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Build your knowledge and expertise to help empower a broad community with our MS in Human and Social Services degree program.
Creating sustainable social change means knowing how to work effectively with legislators, lobbyists, and other stakeholders in a challenging public and political arena. In the Social Policy and Analysis and Planning specialization, you will learn the strategies used to shape and implement public policy today. From healthcare to hate crimes to the environment, you will study how you can impact the legislation that governs society.
With this specialization, you may pursue career options such as policy advisor to municipal and state governments; policy analyst for not-for-profit, NGO, and government organizations; or consultant to NGOs on policy implementation and social services delivery at local levels.
Note on Licensure: The MS in Human and Social Services program, including its specializations, is not designed to lead to professional licensure including licensure as a professional therapist, counselor, social worker, or psychologist.
This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 855-646-5286.
|Quarter||1||Course Code||HUMN 6000||Course||Foundation of Graduate Study in Human Services||Credits||(3 cr.)|
|Quarter||1||Course Code||HUMN 6150||Course||Helping Individuals, Organizations, and Communities: Introduction to Human Services||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||2||Course Code||HUMN 6152||Course||Human Services Administration||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||2||Course Code||HUMN 6011||Course||Interviewing and Case Management in Human and Social Services||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||3||Course Code||HUMN 6100||Course||Introduction to Research and Evaluation in Human and Social Services||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||3||Course Code||HUMN 6200||Course||Cross-Cultural Ethics in Human and Social Services||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||4||Course Code||HUMN 6451||Course||Public Policy Analysis||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||4||Course Code||HUMN 6207||Course||Grant Writing||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||5||Course Code||HUMN 6810||Course||Fundamentals of Law and Public Policy||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||5||Course Code||HUMN 6401||Course||Trauma, Crisis, and Stress With Military Personnel||Credits||(5 cr.)|
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. It provides a foundation for academic and professional success as a scholar-practitioner and as a social change agent. Topics include the relation of the mission and vision to professional goals; development of the program of study and Professional Development Plan; strategies for online success; introduction to the online library; and introduction to critical thinking, professional writing, and academic integrity. Course assignments focus on practical application of writing and critical-thinking skills and the promotion of academic excellence.
This course is designed to provide a doctoral-level foundation in the history and development of the various human services professions. Students integrate information from various specializations, in areas such as counseling, social work, psychology, family studies, and criminal justice. Examining both the strengths and weaknesses of the human services delivery systems, students review the origins of the profession as well as its various responses to the changing needs of society. Students can begin to develop their identities as leaders, researchers, and best practices informants in the area of human services. They do this through critical literature reviews related to research, policy, and practice; discussions about human services and contemporary society; and course assignments. The focus of this course is on the competencies and ethics of human services professionals.
Diminishing resources are compounding the societal challenges facing human services agencies today. In this course, students will examine the core competencies that human services administrators need to address these challenges and make a greater difference in the communities they serve. A broad range of skills and innovative approaches will be discussed, including cross-agency collaboration, stakeholder communication, supervision of people and processes, creation and implementation of policies, and strategic planning and management. Through course discussions, applications, and critical literature reviews, students can demonstrate knowledge and skills that are directly translatable to their current work environment.
The first step in helping individuals, families, organizations, and communities is to form effective helping relationships. These relationships are characterized by the ability to connect with clients and those around them through demonstrating empathic caring, respect for people and institutions, and genuineness that leads to perceived trustworthiness. Just as an ERG is a unit of energy in physics, Empathy, Respect, and Genuineness (ERG) is the unit of energy in helping relationships. In this course, students learn how to talk with people in ways that demonstrate empathy, respect, and genuineness while obtaining the kind of information required to help clients identify their unmet needs and participate in finding ways to meet them. Students will participate in mock interviews and critiques of their own work along with their instructor. Students in this course also focus on the essential functions of case management, including how to write up important case notes appropriately with special attention to ethical and legal issues. While the basic principles underlying an effective helping relationship may be close to universal (ERG), the actual process of demonstrating them could vary greatly across cultures or countries; therefore, students explore how this might differ in a different setting and among different professions.
To be effective professional helpers, practitioners need to have a working knowledge of how research informs practice. This is becoming even more important as the emphasis on evidenced-based practice increases across all fields that provide human and social services. Students will explore different approaches to research and evaluation and will demonstrate the ability to find, critically read, and integrate relevant research articles from trustworthy sources. In addition, they will use case studies, discussions, and readings to help see the connections between theory, research, and practice and how applications might differ in different cultures and across different professions. They will also identify important ethical considerations related to conducting and reporting research results, especially in the context of program evaluations.
In this course, students will examine the philosophy of ethics and social justice, with a focus on the interplay among race, religion, and culture within and between different societies and organizations. Students will explore the complex social, political, and related ethical challenges Human Services professionals face as they seek to meet the needs of diverse populations. They will examine ethics and social justice related to economic disparity, power, and privilege. Applying concepts presented in the course, students will engage in an in-depth assessment of an emerging or persistent ethical or social justice issue, through which they will demonstrate their ability to make recommendations for improvement or change. They will engage in readings, case studies, and practical assignments to gain a better understanding of the interactions among culture, ethics, and social behaviors.
Public administrators today work in a hypercharged, partisan environment with unprecedented access to public policy data. This challenging environment affords public administrators both extraordinary opportunities and severe constraints. In this course, students examine, in detail, the key stakeholders and actors in the public policy process with particular attention devoted to understanding the functions, impacts, and constraints of these stakeholders upon policy development and the policy-making process. In addition, students explore professional ethics related to the role of the policy analyst and consider the significant social outcomes of public policy. Students are provided with an introduction to the theories and strategies used by policymakers and policy analysts to develop, implement, execute, evaluate, and promulgate public policy. Students explore the impact and consequences of public policy and consider and evaluate policy in a social justice framework. Students craft a policy memorandum to a decision maker of their choosing regarding a current public policy problem that examines and evaluates competing policy alternatives.
Grant writing is a highly marketable skill that requires many nonprofit, educational, and community organizations to secure external funding to provide needed services to the community. In this course, students will explore the basic skills needed for non-research grant writing, including identifying potential funding sources, creating objectives and a need statement, preparing and justifying a budget, identifying appropriate assessment plans, and writing an executive summary. Through course assignments, students directly apply what they are reading and discussing by writing a full grant proposal based on an actual Request for Proposal (RFP).
Legal decisions and the law have an impact on the creation of public policy. Students in this course explore the relationship between law and public policy and the significance of court decisions on law and public policy. They examine the role of administrative agencies in the creation and execution of law and public policy and the role of the courts in resolving challenges to agency rulemaking; conflicts between executive and legislative branches of government; and conflicts between and among federal, state, and local laws. Students apply fundamental legal concepts and processes to the creation and execution of law and public policy.
The specific focus of this course is on combat trauma, crisis, and stress experiences and responses of military personnel—both wartime and post-war. Students develop an understanding of the short-term and long-term impact of post-traumatic stress and vicarious trauma. In addition to focusing on how combat and wartime experiences impact individual military personnel, students also explore the effects on families. As a result, students will be better prepared to provide services and mental health support to military personnel dealing with trauma, crisis, and stress.