The Management and Human Resource Management MSc will equip you with the knowledge and practical skills to prepare you for managerial roles, with a specific focus on the Human Resource Management (HRM) function. It will enable you to progress into a HRM role upon graduation.

This Human Resource Management master’s course shares course content, including modules and other course activities, with our top-ranked Management MSc course, which is ranked 3rd in the UK and 30th in the world in The Economist Which MBA? Masters in Management (MiM) 2019 ranking.


  • Start dateSeptember 2021
  • Duration12 months
  • DeliveryTaught modules 60%, MSc thesis project 40%
  • QualificationMSc
  • Study typeFull-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is it for?

  • Graduates with a desire to develop their knowledge and skills in human resource management before seeking their first professional role.
  • Early career professionals who want to take on roles in human resource management.
  • Professionals with work experience in human resource management who are seeking to take their career to the next level.

Why this course?

  • Cranfield School of Management consistently performs well in international business rankings. We are 7th in the UK in the Financial Times European Business Schools 2019 Rankings.
  • Our approach to teaching is designed to nurture your practical business skills and confidence, and places huge emphasis on real-world challenges.
  • Our MSc will prepare you for a human resource management role, through a combination of studying theory and learning through practical work.
  • You will learn about the management of organisations, focusing in particular on the management of human resources, and the changing external environment in which they operate.
  • You will develop your knowledge and skills in human resource management, develop your self-awareness and undergo personal development.
  • You will develop the ability to apply concepts and theories to complex management situations, both systematically and creatively, which will enable you to add value to any future employer.
  • Finally, you will enhance your lifelong learning through the development of transferable intellectual and study skills.

Informed by Industry

An external advisory panel informs the design and development of the course, and comprises senior management practitioners, reinforcing its relevance to the modern business world. Many of our faculty have held senior positions in industry and continue to engage with industry through consultancy and teaching. They are also supported by a team of international visiting industry speakers and professors who bring the latest thinking and best practice into the classroom.

Course details

The course comprises 13 modules and an individual thesis project. Four modules focus specifically on human resource management issues and nine deal with general management principles relevant to human resource management practice. The first HRM module is a general introduction to the subject and this is then followed by specialist modules on Performance Management and Reward, Talent Sourcing and Career Management and Employment Relations and Engagement.

Course delivery

Taught modules 60%, MSc thesis project 40%

Individual project

You will undertake an empirical research project for your individual thesis based on a HRM topic. This will enable you to apply the knowledge and skills you have learnt during the course. It also provides the opportunity to work on a piece of original research and will involve undertaking a research project with an industrial partner on a real-world challenge.

Course modules

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course.

Marketing Management

Module Leader
  • Dr Ahmed Shaalan

    A crucial competence for general managers is an understanding of marketing strategy: in simple terms, analysing how a marketplace of customers can be divided into segments, which of these segments are key targets for the firm, determining the firm’s optimal value proposition for each segment is, and what financial results can be expected over a planning period of typically 1-3 years. This module teaches Cranfield’s world-leading step-by-step process for developing such a marketing strategy and documenting it in a marketing plan. This process has been developed with hundreds of blue-chip companies worldwide over the last 30 years, informed by several Cranfield PhDs on the topic which have studied what works in practice. This planning process  is documented in the world’s leading textbook on the topic, McDonald & Wilson’s Marketing Plans, which has sold over half a million copies. This book is used as the course text and students are strongly advised to acquire a copy from the library or through purchase to help bridge from the course to planning for real in their subsequent management roles.

    • Strategic marketing in context
    • 10 steps of the strategic marketing planning process
    • Mission statements and organisational objectives
    • The marketing audit and analytical tools
    • Market maps and market segmentation
    • SWOT analysis
    • The Directional Policy Matrix
    • Marketing objectives and strategies
    • Product and pricing strategy.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Understand the evolution and role of marketing and be able to describe the characteristics of a customer-centric organization.
  2. Appreciate a series of marketing strategy tools and techniques and their application in practice.
  3. Recognise a successful marketing planning process including the importance of including managers from across functional areas of the business in the marketing planning process.
  4. Understand how to structure and prepare a comprehensive written strategic marketing plan for a senior management audience.
  5. Evaluate the quality of marketing analyses and strategies prepared by others.

Organisational Behaviour: Application

Module Leader
  • Dr Deirdre Anderson

    Organisations are run by and for people, and the success or failure of an organisation depends on the people in that organisation. 

    It is rarely an absence of planning that causes organisational difficulties; rather it is the failure of management in understanding and managing complex personal and interpersonal systems that can lead to significant problems.

