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MA Human Resources and Consulting

Our Masters develops your expertise in working with and through people – developing human resources in pursuit of strategic objectives.

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About our Masters

The ability to empower organisations and their people is a highly sought-after skill, and the focus on developing, valuing, and managing human resources has never been greater. This unique course blends strategic HR, development and consulting to develop your expertise in working with and through people.

Whether you are a recent graduate, or already work in HR, management education or consultancy, your mind will be challenged as we train you to think and act critically and effectively. This is not a programme focused on simplistic ‘models’ or techniques. Instead, we will teach you to hone the capabilities and skills necessary to develop people and knowledge effectively.

You will put your newly developed conceptual abilities into practice with real-life organisations, including how to intervene constructively in strategic issues and stimulate change through consulting. We will encourage you to work collaboratively, sharing ideas and experiences with your international classmates and tutors. As our graduates tell us, that’s often how you will learn the most.

Key Facts

Course Content

A central philosophy of the programme is a belief in the importance of self-directed study, coupled with collaborative working.

The programme takes an experiential approach to learning and development, which is why project work is used to complement academic study. Throughout the MA you are actively encouraged to diagnose and explore issues that are central to your individual learning – and encouraged to question and challenge philosophies and theories and to re-examine established beliefs and managerial practices.

Through its various strands and activities, the programme aims to:

  • Develop your skills and awareness as a responsive, reflective practitioner, able to analyse and respond to changing needs and evolving organisational contexts
  • Develop your critical thinking skills and your analytical capabilities
  • Increase your confidence and skills in working with others within an international learning community
  • Develop your ability to form balanced and reasoned judgements about the value, strengths and weaknesses of your own work and those of others

 We look for the following qualities in those who join the programme:

  • Intellectual curiosity, enthusiasm and stamina, and the capacity to grapple with complex, multi-faceted issues and abstract concepts
  • Flexibility and open-mindedness in your thinking, and the readiness to challenge your own assumptions and preconceptions
  • Receptiveness to the ideas of other members of the group, and to support the development of others through constructive debate and feedback
  • An active approach to learning
  • Critical engagement in individual and group learning

 

The modules on the MA in HR and Consulting are taught over three terms, with a break at Christmas and Easter. Some of the modules span across terms. The first term, from October to December, sets the groundwork for the programme with a number of short and small assessments and a focus on key HR, development and teamwork knowledge and skills.

Alongside the modules listed below, there is also a Careers and Learning Development element, which provides interactive group sessions over term one and two that will equip you with skills to make the most of your learning, study and careers opportunities.

  • Doing Organisational Research

    The module will introduce the students to the nature of knowledge within the organisation studies/management field, and the ways in which the literature can be researched and critically evaluated. It will then provide a systematic consideration of different approaches to research in the social sciences and in organisational studies in particular. This will include an evaluation of different research designs and methodologies, and of a range of methods likely to be particularly useful in organisational research such as: surveys, ethnography, case studies, interviews, questionnaires. The module will also address methods of qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Throughout, links will be made to the practical planning and execution of a piece of research.

  • Advanced Study and Professional Skills

    This module provides you with important resources for developing your postgraduate study and HR professional skills. Whilst we recognise that different people have different skills and abilities, everyone can benefit from reflecting upon and honing their study skills. For some this represents an important step in making the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study, for others it will provide an opportunity to develop skills further. In all cases this module should have a positive impact on your levels of attainment across the course; so whilst it does not have a formal credit weighting on the course, it is a requirement that you participate fully in the module and that you submit the required evidence fully and on time. Also, participation in the module and the completion of the Lent term assessments is mandatory for those of you registering for the CIPD diploma. The Lent term workshops will focus on a range of skills and capabilities that are valued in the HR professional, covering issues such as recruitment and selection tasks, business analysis and negotiation.

  • Introduction to Human Resources

    This module is focused on developing understanding of Human Resources (HR) from the developmental and strategic perspectives. This module therefore aims to provide students foundational knowledge about the nature, role and impact of HR in organizations, both nationally and internationally, and its social, political and economic context. A further key aim of this module is to aid and support applicants’ professional development and enable them to apply and demonstrate key knowledge, understanding and learning in the professional practice of HR.

