International Human Resource Management

Postgraduate Diploma, MSc


The MSc International Human Resource Management (IHRM) provides a broad understanding of the importance of people management in organisational development and business operations.  The course builds on current trends in the internationalisation of work, occupations and management activities by offering a unique perspective on the challenges facing the HR profession and HRM practice in a global economy.  It addresses both contemporary debates on HR management practices, and reflections on business organisation governance and strategy in an international context.

The course develops HR managers and leaders who are able to deliver responsible, participatory and sustainable service to their organisation, whether they work, in a private firm, a public agency or a not-for-profit organisation operating with an international workforce or across the world.  It is especially designed for those who wish to work in organisations employing an international and diversified workforce, and to have responsibility for developing local and global HR systems that incorporate corporate social responsibility, innovation and participatory practices.


The Management School has associated PhDs including those funded by ESRC/Skills Development Scotland.

Key information

  • Degree type: Postgraduate Diploma, MSc
  • Study methods: Full-time, Campus based
  • Duration: MSc: one year; Diploma: 9 months
  • Start date: September
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Programme Administrator Management, Work & Organisation Division
Stirling Management School
University of Stirling
Stirling FK9 4LA
Scotland, UK
+44 (0) 1786 467311

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Course objectives

This course provides a critical and academic assessment of the Human Resource Management (HRM) approach and its application by employers in international contexts. Particular attention is paid to understanding issues of responsibility and sustainability in HR management, as well as exploring the influence of various forms of business organisations on HR practices. Stirling Management School is committed to the principles of the PRIME* agenda, and the MSc International HRM reflects this engagement by integrating considerations of social responsibility and sustainability issues in the core curriculum.

The curriculum for the MSc International HRM builds on mainstream HRM scholarship to incorporate specialist topics which are regularly updated to ensure topicality and continued relevance. The course is taught from the Management, Work & Organisation Division, so students have access to specialists in a variety of fields.

The curriculum, and how it is delivered, is innovative and challenging for all students regardless of their academic background. The course uses a variety of assessment methods ranging from the more traditional examinations and essays, to formative assignments (short essays and group feedback).

The course seeks to provide recent graduates with a conceptual foundation for a career in the field of international human resource management or for further academic study in the subject, or to update the knowledge and qualifications of personnel/HR practitioners, managers and trade unionists. It will also provide you with a wider perspective on the principal issues and concerns affecting work and provide the basis for more effective decisions. 

PRiME stands for Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRiME).  Its mission is to encourage responsible management education, research and thought-leadership globally. To this end, PRiME provides a voluntary engagement platform for business schools and management-related academic institutions. 

What makes us different?

Advance your career with work experience

On this course you will have the opportunity to enhance your career opportunities by participating in work-based multi-disciplinary projects designed to prepare you for the next step on the career ladder.

We work with companies across different sectors in presenting a range of opportunities for our students.


Top 25 in the UK for Business and Management Research

Top 25 in the UK for Business and Management research. REF2014

Developing Leaders of the Future

Our postgraduate education goes beyond textbooks and lecture rooms by also focussing on personal and professional development.

Our unique Flying Start leadership programme equips students with the transferrable skills essential to building a successful career.

Flying Start - students carrying out a team-building exercise.



94% of Stirling Graduates go on to get a job or are in further study within 6 months of graduating

94% of Stirling Graduates go on to get a job or are in further study within 6 months of graduating

Business Engagement

The University of Stirling Management School equips students to flourish as effective managers in the workplace through enhanced self-awareness, critical thinking, leadership and team-working skills.

Find out more about business engagement

Business Engagement


At the University of Stirling Management School, we are committed to ensuring that every single one of our students realise their potential.

The graduate job market has never been more competitive, and greater focus is now being placed on finding graduates who can demonstrate a wide array of skills, competences and experiences.

Find out more about employability

Employability video

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

Learn more

Library shelves

Life at Stirling

Of the many reasons students come to Stirling, such as academic reputation and research standards, one factor is always cited: the outstanding beauty of the University's Stirling campus. View our online films to get a picture of what it's like to live and study on our beautiful campus.

