Business Management with an Option in Human Resources

Associate Degree

Program Outline

This outline covers all four semesters of your at-home degree program. You will receive credit for previous college coursework if you meet Penn Foster standards. If you wish to receive credit for previous coursework, contact the college you attended and ask that your transcripts be forwarded to Penn Foster for evaluation. All previous college work must have been completed with a grade of "C" or better, and as much as 75% of the required credits may be transferred. We will also credit your tuition for all the courses that are acceptable.

The first course, Basic Skills Assessment, is available online only, which allows you to start studying right away. You will not receive hardcopy program materials for these lessons. You can access your first course as soon as your tuition payment has been received. Other courses will follow as you complete your exams.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, Microsoft® Office 2019 or Microsoft 365®, and an email account to complete this program. Access to Microsoft® Office 365 is a requirement for this program.

Online Library and Librarian
Students at Penn Foster College have access to an online library during their college studies. Students can use the library to do the required course research or for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and will assist students in research activities.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal
To prepare students for entry-level employment in human resources management and provide a foundation for further training.

Program Outcomes
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...

  • Demonstrate effective written and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Demonstrate a high level of inquiry, analytical, and problem-solving skills.
  • Demonstrate effective quantitative skills.
  • Demonstrate computer and information literacy.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the liberal arts, natural sciences, and social sciences.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and processes involved in the functional areas and the need for collaboration among the different functions.
  • Discuss the management function and its application to the business organization.
  • Understand the steps of the accounting cycle and utilize financial document information as a management planning tool.
  • Discuss and apply ethical and legal standards to the business environment.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of economics and the business economy.
  • Discuss the fundamentals of human resources as they relate to the business environment.
  • Describe the basic components, development, implementation, and maintenance of a total compensation package.
  • Describe the legally required social insurance programs for employees in the United States, the difference between group and individual insurance, and the requirements for qualified pension plans.
  • Discuss the interaction between organized labor unions and company management pertaining to rights and responsibilities, negotiations, and collective bargaining.
  • Explain accepted theories regarding training and the management of the training function in organizations; identify successful and unsuccessful training practices.

 

Semester 1

Basic Skills Assessment
All degree applicants are required to complete two Basic Skills Assessments, one in reading and one in math, to determine their level of readiness for beginning their selected program. Additional studies may be required.

Business Orientation (1 credit)
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program, and learn how to effectively manage your time, talents, and resources in your personal life, academics, and in your career.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
  • Examine your individual life goals and the steps needed to fulfill them.
  • Recognize how your personal financial goals mirror that of most businesses.
  • Use time management skills to make the most of your day.
  • Determine personal financial goals.
  • Set up a typical budget.
  • Explain why creative thinking, research, planning, gathering resources, and production and marketing are vital for the start-up and maintenance of a business.

Information Literacy (1 credit)
Get better at finding and using information!

Objectives:

  • Search the Internet more effectively.
  • Get tips about search engines and reliable websites.
  • Learn how to search libraries and other information centers for important, useful information.

Graded Project

Introduction to Business (3 credits)
This course outlines the elements of business and the challenges businesses face in a global environment, such as competition and economic factors. You'll learn why accounting, technology and information systems, marketing, and management are essential to starting and growing a business. You'll also learn the basics of managing financial and human resources and the ethical and social responsibilities required of a successful manager.

Objectives:

  • Identify different elements that distinguish capitalism, socialism, communism, and mixed economies
  • Define the role of small business in the free enterprise system
  • Assess elements of the global economy, such as labor, capital, trade, and natural resources, and how they influence business
  • Analyze the functions of business, such as management, organization, human relations, marketing, financing, and ethics
  • Identify the purpose of business policy and strategy

Textbook: Introduction to Business

Principles of Management (3 credits)
This course familiarizes the student with both the business environment and the manager's role within it. It covers decision making, planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, as well as developing an ethical perspective.