    Similarly an acute and critical understanding of these dynamic relationships can lead to profound and enduring success and benefit for the individual, the team, the organisation and wider society.

    In this module students will be introduced to various aspects of people and organisations.  This module combines models, theories and ideas from organisational behaviour, psychology, and sociology in order to provide students with a basic understanding in recognising, understanding and utilising what has been termed the "human factor" in organisations; including ways of conceptualising organisations and how people behave within them.  We shall consider the impact of the external environment; and address notions of organisational change.

    This module is necessarily an introduction; further suggestions of reading and of consequent activities will be provided. 

    It may also be that students will wish to undertake a project in this area; several of the faculty involved will be pleased to discuss this with you.

    • Culture
    • Development
    • Diversity
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • Individual and Organisational Change
    • Individual differences
    • Introduction to People and Organisations
    • Leadership
    • Learning
    • Motivation
    • Negotiation, influence & persuasion
    • Performance Management
    • Personality
    • Politics
    • Self Awareness
    • Stress, Resilience, Well-being
    • The Individual and the Team
    • Values
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Understand and apply a number of different ways of conceptualising people in organisations, including culture, ethics, well-being, diversity, politics, management, performance and change
  2. Assess the importance of relationships at work, group dynamics, effective teams and leadership in achieving effectiveness
  3. Critically engage with various relevant models, theories and ideas in order to enhance personal capability, including identification of gaps in knowledge, skills, and competence, linking to insights regarding one’s personal and professional development agenda, based on sound data and experience

Accounting and Finance

Module Leader
  • Dr Matthias Nnadi

    The aim of the Accounting and Finance module is to introduce a number of traditional and contemporary accounting approaches that will increase the visibility of financial information and support management decision making.

    • Interpretation of financial statements;
    • Exploring the relationship between accounting information, management decision making, financial strategies, and financial performance;
    • Applying traditional and contemporary accounting tools and techniques, which can be applied to support business management decisions;
    • Exploring the many cost trade-offs between business processes (Make v Buy).

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. To judge the effect of decisions, transactions and events on financial performance;
  2. To create simple sets of accounts from basic information.
  3. To understand the main variables affecting working capital management;
  4. To interpret financial statements to support decision making, planning and control;
  5. To apply an appropriate costing approaches to solve a range of business issues;
  6. To apply a number of financial tools and techniques to appraise alternative capital investment opportunities;
  7. To use financial information to make informed management decisions

People Management and Leadership

Module Leader
  • Professor Michael Dickmann

    In essence this module is concerned with managing the organisation’s key resource – the people who work for it. It aims to help participants understand how effective people management and human resource management can contribute to develop and sustain organisations. The focus of the module will be concerned with helping participants understand the relationship between people management and organisational performance, including the crucial role of line managers. The module aims to develop an insight into the complexities of managing people in a changing environment.

    The module will provide an introduction to the main activities associated with resourcing, developing and day–to-day management of people in work organisations. It is not the intention of the module to develop human resource management specialist, but rather to provide a general introduction to the people management issues that concern all managers. Throughout, the sessions will be highly interactive in order to develop critical insight and core skills in the people management field.

    The module will draw on key academic contributions in the broad field of people management, including current research being carried out by faculty in the School of Management. 

    • Strategic People Management and Workforce Design
    • The Changing World of Work
    • Talent Sourcing
    • Talent Development  and Succession Planning
    • Rewards and Remuneration
    • Managing Performance
    • Employment Relations
    • Employment Law: Health and safety, grievance, discipline and dismissal
    • Building a People Strategy
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Have a critical appreciation of the role and scope of people management activities
  2. Apply and evaluate a complex range of established models and factors which influence choices made in the management of people
  3. Have undertaken critical analyses of a range of people management issues and have made considered, informed proposals to address them.
  4. Design strategic approaches to human resource management and critically explore their relationship with business strategies
  5. Evaluate the contribution the people resource makes to developing and sustaining organisations

Economics for Managers

Module Leader
  • Professor Catarina Figueira

    To introduce the concepts and techniques associated with Managerial Economics, i.e. Microeconomics (e.g. market analysis, price theory, rationality) and Macroeconomics (e.g. inflation, exchange rates and interest rates).

