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Psychology Career Path: Human Resource Management

Potential Career Paths

  • Director of Human Resources (M.A., MBA)
  • Director of Personnel (M.A., MBA)
  • Human Resource Assistant or Manager (B.A.)

Potential Graduate Programs

  • Human Resources Management (M.A.)
  • Industrial & Labor Relations (M.A.)
  • Business Administration (MBA)

Action Steps for Students

To become more involved in human resource management or learn about the profession, here is what students can do:

  1. Visit the Society for Human Resource Management to learn more about careers in this field.
  2. Obtain work in a relevant business setting.
  3. Schedule a meeting with a human resource manager to discuss the profession.

What is Human Resource Management?

Human resource management is the strategic approach to the management of an organization’s most valued assets — employees. The overall goal of human resource management is to help an organization to meet its goals by attracting and maintaining employees, as well as managing them effectively. Today’s human resource professionals may be involved in any number of critical organizational functions such as hiring, training, and developing policies and procedures, as well as working in key areas such as compensation, benefits, employee and labor relations, human resource development, employment law, staffing, and professionalizing human resources. They are often employed in corporations, government agencies, unions, and other public or private organizations.

Individuals can enter the field of human resource management without specialized training or an advanced degree. Students interested in the field should complete coursework in social sciences and business that they find interesting and that helps them to develop certain critical skills. The psychology human resources track has been developed with these recommendations in mind.

Once a student completes his or her bachelor’s degree, the student may obtain a position in a business or organization in management, human resources management, or development. Alternatively, a student might attend a master’s degree program in a business school. Additionally, one may seek certification as a Professional in Human Resource Management (PHR).

The purpose of the Human Resource Management track is to provide students with a comprehensive background in psychology while ensuring that students who want to become human resource specialists complete the coursework necessary for graduate programs or careers in Human Resource Management.

Undergraduate Course Requirements

Students who are interested in pursuing a career in human resources should be sure to work with an adviser to develop an academic plan that is tailored to their interests. The plan should lead to the completion of coursework that is useful for employment in an entry-level job in human resources or for admission to a graduate program in human resources.

University and College Requirements

In addition to the suggestions for the human resource management track, be sure to complete all other university and college requirements, including the foreign language requirement.

The center staff recommend beginning the foreign language requirement in the first year. NOTE: Students may begin with a class higher than 1110 depending on foreign language placement test results. It is possible to place out of the foreign language requirement. Therefore, it is recommended that students take the placement test for any foreign language completed in high school.

Required Courses in Psychology

The following courses are highly recommended for students planning on pursuing a graduate degree in the human resources field:

  • PSY 2720 Psychology of Personality (3)
  • PSY 3120 Tests and Measurement (3)
  • PSY 3420 Adulthood & Aging (3)
  • PSY 3440 Psychology of Gender (3)
  • PSY 3510 Motivation (3)
  • PSY 3610 Industrial & Organizational Psychology (3)
  • PSY 3620 Advanced Organizational Psychology (3)
  • PSY 3630 Personnel Psychology (3)

Additional Coursework

Students should consider completing additional relevant coursework, including courses in oral communication (School of Communication), written communication (English Department), social behavior (Sociology Department), organizational behavior (Management Department), economics (Economics Department), and labor law (Political Science Department). Students should consult with an adviser to develop a curricular plan tailored to their needs and interests.

Business Minor

A business minor is not required for students who wish to enter human resources, but an understanding of business is desirable, especially for those students who expect to be employed in a business setting following completion of their degree. A total of 15 credit hours and a 2.0 GPA are required for the business minor. Note: Non-business majors are limited to 29 hours of coursework in the College of Business.

Human Resources Management Certificate

With the Ohio University Human Resources Certificate from the College of Business, you will learn how to work effectively on project teams, succeed in complex assignments, and meet strategic and operational objectives.

Human Resource Management

Whether or not students complete the business minor, they should consider coursework in management and human resource management, including any of the following courses:

  • MGT 2000 Intro to Management (3)
  • MGT 3300 Human Resource Management (3)
  • MGT 3400 Organizational Behavior (3)
  • MGT 3500 Theories of Organizational Effectiveness (3)
  • MGT 4300 Managing Employee Relations (3)
  • MGT 4420 Gender Issues in Management (3)

Note: Be sure to check prerequisites for all coursework.

Fieldwork and Research in Psychology

It is highly recommended that students interested in human resource management participate in research in a psychology lab and engage in fieldwork in settings related to the student’s particular area of interest.


If possible, students should arrange to complete an internship with a suitable organization.