Objectives:

  • Summarize the functions of management and the basic steps in various planning processes
  • Explain how to make effective decisions as a manager and a leader
  • Describe the fundamental elements of an organization's structure and the components of an organization's competitive environment
  • Explain principles for setting goals that motivate employees, why companies develop control systems, and why teamwork is beneficial
  • Analyze why diversity is a critical organizational issue, the criteria for technology decisions, and managing change

Textbook: Management, 5th Edition

Art Appreciation (3 credits)
In this course, you will gain an understanding of artistic media, historical periods and artistic movements, the roles of the artist and the viewer, and the principles of art criticism.

Objectives:

  • Define the language, visual elements, and principles of design of art
  • Identify two-dimensional media
  • Identify three-dimensional media
  • Explain the evolution of art from ancient Mediterranean cultures through eighteenth century Europe
  • Identify features and popular examples of art throughout the history of African, Asian, Pacific, and American cultures
  • Compare the genres of the Modern and Postmodern eras of art from around the world

Textbook: Living with Art, 11th Edition

Human Resources Management (3 credits)
This course provides an overview of Human Resources Management (HRM) as it's understood today. It illustrates the dynamic interaction of the personnel functions with each other and with the objectives of an organization.

Objectives:

  • Describe the elements of human resource management, including labor considerations, regulation, and management of workflow
  • Explain how companies should prepare for and implement HRM to hire new employees and create training programs
  • Identify the aspects of employee, career, and turnover management
  • Summarize how employees are paid, including legal requirements, performance-based pay, commissions, salaries, and benefits
  • Describe other HRM functions including collective bargaining, labor relations, global HRM, and building a high-performance organization

Textbook: Fundamentals of Human Resource Management

Mathematics for Business and Finance (3 credits)
This course will hone your math skills so you are able to successfully use them in business and finance industries.

Objectives:

  • Use percentages, discounts, and interest formulas effectively.
  • Analyze present worth and sinking funds.
  • Understand how to buy in installments and price merchandise.
  • Explain depreciation, insurance, equations, and formulas.
  • Discuss investments and statistics.
  • Textbook: Practical Business Math Procedures

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

 

Semester 2

Computer Applications (3 credits)
This course will allow you to build your computer skills through a combination of reading and hands-on practice. You will navigate popular software tools such as Windows® and Microsoft® Office.

Objectives:

  • Create, edit, and illustrate Microsoft® Word™ documents.
  • Apply formulas and functions to large data sets in Microsoft® Excel.®
  • Incorporate useful charts and graphs to summarize data.
  • Add, delete, sort, and lay out table data.
  • Create presentations in Microsoft® PowerPoint® using advanced tools, tables, and charts.

English Composition (3 credits)
This course teaches the skills and techniques of effectively developing, drafting, and revising college-level essays toward a specific purpose and audience: active reading, prewriting strategies, sentence and paragraph structure, thesis statements, varied patterns of development (e.g., illustration, comparison and contrast, classification), critical reading toward revision of structure and organization, editing for standard written conventions, use and documentation of outside sources. Students submit two prewriting assignments, and three essays (process analysis, classification and division, argumentation).

Objectives:

  • Use writing skills to construct well-written sentences and active reading skills to understand and analyze text
  • Develop paragraphs using topic sentences, adequate detail, supporting evidence, and transitions
  • Describe the revision, editing, and proofreading steps of the writing process
  • Distinguish between different patterns of development
  • Use prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing to write a formal, college-level essay
  • Recognize how to determine the reliability of secondary sources and to give proper credit to sources referenced in an essay
  • Use prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing to write a formal, college-level essay
  • Use techniques of drafting, evaluating, and creating a sound written argument

Arts and Humanities Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one...)

HUM104 - Music Appreciation
In this course, you'll understand how to appreciate music by learning about the roles of the composer and the listener, the principles of music theory and instrumentation, musically significant historical periods, and varying styles of music.