    • The initial few sessions are spent on discussion of the concept of equilibrium as it applies to the micro and macro structures of a broad range of financial markets.
    • In the next four sessions, an understanding of choice theory and rational economic decision making as it applies to the levels and structure of prices of assets in a broad range of financial markets is developed.
    • Finally, remaining sessions are devoted to discussion of the concepts and ideas in macroeconomics which have a direct relevance to financial markets. Particularly, discussion is centered around the understanding of monetary economics and the institutional context to which it applies. Discussion of structure of money and capital markets rounds up this module.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  1. Employ economic reasoning when making choices in the use of resources.
  2. Recognise the importance of marginal analysis and diminishing returns in the context of business and consumer decisions.
  3. Appreciate the various objectives which different firms may pursue and the consequent impact on managerial decisions, including those relating to price and output levels.
  4. Analyse both the external environment and the internal capabilities of a firm and understand the forces shaping the firm’s competitive environment.
  5. Recognise the importance of developments in the macroeconomy for management and business performance. 

By the end of this course, you should exhibit:

  • An ability to use economic theory.
  • An ability to use relevant geometric and quantitative models to explain and analyse monetary and financial phenomena.
  • An ability to apply economic theory to real world problems, e.g., via case study analysis.

Managing Operations

Module Leader
  • Dr Abdelkader Aoufi

    The module covers:

    • Strategic role of operations
    • Process design and layout
    • Managing the process experience
    • Tools and techniques of process improvement
    • Capacity management
    • Inventory management, lean and agile operations
    • Quality management and improvement
    • People in operations
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  1. Examine the different types of operations employed by organisations and their distinctive characteristics.
  2. Analyse the capabilities of different types of operation including the trade-offs involved.
  3. Show how to select the priorities for operational performance improvement and how to implement them.

Strategic Management

Module Leader
  • Dr Mikko Arevuo

    Strategic Management is concerned with the direction and scope of the organisation.  This involves determining the purpose of the organisation, establishing objectives and formulating strategies to achieve the objectives. It predominantly explores how an organisation positions itself with regard to its changing environment, and in particular its competitors, in order to gain and sustain competitive advantage. This means that strategic management considers how an organisation’s internal resources and capabilities can be developed to meet the changing demands of customers, in such a way as to achieve the expectations and objectives of its stakeholders. 

    An introduction to the Strategic Management module

    Imran Zawrar


    The module begins by focusing on strategy at the strategic business unit level. It is orientated around five key questions

    1) where to compete?

    2) how to gain competitive advantage?

    3) what capabilities are required?

    4) what capabilities do we have?

    5) how do we change?

    The module then explores corporate level strategy and the issue of strategy implementation and change. Throughout the module a range of tools and techniques for strategic analysis and choice will be introduced.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Describe the key questions and associated challenges to be addressed in formulating an organisation’s competitive and corporate-level strategies.
  • Appreciate that to sustain competitive advantage an organisation must harness its internal resources and capabilities and react appropriately to changes in its external environment.
  • Appraise and differentiate between corporate, competitive (business unit) and functional strategies.
  • Critically apply a range of tools and techniques to illuminate the key questions of competitive strategy and corporate strategy

Management Consulting

Module Leader
  • Dr Monica Franco-Santos

    This is an integrative module allowing you to develop management consulting skills and apply their learning in a practical manner. You will work in their consulting teams and will role-play as a management consulting team, competing against the other teams. All teams will address the same business challenge: a genuine business issue in a particular company. You will have a set of taught sessions on the ‘art and craft’ of management consulting. In parallel, they will work with their consulting teams to address the case company business challenge. They will have three weeks to understand the problem; gather the relevant data; use appropriate tools/frameworks and propose innovative, pragmatic and achievable solutions


    This module comprises conceptual knowledge about the foundations of management consulting and practical knowledge developed through a real-life case exercise. The module includes teaching sessions focused on the following

    Consulting skills

    • Listening
    • Communication
    • Persuasion
    • Problem solving
    • Negotiation
    • Decision-making

    Consulting process

    • Diagnostic phase
    • Data collection phase
    • Design phase
    • Implementation phase
    • Education phase
Intended learning outcomes

This module is intended to enable students to develop critical management consulting skills and apply them in the context of a real-life business problem. By the end of this module students should be able to:

  1. Identify and critically examine managerial problems and provide innovative ideas to address them generating change and improvement
  2. Apply the theories, frameworks and perspectives learnt in other modules.
  3. Explain and critically assess relevant processes, concepts and methods involved in management consulting projects.
  4. Recognise how to develop strong trust-based relationships with external and internal clients and their stakeholders.
  5. Practice critical thinking and systems thinking to diagnose problems and design potential solutions
  6. Present ideas effectively to an audience of business executives

Leading Corporate Sustainability

Module Leader
  • Dr Namita Shete

    Global sustainability challenges are shaping the way business operates in the 21st century. Businesses are under increasing pressure from multiple stakeholders (for e.g. shareholders, customers, employees, society) to manage their positive and negative impacts with clear responsibility and strategic intent.  Leading firms are choosing to respond to these challenges by generating sustainable value propositions to ultimately drive competitive advantage. For many this has meant re-engaging at the level of purpose and re-addressing their role in wider society and for human well-being.

