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Should I Consider an M.S. in Human Capital Management?

Eighty-five percent of Columbia Human Capital Management (HCM) alumni have been promoted or have changed roles since the inception of the program in 2018, according to a February 2023 survey of all graduates. Among the reasons? The leading-edge curriculum of the Columbia SPS Master of Science in Human Capital Management as well as its outstanding scholar-practitioner faculty and diverse student body. 

Current disruptions around the world—COVID-19, social justice movements, supply chain challenges, the economy, and advances in artificial intelligence and analytics, to name a few— have catapulted the urgent need for Human Capital Management more than ever. The M.S. in HCM program prepares graduates to be agile, data-driven world-class strategists. They must be equipped to address changing needs by building and motivating talented, engaged workforces in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. While successful applicants come from a range of experience levels and disciplines, students enrich the program by sharing their insights from a range of HCM areas such as talent acquisition; talent management; rewards; human resource business partnership; diversity, equity, and inclusion; HR consulting; and executive search. Students also join with backgrounds in finance, marketing, communications, administration, and general leadership. 

Some examples of applicants who can benefit from the program:

  • Emerging human capital management professionals who want to enhance their skill set and grow in their careers.
  • Senior HCM professionals who want to broaden their skill set—and understanding of key HCM issues and solutions—so that they are ready to move up or across the HCM career ladder.
  • Individuals experienced in a non-HCM role who want to transition to a role in human capital management.
  • Individuals with three or more years of leadership experience outside of HCM who are looking to add to their professional knowledge and skill set.
  • Recent undergraduates who have relevant professional experience through an internship or volunteer work (undergraduate applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis).

Students work, or have worked for, firms across industries. Among them: Amazon, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, JPMorgan Chase, IBM, Google, NBC Universal, Meta, the NBA, United Nations, PT Pertamina, and Samsung. Students also work or have worked in smaller firms, nonprofits, and academic and health-care institutions in the U.S. and around the world. 

Because of differing student needs, the M.S. in HCM program offers flexible options for study: full-time or part-time, and on-campus in New York City or online. Full-time students may complete their course of study in three or four terms. Part-time students may complete it in six terms. In addition, classes are scheduled in the evening to enable those holding jobs or with other commitments to attend class on campus or online. 

The Columbia M.S. in HCM program has an active and warm community of engaged students and faculty, with multiple educational and networking events offered by our program and across Columbia. If you would like to explore becoming part of our community, get in touch with our admissions team to learn more.


Dr. Steve Safier is a full-time professor and the program director of the M.S. in Human Capital Management at the Columbia School of Professional Studies. He teaches three core courses—Integrated Talent Management Strategies; Effective Partnership Strategies for Human Capital Management Solutions; and the Capstone Seminar—and has taught Intro to HCM and Total Rewards. Dr. Safer is also an active advisor for students looking to grow their careers. His own career spans more than 35 years; he is a change management/turnaround authority and trusted consigliere to boards of directors, executive management teams, and employee teams. He has experience working as a transformational leader and strategic advisor, having served as a CHRO, COO, business president, and human capital consultant.

Dr. Safier holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Connecticut.

HCM strategists are able to address changing needs in building and motivating talented, engaged workforces in the private, public, academic, and not-for-profit sectors. The program is available part-time, full-time, on-campus, and online. 
Fall 2023 application deadlines for the M.S. in Human Capital Management program are March 15 for applicants with international documents and June 15 for the final deadline. Learn more here.

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