Objectives:

  • Identify the building blocks of music a composer can use to create a piece, such as rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, form, and timbre
  • Explain the evolution of Western music through history, from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century
  • Differentiate between the music of the baroque era and the musical styles of previous time periods
  • Recognize the major characteristics of classical music, including form, melody, and instrumentation
  • Discuss the musical trends and innovations that occurred during the romantic era
  • Trace the evolution of American popular music in the twentieth century
  • Recognize the influence of world music on modern Western composition

Textbook: Experience Music, Fourth Edition

ENG115 - Introduction to Literature
This course will allow you to develop your critical thinking skills and broaden your knowledge of the main genres of literature — fiction, poetry, and drama.

Objectives:

  • Explain how to effectively read fiction for both knowledge and enjoyment
  • Identify different styles and forms of poetry
  • Use what you've learned in this course to discuss, write about, and understand literature
  • Prepare a critical interpretation of fiction or poetry based on what you've learned in this course
  • Discuss how literary dramas differ from fiction and poetry
  • Identify different strategies of critical literary analysis

Business Law 1 (3 credits)
This course is an introduction to the legal environment of business. Topics covered include American court practice and procedure, alternative dispute resolutions, employment law, business organization and regulation, contract law, and agency relationships.

Objectives:

  • Explain the sources of law.
  • Discuss the judicial process and alternative dispute resolution.
  • Describe different forms of business organization and their characteristics.
  • Explain the elements of contracts and rules pertaining to contracts.
  • Explain the law of agency and laws concerning employment.

Textbook: Business Law

Business Law 2 (3 credits)
This course will complete the exploration of the legal aspects of business that you began with in Business Law 1.

Objectives:

  • Handle legal matters dealing with wills, trusts, and estates.
  • Understand laws pertaining to ownership, leasing, and transfer of property.
  • Write sales and lease contracts.
  • Identify the rights of secured and unsecured creditors and the consequences of bankruptcy.
  • Describe the principles of torts and criminal law as they relate to business.
  • Explain laws pertaining to ownership and transfer of property Describe the general principles involved in wills, trusts, and estates
  • Discuss the formation of sales and lease contracts and the legal issues arising from those types of contracts
  • Explain the purpose and types of negotiable instruments and the role they play in business
  • Explain the rights of secured and unsecured creditors and the consequences of bankruptcy
  • Define risk management and discuss the purpose of different types of insurance, including life, property, automobile, and health
  • Discuss the principles of torts, the different types of torts, and criminal law as it relates to business

Training Concepts (3 credits)
Employee training takes place in every business. In some organizations, employee training is a formalized process that continues throughout an employee’s entire career. In other organizations, employee training is an informal event used to introduce new employees to the basic skills they’ll need to complete their tasks. Your current or future employer will approach training by some combination of the two methods. This course will help you make employee training a more efficient and effective process. After completing this course, you should be a valuable asset to any employer.

Objectives:

  • Describe the various elements in the organizational training process
  • Categorize the various training designs and methods
  • Analyze the significance of development, implementation, and evaluation of training processes
  • Describe the concept of adult learning theory and how it influences employee training
  • Describe the interrelationships among the five phases of the training process model

Textbook: Employee Training and Development

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

 

Semester 3

Essentials of Psychology (3 credits)
This course covers the psychology of biology and behavior, consciousness, memory, thought and language, intelligence, personality and gender, stress, and community influences.

Objectives:

  • Describe the science of psychology, basic structure and function of the human nervous system, and basic structure and function of the sensory system
  • Explain various states of consciousness, learning theories, and thought processes and development
  • Summarize the nature of human motivation and development, the human development cycle, and approaches to understanding and assessing personality
  • Prepare an essay on the topic of conditioning, memory, or motivation and emotion
  • Recognize psychological disorders and available treatments
  • Explain social psychology as it relates to attitudes, influences, behaviors, and stress
  • Use critical thinking skills to determine the likely causes of behaviors of individuals and groups discussed in case studies

Financial Accounting (3 credits)
This course will provide students with a basic understanding of the principles of financial accounting. Topics covered include analyzing transactions; completing the accounting cycle; merchandising businesses; inventories, assets, and liabilities; and corporations, stocks, bonds, and cash flow.

