Human Resource Management

BA (Hons)


For businesses today, managing people is crucial. Human Resource Management (HRM) deals with the management of an organisation’s workforce, from the most junior member of staff to the chief executive.

Organisational success depends upon developing appropriate methods of recruitment and selection, motivation, reward, training and development, grievance and discipline, performance management and career progression.

HR specialists work closely with operational managers to manage the employment relationship, enhance individual and team performance and ensure that workers are fairly treated. Indeed all managers need to possess HRM skills. HRM also attempts to increase the organisation’s ability to adapt within its environment through broadening the skills of the workforce. As such, HR specialists also need to have a good understanding of the labour market and their organisation’s wider social, economic and political environments.

Key information

  • UCAS: N600
  • Degree type: BA (Hons)
  • Study methods: Full-time, Part-time, Campus based
  • Start date: September / January
  • Course Director: Dr Belgin Okay-Somerville
  • School: Stirling Management School
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Dr Belgin Okay-Somerville University of Stirling
+ 44 (0) 1786 467361

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Course objectives

The UG HRM degree aims:

a) To develop a critical understanding of the complexities of the management of the employment relationship. In educating students who may become tomorrow’s Human Resource Managers, there is an obvious responsibility to keep up to date with contemporary developments in both practice and research and to develop a critical understanding of how Human Resource Management is related to the aims of businesses and impacts upon individual employees and the wider society.

b) To introduce students to the approach and methods of applied social science. Management education is a discipline in which our understanding has to be based on research and evidence. In this, it differs from the instant management books and the pronouncement of management 'gurus'.

c) To be contemporary. Rapid changes in employment practices, markets, technology, and employment law mean that we cannot see the subject as a static body of knowledge but rather as a set of processes with differing manifestations and consequences.

The learning outcomes associated with the UG HRM Degree are:

Knowledge and understanding


  • Critically evaluate contemporary employment practice
  • Understand the origins of current practices and identify appropriate and effective practice in the future.
  • Apply social scientific methods to the gathering and assessment of evidence (e.g. labour market data, organisational data).


Subject-specific skills and other attributes


  • Inclusion of practically applicable employment law content.
  • Practical skills/'transactional' aspects of HRM/Employment Relations are covered such as disciplinary procedures and job analysis. Such skills are essential for employment across HRM roles.


Generic skills (e.g. information skills, communication skills, critical, analytical and problem solving abilities) and other attributes

  • The ability to critically analyse data, information, policy and practice as discussed above.
  • Information collection and assessment skills are honed throughout the programme through work on assessments and, ultimately, the dissertation.
  • The ability to develop and present arguments logically in both written and verbal forms are developed through various assessment and teaching methods. Such skills are essential for practitioners in formulating and justifying HR decisions in the workplace.
  • Team working and interpersonal skills are encouraged through seminar exercises and, in the development and delivery of a team 'learning event' on the module HRM9LD
  • The dissertation commonly involves students conducting their own empirical research which is also a necessary skill within organisations in order to provide robust and systematic evidence of organisational issues and the effectiveness of HR interventions.
  • The programme also helps students to learn how to work independently and manage their own time.

What makes us different?

The University of Stirling’s HRM degree takes an approach which provides students with the essential critical thinking and analytical skills needed to manage and thrive in today’s organisations. The degree is not prescriptive and encourages students to critically examine organisational policies as well as claims made about employment and the labour market more widely. As such, HR ‘best practice’ is questioned throughout the degree. The Working Lives Group, within the Management, Work & Organisation Division, which houses the degree, has a focus that goes beyond traditional businesses to include the public and non-profit sectors, community organisations and employee-owned organisations. 

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.

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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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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Four-year Honours degree

SQA Higher:
BBBB - one sitting.
ABBB - two sittings.

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points

Three-year Honours degree

SQA Adv. Higher:

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
35 points

Other qualifications

Year one minimum entry
Scottish HNC/D - Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D - Merits and Distinctions.
Advanced entry
Year 2 or year 3 entry may be possible with an HNC/D in Human Resource Management or other related subject. Please consult our Advanced Entry pages for more information.

Access courses:
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply
Mathematics Standard Grade (3), National 5 (C), Intermediate 2 (C), GCSE (C) or equivalent.
If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.

INTO University of Stirling

INTO University of Stirling offers an International Foundation programme for those international students who do not meet the required academic and English-language criteria. These courses offer a route to study at the University of Stirling through an excellent teaching and learning experience located in the high-quality study facilities on campus.

