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Human Resources and Employment Relations MSc | Brunel Business School

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Subject area: Business School
Mode of study

1-year full-time

PG code


Start date

January, September

Human Resources and Employment Relations MSc | Brunel Business School


Please note for January 2018 entry, the application deadline is Friday 1st December 2017. Any applications after this date will be considered on an individual basis, subject to course vacancies.

Postgraduate Loans: From 1 August 2017 , students who live in England will be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan in academic year 2017/18 of up to £10,280. Find out more

Brunel Business School is AACSB accredited Business School of the Year 2013

About the course

This exciting programme will give you a thorough grasp of current theory and practice relating to the management of human resources and employment relations.

Whilst the UK is the primary focus for the study of employment relations issues, students will also consider the human resource management challenges of organisations operating across national boundaries. The course is designed both for fresh graduates and HR practitioners alike or anyone planning to undertake research in this area.

Students will benefit from an entire module dedicated to the issues in employee relations which focuses on the key role played by employers, employees and their representatives in enhancing effective organisational working.

Key issues of employee communication and the impact of EU directives on work arrangement will also be considered. A number of leading edge elective modules are available on the programme including Global Diversity Management, International Business Ethics and Corporate Governance.


  • You will gain a critical theoretical and applied knowledge and understanding of human resource management and employment relations.
  • Graduates as prospective entrants to human resources management roles, as 'thinking performers', should be able to address business and professional situations knowledgeably, making contributions to improved organisational performance and delivery of sound personnel/human resources practice and services.


Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)

Course content

The MSc consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.


HRM in Context - Resourcing, Performance and Assessment: This module introduces human resources management as a field of science and as a framework for analysis of how organisations manage their people. In particular the module examines the rise of HRM, what it involves in contemporary organisations, the strategic nature of HRM and its practices, its impact on organisational performance and the changing in employment practices.

The module provides also insight into key HRM functions such as recruitment, selection, selection assessment, organisation entry and changing work roles which are central to people’s management in organisations.

International and Comparative Human Resource Management: The HRM practitioner is in a position to make a substantial contribution to helping the organisation and its managers understand and apply the knowledge and skills needed for success in an international context. This module examines human resources strategy and practices for organisations operating across national boundaries, including the European Union (EU) and its member states, the USA, Japan and South East Asia.

Issues in Employment Relations: This module reviews the scope, issues and development of systems of employee relations with primary focus on the UK sphere, referenced also by international influences and developments. In addition, the module explores potential issues of conflict in employment relationship and the processes used to resolve these conflicts and manage the relationship. Reference is made to the legal framework of employment in the UK.

The module prepares students for roles where they may be involved in decisions about employment. It helps them gain understanding of the impact and consequences of decisions about employees given their contracts with the employer and commitments to the employment relationship.

Understanding Business and Management Research: The module is predicated on the dominant role of both quantitative and qualitative methods in management research. It is based on the need to enable the understanding of research reports and use this information to improve the quality of work, decision-making, and the understanding of complex management problems. The latter will be instrumental in applying existing management theory and research to practical management problems as action researchers.

The specific aims of the module are:

  • to provide a balanced view of social science and business research methods enabling a critical understanding of research information
  • to acquire theoretical and practical knowledge for business management by covering issues and debates in management research as reflected in the literature
  • to provide knowledge of relevant research methods and techniques for Masters level project work.

Organisational Behaviour: This module explores the main theories and key functions of leadership and management and their application. You will be able to critique these as well as appreciate the contemporary issues facing leaders and managers. You will also be able to critically evaluate characteristics of effective management and how this differentiates from leadership. You will discuss and assess relative strengths and limitations of key approaches to developing leaders and managers in organisations.

Contemporary HRM: Policy, Development and Evaluation: This module aims to further explore HRM issues particularly the functions, values and actions associated with contemporary human resources management practice. It will also explore key issues and debates in respect of HRD (Human Resource Development), with a particular focus on organisational impacts and outcomes.

The module will also consider the critical issues of the HR function and it's contribution to leadership development and strategic definition.

Finally, the module will require learners to reflect critically on theory and practice from an ethical and professional standpoint. It will provide opportunities for applied learning and professional development.

A research-based dissertation is an integral and particularly important element of the programme. Students are required to base their dissertation on empirical research into a management problem or issue of their choice (subject to approval).

Dissertations are supervised by full-time members of the academic staff of the school who have a wide range of research interests and expertise. The dissertation must be submitted by the end of the academic year during which a student completes all of the taught modules of the course.


International Management:

The module has six main aims. These are to:

  • examine the important trends impacting international business and the major developing players in the international economy
  • explore the issues and challenges of managing in an international environment and with reference to particular countries and regions
  • understand the nature and forms of interaction between an international organisation, managerial decisions and the external environment, especially the effects of globalisation upon MNCs in both developed and developing countries
  • facilitate understanding of the theories and concepts of international management and how to use them to diagnose and solve managerial problems
  • equip students with the analytical tools, techniques and models of negotiations, communication, and conflict resolution in international contexts
  • explore the theories and concepts relating to the management of human resources in international context.