Objectives:

  • Solve important accounting principles and concepts by creating four common types of financial statements: balance sheet, income statement, statement of retained earnings, and statement of cash flows
  • Explain inventory systems, the inventory process, and the role of ethics in accounting
  • Explain cash and receivables, assets, current liabilities, and debt
  • Analyze stocks and the statement of cash flows and financial statements that are used to assess the value of a business

Compensation Management (3 credits)
The course covers the basic components of a total compensation package (salary, bonus, and benefits), the development, implementation, and maintenance of a program, the impact of internal and external equity, and additional factors which must be considered for the overall success of a program.

Objectives:

  • Explain the factors and methods included in compensation strategies
  • Describe how to evaluate employee performance and motivate workers using compensation strategies
  • Explain how unions, laws, and special groups affect compensation
  • Discuss labor regulation locally and globally
  • Compare job postings for different pay models

Textbook: Compensation

Business and Technical Writing (3 credits)
This course provides an introduction to the various methods of organizing material for a professional setting. Students will compose business documents using the ABC method. These include memos, emails, outlines, reports and proposals, descriptions, and organizing materials. Students also work on honing their grammar skills.

Objectives:

  • Describe the basics of the writing process and the ABC method of organizing material for a document
  • Identify the parts of speech in a sentence
  • Demonstrate correct pronoun use
  • Choose proper and effective words for writing documents
  • Identify the elements of a well-written sentence
  • Demonstrate how to use length, directness, emphasis, and variety to craft impactful sentences
  • Explain how to construct a coherent paragraph
  • Describe how to write an effective cover letter and resume
  • Format and write an interoffice memorandum, a routine business letter, and an effective email
  • Identify the different ways to write for blogs, the Internet, and social media
  • Describe how to create an organized formal outline
  • Identify the types of research and methods of documentation used in business and technical writing
  • Explain how to create visual interest and clarity in reports with illustrations, tables, graphs, charts, and overall design
  • Explain the purpose and importance of various types of informal reports
  • Describe the nature of formal reports and identify their components
  • Differentiate among external, internal, informal, and formal proposals
  • Describe an object or a process and prepare a set of instructions
  • Describe the preparation and submission of professional and technical articles and manuals

Employee Benefits (3 credits)
This course examines employer and employee objectives for benefit plans.

Objectives:

  • Discover legally required social insurance programs for employees in the United States.
  • Learn about the characteristics of group insurance and individual insurance in the categories of life, medical, dental, and disability.
  • Compare managed care plans with traditional medical expense plans.
  • Study the general requirements that must be met by qualified pension plans with respect to eligibility and plan coverage; nondiscrimination in benefits and contributions; funding; vesting; limitations on benefits and contributions; payout restrictions; and top-heavy rules.
  • Learn the difference in pension benefit formulas.
  • Discover general features of pension funding instruments and when each might best be used.
  • Interpret qualified and nonqualified pension plans.

Research Assignment

Textbook: Employee Benefits

Economics I (3 credits)
This course provides an overview of macroeconomics and the modern market economy. You will learn about economy-wide phenomena such as unemployment, national income, and price levels.

Objectives:

  • Identify the basic function of economics in our society
  • Examine various economic tradeoffs that people face
  • Explain the laws of supply and demand
  • Use the concept of elasticity to explain changes in a market
  • Discuss the pros and cons of trade restrictions
  • Calculate and interpret the unemployment rate and the labor-force participation rate
  • Describe the notion of deadweight loss and its relevance to taxes
  • Draw and interpret short-run and long-run Phillips curves
  • Explain why economists focus on GDP, inflation, and unemployment when assessing economic health
  • Describe how comparative advantage and specialization affect international trade
  • Describe how differences between world prices and domestic prices prompt exports and imports
  • Describe how changes in income affect consumption and saving

Textbook: Macroeconomics

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

 

Semester 4

Intermediate Algebra (3 credits)
This course introduces basic algebraic concepts that you’ll need to be successful in your career.

