Human Services Major

Generalist human services professionals help others and often work on the "front line," having daily contact with vulnerable individuals and families. 

These professionals work with interdisciplinary teams to assess functioning and develop service plans, coordinate services, provide support, and work for social change. The human services curriculum prepares generalists who will have the knowledge and skills necessary to work with a variety of vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, persons with mental illness, persons with disabilities, and victims of violence.

Career Options

By earning a human services degree, graduates are prepared to work in a variety of fields including addiction counseling or child, family, and school social work. They are also prepared for opportunities to become community organizers or activists, human service assistants, medical and public health social workers, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, program directors for nonprofit organizations, and volunteer coordinators.

High School Preparation

High school coursework that will support a student in his or her pursuit of a human services degree includes experience in Family and Consumer Studies, Foreign Language, Psychology, Sociology, and Speech.

Enhance Your Experience

Students who major in human services will oftentimes pursue a minor or double major in sociology, psychology, or management.

Degree Requirements

A. Practice Core

All of the following:

HS111 Introduction to Human Services (3 cr.)

Students trace the development of human services as a profession, identify employment options for human services professionals, and examine the various social problems to which human services professionals respond, including but not limited to child abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, immigration, mental illness, needs of the frail elderly, and substance abuse.

HS211 Interviewing and Assessment (3 cr.)

Students practice and demonstrate skills for intentional attending, development of therapeutic rapport, culturally competent interviewing and assessment, and solution-focused intervention planning.

HS306 Case Management (3 cr.)

Case management is a vital professional skill. In this course students apply informal and formal assessment strategies to family units, identify and document problems in daily living as experienced by various populations, practice decision-making regarding ethical dilemmas, and document generalist case management services using professional practice standards. This course is also appropriate for psychology or criminal justice/corrections track majors.

B. Research Core

Please note: Students take S350, ST132 and either PY290 or S250

PY335 Scientific Research in Psychology with Lab (3 cr.)

This course is designed to give students an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills associated with research in psychology, including critically evaluating research reports, collecting data, interpreting data analysis, and reporting results.  Emphasis is placed on choices and implications of research design (e.g., comparisons among experimental and non-experimental approaches, threats to internal and external validity), appropriate application of reporting results, and research ethics.  Students will participate in weekly laboratory sessions, which are focused on developing, testing, and reporting research ideas with small groups. 

S250 Logic of Analysis (4 cr.)

This course examines the major sociological perspectives in conjunction with an instruction in the logic and procedures of gathering information about social phenomena. The course covers topics such as: the logic of the scientific method, research design, hypotheses formation, theory and methods of scaling, and research analysis.

S350 Field Methods (4 cr.)

This course offers a working experience in the purpose and tools of qualitative field methods. The course covers rapport, methods of observation, field notes, data coding and analysis, ethnography, focus groups and interviews, as well as an introduction to quasi-experimentation.

ST132 Reasoning with Statistics (3 cr.)

This course is designed to develop student facility in the use of statistical methods and the understanding of statistical concepts. The course takes a practical approach based on statistical examples taken from everyday life. Topics include: descriptive and inferential statistics, an intuitive introduction to probability, estimation, hypothesis testing, chi-square tests, regression and correlation. Appropriate technology is used to perform the calculations for many applications, and correspondingly an emphasis is placed on interpreting the results of statistical procedures. Credit is not granted for this course and any of the following: BU215, B392 or ST232.

C. Human Development Core

All of the following:

B200 Human Biology (2 cr.)

This course is designed for the student with little science in their backgrounds. Basic human biological principles are investigated with emphasis on nutrition, cancer, immunity, reproduction and heredity. Special consideration is given to current advances in medicine and associated bio-social issues.

B201 Human Biology Laboratory (1 cr.)

These laboratory sessions are designed to reinforce concepts presented in B200. Emphasis is given to study on the digestive, immune, excretory, circulatory, and reproductive systems.

PY111 General Psychology (3 cr.)

