History of the Department of Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management is the study of human functioning and utilisation in the workplace. This field of study has existed since 1973 as part of the Department of Psychology and since 1986 as an independent, autonomous Department, namely the Department of Personnel Management in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

A decision to change the name of the Department to the Department of Human Resource Management was taken in 1993. At the same time a decision was taken that the Department would fall under the School for Management Sciences in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. The 21-year existence of the BCom (Personnel Management) degree at the University of Pretoria was celebrated in 1994 with, inter alia, a formal dinner during which the above-mentioned changes were officially announced.

The Department produces market-oriented, high-level human resources and research results of international quality, while financially increasingly functioning at a self-sustaining level. New subject courses succeed in proactively meeting contemporary challenges and needs. In 1994, a course in the Management of Diversity was introduced at honours and master's level and for the first time students completed a MCom degree in Labour Relations Management. In 1998 a MPhil degree in Labour Relations Management was instituted.

At present most courses incorporate ‘blended learning’ by means of ClickUP. Probably the biggest task the Department had to attend to since its inception began in 1998. Partially owing to the restructuring of education in South Africa, all university departments had to redesign their curricula and reformulate their study guides. Hereafter, courses had to meet the requirements of outcomes-based education, as well as the standards set by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The staff worked strenuously to complete the redesign of curricula by the prescribed deadline. All undergraduate and postgraduate courses were eventually registered with SAQA.


There is close cooperation with professional and statutory bodies such as the South African Board for Personnel Practice (SABPP), the South African Institute for Personnel Management, the Society of Industrial and Organisational Psychology (SIOPSA), and the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). Students are empowered by practical involvement with publications and relevant research. Annual awards for achievement serve as further encouragement of students, as well as being proof of the private sector’s appreciation of the quality education offered by the Department. 

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