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Live Life

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree or equivalent.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

INTO University of Stirling offers a Graduate Diploma for those students who do not meet the required criteria for this course. If you successfully complete the Graduate Diploma in Business, Finance and Sport and meet the required progression grades, you will be guaranteed entry onto this Master's degree.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

For more information go to English language requirements

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

The full-time course consists of two 15-week semesters of taught modules and a three-month dissertation period. The course is structured around five core modules (20 credits each) spread across two semesters (three modules in Semester 1, plus two modules in Semester 2), and the choice of two 10 credit electives in the second semester. Students undertake a dissertation project over the summer period.

Preparing and supporting students through their postgraduate studies
From September 2014, Stirling Management School offers an intensive and invigorating period of 'learning to learn' for postgraduate students.  Activities, workshops and information sessions held during this period will help students better prepare for the year ahead in order to ensure that they make the most of their time at Stirling.  Students will be provided with an opportunity to develop the necessary skills required to ensure that they can interact and engage with others and fully explore the subjects and themes covered by their course.

Providing students with the very best start to their studies, these activities will support students to:

  • discover more about the exciting period of learning ahead;
  • develop an understanding of the course expectations;
  • get to know the teaching team and support staff;
  • learn more about a diverse range of approaches to learning;
  • understand what it takes to work as part of a successful team;
  • develop presentation skills and build confidence in public speaking;
  • learn about cultural and individual differences;
  • discover all that the University campus and the vibrant city of Stirling has to offer;
  • maximise their time studying at Stirling;
  • have fun and make new friends.

By the end of this period, students will be fully prepared to embark upon the formal teaching course invigorated and committed to the journey ahead with newly developed skills.

In Semester 1 you take the following modules:

  • Strategic and Operational HRM in Context: introduces you to foundational concepts and perspectives in HRM, thereby providing you with a strong foundation for the Master's course.  It particularly offers an overview of the various factors affecting the strategic and practical management of people.
  • Managing Organisations with an International Outlook: enables you to appreciate the interactions between organisations and their global socio-economic context. Students will be introduced to a range of contemporary theories and development affecting the management of people at an international level, including issues of values and beliefs, governance structure, resource allocation, individual motivation, professional identity, as well as demographic and labour trends.
  • Responsible Business in a Global Economy: stimulates reflection on the role of business in society, drawing upon a broad range of perspectives and critical material in the field of business ethics. Students will explore contemporary discussions about the social responsibility of business, and examine various ethical issues, management trends and business practices from a multi-stakeholder viewpoint.

In Semester 2 you will take the following modules:

Compulsory modules:

  • Managing and Developing a Diverse Workforce: provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the practical aspects of HRM in an international context.  It enables students to identify topical issues in the context of personal, professional and organisational development of staff working internationally and teams of international staff, including issues of workforce diversity, and current perspectives on work and well-being.
  • Comparative Employment Systems: introduces you to the nature and scope of the employment relationship, and enables you to reflect upon the various factors and institutions which contribute to shaping it.  Students will learn about various employment systems and their economic, social and legal framework, as well as analyse how these influence the HRM practice.

You will also choose two electives from a selection of modules across the School, including the following (not all may be offered every year):

You will also take a Research Methods module over Semester 2 which is an essential foundation to help you prepare and conduct a major research project for your dissertation (over the summer period).

Delivery and assessment

You have an active role in your learning experience. Delivery includes lectures, seminars, case studies, group-work, presentations, and workshops, followed by a three-month dissertation period. Assessment is by a mixture of examination and coursework, including written assignments and presentations. Successful completion of the taught element of the programme leads to the award of the Diploma or allows you to continue for the award of the MSc International HRM by completing a 15,000-word dissertation based on an original research question agreed by yourself and your supervisor. The project should reflect your own understanding and knowledge of selected topics learnt during taught courses.

Modes of study

MSc: one year; Diploma: nine months

Study method


Why Stirling?