International Foundation
Successful completion of the International Foundation in Business, Finance, Economics and Marketing to the required standard provides direct entry to year two of this 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

More information on our English language requirements

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

In Semesters 1 and 2 you will be taught core modules alongside students from Business Studies, Management, Marketing and Retail Marketing. These early modules are designed to give you a solid grounding in the general principles of business, management, marketing, human resources and organisations. In these first two semesters, additional modules are taken from elsewhere in the University; many students take modules in related subject areas, such as: Business Law, Economics, Psychology or Sociology.

Year 2 entry is available for suitably qualified candidates who can expect a seamless transition into Semester 3.

From Year 2 onwards, students take specialist modules in Human Resource Management covering areas such as techniques and policy within HRM; strategic HRM; learning and development; employment relations; and contemporary issues and change in HRM, work and employment. The teaching is comprehensive, covering the wider labour market and political environment, how HRM operates within organisations and the implications of HRM for individual workers. In addition to specialist HRM modules, optional modules are chosen from Business Studies, Management or from one of the other subjects for which you are qualified, e.g. Marketing. Students are encouraged to take electives in Accounting & Finance for Managers and Economics for Managers.

Students complete a dissertation on an HRM issue of their choice in their final semester, alongside developing their employability skills. 

You will have numerous opportunities to develop appropriate work-related skills at every stage of your studies, culminating in the Professional Development and Practice module in Semester 8 which helps you prepare for entering the workplace.

View full module descriptions

Delivery and assessment

Teaching is by lectures, seminars and practical work. In the advanced modules there is more opportunity for group work, case study analysis and skills development.

Assessment is by a combination of coursework and formal examinations. In the final semester (Year 4), all students complete an Honours dissertation which allows concentration on areas of particular interest.

Combined degrees

For additional information on each subject included in Combined Honours courses, refer to individual subject entries.

Human Resource Management can be studied with:
CourseUCAS Code
Business Studies NN16
French NRP1
Law MN16
Marketing NN65
Psychology NC68
Spanish NR64

(For a Combined Honours degree the higher entrance requirements of the subjects usually apply.)

Related degrees

Business StudiesMarketing; Psychology; Retail Marketing; Sociology and Social Policy.

Recommended reading

General texts which may be of interest include:

Beardwell, J and Claydon, T. (2010) Human Resource Management a Contemporary Approach (6th edn.), London: FT Prentice Hall.

Gilmore, S., & Williams, S. (2009) Human Resource Management, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Grey, C. (2009) A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about studying organizations (2nd edn.) London: Sage.

Legge, K. (2005). Human Resource Management: Rhetorics and Realities. (Anniversary Edition). Basingtoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Noon, M., & Blyton, P. (2007) The Realities of Work (3rd edn.) Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan

Modes of study

Full-time (three modules per semester).
Part-time (one or two modules per semester).
January entry also available - see semester dates

Find out more

Example timetable

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

YearSemesterSubject 1Subject 2Subject 3

1 The Global Business Environment: An Introduction Any module Any module
2 The Management Challenge: An Introduction Any available module at the appropriate level Any available module at the appropriate level

3 Fundamentals of HRM Any available module at the appropriate level Any available module at the appropriate level
4 Work, Employment and Society Any available module at the appropriate level Any available module at the appropriate level

5 HRM Techniques Contemporary Employment Relations Management School Option at Level 10
6 Contemporary Issues in HRM Learning and Development Management School Option at Level 9 or 10

7 Strategic HRM Management School Option at Level 10 Dissertation
8 Professional Development and Practice Dissertation  

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.


Top 25 in the UK for Business and Management Research

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.

Teaching provision in Business and Management has been assessed by the Scottish Funding Council and rated as 'highly satisfactory'.

Study abroad opportunities

You have the opportunity to study abroad through Stirling's well-established connections with several international universities.  Recent HRM students studying abroad have studied in locations as diverse as the United States, Hong Kong, Canada and the Netherlands.


The HRM degree critically examines HRM and employment policies, where these don’t work as they should and how they may be improved. The degree focuses on the wellbeing of employees as well as organisational success and considers a number of different organisational forms, as well as the wider labour market. Staff come from a number of academic and employment backgrounds and bring a rich variety of perspectives to their teaching.

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.