    The module aims to develop students’ understanding and knowledge of HR practices and strategies through introduction to a range of HR functions including recruitment and selection, performance appraisal, training and coaching, leadership development, reward management, and the employment relationship. The module also aims to develop students’ understanding and knowledge of the principle internal and external environmental contexts of contemporary organisations, including the organizational context and international context, within which HR professionals and consultants work out HR strategies in different aspects of HR functions, in order to enhance organizational performance. Drawing upon real life case studies and examples, contemporary research and classroom exercises, the module aims to develop students’ critical thinking on HR practices and strategies within these different contexts. Through interactive exercises in class and the assessment, the module also aims to develop students’ skills in the critical evaluation of HR theories and practices including application of knowledge to analyse contemporary HR processes, practices and strategies, and in the application of theories into business activities.

    Learning outcomes:

    On successful completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate:

    • an understanding of HR theories, their application and practice

    • an understanding of the nature, role and impact of HR in organizations, both nationally and internationally, and its social, political and economic context

    • an understanding of the forms, lifecycle, processes and elements of HR interventions

    • an understanding of HR practices from developmental and strategic perspectives

    • an ability to think in critical and analytical (rather than merely descriptive) ways about HR practices and strategies and their implications in different contexts and across different levels

    • an ability to critically evaluate, select and apply HR theories and approaches to diverse contexts and taking into account a range of contextual factors

    • an ability to design HR strategies in different aspects of HR functions within a business context

    • skills of actively and critically reflecting on HR theories and practice

    • an ability to apply knowledge on contemporary organisations and their principal internal and external environments (including globalisation and international aspects) in analysing contemporary organisational and HR strategies and practice

    • an ability to apply knowledge on the managerial and business environment within which HR professionals work in analysing contemporary HR

    • an ability to apply knowledge on demographic, social and technological trends in the analysis of how they shape and impact on organisational and HR strategies and HR practices

    • the critical evaluation of major traditions of contemporary research in HRM and HRD

    • the critical evaluation of major theories relating to motivation, commitment and engagement at work and how these are put into practice by organisations

    • the critical discussion of the aims and objectives of the HRM and HRD function in organisations and how these are met in practice

  • Organisational Learning and Knowledge Management

    The Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management (OLKM) module is based on how understandings of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management theoretical perspectives align with practical implications of each theory. This module therefore aims to develop students’ critical understanding of how Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management (OLKM) are influenced by the context in which they occur including social, cultural, organizational contexts, and how learning can create innovation and sustainable competitive advantages in today’s organizations.

    The module aims to develop a subject specific understanding of different concepts related to OLKM. It aims to develop understanding of different concepts within the field and encourage students to identify and explore the use of innovative practices concurrent with OLKM concepts. The module aims to provide students with a sound basis of skills and knowledge for future careers in the field of HRD, particularly as a knowledge management and organizational learning consultant. The module design and processes include the design of effective teaching and learning activities, which will foster inclusive and engaging learning experiences during the 1st term. The design includes drawing on real life examples, contemporary research and classroom exercises including interactive learning with group and individual learning exercises (1-2 informal presentations, final consulting presentation and individual essay).

    Learning outcomes:

    On successful completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate:

    • An understanding and critical evaluation of a range of OLKM theories, concepts and practice,

    • An appreciation and understanding of learning and knowledge practices in contemporary organizations.

    • A critical awareness of OLKM dynamics in formal and informal settings and in-group learning situations, taking into account a range of contextual factors.

    • The identification and understanding of the disciplinary areas that contribute to OLKM in theory and practice.

    • Critical thinking about OLKM concepts and their application to the workplace

  • Consulting and organizational diagnosis

    The Consulting and Organizational Diagnosis module is focused on developing understanding of the overall lifecycle, components of, and approaches to HR and organizational development consulting interventions. This module therefore aims to provide students foundational and advanced knowledge about the forms, processes and elements of HR and organizational development types of consulting interventions.

    The module aims to develop students’ understanding and knowledge of the different approaches to HR and organizational development consulting interventions practices through introduction to a range of consulting approaches, including the expert, doctor-patient and process consulting modes of consultant-client interaction. The module also aims to develop students’ understanding and knowledge of the principle internal organizational features that impact upon and influence consulting interventions, namely the political relationship of the consultant to the client system, the political relationships within the client system, the organizational structure, and the organizational culture or climate. The role of the consultant in relation to the client system, in particular, is explored and the dynamics of this relationship and the different choices available to consultants are developed. The crucial role of organizational diagnosis – the processes involved and the different conceptual lenses for approaching diagnosis are introduced and critically explored. Drawing upon real life case studies and examples, contemporary research and classroom exercises, the module aims to develop students’ critical thinking on consulting practices and strategies, and their application of these practices and strategies into consulting activities.