    This module outlines the major sustainability challenges and explores the capabilities organisations require to respond positively to them. It will engage you in gaining a better understanding of how corporate action can be best configured to promote responsible and sustainable business strategies. In doing so, it will demand management students (as future business managers and leaders) to reflect on the long-standing debate about whether or not ‘the business of business, is still business?

    Watch video: An introduction to the Leading Corporate Sustainability module

    Leading Corporate Sustainability

    The content is organised around the sustainability management ‘compass’ below:

    The course content is structured as follows:

    Leading Corporate Sustainability

    Part 1: Setting the context

    Context setting

    • Managing corporate sustainability
    • Social and environmental trends

    The role of business

    • The role of business
    • Challenges and opportunities for business

    Exploring possible futures

    • Playing an interactive future sustainable scenario board game

    Part 2: Developing the capabilities

    • Setting a purpose
    • Formulating and implementing strategy
    • Working with stakeholders
    • Innovating
    • Collaborating
    • Valuing
    • Leading
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  1. Identify global environmental and social trends and relate how these present both challenges and opportunities to business.
  2. Explain why businesses need to respond to these challenges and opportunities and assess the capabilities they require to do so.
  3. Classify the potential stakeholder groups businesses can work with to develop and implement their sustainability strategies and compare collaboration approaches.
  4. Consider the role of personal leadership in an organization’s values, strategic direction and ability to execute its sustainability strategy.
  5. Critically assess the content and reporting of businesses’ sustainability strategies.
  6. Design and recommend a sustainability-oriented innovation for a selected business.

Performance Management and Rewards

Module Leader
  • Dr Monica Franco-Santos

    The enabling of people’s motivation and performance at work is a critical function of HR professionals. Organisations invest a lot of money, time and energy developing policies, procedures and interventions that influence what people do and how well they do it. Performance management is often associated with performance appraisals, but it also includes goal setting, performance measuring, performance reviewing, performance development and rewards. This module aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills to be able to critically assess the role, value and effectiveness of people performance management and rewards.


    Specifically, the module covers the following topics:

    Performance Management

    • Performance management in context
    • Theories explaining peoples’ performance
    • Different approaches to managing peoples’ performance
    • Performance management elements and process
    • Performance management biases
    • Performance review skills: goal-setting, feedback and feedforward
    • The link between performance management and rewards
    • Evaluating the effectiveness of performance management systems

    Rewards Management

    • Organisational reward challenges
    • People motivation and well-being
    • Factors influencing the design and implementation of Total Reward packages
    • Rewards’ guiding principles
    • Reward strategies
    • Evaluating the effectiveness of reward systems
Intended learning outcomes
  1. Analyse the core motivational and organizational theories underpinning performance management and reward systems
  2. Evaluate the role of internal and external context in the development of a performance management and reward systems
  3. Appraise and justify the different approaches to performance management and rewards that organisations can adopt depending on their circumstances
  4. Assess the various elements of performance management and reward systems
  5. Evaluate the extent to which a performance management and reward systems are ‘fit for purpose’ in different organisations.

Talent Sourcing and Career Management

Module Leader
  • Professor Michael Dickmann
  • Professor Emma Parry

    In essence this module is concerned with how organisations attract, select and manage the careers of ‘talent’.

    It aims to help participants understand how effective talent sourcing and career management can contribute to developing and sustaining organisations. The focus of the module will be concerned with helping participants understand the role of sourcing and career management in ensuring that organisations acquire the ‘talent’ they need to be successful. The module aims to develop an insight into the complexities of sourcing talent and managing careers in a changing environment.

    The module will draw on key academic contributions in the broad field of talent and career management, including current research being carried out by faculty in the School of Management.

    An introduction to the Talent Sourcing and Career Management module

    View video: An introduction to the Talent Sourcing and Career Management module

    • Talent planning: defining ‘talent’; examining talent requirements and resourcing gaps; developing a resourcing strategy 
    • Internal talent strategies: succession planning; identifying existing talent; talent and management systems 
    • External talent strategies: recruitment frameworks & recruitment channels; developing an employee value proposition 
    • Designing selection methods: competency–based selection and interviewing; and interviewing; reliability, validity and fairness) 
    • Organisational Career Management and Talent Development Systems 
    • Designing learning and development interventions (including technological approaches) 
    • Developing international careers: managing national and international talent on assignments
    • Considering motivations for career development and success
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Critically appreciate the role and scope of talent sourcing and career management activities
  2. Assess the complex range of established models and factors which influence choices made in the sourcing of talent and the management of careers
  3. Undertake critical analyses of a range of talent sourcing and career management issues and make considered, informed proposals to address them.
  4. Design strategic approaches to talent sourcing and career management.