General Psychology provides an overview of the methods, fundamental principles, and major perspectives which define the discipline of psychology. Intrapersonal and/ or interpersonal psychological processes involved in the biological basis of behavior, sleeping and dreaming, conditioning and learning, cognition, lifespan human development, abnormal psychology, and psychological treatment. Classical and contemporary research and perspectives including the biological, cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic, humanistic, sociocultural and evolutionary perspectives are explored. Students are actively involved through application, interactive exercises, simulations, and projects.

PY211 Developmental Psychology (3 cr.)

This course explores the study of growth and development across the life span. Students are introduced to the reciprocal nature of biological, cognitive, social and cultural factors on the developing person. This is a research based introduction to understanding the expression of development in everyday life as it extends to family, friendship, youth ministry, school, neighborhood, sports, health care, and social services.

D. Three upper-division courses

Three upper-division courses approved by the program coordinator from the following courses:

Please note: Students take either HS352 or PS370

B305 Human Anatomy with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course explores the design and structure of the human body. Lectures present cellular and histological features of the body systems.

B306 Medical Terminology (2 cr.)

This course is an organ systems approach to learning and understanding medical terms. A word building programmed learning format is utilized to understand Latin and Greek prefixes and root words from which our English medical words originate. Common medical abbreviations and case studies are also incorporated into the course.

B313 Physiology with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course explores the functions of the body systems of humans. The interrelationships of organ systems processes to maintain homeostasis are emphasized. Laboratory sessions provide experiences with procedures and instrumentation to gather data that highlight the function of the body systems. Course topics are particularly relevant to the health sciences.

CJ302 Correctional Processes (3 cr.)

This course examines the history, philosophies, and components of the American correctional system. It provides an overview of the origins of corrections and an introduction to the philosophical ideas with which specific correctional approaches are associated. The history, nature and recent developments of major institutions and programs that make up the current correctional system: jails, probation, intermediate punishments, prison, and parole are explored.

CJ352 Drugs in American Society (3 cr.)

The primary objective of this course is to provide a comprehensive survey of the use and/or abuse of drugs in the United States and their impact on the criminal justice system. Special attention is given to the historical and sociological contexts in which drug laws have evolved and the implication of those laws on drug prevention policies.

H355 U.S. Women's History (3 cr.)

This course is an examination of the image, roles, status, and activities of American women. In addition, gender issues are explored within their socio-political, cultural, and historical contexts. Special emphasis is placed on a comparative approach to the study of women's lives as they interact with race, class, and ethnicity.

HS352 Public Policy (4 cr.)

This course is devoted to a thorough review, analysis and evaluation of public welfare policy and at least one other topic. These topics may include but are not limited to the following: health care; environmental regulations; energy; consolidation of federal programs; affirmative action, etc. Special emphasis is given to the formulation, adoption, implementation, impact, and evaluation of public policy.

HS465-475 Seminars in Human Services (1–4 cr.)

Specialized courses are offered in areas of particular interest to students and faculty. Examples include adoption, career and vocational development, immigration, substance abuse, and welfare reform.

PH305 Health Care Ethics (3 cr.)

This course provides a survey of some of the specific issues in health care ethics that are faced today by patients, providers, insurance companies and other constituencies in the health care arena. Such issues include: access — how are limited resources to be allocated? Informed consent – what information must patients possess in order to make reasonable and informed decisions about their health care? What compensatory obligations do providers have in the realm of informed consent? Funding — should the quality of health care vary by the means of the payer? Death — what is death? Also, should a patient have the right to choose the time and means of his or her death? Procedures and technologies — are all possible procedures and technical interventions morally defensible?

PS332 American Constitutional Law (3 cr.)

This course examines the social, philosophical and legal problems faced by the Supreme Court in translating the abstract language of civil liberties contained in the U.S. Constitution into concrete reality with an emphasis upon current problems and the evolving nature of the process.

PS370 Public Policy (4 cr.)

This course is devoted to a thorough review, analysis and evaluation of public welfare policy and at least one other topic. These topics may include but are not limited to the following: health care, environmental regulations, energy; consolidation of federal programs; affirmative action, etc. Special emphasis is given to the formulation, adoption, implementation, impact, and evaluation of public policy.

