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MSc International Human Resource Management

Course Description

Why take this course?

The globalisation of business means that the management of people has become an international activity. It cannot be assumed that what is effective in one country can be automatically transferred to another country, even when it is within the same organisation.

This course will enable you to manage people across borders and be fully informed on cross-cultural issues within international HR.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

Learn in multi-national classes where you can benefit from the backgrounds, academic profiles and work experiences of other students
Take part in skills development workshops where you will contribute to managerial and HR-based activities
Participate in live web-based chat forums to discuss your work with lecturers and other students

What opportunities might it lead to?

We are an Approved Centre for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). On completion, you will be eligible to seek Associate Membership of the CIPD and you may meet the criteria for Chartered Membership (depending on your previous experience). The CIPD is the world's largest internally-recognised Chartered HR and development professional body.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

Business development and consultancy
Human resources

Module Details

The initial emphasis is on putting the foundations into place: developing understanding of the functions and tools of management such as finance, operations management and, of course, HRM. There is also the need to appreciate the importance of an organisation's external environment, which as the course highlights, is international. In addition, weekly tutorials will help you understand the requirements of studying in the UK at postgraduate level.

Here are the units you will study:

Developing People for Business: This focuses initially on HR and professional skills including finance, statistics and information systems.HR skills include effective self-management, effective management in practice, influencing people and ethical practices. Following on from that, theoretical approaches to leadership, change management practice and culture are also considered.

Managing Human Resources: This aims to develop your critical awareness of the conflicts and ambiguities associated with added value professional roles, ethics and legal compliance. You will explore the contribution made by the professional training and/or human resource development function to the efficient operation of an organisation.

The International HR Practitioner: This initially considers the key theories underpinning business strategy and HRM in an international context. The unit considers how strategic human resource management can impact on the strategic processes driving organisations in an increasingly globalised environment. In the latter part of the unit the focus moves on to considering the relationship between strategic management and international HRM.

Research Project: The dissertation should be of value to you in your career and therefore should be strategic in nature. Where appropriate, it could also be of significance to a sponsoring organisation. It should demonstrate the ability to integrate theory and practice, as well as your capacity to manage and present (in written form) a substantial piece of work-based, in-depth research. A supervisor will be allocated to guide you through the research.

Programme Assessment

Our learning approach is active, participative, reflective and student-centred. You will be encouraged to develop a strategic awareness and appreciate the role of the HR professional as a business partner. We combine a variety of teaching methods including seminars, lectures, case studies, class discussions and group work.

Assessment differs from unit to unit, but all consist of varying forms of coursework alongside a time-constrained assessment. You will also complete a 15,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Student Destinations

Our course has been designed for those who want to develop their people management knowledge and skills either as HR specialists or as managers in companies that operate, or wish to operate, across international boundaries.

The international element of this Master’s course will give you a greater understanding of global business and will widen your horizons in terms of seeking work internationally. You can look forward to a fulfilling career working in a range of professional business roles including, human resources management and an array of management roles.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

Benefits analyst
Human resource officer
Human resource systems manager
Personnel adviser
Recruitment consultant
Training and development coordinator

Visit the MSc International Human Resource Management page on the University of Portsmouth website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Sue Thomas

213.jpg Sue Thomas studied part time for the Diploma in Personnel Management. She is a Human Resources Partner for IBM.

I gained much more from the course than the professional qualification alone. The breadth of HR knowledge I've acquired has played a significant part in obtaining my new role within the company.

I'd been working in Learning and Development and decided on further study to expand my overall knowledge of HR and to improve my career potential in more generalist HR roles.

Now I advise senior managers within IBM about best practice in a range of HR topics. I work with the leadership team to manage our staff effectively across the lifecycle of their career with IBM.

The Diploma has given me a sense of the wider context in which I do my job as an HR professional and a strategic view of the profession. I now have a really strong theoretical understanding and insight into different areas of HR.

Meeting other people on the course from diverse organisations was extremely useful. We spent time comparing different practices and the insights into how other places do things has improved my ability to think through the HR process in my own organisation.

I attended half a day a week at the University and we learned through a mixture of lectures, projects and group discussion. The quality of teaching was superb and the staff were absolutely excellent. Those students returning to formal education after several years' absence received lots of encouragement and support.

It's been hard work and you need to be very self motivated, but it's been a hugely valuable experience for me, not just for my career development but because it makes you think more deeply and analyse why you do what you do.

(Student Profile)

Beatrice Zulu

216.jpg Beatrice Zulu, completed her first degree and after spending several years working in Manchester, Beatrice decided to head south to study for an MSc in Human Resource Management.
I had been working for a number of years after my first degree and I didn’t want to spend a year away from industry. This course was ideal as I could combine my learning with a three-month work placement and Portsmouth is one of only ten UK institutions recognised by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. I was so pleased that I could combine doing a Master’s with becoming professionally qualified.
I completed my work placement in the learning, training and development department at Southern Focus Trust, a large charity organisation based in the city. The experience was fantastic and it has helped me to decide which area of human resource management I now want to specialise in.
When I arrived in Portsmouth I didn’t know a soul so I’m pleased that I have met so many people and made some great friends. Although it has been a challenging year, requiring a great deal of hard work, it has been really exciting.
I am originally from Zimbabwe and I hope to eventually return there but for now I am looking forward to getting into the world of work and thanks to this course I feel really prepared for it.


Portsmouth Business School Scholarship Programme - 20+ Awards

The Portsmouth Business School offers a scholarship programme for students who are commencing postgraduate study at the Business School. This comprises a limited number of awards to self-funding Home and European Union students. The scholarship will be in the form of a 40% discount from any tuition fees due after any other discounts such as the 20% discount for Portsmouth alumni or partial payments by sponsors.Additionally there is an International Student Bursaries scheme.

Value of Scholarship(s)

40% discount off the tuition fees


Awards will be made on a competitive basis, taking into consideration:• If applicable, management/professional experience (type and seniority),
• Academic achievement (minimum is a 2.1 degree)
A written submission of a maximum of 1000 words, in addition to the personal statement submitted with the application, detailing why you should be considered for a scholarship award, what you intend to contribute to your course, and how you will use your degree in your future career. Please use the web link below for details.

Application Procedure

Application form available via web link below

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A second class honours degree or equivalent in any academic subject and seeking to pursue / continue a HR career. Applicants with appropriate work experience and a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Level 3 or 5 qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Last Updated

30 November 2016

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Recipient: University of Portsmouth

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