MSc International Human Resource Management

Course overview

This programme combines a mix of theory and practice in the study of international human resource management (HRM) and prepares students to work as HRM professionals or people managers within global organisations. 

By studying this programme students will receive grounding in the field of international HRM with a specific focus on its development into a strategic function within global organisations.  As well as developing a comparative awareness of the various elements of HRM practice, notably: training and development; recruitment and selection; and performance management, students will be equipped with a range of analytical, diagnostic and facilitative tools to support their future work in international teams.  All students are required to complete a project during the programme but may substitute this with a dissertation, if appropriate.

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If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0)118 378 7593.

How we teach you

A holistic approach

Effective leadership requires more than first-class business acumen. It also requires a degree of self-awareness and sensitivity. Henley is renowned for its well-researched, professional approach to this aspect of business education and all our postgraduate programmes examine this aspect of leadership - helping to create emotionally intelligent graduates who can be fully effective in their chosen careers.

How you will learn

Henley Business School enjoys a strong reputation for the practical application of business ideas and concepts, underpinned by academic excellence and the strength of our research. We offer high-quality technical skills training as well as a deep understanding of the importance of personal development for leaders, a thread that runs through all of our Masters programmes.

Our postgraduate masters programmes feature a mix of core and optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree towards your individual personal development needs and career ambitions. You will complete up to 10 taught modules during your programme, totalling 180 credits. One module usually equates to 20 credits or 10 hours of work per week. Your week will include lectures, tutorials, workshops and personal study, with each accounting for 25% of your time on average. This stimulating mix of lectures and interactive tutorials provides you with the opportunity to discuss and explore the subject material in depth with your lecturers and fellow students. You will be introduced to the latest thinking and research findings and be able to challenge some of those that have created it. You will also explore real-world issues and tackle current business challenges, and interact with guest lectures and speakers from industry, giving you the opportunity to test, extend and refine your knowledge and skills.

How we assess you

You will learn and be assessed through a wide variety of teaching methods which vary depending on your chosen Masters programme. These include online materials and multimedia content, guest lectures, individual and group assignments, case studies, field visits, dealing room simulations, presentations, applied projects, consultancy work and examinations.

On average examinations form around 70% of the assessed work with the remaining 30% coming from coursework, including a written dissertation or project depending on your chosen programme. The exam period falls between April and June in the summer term, with students taking an average of 5 or 6 exams. Graduation normally takes place in December.

Ongoing support

While postgraduate students are self-motivated and determined individuals, study at this level can present additional pressures which we take seriously. Lecturers are available to discuss the content of each module and your personal tutor can meet with you regularly to discuss any additional issues. Full-time support staff are also available to help with any questions or issues that may arise during your time at Henley

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If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0)118 378 7593.

How to apply

Apply for 2017 entry now

There are two different application processes: apply online and apply by post.

The quickest and easiest way to apply for Postgraduate study at Henley Business School, at the University of Reading is through the University’s online application service.

This allows you to complete your application information, attach electronic copies of your academic transcripts, certificates and other supporting information and also provides a facility for an email request to be sent to your referees enabling them to send your supporting references directly to us.

Apply online

Apply online now using the University of Reading's online application system.

Apply by post

If you are unable to apply online you can request a paper application form by telephoning +44(0) 118 378 5289 or writing to the Admissions Office, University of Reading, Miller Building, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AB, UK.

When to apply

We operate a rolling admissions system and it is recommended that you apply early to secure your place. There is no specific deadline and applications will be considered until the programme is full. However, to allow time for us to process your application we recommend that you apply by the following dates for admission in October:

  • UK/EU applicants: by 1 August
  • International applicants: by 1 June

After you apply

You will receive a confirmation email when we receive your application form. Your application is then reviewed by a member of staff.  Successful applicants will receive a formal offer letter outlining any necessary entry cri­teria you will need to meet and you will be asked to confirm your acceptance of this offer.

A (non refundable) deposit of between £500 and £1,000 (depending on the programme you have applied for) is payable upon acceptance of an offer of a place. International applicants requiring a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for a visa will be sent the CAS details by email once all conditions of the offer have been met, and the relevant deposit has been paid.

Throughout the admissions process we will keep you updated with key information via email.   We also provide opportunities to interact with faculty and staff online.

You can find us on Facebook and keep up-to-date with news and events in the School or ask us a question. In addition, you can speak to a current student; our students and alumni are always happy to share their Henley experience.

