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Master of Human Resources and Employment Law

What is a Master of Human Resources and Employment Law degree?

The Master of Human Resources and Employment Law (MHREL) program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University caters to professionals in the human resources, recruitment and operations fields. Offered online or in person, this degree program helps non-lawyers better understand the legal and regulatory structure that governs the work they do. HR practitioners learn how to manage the complex employment law and regulatory structure that applies when working with employees. Students in the program can find and analyze the legal issues facing human resources professionals daily in order to offer solutions.

Quick facts

Next start date: May 16, 2024 (Summer 2024); August 22, 2024 (Fall 2024)

Total classes: 10

Weeks per class: 7.5

Total credit hours: 30

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How can a Master of Human Resources and Employment Law degree help you?

The Master of Human Resources and Employment Law (MHREL) degree develops graduates who identify and analyze legal issues in order to solve critical human resources problems facing organizations. Human resources and employment management has historically emerged from a business administration curriculum. However, a significant aspect of any human resources job involves employment law, and organizations have come to recognize the importance of legally-trained professionals that can navigate the local, state, and federal laws that regulate labor markets. This degree focuses on the legal aspects of human resource management and employment. Students who graduate will demonstrate an understanding of U.S. law, legal structures, and legal reasoning when making informed decisions regarding complex human resource problems.

Law school isn’t just for lawyers anymore. Here at ASU Law, our MHREL program offers graduate level education, with unique opportunities to advance your career. We have graduates in nearly every career field imaginable, in all walks of industry.
We offer both full and part-time programs with in-person and online options. Our FastApp process fast-tracks your application and only take 10 minutes. A traditional LSAT exam is not required, and both of our programs feature world-renowned faculty and innovative courses to hone your skills. Our MHREL program can earn you your masters with as little as 10 courses, and our graduates become experts in their field. 

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a premier professional organization with 300,000+ members nationally and globally, has recognized ASU Law as the first law school whose HR program(s) are fully aligned with SHRM curriculum guidelines.

Why ASU Law?

ASU Law is a highly ranked and highly respected public law school dedicated to educating the next generation of legal professionals. In honor of its namesake, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, ASU Law graduates are prepared to shape the legal field, both in and out of the courtroom.

The highest-ranked law school in Arizona and the No. 15 public law school in the U.S., ASU Law is proven to train skilled lawyers and leaders. The school abides by the ASU charter and is measured not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes. That philosophy is integrated into everything ASU Law does. 

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SHRM Accreditation

This program is fully aligned with SHRM Guidelines - The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM). a premier HR professional organization with 300,000+ members nationwide and globally, has recognized ASU Law as the first law school that is fully aligned with the SHRM Curriculum Guidelines. This alignment provides students enrolled with an emphasis in HR and Employment Law the opportunity to apply for the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) exam. Achieving this certification is an important distinction that many employers recognize in hiring and promoting HR and employment law professionals.

Current and future students who complete this degree may be eligible for the SHRM certification exams. Students who already have SHRM certification will receive Continuing Education credit for the courses they have completed or will complete.

Career Services

Master of Human Resources and Employment Law graduates go on to start their own companies or move up in their existing careers. In every case, knowledge of the legal field enhances their professional life and shapes their way of thinking.

Career Services at ASU Law can help students identify goals, find employment opportunities and help students pursue their passions. The Career Services team offers hands-on interview preparation, resume reviews and the guidance job seekers need as they enter the workforce. That resource is available to students the moment they start their ASU Law journey and lasts long after graduation.

Students graduating with a Master of Human Resources and Employment Law (MHREL) degree will have opportunities in careers and positions such as:

  • Ombudsman
  • HR leadership
  • Company vice president
  • Hiring manager
  • Labor advocate
  • Head hunter
  • Small business owner

Learn more

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Requirements for a Master of Human Resources and Employment Law degree

In order to be admitted to the MHREL program, you must have completed a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college or university in the United States or attained a comparable degree from a foreign institution. Graduate school entrance exams (e.g. LSAT, GRE, GMAT) are not required.

On-campus experience

Currently, many of the program's core courses are online. On-campus students can balance their campus experience with live electives and core courses. Because of U.S. student visa requirements regarding online coursework, the on-campus program experience is not a viable option for international students at this time.

Can I get my Master of Human Resources and Employment Law degree online?

Earn a master's degree from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law on your own time from anywhere in the world. Gain access to the same highly-credentialed faculty and coursework you would gain in person, but tailored to you and your needs. Online students have support from student services and a world-class digital education program to lean on to ensure success in and out of the classroom.

Learn more

Sample coursework

In addition to the completion of the seven (7) required core courses (18 credits, 21 credits including the capstone), students in the Master of Human Resources and Employment Law program can select from varied elective courses (at least nine credits) that will count toward their degree. The pool of elective courses students can choose from include courses focused on employment-law-adjacent subject areas like privacy rights, dispute resolution, and contracts. 

Students are also able to choose elective courses that present an opportunity to explore other legal areas that may interest them or be pertinent to their chosen career path. The degree culminates in a three-credit capstone course that focuses on the practical application of knowledge and skills gained during the degree. During the capstone course, students will evaluate the impact of various statutory and regulatory laws that affect the day-to-day operations of a human resources professional, learn how to successfully navigate the challenges these laws present, and manage relationships with varying employee groups at all organizational levels.

Required courses

  • U.S. Law and Legal Analysis
  • Employment Law
  • HR and Employment Law
  • Duties, Obligations and Rights in the Workplace
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Advanced HR and Employment Law
  • Human Resources and Employment Law
  • Capstone

Elective courses (sampling):

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Fundamentals of Contract Law
  • Administrative Agencies and Regulation
  • Conducting Fact Investigations and Reporting
  • Conflict Theory
  • Organizational and Workplace Dispute Resolution
  • Risk Assessment and Management
  • Immigration Law
Ben Kalahar

Ben Kalahar, Master of Human Resources and Employment Law

"In my first class in this program, I began to understand that knowledge is power, especially when it comes to the law. With the U.S. legal system, there is some responsibility on each individual to know their rights and understand the laws that impact what they do and how they are treated. This class shined a light on that aspect and further intrigued me about the law. Learning about the law can be empowering."

Read Ben's story

Professor Jennifer Ward sitting in graduation regalia at the ASU Law Fall Convocation ceremony.

Faculty overview

Professor Jennifer Ward teaches U.S. Law and Legal Analysis and the MHREL Capstone, which she designed and created. She joined ASU Law following a fifteen year career in legal practice, with a primary focus on employment law. During her time in practice, Professor Ward trained thousands of HR professionals, employees and managers on all aspects of employment law and HR management, including harassment prevention, best practices in performance management, and employee benefit administration. In addition to maintaining her license to practice law in Arizona, Professor Ward holds both the SPHR and SHRM-SCP certifications. She was selected by the graduating class of 2023 as MLS/MHREL Faculty Member of the Year.

Learn more about our world-class faculty.