Best Online Ph.D. in Human Resources Programs

A Ph.D. in Human Resources is a top level of academic achievement in the field. Getting this degree could be highly beneficial for multiple professional and personal purposes. It can help you achieve higher job security and count on significant salary increases.

However, getting a Ph.D. in HR offline can be complicated. In-depth research and studies can interfere with your other activities and commitments. To enroll in an offline program offered by the university of your choice, you may have to relocate or make significant changes to your work schedule.

A simple way out of this predicament is to consider getting a Ph.D. in Human Resources online. Studying remotely can give you a chance to juggle work, personal commitments, and research without making drastic changes to your daily routine.

Let’s take a closer look at choosing the best online Ph.D. in Human Resources program.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Ph.D. in Human Resources Online

Pursuing a Ph.D. in Human Resources online can be an exciting and rewarding journey. However, before you opt for this education format, you need to consider several factors, including:


Before enrolling in an online Ph.D. program, check that the school you’ve chosen holds proper accreditation. Accreditation shows that the program meets rigorous academic standards. A degree from an accredited university will be recognized by employers and other academic institutions.

Time Commitment

Pursuing a Ph.D. in Human Resources is a significant commitment that requires dedication and excellent time management skills. The flexibility offered by online programs comes with the need to plan your studies. Before choosing the online option, you need to assess your availability.

Determine how many hours per week you can devote to coursework, research, and writing. Make sure to evaluate your work obligations, family responsibilities, and other commitments. This can help you understand which program intensity is suitable for you.

Many universities demand that you finish the program within a specific amount of time. Usually,t the maximum is seven years. If you can’t plan your studies to complete the program before then, you could lose the opportunity to get a Ph.D. at that school.

Program Structure and Curriculum

Evaluate the program’s structure to check whether it aligns with your research interests and career goals. Look for a comprehensive curriculum that covers key areas of human resources. For example:

  • Organizational behavior
  • Strategic management
  • Labor relations
  • Diversity and inclusion

Consider the availability of specialized courses that match your specific interests within the field.

Research Opportunities

A Ph.D. in Human Resources involves conducting original research and contributing to the existing body of knowledge in the field. Before choosing an online program, explore the research opportunities it can provide.

Consider the faculty’s expertise, ongoing research projects, and the institution’s resources. Do online students get the same type of access to databases, libraries, and research funding as offline students do? Does the program offer special opportunities solely for its online students?

Faculty Support and Mentorship

The guidance of experienced faculty members is highly important for a successful doctoral journey. Look for programs that emphasize faculty mentorship and have a strong roster of professors with expertise in your area of human resources.

Research their publications, backgrounds, and involvement in professional organizations to make sure these people can offer valuable guidance.

Professional Development

Although online programs offer flexibility, you still need to consider the networking and professional development opportunities they provide. Look for programs that offer virtual conferences, networking events, and connections with industry professionals.

Engaging with professionals in the field (even in a remote format) can enhance your learning experience and open doors to future collaborations.

Financial Considerations

Pursuing a Ph.D. is an investment, both in terms of time and finances. Research the tuition costs, financial aid options, and scholarships available for online Ph.D. programs. Contrary to a common misconception, online Ph.D. programs don’t cost less than their offline counterparts. The tuition is the same.

Consider how you will finance your education. Take the time to research fully-funded online Ph.D. programs in human resources.

Personal Motivation and Commitment

Finally, reflect on your personal motivation and commitment to earning a Ph.D.. Take a closer look at:

  • Your passion for research
  • Long-term career goals
  • Willingness to dedicate several years to this academic pursuit

A Ph.D. requires perseverance, self-discipline, and a genuine desire to contribute to the industry. While it can have a high ROI for some students, others may decide to choose another way to source knowledge.

Career Opportunities After Getting a Ph.D. in Human Resources Online

Earning a Ph.D. in Human Resources online opens up many interesting career opportunities. With this advanced degree, you become a highly sought-after professional with a chance to choose a position you prefer. Some of the examples include:

Academic Positions

One of the most common career paths for Ph.D. holders in Human Resources is academia. With a doctorate, you can pursue tenure-track positions as a professor or researcher in various educational institutions. You can contribute to the field through teaching, publishing research papers, and mentoring students.

Academic positions offer the opportunity for continuous learning and the chance to shape the future of HR.

HR Director or Manager

An online Ph.D. in Human Resources positions you for leadership roles within organizations. With your advanced knowledge, you can become an HR director or manager with responsibilities in overseeing the strategic development of HR practices.

These roles involve:

  • Managing employee relations
  • Talent acquisition
  • Managing compensation and benefits
  • Working with organizational development initiatives

As an HR leader, you can contribute to shaping the company culture and ensuring the well-being of employees.

Organizational Development Consultant

With a Ph.D. in HR, you can work as an organizational development consultant that helps companies improve their effectiveness and efficiency.

