Master of Science in Strategic Human Resource Management and Analytics

The University of Kentucky’s Master of Science in Strategic Human Resource Management and Analytics (SHRMA) is a 30 credit-hour graduate program focused on preparing students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to elevate a career in HR.

This program provides the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to adapt to changes in the field of HR and elevate organizational contributions. In addition to fundamental HR courses, students will be exposed to coursework in HR-based analytics (people analytics, organizational network analysis, research methods, and HRIS) as well as strategic HR (strategic planning and integration, change management, and negotiations and conflict resolution). The program includes an experiential capstone course giving students the opportunity to apply principles and techniques learned in their coursework to solve real organizational problems.

Career Opportunities

Human Resource Specialist

Human Resource Manager

HR Analyst

Employee Relations Specialist

HR Business Partner

Workforce Management Professional


Academically Aligned


Online / In-Person / Blended


Average HR Specialist Salary
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics


  • 10 HR courses in 11-23 months
  • Tailored to meet your needs (personalized learning experience)
  • Small class sizes and individualized faculty attention
  • Top ranked research faculty
  • Info Sessions
  • Request Information

Thank you for your interest in applying to the Master of Science in Strategic Human Resource Management and Analytics program. The application consists of two required components:

Apply with the Graduate School
Here you will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Resume
  • Transcript(s)
  • Information for three references
  • GMAT/GRE (optional for 2023-2024)*
  • Personal Statement (Discuss career goals, your interest in HR, and why you are applying to our program)

Application Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (out of 4.0)
  • Information for three references
  • Interview (upon request)
  • Current resume (CV)
  • $65 application fee

International Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (out of 4.0)
  • Information for three references
  • Interview (upon request)
  • Current resume (CV)
  • $75 application fee
  • English Proficiency waivers are required for all applicants whose native language is not English.
  • For the Graduate School, the minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (internet-based). The minimum IELTS score is 6.5.

Complete the Application Supplement
During this portion of the application, we will ask you to respond (via video capture) to two questions covering:

  • Your experiences working in teams
  • Your view of the role of HR in an organization

Application Deadlines

Domestic Students
Fall semester: July 23rd
Spring semester: December 10th

International Students
Fall semester: June 15th
Spring semester: November 1st

GRE and GMAT Information

Currently, both GRE and GMAT scores are being waived for Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 admissions.

GRE Online Exam
GMAT Online Exam


English Proficiency Waiver Information

English Proficiency waivers can be offered to students who earned their bachelors' degrees from other U.S. universities. Waivers may also be considered to students whose institutions will document that all of their instruction was in English.

For more information, contact Yingnan Song.

Core Courses

This course walks a student through the process of acquiring talent for an organization. Topics discussed in detail include the design and analysis of jobs, HR planning, the recruitment, selection, socialization, and training processes. The course is primarily lecture-based, but includes some hands-on activities with real world applications which leverage concepts from social network analysis and HR analytics. Students will learn and be able to leverage principles that can unlock the potential of the talent acquisition process to be a strategic asset, rather than an administrative necessity, as they prepare to complete their next hire.

This course walks a student through the process of managing talent within an organization. Topics discussed in detail include the performance appraisal and management process, employee development, managing employee turnover, and compensation systems and programs. The course is primarily lecture-based, but includes some hands-on activities with real world applications which leverage concepts from social network analysis and HR analytics. Students will learn and how to design HR systems that will aide in the management of employees to increase the likelihood of strong investments from the hiring process.

Legal issues in the workplace underpin the basic rights and protections for both employers and employees. This course is designed to provide a survey of the current employment laws in the United States. Employment law embodies principles of contracts, torts, property law, constitutional, criminal law, labor law, immigration law, and dispute resolution, among others. The course will cover legal perspectives in staffing, compensation, benefits, safety and health, and employment discrimination. It will also provide the framework for the history and development of employment law in the United States.

With the increasing amount of information available in organizations today, talent and business decisions and recommendations will need to be data-driven and evidence-based. This course will provide an introduction to topics and analytical techniques to leverage people-related data into organizational and human resources (HR) insights. Specific topics will include foundational data literacy, data collection and management practices, data analysis techniques, and strategy development. Given the interconnected nature of organizations, students will also learn how networks in organizations (e.g., communication networks, multi-team systems, social capital, networks) can impact people, HR, and organizational outcomes. In this course, students will be able to interpret data-driven insights, learn basic analytical and data visualization skills, and effectively communicate data-supported findings to management.