Our staff

Dr Belgin Okay-Somerville is a work psychologist. She studied Psychology at undergraduate level at the University of Nottingham and later specialised in Industrial/Organisational Psychology (Work Psychology) during her masters education. Belgin completed her PhD in Human Resource Management at the University of Strathclyde. Her previous roles prior to joining University of Stirling include Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Strathclyde (Department of HRM) and Lecturer in Management at the University of Aberdeen Business School. Belgin’s research interests centre around labour market issues, in particular the implications of skills (under)utilisation for career development and well-being, at the employee level, and for organisational outcomes, e.g., employee attitudes and organisational performance, at the organisational level. 

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

Where are our graduates now?

Human Resource Management graduates are contributing to the performance of a range of private, public and third sector organisations including:

  • IBM
  • National Australia Group
  • NHS
  • BBC
  • Guinness
  • Sainsburys
  • BAE Systems
  • BSkyB
  • JP Morgan
  • Aviva UK
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Local and central government
  • Audit Scotland
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Capita Plc

Recent graduates from Stirling’s Human Resource Management degree have started their careers in the following roles:

  • Resource Assistant, Hyde Group Engineering
  • HR Administrator, Capita HR Solutions
  • Learning & Development Graduate Trainee, Hilton Worldwide
  • Recruitment Consultant, Recruitair Ltd
  • Researcher, Experis Manpower Group

Graduates who left Stirling up to ten years ago have now forged careers in the following areas:

  • Performance Improvement, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • HR Manager, Sainsbury’s
  • HR Policy Developer, University of Central Lancashire
  • Regulatory Analyst, Baillie Gifford
  • Policy Officer – Care, Health & Wellbeing, NHS Forth Valley
  • Employer Brand Consultant, RBS Insurance

An HRM degree from Stirling is a solid foundation upon which to build a career in HR.  Some of our more established graduates are currently employed as the following:

  • Regional HR Director, Trinity Mirror Plc
  • HR Business Partner, BBC
  • HR Consultant, Audit Scotland
  • HR Operations Manager, Capita Plc
  • Leadership Development, National Australia Group
  • HR Strategy & Planning Advisor, City of York Council
  • Expertise Management Leader, IBM
  • Deputy Director of Learning & Development

Some of our graduates have used their Human Resource Management degree as a basis upon which to progress into some potentially less obvious careers including: Policy Officer (Scottish Government), Senior Business Support Officer (Glasgow City Council), Careers Advisor (University of Stirling), Marketing Consultant (Elementary Solutions), Communications Advisor (BAE Systems), Business Development Manager (Heineken UK) and Management Accountant (Kerry Goods Ltd).

Stirling Management School’s Careers Mentoring Scheme

The Careers Mentoring Scheme is open to all Year 3 and Year 4 students across Stirling Management School. Mentoring is widely recognised as an effective tool for enhancing your career prospects and of ensuring informed choice, and this scheme is designed to provide additional support as you progress through your studies, as well as preparing you for progression into your desired professions. Mentors are all former students of Stirling Management School who know what it is like to be unsure about your future career plans.  They are keen to pass on tips relating to potential careers and applying for jobs.

The benefits of the scheme include:

  • Improving your employability skills
  • Building your confidence and self-esteem when applying for jobs
  • Searching and applying for suitable jobs, writing CVs, interview skills
  • Providing an insight into the world of work and a particular industry

Discover other ways in which our alumni get involved with our students

Internship – What they are and why you should consider doing one?

An internship is an opportunity offered by an employer to students (or interns) over a fixed period of time, which enables the student to gain practical experience. The Career Development Centre has details of internships available around the world with large private sector organisations, as well as opportunities with smaller local businesses which are promoted through both the Third Sector Internship Scheme, the Saltire Foundation, and our very own Stirling Internship Programme. As a student, you will automatically be registered onto the University’s Vacancy & Events System which means that you will receive regular updates regarding new opportunities as they become available.

Six reasons why you should consider an internship:

  1. Boost your CV and stand out from the crowd in order to have an edge in the graduate job market. 
  2. Make professional connections which may lead to the offer of a job upon graduation
  3. Test your career choices – internships can ease your transition into future careers or alternatively, help you decide that you don’t want to work in that area after all
  4. ‘Real world’ business experience, enabling you to put theory into practice
  5. Develop transferable skills such as communication, team working, problem-solving, decision-making, initiative and creativity
  6. Help fund your studies by earning a full-time salary during the vacation periods


Fees 2016/7

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,555.00
Scottish and EU students TBC
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Fees 2015/6

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,275.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years

Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.

Please note: Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

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

Information on possible sources of funding

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