In this role, you collaborate with leadership teams to:

  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Develop training programs
  • Implement change management strategies

Organizational development consultants contribute to enhancing employee engagement, fostering a positive work culture, and supporting organizational growth.

Research and Policy Analyst

After completing your online Ph.D. in Human Resources, you can pursue careers as a research or policy analyst within government agencies, think tanks, or research institutions.

In these roles, you will:

  • Analyze HR trends
  • Conduct research studies
  • Provide evidence-based recommendations to inform HR policies and practices.

Research and policy analysts contribute to shaping HR practices at a broader level. They can do it by influencing labor laws, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and employee rights.

HR Consultant

Many organizations seek the expertise of HR consultants to address specific HR challenges. With an online Ph.D. in HR, you can work as an independent HR consultant. This professional offers such services as:

  • Talent management
  • Diversity and inclusion consulting
  • HR process optimization

As a consultant, you have the opportunity to work with many organizations across different industries. Your in-depth HR expertise will contribute to improving the workplace environment and positioning companies as employers of choice.

Training and Development Specialist

With your advanced knowledge of HR practices, you can work as a training and development specialist.

In this role, you can organize training programs, workshops, and seminars to enhance the skills of employees. Training and development specialists contribute to employee growth, improving performance, and fostering a culture of continuous learning.

Human Resources Researcher

With an online Ph.D. in HR, you can pursue a career as a researcher who conducts studies to advance the field of human resources. This can involve working in research institutions, think tanks, or even within organizations with dedicated research departments.

As a researcher, you contribute to the existing body of knowledge in HR, publish research papers, and present your findings at conferences.

Top Programs for Getting an Online Ph.D. in Human Resources

Pursuing an online Ph.D. in Human Resources is a complicated journey that can be simplified by choosing the best program for your needs. Any one of these online Ph.D. programs can become a great choice for students who want high-quality study and research opportunities.

Regent University

Regent University has a strong online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership – Human Resource Development program. This university is ranked as one of the top national educational institutions by the U.S. News & World Report 2023. The program offers all the necessary resources and faculty support to help students pursue careers in business and academia.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution or an equivalent degree from an overseas college or university
  • Unofficial transcripts from previously attended universities
  • Leadership essay or graduate degree paper
  • Resume

The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Bellevue University

Bellevue University offers an excellent opportunity to earn a Ph.D. in Human Capital Management. As part of this program students study emerging human capital-related theories, public policy, and constructs.

They implement knowledge of current and emerging quantitative and qualitative research methods, learn about social theories, and much more. The studies are fully conducted online.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Official transcripts for undergraduate and graduate studies
  • GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Five years of professional experience
  • TOEFL of at least 575 for foreign students
  • Resume
  • Personal statement

The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Liberty University

Liberty University provides its students an opportunity to become a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Human Resources. This flexible 100% online program provides excellent career and networking opportunities.

It has all the necessary resources and structure to network work peers, faculty, and other professionals in the field. The program puts an emphasis on business research methods and human resource development.

Admissions requirements:

  • Master’s degree from an accredited university
  • Official and unofficial transcripts from previously attended universities or colleges
  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation

The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

National University

National University has an excellent online Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Management (Ph.D.-HRM) program. This program allows online students to learn ways to apply quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. You will learn to work within a unionized environment, explore legal issues that affect the HR area, and study how to ensure diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Master’s or bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited educational institution
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher (exceptions are possible)
  • Official and unofficial transcripts
  • To learn about other requirements, you need to contact the admissions committee.

The school is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission

University of Arkansas

At the University of Arkansas, you have a chance to become a Doctor of Education in Human Resource Development by studying fully online. This program takes four years to complete, but you can do it within seven years.

Over the past years, the program provided advanced skills and knowledge to dozens of graduates from many countries. You will study organizational behavior, customer service, management development, quality management, and much more.

The university requires all applicants to pass the GRE and have a GPA of at least 3.0. Please contact the admissions committee about other requirements.

The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Is an Online Ph.D. in Human Resources Worth My Time?

Here are some things to consider when deciding whether an online Ph.D. in Human Resources is worth your time:

  • If you aspire to hold leadership positions or work in academia, a Ph.D. can enhance your qualifications and open up opportunities for career advancement.
  • A Ph.D. program allows you to explore areas of human resources that you like the most. It helps you to develop specialized knowledge and become an expert in your field
  • If you have a passion for research and want to make a meaningful contribution, an online Ph.D. can be a valuable pursuit.
  • Online Ph.D. programs offer flexibility, allowing you to balance your studies with other commitments.

However, it’s important to note that pursuing a Ph.D. requires a significant investment of time, effort, and financial resources. You need to carefully evaluate the reputation and accreditation of the online program you are considering and explore financial aid options.

If you are sure that an online Ph.D. in Human Resources is the right decision for you, this endeavor can turn into an exciting and fulfilling journey.