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If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0)118 378 7593.

Meet us

If you are unable to attend a postgraduate event please get in touch with our team.  We will be happy to speak to you by telephone, on Skype or through our Live Chat system (during UK office hours: 9 - 5 pm).

Our contact details are: or telephone: +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

Please see our full list of world fairs where you can meet a Henley representative. 




Contact image

If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0)118 378 7593.

Contact image

If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0)118 378 7593.

Why Henley?

Duration: 12 months full-time

Starts: September

Assessment: Exams, applied project and individual and group assignments

Consistently maintain highest standards: Henley is in top 1% of business schools worldwide to hold accreditation from all three bodies in the UK, Europe and US

Excellent networking potential : 70,000 Henley alumni in 150 countries

High calibre students: always oversubscribed, 1,000 ambitious new Masters students join Henley each year

Award winning campus: beautiful, green, 134 hectares, with state of the art facilities

World-leading faculty: widely published, frequently asked for expert comment by media and to speak at events

Part of world top 1% ranked university: Reading has a global reputation for its learning experience and employability potential.

Course modules

Module descriptions are correct for modules taught in the academic year 2016/17. Optional module listings are indicative, and may be subject to change.

Module Name Credits


Compulsory Modules:

This module aims to introduce students to the core concepts and models underlying contemporary strategic management, their theoretical and empirical foundations, their limitations, the arguments surrounding them and their practical application to real issues facing real companies.  This module provides students with an understanding of the conceptual and analytical tools of strategic management and economics.

  • Theories, frameworks and introduction
  • Internal resources and competencies of firms
  • External environment in which firms operate
  • The process of internationalisation
  • Globalisation and regional integration
  • Collaborative behaviour and strategic alliances
  • Integration/responsiveness framework and strategy



20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to foster a critical awareness of organisational design (OD) issues to enable informed decision-making in the workplace. The course will highlight contemporary thinking, which places greater emphasis on a more adaptive, emergent process of organising to suit complex changing circumstances within an international context. Theory and practice of contemporary organising are examined for their links with organisational performance.

  • The structural perspective: hierarchy and traditional design choices
  • The relational perspective: groups and teams
  • The relational perspective: networks and virtual organising
  • The information perspective: the role of information and ITC in OD
  • Designing across borders
  • Re-designing organisations: change and OD approaches
  • Re-designing and downsizing organisations
  • Designing the post-industrial organisation

20 [10 ECTS credits]

 This module aims to help students get the most from the learning opportunities offered during their MSc course. It provides students with an understanding of what is required to perform well in essays, dissertations, projects, report writing and examinations at the University of Reading. It develops students’ awareness of the appropriate use of methodology, theory, data, literature reviews and original research for a Masters dissertation or project.
  • Essay and exam skills
  • Learning styles
  • Literature review
  • Selecting an appropriate methodology
  • Good research practice
  • Specific research methods
  • MSc dissertation and project



0 [0 ECTS credits]

This course is about how organisations behave and how people behave in organisational settings. It is both practically useful and intellectually challenging. The module will explore three distinct bodies of knowledge: firstly, your informal and tacit knowledge of organisations gained from everyday life; secondly, the mainstream approaches to organisational behaviour (OB) and management studies; and finally, alternative, critical approaches drawn from OB and the wider social sciences.


Topics include:

  • Motivational theory
  • Critical approaches to motivation and work
  • Technology and progress
  • Varieties of authority
  • Power in organisations
  • Bureaucratic rationality
  • Post-bureaucracy: real or imagined?

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module gives an overview of the principles of human resource management (HRM) and the evolution of the HR function. It provides a grounding in the key constructs and principles in HRM so that these may examined from a comparative perspective in MMM079 or from a critical perspective in MMM048 (Managing People and Organisations). It considers approaches to HR strategy, as well as key HR processes.

  • Principles, definitions and origins of HRM; approaches to HRM strategy; the HR value proposition
  • Principles and practice of resourcing, recruitment and selection
  • Linking principles of motivation to HR practices
  • Principles and practice of managing performance
  • Principles and practice of reward management
  • Principles of development
  • Ethics, work–life balance and principles of welfare

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to introduce students to the key concepts required for understanding comparative human resource management, in order to explore the practice of managing human resources within international businesses. Students will gain an awareness of, and reflect upon, the variations in the practice of managing human resources in different countries and cultures. 