Employment Relations and Engagement

Module Leader
  • Dr Debora Gottardello

    For many organisations the nature and quality of the relationships it has with its people is crucial to success. The aim of this module is to explore the nature of this relationship, the factors which influence how it operates and how it can be managed effectively to maximise mutual benefit. The module will also examine relevant legislation and policy recommendations.

    • The nature of the employment relationship
    • New forms of work relationships outside of employment
    • Sources of conflict in the employment relationship
    • Employee Voice
    • Managing employment and work relationships
    • Employee Engagement enablers and outcomes
    • The legal context of employment relations
    • International aspects of employment relations
Intended learning outcomes
  1. Understand the nature of contemporary work and employment relationships in order to be able to evaluate the implications of these for managers
  2. Evaluate the role of employee voice and be able to propose suitable approaches to facilitating voice in varying circumstances and contexts
  3. Assess the significance of employee engagement and appraise the factors that build engagement
  4. Understand the legal provisions concerning employment relations in order to identify and design practices which are consistent with the requirements and spirit of the law.

Evidence-based Management

Module Leader
  • Dr Valentina Battista

    The module is primarily designed to provide students with an understanding of what is required to conduct research in business contexts considering that todays’ managers

    • are paid to make decisions
    • are expected to make ‘informed’ decisions (i.e. based on evidence)
    • are evaluated on the basis of the outcomes from their decisions. 

    Therefore, understanding the process of producing evidence will ensure students to have the core skills to inform management decisions.


    Introduction to evidence-based management

    • The elements of evidence-based management

    Conducting research in management

    • Defining management problems
    • Reviewing the literature

    Using qualitative research methods

    • Interviews and focus groups in qualitative research
    • Qualitative data analysis: using NVivo

    Using quantitative research methods

    • Designing questionnaires and conducting surveys
    • Quantitative data analysis: using IBM SPSS statistics

    Presenting research evidence

    • Translating data into information to support management decisions
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate evidence in order to inform management decisions.
  2. Assess and select appropriate methods of qualitative and/or quantitative data collection.
  3. Choose and apply appropriate methods of qualitative and/or quantitative data analysis.
  4. Interpret data to provide evidence for management decision making.
  5. Utilise quantitative and qualitative analysis software.


Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff. As a result, they may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed above the compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.

Your career

We are ranked second in the UK for graduate employment (DLHE longitudinal survey, 2017).

The Cranfield Career Development Service offers a comprehensive service to help you develop a set of career management skills that will remain with you throughout your career.

During your course you will receive support and guidance to help you plan an effective strategy for your personal and professional development, whether you are looking to secure your first management role, or wanting take your career to the next level.

Cranfield graduates are highly valued in the job market and aim for careers including consultancy, project management and business operations. Our Management MSc graduates have secured jobs with a diverse range of companies including Virgin Active Group, Whirlpool, BNP Paribas, IKEA, Skanska, Withers Worldwide, Grant Thornton, Vodaphone and Ericsson. Their roles have included Project Manager, Senior Business Analyst, Consultancy Analyst and Sales Trader.

How to apply

Our students do not always fit traditional academic or career paths. We consider this to be a positive aspect of diversity, not a hurdle. We are looking for a body of professional learners who have a wide range of experiences to share. If you are unsure of your suitability for our MSc Management and Human Resource Management programme we are happy to review your details and give you feedback before you make a formal application.

To apply you will need to register to use our online system. Once you have set up an account you will be able to create, save and amend your application form before submitting it.

Application deadlines

There is a high demand for places on our courses and we recommend you submit your application as early as possible. The following application deadlines apply.

Entry for September 2021

  • Applicants domiciled in mainland China must submit their applications by date to be confirmed
  • Applications from all other international students requiring a visa to study in the UK must submit their application by date to be confirmed
  • There is no application deadline for Home/EU applicants, but places are limited so we recommend you submit your application as early as possible.

Once your online application has been submitted together with your supporting documentation, it will be processed by our admissions team. You will then be advised by email if you are successful, unsuccessful, or whether the course director would like to interview you before a decision is made. Applicants based outside of the UK may be interviewed either by telephone or video conference.