    The module also looks at the nature of consulting and the roles of internal and external consultants – both in theory and in practice. It considers the research skills required for consulting work and reflects on ways of managing projects and organisational interventions. Within the module, teams of students take the role of a consultancy group enlisted by a client organisation to work on a live consultancy brief. The brief involves investigating a business issue of the client’s from a HR and organisational development perspective. The students need to negotiate the scope of the brief, to diagnose and investigate the business issue from an HR or organisational development perspective, to locate the work within a relevant body of contemporary knowledge, to collect and analyse data, to facilitate appropriate change, to derive supportable conclusions and to make practical and actionable recommendations for change, improvement or enhancement of the client’s current practice.

    Learning outcomes:

    On successful completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate:

    • an understanding of consulting theories, their application and practice

    • an understanding of the forms, lifecycle, processes and elements of HR and organizational development types of consulting interventions

    • an understanding of consulting practices from developmental and strategic perspectives

    • an ability to think in critical and analytical (rather than merely descriptive) ways about HR and consulting practices and strategies and their implications in different contexts and across different levels

    • an ability to critically evaluate, select and apply consulting theories and approaches to diverse contexts and taking into account a range of contextual factors

    • skills of actively and critically reflecting on consulting theories and practice

    • the planning, management and critical reflection on managing relationships with the client system

    • the planning, management and critical reflection on project management and developing deliverables for a client

    • the planning, management and critical reflection on diagnosing, researching, and drawing conclusions about organizational and business issues from a HR or organisational development perspective

    • the development of appropriate strategies for project and organisational problem-solving

    • the planning, management and critical reflection on the development of strategic options and practical and actionable recommendations for a client

    • the evaluation and application of the philosophies and practicalities of management-based research and evaluation, including the various political, ethical and legal issues encountered in their implementation in the HR and consulting context

During your second term from January to March you engage in a consulting project with an external client organisation, as well as developing advanced knowledge in HR and research methods. In this term you also begin to work on your dissertation proposal.

  • Advances in Leadership

    This module aims to develop knowledge and skills in the practice of leadership in organizations. The module is focused on leadership theory and practice in organizations and the application of theories and ideas into practice.

    Learning outcomes:

    On successful completion of this module students will be able to...

    - Demonstrate the critical discussion and evaluation of the characteristics of effective leadership and the methods used to develop leaders in organisations

    - Demonstrate knowledge of the contribution of the promotion of flexible working and effective change management in organisations

    - Evaluate major theories relating to motivation, commitment and engagement at work and how these are put into practice by organisations

  • The Management of Organisational Change: Challenges and Debates

    What is meant by ‘change’? How can organisational change be analysed? This module to provides students with a broad theoretical and practical understanding of some key concepts and issues in managing organisational changes.

    The contemporary world is characterised by a range of social, political, economic, technological, ecological and organisational changes that challenge accepted understandings and practices. This module introduces contributions from the social sciences that are useful in thinking about change. The focus is upon the development of an account of change that steers between reformist tinkering and revolutionary upheaval.

    As managers and others seek to engage with change it is important that taken for granted assumptions and simplistic solutions about organisational life are both articulated and rethought. Prevailing assumptions in the managerial literature are compared to contrasting approaches within organisation studies. The contention of the module is that the emerging socio-technical-politico-economic context necessitates a reflexive appreciation of the complexities and uncertainties of change and intervention.

  • Doing Organisational Research

    The module will introduce the students to the nature of knowledge within the organisation studies/management field, and the ways in which the literature can be researched and critically evaluated. It will then provide a systematic consideration of different approaches to research in the social sciences and in organisational studies in particular. This will include an evaluation of different research designs and methodologies, and of a range of methods likely to be particularly useful in organisational research such as: surveys, ethnography, case studies, interviews, questionnaires. The module will also address methods of qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Throughout, links will be made to the practical planning and execution of a piece of research.