  • Development of cultural awareness through practical experience of, and reflection upon, working in cross-cultural teams
  • Convergence vs divergence in HRM practices
  • Cross-cultural perspectives on HRM
  • Institutional perspectives on HRM
  • Case study examples from different countries
  • Comparative HRM practices

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to prepare students to work internationally in an HR or management role where transformational and change programmes will be a part of organisational life and their remit. It also aims to develop relevant skills and to encourage a reflective approach to their own personal development as a change manager and internal consultant.

  • Introduction to organisational, HR and individual transformation and development; external and internal factors driving change
  • Change models in context and the role of the change facilitator
  • Individual factors for change and internal consultancy skills
  • The impact of organisational culture, values and ethics in managing change
  • Linking strategy, leadership, engagement and commitment
  • Planning and communicating change
  • Implementing and sustaining change

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to provide students with a broad understanding of the choices made by multinational organisations with regard to managing their employees across different countries by introducing key concepts, theories and contemporary practices.  It also aims to develop skills required to work in the international context through practical group work in multi-cultural teams.

  • Global challenges and international human resource management  (HRM) strategy
  • Global corporate culture in multinational enterprises (MNEs)
  • Global staffing and global talent management
  • Managing expatriation
  • Developing global leaders
  • Diffusion of HRM practices in MNEs
  • Managing global HR function in MNEs

20 [10 ECTS credits]


This module aims to provide students with an opportunity to define and execute an independent piece of research in international human resource management on an approved topic of their choice. Under the guidance of a supervisor, the module also aims to develop student’s ability to research, problem-solve, learn independently and make effective use of their time and the resources available.

  • Introductory session setting out the requirements of the project
  • Lectures on study skills, covering key approaches and methods for the project
  • Review of previous project reports
  • Three face-to-face supervision meetings

20 [10 ECTS credits]

The aim of this module is to provide students with an understanding of the main research skills necessary to undertake an original piece of research in management science at Masters level. It will give students an awareness of the appropriate use of methodology, theory, data, literature review and original research in a Masters dissertation. By completing this module, students will be able to produce a piece of original research that has academic and practical outcomes.

  • The nature and practice of research
  • The literature review process and the composition of a literature review
  • The nature and role of methodology in management research
  • The role and application of theory in management research
  • Quantitative and qualitative data sources
  • Data analysis and writing up research findings.

40 [20 ECTS credits]

Optional Modules

In addition students must choose ONE optional modules from the list below. 
Students may choose to substitute MMM082 (Project in International Human Resource Management, 20 credits) with a dissertation MMM089 worth 40 credits, with no optional module.

This module aims to provide students with an introduction to the key theories of leadership and an understanding of their practical application in different organisational contexts.

Theoretical approaches will be supplemented by empirical evidence on leadership, leadership in practice and the links with organisational performance. While, real-world examples of organisational leadership will be explored through the use of case studies.

  • Leadership as a relational and process phenomenon
  • Contingency theories and situational approaches
  • Transformational and inspirational approaches to leadership
  • Energising leadership
  • Team leadership, shared leadership and followership
  • Impactful leadership concepts and how they fit with organisations and contemporary expectations of people in organisations
  • Applications of leadership concepts in real-world contexts

20 [10 ECTS credits]

 This module aims to provide a basic set of frameworks, concepts and theories from international trade, international business, and economic geography to analyse international environments and their impact on multinational firms. It addresses questions of contemporary capitalism, discusses global value chains, and conveys in-depth understanding of various business environments, such as the European Union and the rise of emerging markets.
  • Globalisation and the new competitive realities
  • Institutions, policies and national/regional competitiveness
  • Technological shifts and national innovation systems
  • Global value chains and production networks
  • Geopolitical economy and ‘varieties of capitalism’
  • The business environments of the European Union, North America, Japan and emerging markets (e.g. China)



20 [10 ECTS credits]

The internet has created significant new opportunities for organisations to reach and build relationships with customers. At the same time, many firms struggle with making a successful transition from offline to online marketing. This module provides knowledge of the key tools required to implement a successful digital marketing strategy. This includes search engine marketing, social media and web analytics. 