HR is a significant contributor to an organization's success by maintaining and organizing the workforce or human capital, deliver HR services, and ultimately help carry out essential business strategies. This course will go beyond technical aspects of HR and provide an introduction to how HR can strategically manage people as business resources to align with organizational goals and strategies to provide a competitive advantage for businesses. Specific topics will include human capital alignment, workforce planning, recruitment/hiring processes, training & development, retention, and succession planning. In this course, students will be gain understanding of the perspectives, systems, and tools involved in effectively linking an investment in human factors with financial, customer/consumer, and operational strategy components.

Organizations are webs of interconnected formal (reporting lines, team memberships, workflows) and informal (friendship, help, conflict) relationships. The pattern, presence, or absence of these relationships can hinder or assist in the functioning of an organization. This class is designed to teach an analytic approach to the measurement and interpretation of these patterns known as social network analysis. Topics covered in the class include: basic network concepts, network data structures, network data entry, individual, group, and organizational measures of networks, and network visualizations. The course is very hands-on with students leveraging network software (UCINET) in virtually every meeting. A student will benefit from this course by acquiring the ability to think about, collect, and measure social networks within an organization.
*course uses windows-based software

Described as "the company behind the chart", social networks in organizations provide unique insight into how work gets done in organizations, who gets ahead, and why some policies thrive while others are doomed to fail. This course is designed to provide an in-depth look at how workplace relationships are embedded in virtually all elements of human resource management. The role of networks in the organizational entry, retention, and exit phases of the employee cycle will all be discussed. This course is taught using case studies and the latest research to demonstrate the importance of managing workplace relationships. Students who successfully complete the course will gain a more complete understanding of how organizations function and why it is crucial to account for networks when managing (or designing systems to manage) others.

The Capstone Consulting course is the culminating experience of the Gatton graduate HR programs. It provides students with a framework to apply the HR knowledge, skills and competencies gained from their coursework to complex real-world organizational challenges. Through this experiential opportunity, students complete unique consulting projects with an outside organization. The semester-long project will utilize both qualitative and quantitative research methods to examine a broad-based or specialized area of HR concern. Student teams will provide analysis and recommendations which both require a demonstrated mastery of the certificate program’s learning outcomes.

Electives (Choose Two)

An action-learning course devoted to developing the project management and business process analysis skills necessary to diagnose and solve real-world business problems.

Managing and participating in change is a business reality that requires self-awareness and accurate organization assessment skills to be effective. Change can be transformative and complex, or smaller, incremental actions. This course begins with having a personal understanding about how you process and act when faced with change. It then extends into understanding how others deal with and work through change. Foundational change processes will be reviewed and critiqued to act as a guide to develop your leadership and management skills. Further, you will gain insights and tools to strengthen your approach in recognizing others needs and interests necessary to influence people. You will understand change obstacles and issues to be effective in successfully implementing change.

Understanding how behaviors, policies, and systems in organizations, specifically HR, can impact employees, teams, organizational effectiveness, and industry competitiveness requires methodologically rigorous research. HR and executive leaders need to leverage sound research in order to make evidence-based organizational decisions. This course will be an overview of a wide variety of methodological and analytical topics in organizational and HR research. Topics that will be covered include role of theory in organizational research, construction of hypotheses, research designs, ethics, analytical methods, research translation, and practical application. Students who are interested in having a better understanding of how to conduct, consume, and apply organizational research would benefit from this course.

Given the proliferation of eHRM, big data, and outsourced technological solutions, an understanding of human resource information systems is a crucial skill for the modern HR professional. Topics covered in this course include basic HR database concepts, planning, implementing, and justifying a HRIS system, as well as the role of HRIS in specific areas of HRM. The course will be taught with limited technical jargon, relying heavily on discussion around practical examples and the use of case studies. The course will help students learn to make better people decisions and manage talent more effectively via technology.

Interested in Part-Time?

Contact Rick Mason to develop a personalized plan!

  Resident Non-resident Online
Tuition (per credit hour) $886 $1,192.50 $886
University Mandatory Fees (per credit hour) $62 $62 $15.50
Total (per credit hour) $948 $1,254.50 $901.50

Students can find tuition refund policies, deadlines, amounts, and other important information on the Student Account Services website.

Financial Assistance

Program Level Funding Opportunities
The MS-SHRMA program provides a limited number of partial scholarships each year on the dual basis of need and merit.

University Level Funding Opportunities
The University of Kentucky Graduate School provides various funding opportunities for graduate students through fellowships, assistantships, and support funding.

External Funding Opportunities
Students may also pursue external funding opportunities. The SHRM Foundation offers several graduate-level scholarships each year.

Connect with Us

<br />
Hector Martinez PhD

Hector Martinez, PhD
Director, MS-SHRMA
Department of Management

Yingnan Song

Yingnan Song
International Recruiter
International Affairs

Rick Mason

Rick Mason
Director of Professional Recruiting
Professional Resource Center
(859) 218-5550