  • Advanced Study and Professional Skills

    This module provides you with important resources for developing your postgraduate study and HR professional skills. Whilst we recognise that different people have different skills and abilities, everyone can benefit from reflecting upon and honing their study skills. For some this represents an important step in making the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study, for others it will provide an opportunity to develop skills further. In all cases this module should have a positive impact on your levels of attainment across the course; so whilst it does not have a formal credit weighting on the course, it is a requirement that you participate fully in the module and that you submit the required evidence fully and on time. Also, participation in the module and the completion of the Lent term assessments is mandatory for those of you registering for the CIPD diploma. The Lent term workshops will focus on a range of skills and capabilities that are valued in the HR professional, covering issues such as recruitment and selection tasks, business analysis and negotiation.

  • Consulting and organizational diagnosis

    The Consulting and Organizational Diagnosis module is focused on developing understanding of the overall lifecycle, components of, and approaches to HR and organizational development consulting interventions. This module therefore aims to provide students foundational and advanced knowledge about the forms, processes and elements of HR and organizational development types of consulting interventions.

    The module aims to develop students’ understanding and knowledge of the different approaches to HR and organizational development consulting interventions practices through introduction to a range of consulting approaches, including the expert, doctor-patient and process consulting modes of consultant-client interaction. The module also aims to develop students’ understanding and knowledge of the principle internal organizational features that impact upon and influence consulting interventions, namely the political relationship of the consultant to the client system, the political relationships within the client system, the organizational structure, and the organizational culture or climate. The role of the consultant in relation to the client system, in particular, is explored and the dynamics of this relationship and the different choices available to consultants are developed. The crucial role of organizational diagnosis – the processes involved and the different conceptual lenses for approaching diagnosis are introduced and critically explored. Drawing upon real life case studies and examples, contemporary research and classroom exercises, the module aims to develop students’ critical thinking on consulting practices and strategies, and their application of these practices and strategies into consulting activities.

    The module also looks at the nature of consulting and the roles of internal and external consultants – both in theory and in practice. It considers the research skills required for consulting work and reflects on ways of managing projects and organisational interventions. Within the module, teams of students take the role of a consultancy group enlisted by a client organisation to work on a live consultancy brief. The brief involves investigating a business issue of the client’s from a HR and organisational development perspective. The students need to negotiate the scope of the brief, to diagnose and investigate the business issue from an HR or organisational development perspective, to locate the work within a relevant body of contemporary knowledge, to collect and analyse data, to facilitate appropriate change, to derive supportable conclusions and to make practical and actionable recommendations for change, improvement or enhancement of the client’s current practice.

    Learning outcomes:

    On successful completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate:

    • an understanding of consulting theories, their application and practice

    • an understanding of the forms, lifecycle, processes and elements of HR and organizational development types of consulting interventions

    • an understanding of consulting practices from developmental and strategic perspectives

    • an ability to think in critical and analytical (rather than merely descriptive) ways about HR and consulting practices and strategies and their implications in different contexts and across different levels

    • an ability to critically evaluate, select and apply consulting theories and approaches to diverse contexts and taking into account a range of contextual factors

    • skills of actively and critically reflecting on consulting theories and practice

    • the planning, management and critical reflection on managing relationships with the client system

    • the planning, management and critical reflection on project management and developing deliverables for a client

    • the planning, management and critical reflection on diagnosing, researching, and drawing conclusions about organizational and business issues from a HR or organisational development perspective

    • the development of appropriate strategies for project and organisational problem-solving

    • the planning, management and critical reflection on the development of strategic options and practical and actionable recommendations for a client

    • the evaluation and application of the philosophies and practicalities of management-based research and evaluation, including the various political, ethical and legal issues encountered in their implementation in the HR and consulting context

From May to July you develop your advanced knowledge in leadership, and work on your Masters dissertation in a learning group, with support from your dissertation supervisor. The dissertation is your opportunity to focus on an HR or consulting topic of your choice. You will submit it at the end of August, at the end of your Masters programme.

  • Dissertation research in Human Resources and Consulting

    Building on DLM503, this module aims to give students experience in the design, development, planning and conduct of a research project; including creating data collection instruments, employing different research methods, negotiating access for data, prioritising, planning and managing time and work effectively, and crafting a major piece of academic work in the broad areas of human resources and consulting.

    The aim of the dissertation is for students to design and conduct an independent, self-managed and clearly defined piece of research in a topic/ area relevant to HR and Consulting, using appropriate research methods. Students are expected to identify a question which is of intellectual/ scholarly interest and to critically engage with theory and existing knowledge relevant to HR and Consulting.