  • Digital marketing in context
  • Search engine marketing
  • Web analytics
  • Mobile and email marketing
  • Optimising for search engines
  • Effective user experience
  • Consumer privacy and regulation

20 [10 ECTS credits]

Apply online

Fees and funding

  Home (UK/EU) Overseas (non EU) 
2016 Entry £12,500 £19,200
2017 Entry £12,500 £19,800
Please note that a non-refundable deposit is payable when confirming your acceptance of an offer of a place. This is part of your tuition fee and will be deducted from the total amount upon enrolment.

Alumni of the University of Reading who undertake their next level of study at Henley Business School will receive a tuition fee discount of £1000.

UK/European Union Postgraduate Loans

Loans of up to £10,000 are available to eligible students studying for postgraduate masters courses from the 2016-2017 Academic year. In general, students need to be domiciled in England.  EU students, and individuals falling within certain specified categories, may also be eligible.

You can apply for a loan through the UK Government website.  You can read more about the scheme on the Student Loans Company website or on these two UK Government sites: Introduction of loans for postgraduate students and Government response to the Consultation on Support for Postgraduate Study.


(UK applicants only)

Applicants who normally live in the UK (for a minimum of three years) can apply for a Professional and Career Development Loan to borrow between £300 and £10,000. This is a bank loan, with interest charged at a commercial fixed rate.

How to apply for a Career Development Loan

See Professional and Career Development Loans.

The University provides opportunities to students from a wide range of backgrounds, who have the desire and ability to succeed. There are a range of scholarships and bursaries on offer for postgraduate students. For further information see: Money matters, costs and budgets for postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A good first or second class UK honours degree, or overseas equivalent, will usually be required.  Applicants with relevant experience or professional qualifications will also be considered.

Prior knowledge or experience of your chosen subject area is not required. We welcome applications from recent university graduates from a wide range of disciplines.

See country and region-specific information and entry requirements for International applicants or please contact us with any questions.

Not quite at the required level of English language proficiency for your chosen programme?

Applicants to Henley Business School, whose first language is not English, will be required to attain the International English Language Test Scores (IELTS), or equivalent acceptable qualification accepted by the University, as defined below, to enter a programme.

However, for students who successfully complete one of the Pre-sessional English Language courses run by our International Study and Language Institute, a half-band credit will be applied to their English language condition. (For example - programmes requiring IELTS 7.0 will accept students with a result of 6.5 in the end of Pre-sessional English course assessment providing the student has completed the relevant English course with us).

Applications to the International Study and Language Institute

Henley Business School requires a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 (with no element below 6.0) to enter all programmes except Information Management. Information Management programmes require an IELTS score of 6.5 (with no element below 5.5).

Students completing the above mentioned pre-sessional courses would be allowed entry onto their chosen programme with an overall score of 6.5 for all programmes except Information Management, which will generally accept 6.0.

Equivalent English Language Qualifications will also be accepted. If you require specific advice on your qualification please contact our admissions office directly either by e-mail at or by telephone on +44 118 378 5289.

UK visa requirements

If you are not a national of the European Union (EU), it is likely that you will need to obtain a UK visa to live and study in the UK before you travel. See the UK Border Agency website. Contact the University's International Office with any questions:

Apply online

Careers and accreditations

Our International Human Resource Management graduates follow a variety of paths upon graduation. Some enter (or return to) traditional HRM roles with the benefit of CIPD membership.  Typical career paths include roles in learning and development or recruitment.  The programme is also directly relevant to students seeking senior managerial positions in international organisations with responsibility for the management of people.

CIPD logoOur graduates tell us that the MSc in International Human Resource Management gives them the key skills required to build a career in HRM as well as providing the opportunity for CIPD membership.

The programme is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

What our students say

Speak to a student

Our students and alumni are always keen to share their Henley experience, whether you are a prospective applicant or you've already applied for a place on a Masters programme at Henley Business School. For a unique insight into every aspect of life in the School and on campus, you can contact any of our students and alumni below, via email, Skype or social media.

When contacting one of our students for the first time, please introduce yourself and the Masters programme you have applied for before you outline any questions you might have.

Janet Botcherby, England
MSc International Human Resource Management, 2016

Email: Email

Nora Lynn Schnetzer, Switzerland
MSc International Human Resource Management, 2016

Email: Email

Aksshay Malaviya, India
MSc International Human Resource Management, 2015

Skype: Aksshay Malaviya

Email: Email 1Email: Email 2

Shenda Zukas, Zambia
MSc International Human Resource Management, 2015

Email: Email

Maki Ito, Japan
MSc International Human Resource Management, 2015

Email: Email