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MBA in Strategic Human Resource Management

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Make an Impact in Business and on People

Learn from industry leaders. Build a wide, lifelong peer network. Gain the skills to design, implement, and manage strategic human resource policies that directly impact an organization’s business strategy.


in the U.S. for Best MBA for Human Resources

Princeton Review, 2023

Industry-driven curriculum aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Large, engaged alumni network spans multinational corporations

HR-specific workshops, applied learning projects, case studies, mentoring, and industry visits

Benefit from a Pipeline to Top Employers

job placement
average base salary
average signing bonus

Career Opportunities

Top recruiting companies

Cisco logoCitibank logo
Danaher logoMicrosoft logo

Common career paths

  • HR Leadership Development Programs
  • HR Associate, Analyst, or Business Partner
  • HR Manager
  • Talent Management or Acquisition
  • Succession Management and Workforce Planning
  • Compensation Management
  • Organizational Training and Development


A man standing in front of a seated group of people

The Wisconsin Full-Time MBA curriculum integrates a strong foundation in general management with highly focused preparation in strategic human resource management. You will begin taking specialization classes right away.

This specialized MBA program is recognized for its alignment with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM*). Our aligned curriculum gives students the opportunity to earn a SHRM-CP credential under SHRM’s Eligibility Program, providing a career advantage as you enter the job market.

*SHRM is the world’s largest HR professional society, representing 300,000+ members in more than 165 countries. Learn more about SHRM.

Year 1

First Semester

  • Data to Decisions
  • Financial Accounting
  • Introduction to Financial Management
  • Leading and Working in Teams
  • Marketing Management
  • Operations Management
  • Strategic Human Resource Management
  • Applied Learning in Human Resource Management

Second Semester

  • Ethics, Integrity, and Society
  • Consulting Practicum
  • Business Strategy
  • Economics for Managers
  • Strategic Talent Management
  • Leading Change in Organizations
  • Applied Learning in Human Resource Management
  • Elective(s) (optional)*

Year 2

First Semester

  • Compensation: Theory and Administration
  • Labor-Management Relations
  • Bargaining, Negotiation, and Dispute Settlement
  • Applied Learning in Human Resource Management
  • Elective(s) (optional)*

Second Semester

  • People Analytics
  • Applied Learning in Human Resource Management
  • Strategic Human Resource Management Capstone
  • Elective(s) (at least one)*

*Students must take at least six (6) elective credits to achieve a minimum of 52 credits required for degree completion.

In addition to the courses listed here, you can incorporate open electives to enhance your cross-functional perspective on organizations.

Focus on an area of interest by pursuing one or more graduate-level certificates in topics such as business analytics, entrepreneurship, strategic innovation, and sustainability.

Applied Learning

Collaborate with executives in leading industries to create innovative solutions to their HR challenges

Exact Sciences. Students analyzed current trends and best practices in onboarding and researched technologies available to support onboarding needs for a blended and distributed workforce.

Spectrum Brands. Students determined inefficiencies in the company’s organization structure by interviewing staff, creating branding strategies, and providing recommendations for financial and human resources leadership.

UW Health. Students standardized position descriptions following a merge to align with long-term recruiting, employee engagement, and compensation initiatives.

A woman talking with a seated group of people

Visit companies and hear from industry leaders

Human resource professionals with a broad range of expertise regularly provide insights into the latest strategies and best practices. Speakers from companies such as Robert W. Baird & Co., American Family Insurance, Cisco, General Mills, GE Healthcare, and Exxon Mobil have shared their experiences in organizational restructuring, talent management, and human resources in an international context.

Expert Support and Career Connection

Knowledge Center

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The Strategic Human Resource Management Center, a knowledge center dedicated to developing strategic business leaders, is backed by extensive industry support and is a unique pillar of the Wisconsin MBA.