Objectives:

  • Understand the systems of equations, polynomials, and radicals.
  • Factor polynomial expressions.
  • Simplify rational expressions.

Speech (3 credits)
This course provides students with a foundation in the basic concepts of public speaking. Students will learn how to research, organize and write effective speeches, incorporate presentation aids, and rehearse and deliver speeches effectively. Students will prepare, rehearse, record and submit speeches in a number of rhetorical styles to be graded.

Objectives:

  • Describe how to effectively use of the 10 necessary steps to preparing and presenting a public speech
  • Demonstrate effective delivery and presentation techniques through practice and rehearsal
  • Show how to effectively organize and present a narrative/personal experience speech
  • Make effective presentation aids to enhance your public speaking
  • Produce a speech to inform your audience of a product or service
  • Prepare a speech to persuade your audience on a topic in which you are personally invested
  • Demonstrate the key elements of public speaking through a variety of formats and occasions

Business Statistics (3 credits)
This course will provide you the opportunity to explore statistics and how they affect business.

Objectives:

  • Interpret and present data.
  • Analyze frequency distribution, averages, dispersion, and index numbers.
  • Conduct time series analysis.
  • Forecast business.
  • Apply the theory of probability and statistical inference.

Textbook: Statistics for Business and Economics

Labor Relations (3 credits)
This course examines the interaction between organized labor unions and company management pertaining to rights and responsibilities, negotiations, and collective bargaining.

Objectives:

  • Learn the current trends in labor organization in light of changes in the labor force, such as the trend toward a two-tier wage system.
  • Discover why workers join unions and why management is sometimes not enthusiastic about unions.
  • Study the long struggle to establish the voice of organized labor in America from the nineteenth century to the present.
  • Discover the relationship between national and local unions.
  • Learn characteristics of the collective bargaining process and why early negotiations are marked by exaggerated demands.
  • Study variables that impact labor management negotiations
  • Find out the two major approaches to wage adjustments: escalator clauses and wage reopeners.
  • Study the nature of concessionary bargaining on the part of organized labor.
  • Study administrative issues under collective bargaining, including the role of seniority and affirmative action.

Research Assignment

Textbook: Labor Relations

Science Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one...)

SCI110 - Earth Science
This course will allow you to learn about planet Earth and the various aspects of the environment.

Objectives:

  • Describe specific characteristics of Earth.
  • Describe different types of rocks and minerals.

SCI120 - Introduction to Biology
This course will allow you to explore the origin of life and the relationships among all living things.

Objectives:

  • Explain how organisms are structured and how they work.
  • Discuss the various forms of life and their processes.

SCI140 - Nutrition
This course will allow you to develop a healthier lifestyle by making smarter nutritional decisions.

Objectives:

  • Explain the various components of nutrition as a science.
  • Describe nutrition from a global viewpoint.
  • Understand the importance of water and exercise.
  • Identify the basics of human growth and aging.
  • Discuss food safety procedures.

Organizational Behavior (3 credits)
This course provides an overview of management approaches.

Objectives:

  • Learn the process of human decision-making.
  • Study conflict management, communication in groups, power and influence, and organizational environment, structure, and design.
  • Learn about the fundamental forces of change.

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

 


We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

* As a degree candidate, you will take a proctored examination at the end of each semester on selected courses within that semester. We make it easy because you pick the location and the person you want to supervise the exam, as long as Penn Foster College's established policy and qualifications are met. Complete information packets with procedures will be provided well in advance, before completion of final semester coursework.

Note: Advanced standing student shipments may vary from the above schedule.A High School Diploma or GED is required to enroll in this degree program.

Although this outline covers all four semesters of the Human Resources Management Degree Program, you receive lesson materials for each semester as you enroll.

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