Colorful wooden blocks help complete a puzzle

Essentials of Human Resources

Are you prepared to handle your day to day HR challenges? This SHRM Essentials of Human Resources course covers the topics you need to meet key HR challenges that are relevant to you and your company. In 17 hours of training time, you can cover the HR concepts that can be applied to real life situations.  The Essentials of Human Resources certificate is a true introduction to human resource management. Developed by leading HR experts, HR practitioners, and legal counsel, the course covers introductory HR topics in a condensed, easy-to-understand format. It is designed for individuals who new to the field of human resources, and also for managers who are looking for some additional training in the primary HR functions.  The primary focus of this course is to provide participants with a broad overview of the human resource functions. This course is led by a SHRM certified instructor and utilizes the official SHRM curriculum.

SHRM 2019The course consists of six modules to be offered over two days, for a total of 17 contact hours.

The course includes readings, lectures, class discussions, application activities, and a test. The discussions will help students make connections between the readings and the lectures, while the application activities assist in applying new concepts to their workplace. Online and in-class testing will help gauge the level of understanding of the material.

The course is specifically designed for the following individuals:

  • Entry-level human resource professionals
  • Supervisors and line managers who have the responsibility for interviewing and training employees
  • Individuals seeking a career in human resources
  • Employees with management responsibilities
  • Staffing specialists
  • Benefits coordinators
  • HR administrators
  • Recruiters
  • Payroll assistants

However, individuals considering a career in Human Resources will also benefit from this overview course.

At the conclusion of this course, each participant will receive a personal certificate if all requirements are met.

more: expand to show more details about this program
less: collapse to show fewer details about this program

Curriculum & Course Details

SHRM educational products are developed according to the highest quality standards. HR professionals and subject matter experts review each product to ensure accurate, real-life applications. In addition, SHRM programs are “living documents”-improvements and revisions are included in each reprint to incorporate the latest changes in HR practices and legislation. The SHRM® Essentials of Human Resource program is developed in partnership with the Holmes Corporation, one of the nation’s leading instructional design firms. 

Course Topics

In 17 hours of classroom time, the SHRM Essentials of Human Resources course provides an overview of human resource roles and responsibilities. The course covers real-life HR issues and current topics that are vital for any supervisor or manager to know:
Illustration of laptop and SHRM workbook

  • Human Resource Management
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Total Rewards
  • Learning and Development
  • Performance Management
  • Employment Law
show the curriculum
hide the curriculum



  • Fluency in English (including reading and writing)
  • Understanding that curriculum is based upon US laws and practices
  • Tuition paid in full prior to start of program
  • Computer literacy
  • Valid email account

Admission is discretionary. Duke Continuing Studies-Professional Certificate Programs- requires students be a least 18 years of age and meet minimum suitability standards. Students are not matriculated Duke University students and university student privileges do not apply to Continuing Studies students.

Duke Continuing Studies reserves the exclusive right, at its sole and absolute discretion, to withhold registration or require withdrawal from the program of, any student or applicant.

Certificate requirements

  • Attendance required for entire 2-day course.
  • Participation in class activities and satisfactory test completion at the discretion of the instructor are met.

The certificate is noncredit and does not apply toward a degree.

show the requirements
hide the requirements

Schedule & Registration


Wednesday (6/19/2019) & Thursday (6/20/2019)
8:30 am - 5:00 pm


Registration Methods

  1. REGISTER ONLINE using a credit card with our secure, real-time registration system.  Add the course to your shopping cart and follow the instructions for checking out.
  2. Register by Phone at 919-684-6259 during our business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm EST) to register.  


show the schedule and registration
hide the schedule and registration

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should take this course? 

Designed as a thorough introduction to HR basics, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Essentials of Human Resources course provides a solid foundation in human resources concepts and is effective training across multiple job responsibilities and career paths.

  • New and junior HR practitioners who need to increase their knowledge base
  • Small business owners or office managers who perform the HR function for their company and business managers who want to learn basic HR best practices to avoid costly litigation
  • New or experienced managers interested in learning more about employee management skills
  • Representatives selling or supporting HR systems and services
  • International HR personnel wishing to increase their knowledge of U.S. HR practices
  • Job seekers who are investigating HR as a new career option or want to enhance their resume with HR skills

Why should I enroll in Duke’s program? 

Offered in partnership with SHRM, the curriculum provided in the SHRM Essentials of HR is designed by global subject matter experts and incorporates six key topics from the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge™ (SHRM BoCK™). Our course is designed to help you learn and retain the material effectively and efficiently by combining learning materials with expert instruction and peer discussion.

Is the cost of books and parking permits included in the cost of tuition?

Yes, the official SHRM Learning System® for SHRM-Essentials of Human Resource preparation book and two parking permits per student are included in the cost of tuition.  Permits will be distributed on the first day of class.  

After registering, when will I receive additional program details?

Registered students will receive additional program details via email prior to the start of the program.

Is access to a computer required during this program? 

There are required online components to the curriculum therefore students must have regular access to a computer outside of the classroom during the length of the program.  Computers are not required for time spent in the classroom.

How many students are typically enrolled in the Duke program?

Enrollment numbers vary between 10 and 25.

