Build your knowledge and expertise to help empower a broad community with our MS in Human and Social Services degree program.
Aging populations with special needs are creating a greater demand for professionals who can facilitate the integration of services for the older adult, including health and home care, financial and lifestyle, and issues of daily living. The Gerontology specialization prepares you to meet this growing need. In this program, you will explore the impact of societal expectations on the elderly and demographic trends, including global cross-cultural issues in aging. You will develop a broad understanding of factors that affect the quality of life for the geriatric population, from the physiological changes of aging, to the effects of chronic disease, to the challenges of independent living.
With this specialization, you could pursue a number of roles, including elder residence administrator, activities and activation coordinator, housing placement advisor, community care coordinator, capacity assessor, policy advisor, financial advisor, elder program developer, manager for elderly and elder mediation, elder care case manager, hoarding specialist, or an Elder Services Coordinator designation under Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR).
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 6815||Course||Contemporary Gerontology||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||4||Course Code||HUMN 6207||Course||Grant Writing||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||5||Course Code||HUMN 6660||Course||Social Change, Leadership, and Advocacy for Human Services Professionals||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||5||Course Code||HUMN 6242||Course||Changing Health Behavior||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.
Great improvements in medicine, public health, science, and technology enable today's older adults to live healthier, longer lives. In this course, students explore theories and practices for providing services to older adults who remain independent and vibrant members of their families and communities. Students delve into models of aging in place, including ways of assessing health, social and economic needs, and identifying and prioritizing options in physical, mental, emotional, and intellectual health promotion activities and programs.
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).
This course is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the responsibility of human service professionals to foster social change; provide leadership and service to the human services professions; and advocate for their community, clients, colleagues, and professions. Students use research to examine the current trends and issues of the profession and identify how community, national, and international issues affect human services professions. Students also gain an understanding of the processes of advocacy and social change. Students continue to enhance their professional development plans by identifying specific goals for professional involvement and service.
Students in this course will review past and current models of health behavior change, disease prevention, disease management, and relapse prevention. Coverage of health-related issues includes dietary needs, tobacco and drug use, safer sexual practices, and stress management. In addition, students will examine the analysis of behavior change within specific populations (young, elderly, cognitively impaired, etc.) and factors that predict or serve as obstacles to lifestyle change and adherence.