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Human Resource Management Postgraduate Diploma PGDip

Course Description

In today’s global, fast-moving business environment it is often people that determine organisational success. Human Resources Management (HRM) is a strategic, business-focused approach to managing people. HR specialists help organisations achieve success by providing knowledge, expertise and insight into a wide range of HRM activities from talent resourcing and selection, performance management, learning and development, change management and employee engagement. HR can be an exciting, rewarding and challenging career that can take you anywhere in the world.

If you are seeking roles within HR, you may find that employers require a qualification that leads to membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). This programme is accredited by the CIPD and has been specifically designed to meet the needs of HR professionals wishing to further their career and progress into senior roles.

If you have some experience within the working environment and want to develop your HRM knowledge or have completed an HRM (or related) degree, find out more about the opportunities on offer through the PG Diploma in Human Resource Management.

CIPD Membership

The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) is the professional body for HR and people development which aims to champion better work and better working lives. As a HRM student you will become part of this professional body and on completion of the programme will be able to upgrade your status to a chartered member of the CIPD

All students are required to enrol as CIPD student members and to remain in membership throughout the duration of the programme.

Subscription fee is payable direct to CIPD and excluded from the course fee. For more information on the fees please refer to the CIPD Website: http://www.cipd.co.uk/

Students will be encouraged to join, support and participate in local CIPD branch activities. These are the Northampton and Milton Keynes/Bedfordshire groups. Although you will, officially, be a member of only one CIPD group, you are welcome to attend any of the group meetings some of which will be delivered by Northants branch as part of the programme.

For more information on the local branch see the Northampton (http://www.cipd.co.uk/local/midlands-area-partnership/northamptonshire/default.aspx) or Milton Keynes/Bedfordshire (http://www.cipd.co.uk/local/bedfordshire-milton-keynes/) websites.

Course content

The aim of this course is to develop you as an HR professional. You will be introduced to specialised knowledge and research evidence giving you an in depth understanding of successful people management in organisations. Perhaps more importantly, you will practice the tools and techniques of strategic and operational HRM giving you practical, insight-driven experience which will help further your career.

The modules on this course are designed to provide you with expert knowledge of distinct HR subject areas together with exposure to contemporary debates, policies and practices, keeping you at the forefront of developments in your field.

You will develop an understanding of HRM within a range of organisational contexts, and you will be equipped with the analytical and diagnostic skills required of HR professionals.

In addition to the modules making up this course you will attend a two day off-site residential at the end of the taught programme focusing specifically on skills development activities. Attendance at the residential is a course requirement and the cost is included in the course fees.

Methods of Learning

The learning and teaching style on this course is designed to enable you to take responsibility for your own learning and skills development within a caring environment facilitated by high quality academic support from tutors. You will be introduced to much of the core course content through activities that can be undertaken in your own time, off campus. These will usually be facilitated through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment – a web-based portal where you will be able to participate in learning activities, on-line discussions, reading and reflection. During on-campus sessions, the emphasis will be on participative and interactive activities designed to consolidate and develop your understanding through debate, discussion, role-play and participation in events such as guest speakers and a mock employment tribunal.

The course uses a carefully balanced combination of in-course assignments designed to enrich your learning which include business projects, reflective activities, group work presentation and examinations.

This course usually has a diverse student group and this diversity provides a rich basis for sharing of different experiences and thinking on organisational and people issues. Peer networking and action learning sets will be facilitated and encouraged to maximise the learning to be gained from different student experiences.

The course is only offered part-time. In Year 1 students will take two modules in Semester 1 and one module in Semester 2. In Year 2 students will take two modules in Semester 1 and two short modules in Semester 2.

Each module will require you to attend a three hour workshop per week. Class sessions would normally be on one day per week (pm).

To maximise chances of success on this course, we recommend students spend approximately 12 hours a week per module in self-directed study time to prepare for the sessions and complete assignments.


Year One
Semester 1
HRM in Context – You will explore HRM in a business context to develop your understanding of the increasingly complex environments HR must work within both inside and external to organisations. This module allows learners to develop analysis skills to facilitate informed choices on which strategies may be most and least appropriate.