How do students earn a certificate of completion from Duke Continuing Studies?

Upon successful completion of the program, you will receive a Certificate of Completion from Duke University.  Attendance is required for entire 2-day course.  Participation in class activities and satisfactory test completion at the discretion of the instructor will determine successful completion. 

Does this program apply toward a degree?

No, this program is a non-credit (non-degree) offering and does not transfer towards a degree.

Will Continuing Studies assist me in finding a position upon completion of this program?

It is incumbent upon the student to seek his/her own employment through their own endeavors. Duke Office of Continuing Studies provides no assistance with career placement and/or internships nor make any claim or warrant this program will result in obtaining a position as a result of completion.

Is this curriculum designed and taught by Duke Faculty?

No, the curriculum is neither designed nor taught by Duke Faculty.  It is designed by SHRM, and taught by SHRM certified professionals with industry experience. 

Is this program affiliated with any other departments at Duke University?

This program is not affiliated with any other office at Duke and is offered exclusively through Duke Continuing Studies.


show the frequently asked questions
hide the frequently asked questions


Suzy Nisbet

Suzy Nisbet is a Human Resources Management Consultant with over 25 years of robust experience as a consultant, facilitator, and practitioner. She es expert advice and guidance to companies in the private sector, including manufacturing, technology, life sciences, healthcare, and services. Suzy also regularly consults with government, university, and non-profit clients. In addition to working 11 years at SAS, the world’s largest privately held software company, Suzy also held management roles at BuildNet and the N.C. Office of State Personnel.

In addition to being a long-time instructor for Duke University Continuing Studies, Suzy is a regular presenter at human resource management professional association meetings and conferences. Suzy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (magna cum laude) from Campbell University. She holds certifications as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), Global Remuneration Professional (GRP), Balanced Scorecard Professional (BSP).

show the instructors
hide the instructors

Tuition & Funding Sources



The course fee includes:

  • Official SHRM Reference Book
  • Official SHRM Activities Book
  • Access to SHRM interactive online software
  • Certificate (upon successful completion of requirements)
  • SHRM Certified Instructor working in the industry
  • Parking Passes for both days
  • Lunch on both days

Location/Parking - Directions will be sent via email within 10 days prior to the start of class.

Books will be distributed the first class morning.

Duke Employee Discount

• $50 off the fee of $635
Duke employee pays fee of $585
• Student must register and pay tuition in full prior to the program start date in order to reserve space in the program for that term.
• Questions:  Contact Program Manager at 919-684-2601

Discount must be requested and applied during the registration process and cannot be applied in addition to any other discount that may be offered. You may be asked to verify your status as a Duke employee.

Group Discount

Do you have a group (Duke or non-Duke entity) interested in training?

Contact the Program Manager for details.

Company Pay

Many companies will reimburse employees for educational expenses.  Contact your manager or HR department for more information.

GoArmyED Tuition Assistance Program

The Tuition Assistance (TA) program provides financial assistance for voluntary off-duty education programs in support of a Soldier's professional and personal self-development goals. TA is available for courses that are offered in the classroom or by distance learning and is part of an approved academic degree or certificate program.

For more information, please refer to Army Regulation-AR 621-5 of the Army Continuing Education System.

show tuition and payment options
less tuition and payment options

Policies & Procedures

Refund Policy

Refund and Change Requests must be in writing. To receive a refund, minus a processing fee for each course cancelled, we must receive your written cancellation request at least two weeks prior to the start of the program or course. Should you cancel your registration after you have been given your books and online access, we can only refund the portion of your tuition minus the cost of the books. The books/online access will remain yours. Processing fees are:

  • $20 for course fees under $500
  • $100 for course fees $500 or more

To submit a cancellation request:
Fax: 919-681-8235
Registration - Duke Continuing Studies
Box 90700
Durham, NC 27708-0700

Include your name, address, phone number, and course title to be dropped. Refunds will be made in the manner you paid us.

Refund Policy

There are no refunds or online courses.


Bad Checks

If a check is returned for insufficient funds, we will charge a returned check fee of $35. Checks will not be resubmitted. The replacement payment must include the additional $35 and be in the form of cash, money order, or credit card.

Course is Filled / Waiting List

If a course is already filled, a waiting list is usually available instead. If you are interested in placing your name on the waiting list, follow the checkout instructions to do so. If a space becomes available, a registration staff member will call you and ask if you are still interested. If you are interested, registration staff can take your payment information over the phone and complete your registration at that time.

If We Cancel a Course

Sometimes we have to cancel a course that does not meet minimum enrollment, or due to unforeseen events. If that happens, you will receive a full refund minus the cost of the books and online Learning System. The books/learning system will remain yours. Duke Continuing Studies reserves the right to substitute instructors or change the day a course meets.

Tax Deductions

Course fees and expenses are sometimes tax deductible. Please consult an accountant concerning this matter. Non-credit programs at Duke Continuing Studies do not generate 1098-T forms, in accordance with the following IRS guideline:

Instructions for Forms 1098-E and 1098-T published by the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, states “You do not have to file Form 1098-T or furnish a statement for: Courses for which no academic credit is offered, even if the student is otherwise enrolled in a degree program…”

show policies and procedures
hide policies and procedures