Participating industry experts and alumni:

  • Lead applied learning experiences
  • Contribute to the classroom
  • Mentor students
  • Assist with recruiting and placement

Center Leadership

Tanya Hubanks

Tanya Hubanks

Director, Strategic Human Resource Management Center

Director Tanya Hubanks is an experienced human resources professional who holds a master’s degree in industrial relations and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She practiced employment law, consulted small businesses, and was a senior human resources executive and leader in the financial services industry. She has a passion for developing strategic business leaders and is an active member of the national SHRM.

Read Tanya Hubanks' bio
Charlie Trevor

Charlie O. Trevor

Academic Director, Strategic Human Resource Management Center

Charlie O. Trevor is the academic director of the Strategic Human Resource Management Center. He is also a professor and the Ruth L. Nelson Chair in Business in the Department of Management and Human Resources at the Wisconsin School of Business. Charlie teaches courses on negotiations, employee compensation, research methods, and HR systems. He received his PhD in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University.

Read Charlie Trevor's bio

World-Class Faculty

Barry Gerhart

Barry Gerhart

Professor, Management and Human Resources
Bruce R. Ellig Distinguished Chair in Pay and Organizational Effectiveness

Barry Gerhart served as department chair at Cornell University and Vanderbilt University and as department chair, senior associate dean, and interim Albert O. Nicholas Dean at the Wisconsin School of Business. His research interests include compensation, human resource management, staffing, and international management.

Read Barry Gerhart's bio
Chia-Jung Tsay

Chia-Jung Tsay

Assistant Professor, Management and Human Resources
Bruce and Janie Ellig Professor in Management

Chia-Jung Tsay is an associate professor in the management and human resources department. Her research examines the psychological processes that influence decision making about performance. She investigates the role of perception, expertise, and nonconscious biases in professional selection and advancement.

Read Chia-Jung Tsay's bio

Program Voices

Alexis Parker
“I chose Wisconsin because of the specialization structure. I am able to not only sharpen my comprehensive understanding of business with the MBA but also really dive into HR specifically. It really checked all of my boxes to figure out what I wanted next for my career. I also appreciate the supportive nature throughout the program and small class-size.”
Alexis Parker (MBA ’23), SHRM-CP
Harry Wolfe
“Earning my MBA in strategic human resource management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was not just a degree, but a transformative experience that has enriched my skills, knowledge, and confidence in navigating today’s complex corporate environment.”
Harry Wolfe (MBA ’22)
HR Management Associate, Assistant Vice President, Citi
Ellen Chen
“The specialized MBA program as well as the top-ranked ROI made the Wisconsin School of Business my clear choice. My professional passion is to be a dynamic HR business partner and expand on my prior work experience. The strategic human resource management specialization at Wisconsin provides a perfect blend of strategic knowledge and skills. I gained comprehensive business knowledge and focused learning on how to develop a systematic HR framework.”
Ellen Chen (MBA ’19)
HR Director, Danaher Corporation
Zena Stephens
“With the unique structure of the Wisconsin MBA program I got a full two years to gain HR expertise. The specialized program offers the essentials of a general management MBA through core classes, and I got very targeted skills and knowledge focused on strategic HR that helped me make an immediate impact.”
Zena Stephens Joy (MBA ’17), SHRM-CP
Associate Director, Total Rewards
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Get Inspired at Our Annual Human Resources Conference

Woman speaking at a conference

Students, alumni, and industry leaders come together for the program’s annual human resources conference (our SHR Symposium) to network and discuss current industry issues and forward-looking human resources trends and practices.

Join the Next Generation of Business Leaders

Avi Gomez

Avi Gomez (MBA ’23)

Avi is championing inclusion and creating opportunity. Her goal is to help company leaders understand the importance of putting a focus on equity, inclusion, and belonging, as well as the value of using data to tie them to the company’s strategic goals.

James Cox

James Cox (MBA ’23)

James’ experience in Psychological Operations in the Army and as a behavioral health professional helped him understand how to connect with people on a grand scale and drove him to specialize his MBA in human resources. Driven by compassion and data, James hopes to work on the analytical side of management and pursue opportunities in people analytics.

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