International Business Ethics and Corporate Governance: This module focuses on business ethics and corporate governance in the international context. Both areas will be addressed from the perspective of the dual "business" models of the shareholder and the stakeholder approaches. Further the broader societal impacts of business activities will be considered in-depth. The full range of businesses will be considered – from large corporations through to SMEs. Empirical studies will be used to apply the theoretical resources of moral philosophy, CSR and corporate governance.

Global Diversity Management: To get insight into Global Diversity Management by examining how organisations plan, coordinate and implement a set of management strategies, policies and initiatives. These include training and development activities that seek to accommodate diverse sets of social and individual backgrounds, interests, beliefs, values and ways of work in organisations with international, multinational, global and transnational workforces and operations.

Strategic Management:

The module has four main aims, which are to:

  • enable students to appreciate the issues and challenges that confront managers responsible for strategic management in potentially complex, hostile and uncertain conditions
  • introduce students to concepts, topics and methodological approaches and tools relevant to the analysis of the strategic position of the organisation
  • introduce students to the development and implementation of strategies and policies, and their major operational implications
  • develop students’ skills of critical thinking, logical analysis, argument and judgement via the use of case study and other materials exemplar readings and other information sources.

Entrepreneurship: This module introduces entrepreneurship as a field of study and as a framework of analysis. It focuses on the nature of entrepreneurship and its importance in society. In particular the module examines: i) the person, through the analysis and understanding of the psychological and behavioural characteristics of the entrepreneurs. This is achieved by examining and reflecting upon the major theories in the field (psychological theory and cognitive theory); ii) the process – through the review and analysis of the main approaches to entrepreneurship. In addition, the module shows how entrepreneurship unfolds in a wide range of contexts.

Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.


 Previous students from MSc Human Resources and Employment Relations have secured graduate positions at:

  • Ehret Ltd
  • HSBC
  • Southern Publishing Group
  • Yo! Sushi

Business Life Programme

The school’s Business Life Employability Programme is designed to help students to acquire a range of employability and networking skills, enabling them to gain a distinct edge in the labour market and to manage their career search and development more effectively. Typical events have included:

  • BAT (Bloomberg Aptitude Test) with Bloomberg
    The BAT is offered as a three-hour online test taken on campus within an invigilated environment with a Bloomberg representative. BAT was designed in conjunction with leading financial institutions and academics to uncover an individual’s knowledge and skills relevant for a financial career. Students can choose to submit their names along with test scores or anonymously during job recruitment drives.
  • Meet the Professionals Showcase
    A professional association is an organisation formed to unite and inform people who work in the same occupation. There are many advantages to joining professional bodies: typically they offer training and access to research, as well as networking opportunities like conferences and forums. Brunel Business School regularly invites key professional bodies to showcase these benefits to Business School students on campus. Professional bodies who regularly take part in the Showcase include: ACCA, ICAEW, CIPFA, CIMA, BCS, OR, CMI, CILT, CIPD, CII, CBI, CFA, CIM and CIPR.
  • Psychometric testing
    A comprehensive overview of the tests currently being used by graduate employers for the selection of candidates for jobs and the opportunity to experience a range of on-line aptitude and ability tests under test conditions. Students will also receive confidential feedback on their performance and advice and tips to help them to maximise their results.
  • Assessment centres
    The opportunity to experience a range of assessment centre exercises and tasks from the perspective of the candidate and the assessor.
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator
    Widely used in organisations for individual type assessment to help people understand team dynamics. This will help students to identify their own preferred style of communication, information processing and decision makin. They will gain an insight into how other team members prefer to communicate and make decisions.
  • Belbin
    An opportunity to take the Team Role questionnaire with a personalized report. This will provide students with a common vocabulary to help form productive working relationships, select and develop high-performing teams, raise self-awareness, increase personal effectiveness, identify talent in the workplace and aid recruitment decisions.

UK Industrial and Commercial Visits
Where possible, events and external visits are arranged with UK organisations to help demonstrate theory in practice.

Graduate School Workshops
In addition to the events and training sessions organised within the Business School, masters students have exclusive access to the workshops and skills training provided by Brunel University’s Graduate School. Typical sessions have included:

  • CV Writing for Masters Students
    A good quality CV is crucial and takes time to perfect. Students on taught masters are invited to attend this special training session on how to prepare Curriculum Vitae towards a targeted job or sector.
  • CV Writing Drop-in Clinic for Masters Students
    Masters students are invited to bring along their CVs for a one-to-one review session with a careers advisor or as a follow-up to the Graduates School’s CVs writing for Masters students.
  • How to Succeed in Assessment Centres (Masters Students)
    This session will help students to prepare for assessment centres which are used as part of an organisation’s recruitment processes for jobs in industry or academia, in particular for highly competitive positions.
  • Interview Techniques for Masters Students
    A training sessiontailored for masters students that explores the competitive process of ta job interview - from preparation to presenting and demonstrating your interest on the day.
  • Transferrable Skills for Masters Students
    Students are encouraged to widen their skills base during postgraduate study in response to employer demand for transferrable skills as well as intellectual knowledge.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Entry criteria 2018/19

  • A 2:2 (or above)  UK Honours degree, or an equivalent internationally recognised qualification,  in a related , or non-related subject.  Work experience is not required.


Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU entry requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.

We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.

Pre-masters course

The Pre-Masters course has been designed to prepare international students who have not qualified for direct entry to Brunel University London's Master's degrees. Undertaking a Pre-Master's course will give you time to adjust to the rigorous research and independent study requirements of a postgraduate degree. This will ensure you get the most out of your master's studies at Brunel University London and go on to achieve graduation in your chosen field. See details.

Teaching and learning

As a research intensive university, international level research findings by Brunel Business School tutors are regularly used in student lectures. Tutors on this programme are leaders in the field of HR and active researchers within the school’s Human Resource Management and Organization Behaviour Research Group (HRM - OB).

Examples of tutor research used in MSc Human Resources & Employment Relations include:

  • Professor Neil Anderson
    Professor Anderson provides several of his seminal review papers, empirical studies, and theoretical models for consideration by the students and additional readings are also provided. Students are asked to present back in small groups, having critically assessed research findings for themselves. As the findings are both confirmatory and non-confirmatory, the ensuing debate is used to improve their understanding of whether high-performance HRM practices do indeed contribute to organisational performance and profitability. Professor Anderson is also an Academic CIPD Fellow.
  • Professor Mustafa Ozbilgin
    The programme’s Global Diversity Management module is designed around Professor Ozbilgin’s research in diversity management in multi-national organisations within the public private and voluntary sectors. In particular, Professor Ozbilgin’s book Global Diversity Management: An Evidence Based Approach (2008) co-authored with Dr Ahu Tatli is used as the core text on the module. The book is the only empirical research based text in the field, and provides original field work on diversity management that spreads across eight years.
  • Other Business School research by Professor Ozbilgin is used for the practice of literature reviews. Further to this Professor Ozbilgin is Academic CIPD Fellow and regularly uses CIPD reports that he has co-authored. Students also receive case studies and case reports by the tutor.
  • Students also undertake a number of in-class activities based on recently developed theoretical work. For example, in the session on diversity the class engaged in a debate inspired by the recent economist debate which proposed that: "Women in the Western world have never had it so good." Teams debated the pros and cons of the proposal and a number of key points and issues were raised in the session.

Modes of Study

One-year full-time in September: The taught element of the course (September to April) includes eight modules, delivery will be by a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials/group work. A further four months (May to September) is spent undertaking the dissertation.

One-year full-time in January: The taught element of the programme includes eight modules which are delivered in two terms (four in January to April, and four in September to December). Delivery will be by a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials/group work.

The dissertation is undertaken May to August, and then can be completed January to March after the second teaching term.

Assessment and feedback

  • Modules are typically assessed by individual assessment and an examination in May.
  • Teaching methods include lectures and informal small study groups.
  • Coursework and examinations place considerable stress on the ability to think and reason critically, but constructively.
  • The dissertation (12,000 words) is the capstone demonstration of these skills, requiring students to conceive, justify, design and execute a major project.
  • Individual and or group presentations using laptops, PCs and digital projectors.

Special features


Human Resource Management and Organization Behaviour Research Group (HRM - OB)

Members of HRM-OB undertake applied research into all aspects of performance in the workplace, individual well-being and performance, and Human Resources Management in its broadest sense. Using a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, our work investigates current and pressing issues in performance at three levels of analysis - the individual, the workteam, and the wider organisation. We publish in top-tier outlets internationally, advise organisations in partnership, and seek to generate innovative scientific understanding and professional practice in a diverse set of areas of work performance.


CIPD Approved CentreBrunel Business School is proud to announce the accreditation of MSc Human Resources Management and MSc Human Resources and Employment Relations by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). CIPD is the world’s largest Chartered HR and development professional body working together with over 100 institutions around the world to set global standards for HR and support development of HR professionals.

CIPD accreditation enables students and graduates of the MSc Human Resource Management and MSc Human Resource Management and Employment Relations to gain access to the wealth of resources provided by the institute. These include a bi-monthly magazine, People Management, which provides key insight into contemporary HR issues in practice. The CIPD also commission major research studies into key areas of HR and HR-ER practice, providing information to students and informing decisions of practicing managers. Through their nationwide branch network, the CIPD provide a forum for practitioners and students to meet on a regular basis, engage with high profile speakers and network in respect of areas of common interest.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2018/19 entry

UK/EU students: £9,750 full-time

International students: £16,200 full-time

Additional course related costs

Brunel University is offering Academic Excellence Scholarships to postgraduate students (15%) and scholarships for Brunel Alumni (15%).

Funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).