Human Resource Development and Consultancy (MSc)

Suitable for graduates, experienced organisational development and HR practitioners, this Master's degree focuses on human resource development (HRD) and consultancy. It takes a strategic approach to people management and organisational development, designed to enhance learning, skills, personal development and performance in the workplace, as well as a range of other topical issues.

This course is intellectually challenging. It integrates learning on training, organisational development, lifelong learning principles and consultancy practice, as well as offering a systematic approach to the design, management and evaluation of programmes to improve personal effectiveness and organisational performance. A substantial aspect of the programme is a management research project that combines the academic rigour of more traditional research dissertations with focus on activities which make a difference to practice in organisations.

All modules taught on this programme place emphasis on bridging cutting-edge academic thinking with direct application to practice, integrating academic perspectives with practice-based approaches to HRD. Considerable emphasis is placed on developing the knowledge and skills required in more senior HRD roles. You will gain an understanding of relevant organisational, psychological and management theory, while examining contemporary developments within the HRD field.

Dedicated sessions will also equip you with skills in consultancy framework and paradigms, including practical methods for applying these. There is a particular focus on ensuring you are aware of the importance of acting ethically and professionally with a demonstrated commitment to equality of opportunity and diversity, and appreciate the importance of continuous personal and professional development.

Highlights

  • This degree has been approved by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). As one of our students, you will be eligible to join the CIPD as a student member. On successful completion of the programme, you will be eligible for consideration for chartered membership of the CIPD.
  • This course is one of two Master's degrees offered by the Department of Organizational Psychology specialising in the discipline of human resources (find out which HR degree to take).
  • Birkbeck provides a diverse range of library and learning resources designed to facilitate your studies and research. Programme- and module-specific materials are also made available to support your learning.

Course structure

The programme comprises nine compulsory modules. You must complete all nine modules, including the research project.

You need to be aware that successful completion of the programme is contingent on a good attendance record and in particular practical engagement in the weekend workshops: dates are published in advance of programme commencement. This is necessary to embed the relevant learning and also to gain CIPD membership.

Module groups

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    A good honours degree (minimum 2:2), or equivalent, in social sciences or a business-related discipline. Alternatively, suitable professional qualifications and at least five years' significant management experience.

    HR professionals and consultants with at least five years' significant experience in a range of organisations and evidence of formal and appropriate training and professional development may be considered, even if they are unable to meet the formal qualification requirements.

    It is at the admissions tutor's discretion to assess suitability. Candidates may be required to submit other documentation, such as work samples, to determine eligibility for entry.

    Potential applicants should note that the programme is reliant on candidates being able to apply the learning directly to a relevant work environment (eg drafting and scoping an internal consultancy activity). Thus, it is essential that all candidates have some current or prior relevant work experience.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £4600 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £9200 pa
    Part-time international students: £7425 pa
    Full-time international students: £14850 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    All modules combine research-led teaching, experiential forms of learning, and critical self-awareness of the scope and limits of HRD. You will be introduced to concepts and practices drawn from leading international research. The emphasis will be on identifying core principles from relevant research, theories and practices, and applying these to relevant organisational contexts. To this end, teaching acknowledges your current knowledge and past experience, and actively engages you in the process of learning.

    In addition, you will be expected to take part in a number of learning forums outside the classroom, such as peer review groups and learning sets, and to undertake personal study to develop a critical awareness of a range of core HRD concepts and principles.

    Contact hours

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

    On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Assessment varies for each module, but includes coursework, essay assignments, examinations, case studies, and a research proposal and dissertation of 8000-10,000 words.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates go in to careers in HRD and HR roles in a variety of settings, including government, the financial sector, services, manufacturing and charitable organisations. Possible professions include human resources officer or management consultant. This degree may also be useful in becoming a banker or retail manager.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.

      Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form.

      Application deadlines and interviews

      You should apply as early as possible, but no later than September.