    Learning outcomes:

    On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

    • Provide an adequate formulation of the research question, in light of the literature reviewed

    • Demonstrate understanding and application of research design and methodology by providing a methodological rationale for the methods chosen

    • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of data methods and analysis by collecting and analysing appropriate data

    • Apply the methods and/or perspective adequately throughout the data analysis

    • Discuss the findings and link this discussion adequately to the literature review

    • Make an intelligible contribution to debate

    • Draw conclusions from the study and reflect on the methods and processes

    • Negotiate access for data,

    • Prioritise, plan and manage time and work effectively.

  • Advanced Study and Professional Skills

    This module provides you with important resources for developing your postgraduate study and HR professional skills. Whilst we recognise that different people have different skills and abilities, everyone can benefit from reflecting upon and honing their study skills. For some this represents an important step in making the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study, for others it will provide an opportunity to develop skills further. In all cases this module should have a positive impact on your levels of attainment across the course; so whilst it does not have a formal credit weighting on the course, it is a requirement that you participate fully in the module and that you submit the required evidence fully and on time. Also, participation in the module and the completion of the Lent term assessments is mandatory for those of you registering for the CIPD diploma. The Lent term workshops will focus on a range of skills and capabilities that are valued in the HR professional, covering issues such as recruitment and selection tasks, business analysis and negotiation.

The Organisational Diagnosis and Consulting project is where you can put to real practical use the skills in consultancy, research and project management that you have been building during Term 1. It will also draw on your previous work experience.

The project runs over eight weeks in Term 2 and you work in teams of six-eight students, with support from a tutor. Clients for the project typically come from both the private and public sector, and may include large and small organisations.

In the initial four weeks you undergo an intensive training in consultancy techniques and skills which will deepen your understanding of the nature of consultancy and what it means to be a consultant, whether internal or external. In addition to the academic input you will be given very practical advice by practitioners from consultancy organisations on how to manage a consultancy intervention, in particular how to manage the client relationship.

In the second four weeks, you move into the client project process. You work to a brief supplied by your client on an HR-related area they have identified as important for their organisation. Your task as a team is to provide a more detailed diagnosis of the issue, collect and analyse relevant data, and come up with sound and implementable recommendations as to what needs to be done.

You are supported throughout this process by your tutor as needed, but managing the client relationship is the responsibility of the student group.

Assessment

Our assessments are designed to develop your learning. Coursework has a mix of individual and team-based elements, and goes from smaller and shorter elements in the first term, building in scope and size and leading to the dissertation. The coursework involves essays, group presentations, a consulting project and a dissertation.

Connected to HR Industry

During your studies, you will benefit from a range of real-world experiences to connect your learning to the realities of the HR Industry. These include client projects, group tasks, guest talks from senior HR leaders, case-studies from international contexts and cross-cultural learning. Collectively, these elements are designed to develop your experience, encourage you to reflect and allow you to specialise your knowledge to suit your desired career path.

Scholarships

Our programme-specific scholarships for 2021 entry are aimed at high-achieving students with a strong academic or personal profile. We'll automatically consider you for these scholarships when you apply and if you are shortlisted we'll be in touch with the next steps, so it's best to apply as soon as possible.

We also offer other scholarships. Please visit our Apply for Masters page to find out more.

Route to PhD Study

UK/EU applicants with a good honours degree who wish to go on to study for a PhD can apply for an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 1+3 Studentship. This covers tuition fees and, depending on eligibility, living expenses for the MA and, provisionally, for a further three years’ study for a PhD.

Careers

You will benefit from a dedicated Careers and Learning Development, which integrates job-seeking advice and careers development alongside inputs on assessment, coaching and professional development.

This is supplemented by the Careers Team at LUMS who help you to shape your career plans and support your job-hunting process in a variety of ways, including personalised one-to-one support and interactive workshops on areas such as career strategies, writing CVs and applications, interview skills, psychometric testing, what to expect at assessment centres, and online networking strategies. 

Alumni from the programme have entered into a wide range of specialisms across the globe – in HR, consulting, academia and other business areas. Recent alumni have secured roles including Associate Consultant, Senior HR Manager, Training Development Specialist, Reward and Performance Manager, HR Business Partner and Learning Solution Project Manager at organisations such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ernst and Young, Teleperformance Benelux, AchieveForum, KPMG India and Deloitte.

 

Student Profiles

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