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

The reputation of our research at Stirling Management School was recognised in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), where the School was placed in the UK’s top 25 institutions for Business and Management, out of 101 business schools.  In Scotland, the School was ranked in the top five.  64% of our research outputs were classified as world-leading and internationally excellent in terms of their originality, significance and rigour and we were ranked 14th in the UK in terms of research impact with over 60% of our research impact judged to have outstanding reach and wide-ranging impact on the policies of public, private and governmental organisations.


The MSc International HRM expands upon the teaching and research expertise within Stirling Management School to offer a programme equipping students not only with professional skills for successful HR careers internationally, but also with the ability to engage critically and responsibly with broader issues related to the business environment.

This course uniquely supports the development of decision-makers who can appreciate the nature and value of their work and organisation, and who can design effective HR services which account for the social and economic interests of a variety of stakeholders and organisational factors.

Our students

At least 94% of our graduates are in work or further studies within six months of graduating.  Many of our alumni are now working in leading organisations across the world.

Here is  what some of our alumni have to say about their experiences at the University of Stirling Management School and life after graduation.

Alumni viewpoints

Our staff

Core teaching staff all publish regularly in important international journals. Many have also carried out research, including policy-relevant projects, for various organisations internationally. Projects have involved private, public and not-for-profit organisations such as the John Lewis Partnership, The European Commission, UK Commission for Employment and Skills, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government etc.

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

Where are our graduates now?

MSc International HRM is a new course launching in September 2015. However, it builds upon the success of the MSc HRM which has produced graduates whose successful careers have seen them work, in various capacities (as HR specialists or in other management roles) for a range of public, private, for-profit or not-for-profit organisations operating in many industry sectors across the world, including:

  • NHS
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Nestle
  • Ernst & Young
  • United Nations
  • Heineken
  • Central and local government
  • Universities around the world

Some of our more established alumni (MSc HRM) are currently leading and shaping the strategy of global organisations - here is an example of how a few former MSc HRM students have advanced in their careers:

  • Human Resource Director, Detica (UK)
  • Director, Workplace Solutions (India)
  • HR Manager, PT. Bank Niaga Tbk (Indonesia)
  • Head of Business Support, Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Group Manager, CGU Plc (UK)
  • HR Consultant, Aibel (Norway)

Graduating with an MSc in International HRM does not necessarily mean that you have to progress into a career in that field however. Indeed, it offers a solid foundation upon which to base a career in different areas related to business practice or to local or international socio-economic development policy-making and implementation.

Employability video

employability video promotion

Business engagement video

industry promotional video


Throughout the course of their studies, our students are introduced to a broad range of topical issues which enable them to better understand the challenges of work in various types and sizes of organisations operating both locally and globally.

Students on the MSc in International HRM learn significant transferable skills valued by employers, such as the ability to research relevant data and critically analyse these to inform contextual decisions, the ability to work in a team, to conduct projects and deliver effective presentations in time and to a high quality, and the ability to reflect upon contemporary management practice in an informed manner.

Their learning and development is further supported by encounters with guest-speakers with various industry expertise, as well as field trips (e.g. New Lanark) and the opportunity to take part in business-simulations with fellow students across the Management School (eg. the Strip Steel Business Challenge).

Industry connections

Throughout the course, students have opportunities to engage with guest-speakers with rich and varied industry backgrounds and significant experience in HR and other management-related issues.

Online application process

Please choose a start date and study method from the drop-down list below, and click the Apply Now button below to begin the online application process. (Please make sure you have consulted the Postgraduate Study pages on the University website and the Online Application Guidance Notes before continuing).



2016/17 Overseas £13,950
2016/17 Home/EU £6,100
2015/16 Overseas £13,500
2015/16 Home/EU £6,000

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies. View more information

Scholarships & funding

Stirling Management School Postgraduate Scholarships

Stirling Management School is committed to investing in academically talented students, enabling them to further their education with a reputable qualification from one of the many Postgraduate Degree Programmes on offer at the University of Stirling. There are various categories of funding that may be available to support the cost of your studies at Stirling Management School.

For further information on possible sources of funding, visit:

Scholarship finder
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