Investigating a Business Issue – You will diagnose and investigate a live business issue from a HR perspective, locate the issue within the body of contemporary knowledge, collect and analyse data, derive supportable conclusions and make practical and actionable recommendations for change and enhancement of current practice.

Semester 2
Leading Managing and Developing People – You will analyse key factors in leading, managing and developing people for organisational success. Every organisation is made up of individuals whose behaviour, individually or collectively will impact on its ability to succeed. Organisational performance can be enhanced and competitive advantage increased through the strategic management, leadership and development of people. This module enables you to gain an in-depth knowledge of HRM and HRD and to explore major themes from the growing literature and research in this subject area.

At the end of your first year of studies, once teaching is over, there will be a two-day skills development workshop that will explore the skills required to be an effective HR leader. This is a great chance to consolidate your learning from Year 1 in a relaxed and informal setting with your classmates and tutors. The workshop is an essential and required part of the course.

Year Two
Semester 1
Resourcing and Talent Management – You will evaluate strategies for resourcing and managing talent within the organisation. There is a focus on activities concerned with resourcing the organisation; the practical aspects of recruitment, selection, employee retention and dismissal, and also on the strategic aspects of planning an organisation’s long and short term human resource requirements. This requires analysis of external labour markets and considerations of flexibility, as well as consideration of how internal labour markets may be made more productive and effective.

Performance Management – You will investigate the management of employee performance within the organisation, exploring the evidence that people are a major source of competitive advantage and the challenge of how best to develop and manage people to maximize their performance. You will assess the major systems for enhancing the performance of employees at all levels and advise organisations on the most appropriate methods for managing performance.

Semester 2
Learning and Talent Development – You will develop a critical understanding of the role and influence of a range of contextual factors associated with the design, delivery and evaluation of learning and development in a variety of organisational contexts. You will also explore and evaluate the contribution of learning and talent development strategies and practices in meeting the aspirations, ambitions and objectives of the organization and the individual. This is a seven week module.

Employment Relations – You will develop and reflect upon your knowledge and understanding of Employment Relations from a number of different perspectives. The holistic significance of employment relations within an organisation is emphasised together with the importance of aligning HR policies with business strategy, change processes, employee voice and involvement practices. Good employee relations are important for an organisation’s success in the achievement of its business objectives and for gaining employee commitment to those objectives. Increasing legislation in this area has also brought pressure to develop appropriate managerial strategies to ensure employee commitment to organisational success. This is a seven week module.

At the end of teaching you will undertake a two day residential course that will explore how to put all the skills from the course into developing good HR practices.


Assessment will be undertaken by a range of methods including written assignments, business reports, projects, reflective activities, group work, presentations and examinations.

Facilities and Special Features

This course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Europe’s largest professional body supporting and developing those responsible for the management and development of people within organisations. The PG Diploma HRM reflects and incorporates CIPD knowledge and competence requirements. Completing the PG Diploma HRM will provide you with the underpinning knowledge required for Chartered CIPD membership. If you have the relevant experience you can then apply for full membership based on your workplace activities and behaviours through the CIPD.

On successful completion of the PG Diploma in HRM, students are eligible to continue their studies on the MA HRM (top-up).


The PG Diploma HRM opens the way for a career in HRM/HRD. The programme provides opportunities for individuals to develop enhanced, specialist, higher level knowledge, skills and leadership capabilities and equips students with enhanced career pathways in the HRM/HRD field within different organisational contexts.

Visit the Human Resource Management Postgraduate Diploma PGDip page on the University of Northampton website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Recognised, relevant graduate/postgraduate professional qualification at Level 5/6 or higher, at least 12 months work experience in a personnel or HR department, or related area. Applicants holding CPP, CTP, HNC/HND or DipHE qualifications or equivalent are expected to pass the ‘University Certificate in HRM’ to gain a place on the Diploma. However those holding these qualifications who have been working for more than a year at an appropriate level within the HR Function, such as a HR Business Partner or HR Advisor, can sit an entrance test for admission onto the programme provided that they evidence their experience and CPD.

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