PY306-309 Special Topics in Psychology (1-3 credits cr.)

These courses are designed to provide an opportunity to survey and discuss current trends and meet special need of students. Often the course includes both a theoretical and experimental emphasis. Topics vary from year to year depending on student and faculty interest.

PY310 Social Psychology (3 cr.)

Social psychology is the scientific study of how we perceive people and social events as well as how we influence and relate to one another. Areas covered include social cognition; prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping; the self; interpersonal attraction and close relationships; helping; aggression; attitudes and persuasion; conformity, compliance and obedience. Applications of social psychology to academics, the workplace, the media, and social relations are examined.

PY370 Personality Psychology (4 cr.)

Personality psychology examines the question, "What does it mean to be a person?" This course includes historical ways in which we have tried to understand human persons. Classical personality theories including psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, trait and humanistic/existential are studied and evaluated. Contemporary research in personality areas such as attachment, temperament, the big five traits, and psychological well-being is studied and integrated with historical and classical approaches.

PY470-479 Seminars in Psychology (1–3 cr.)

These are courses of particular areas of psychology determined by faculty and student interest. Seminars offerings are predicated upon faculty availability. Topics have included: Psychology of Aging, Health Psychology, Positive Psychology, Psychology of Emotion and Sport Psychology.

S320 Children and the State (4 cr.)

This course focuses on the concept of youth in contemporary society in terms of their behaviors, roles, experiences, and treatment. It does so within the context of the evolution and structural development of two major social institutions: the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The course uses a sociological framework to emphasize the social, economic, and political realities of childhood in American society.

S365 Sociology of Aging (3 cr.)

The course is an attempt to provide an introduction to a field which is rapidly becoming one of the major areas of research in the social sciences and to bring about an awareness and knowledge about the process of aging. Old people and their needs, the impact of growing numbers of old people in our institutions, and the effect of these institutions on the aged is examined.

S407 Social and Political Movements (3 cr.)

This course examines the life cycle and impact of social and political movements, focusing on how the process of frame alignment, mobilizing networks and political opportunities shape movements.

S425 Ethnicity, Class and Gender (3 cr.)

This course provides numerous theoretical perspectives on ethnicity, class and gender along with a variety of activities which ensure each student an opportunity for developing an experience base with members of various ethnic, social class and gender communities.

S443 Sociology of the Family (3 cr.)

A comprehensive study of the family and associated institutions, theories and research in American family structure and function, cross-cultural comparisons, family interaction dynamics, disorganization, and change is included.

E. Section E or F

Both of the following:

HS489 Thesis Development (1 cr.)

In this course a student begins work on the thesis requirement. The student is expected to select a relevant topic, review relevant scholarly literature and design a research project independently with mentoring by the academic advisor.

HS490 Research in Human Services (2 cr.)

In this course the student is expected to complete the research project designed in HS489. The student develops the project independently with mentoring by the academic advisor.

F. Section E or F

All of the following:

HS495 Internship Preparation (0-1 cr.)

Taken the semester before the student completes an internship, students work individually and as a group to evaluate internship readiness; identify possible internship sites; initiate interviews with prospective internship supervisors; review the literature about the population to be served; and develop learning contracts for secured internship sites. Students must meet university internship eligibility requirements. Graded pass/no credit.

HS496/497 Human Services Internship (1–17 cr.)

This off-campus experience provides qualified juniors or seniors with opportunities to participate as members of established human services site teams. The student's academic advisor, in conjunction with the University's Career Services office and on-site professionals, provides supervision and guidance during the internship.

HS498 Internship Integration (2 cr.)

Students engage in evidence-based self-assessment and peer review as they synthesize professional knowledge and skills during the internship. This course is offered with a distance-learning experience to accommodate students completing geographically-distant internships.

Please Note:

A student may complete the internship requirement with an approved semester study abroad program; consult with the program coordinator to discuss options.

Human services majors are strongly encouraged to complete at least 400 hours of related service work through volunteering, service learning, field experience and internships, and to achieve basic proficiency in Spanish or American Sign Language.