professional certification examinations because this credential is recognized by employers: the SHRM-CPTM/SHRM-SCPTM, administered by the Society for Human Resource Management ( or PHR®/SPHR®/GPHR®, administered by Human Resources Certification Institute ( Students should apply for the exam that matches their eligibility.

  • SHRM Assurance of Learning Assessment:

    (This option will no longer be available after the Spring exam period, ending July 15, 2017).

  • SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP Certification Exam – Students seeking SHRM-CPTM or SHRM-SCPTM exam preparation may wish to register for Villanova’s Human Resource Management course, which is available as a standalone certificate class or as part of a three-course certificate program. This 12-week online course prepares students for the latest SHRM-CPTM and SHRM-SCPTM certification exams through streaming video lectures and valuable study materials, including a complete set of the SHRM Learning System® textbooks plus 18 months of online access to practice exams, case studies and more. Human Resource Management is a non-credit course and does not count toward the 36 credit hours required for graduation. However, students who take the course will receive a framed certificate of achievement upon completion. In addition to fulfilling the comprehensive exam requirement, SHRM-CPTM or SHRM-SCPTM certification is a valuable addition to your résumé – it can distinguish you as a leader in the HR industry and can help advance your career and increase your salary. For more information on exam preparation, refer to the Human Resource Management certificate course page. For details on the certification exams, visit
  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR®), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®) or Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR®) Certification Exam – Those who already hold PHR, SPHR or GPHR certification may submit a copy of their certificate to bypass this final requirement. The certification exam can be taken at any time before, during or after a student’s enrollment in Villanova’s online graduate courses. For details on the certification exams, visit After you have successfully completed these courses, please contact Villanova's HRD program administrator to request Program ID numbers at for your recertification forms.

  • Students may choose to take the HRD departmental written comprehensive exam to satisfy the requirement. Students who have completed 24 credits in the program and who have above a 3.0 GPA are eligible to set for the departmental written comprehensive exam.

VA Benefit Eligibility: Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Web Enabled Approval Management System (WEAMS) to view which programs of study or courses are currently certified. Benefit certification depends upon your VA determined eligibility, enrollment status and certified program of study.