What Do You Need to Know in HR? A Suggested Curriculum

by Michael Haberman on August 6, 2010 · 6 comments

I was thinking (oops… wait I have already done that once this week)  about all the “stuff” you need to know if you are a human resources professional. I came up with a list of things and I decided to put it in terms of what I would teach in a Human Resources degree program. Here are the classes I would require:

These would be required courses. Advanced degrees would require further study in particular areas of specialty.

I think anyone coming out of a college today with a degree in HR should have this preparation under his/her belt.

So what do you think of my list? Any suggestions?

And the big question, how much of this do you know? Is your education lacking? Is it time to go “back to school” and work on your “degree” in HR? The links above will provide  you with a resource if you want one.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tini August 7, 2010 at 3:20 am

The nice thing about this is that except for the first two they are not country or culturally specific. Yes there are other texts for other languages or cultures that might be better but the subjects remain.

I suppose really that's true of the first two except you would HAVE to replace them with local version whereas the others you COULD replace them.

Cool…I'm waiting (already waited 20 years) for the day HR truly becomes a business oriented discipline.


Sergey Gorbatov August 7, 2010 at 6:44 am

Hey Michael – that is some impressive list. I would really like to see more business related materials included, because without true understanding of the business HR are supporting, they will struggle getting "the seat at the table".

I would also put more emphasis on psychological grounding of an HR professional. EQ is critical, as well as integration of psychological elements into all HR processes – selection, training, assessment, etc.


akaBruno August 9, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Hey Mike,

Have you checked out SHRM's Curriculum Guide? Link is here: http://www.shrm.org/Education/hreducation/Pages/Guidebook.aspx


Matt (akaBruno)


James F. August 12, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Nice list; this is something every startup or small business looking to get their HR started properly should look at and research each link you gave.


Marcia August 15, 2010 at 8:13 pm

In today's world of mass adoption in the online social networks, advanced technologies (Ipads, Smart Phones,over 200K downloadable applications etc) I believe knowledge of digital marketing is essential for success in the human resource space.

I did not see this as your suggested curriculum. Would love to hear perspective. My company is a start up technology company in the recruitment space and I have seen an influx of job titles I have not experienced in the past. Senior Brand Manager Talent Acquisition, Digital Recruitment Marketing Manager, Recruitment Marketing Manager the list goes on.


fahad October 24, 2010 at 9:34 am

Am working in a company and I would like to move to the HR department, I don’t have Degree in HR but I will take some course about it

I want to ask you what are the essential things or basic that I have to learn and gain in HR
Can you guide me to a book that can help to increase my knowledge?


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