Gain the skills you need to help those who need it most
If you want to change lives, trust Walden to help set your goals in motion. A master’s in human services degree focuses on developing the practical and leadership skills necessary to make a positive difference for individuals, families, and communities.
Why Choose Walden?
Our coursework aligns with rigorous professional standards set forth by the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE).
Gain the expertise employers seek in areas such as grant writing, ethical and legal considerations, and communication and writing skills.
Choose from a broad range of specializations and tailor your coursework to your professional interests and goals.
Broaden your global understanding of the human services field and prepare to pursue opportunities around the world.
Choose from a wide range of specializations to tailor your learning to your personal passions and career goals.
Curriculum - General Program Specialization
Minimum Degree Requirements
- 48 quarter credits
- Foundation course (3 cr.)
- Core courses (25 cr.)
- Elective/specialization courses (15 cr.)
(includes Grant Writing course)
- Capstone (5 cr.)
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 the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.
Foundation of Graduate Study in Human Services
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.
The Advanced Human Services Professional Practitioner in a Changing World
As leaders, advanced human services professional practitioners can inhabit many roles: generalist, planner, advanced case manager, advocate, humanitarian, and outreach worker. Throughout this course, students try on these roles in response to authentic human services scenarios in settings within a fictional community. In each scenario, they observe advanced human services professional practitioners applying role-specific strategies, approaches, and theories to help service users. Students also assess their current knowledge, skills, and abilities in relation to each role, as well as the values and experiences they bring to the profession. By the end of the course, students develop and refine a professional identity statement as a leader in the human services profession and examine self-care strategies relevant to the work of an advanced human services professional practitioner.
Assessment and Motivational Interviewing
Advanced human services professional practitioners frequently work with service users who are experiencing crisis and are in need of assessment to determine their level of care and to assist them with establishing and achieving goals. In this course, students develop motivational interviewing skills to help service users identify and self-motivate to achieve the goals they desire. Students apply motivational interviewing skills, such as open-ended questioning, affirming, reflective listening, and summarizing, to authentic human services case studies in the context of assessment. Students also have an opportunity to develop supervisory skills by providing constructive feedback on their peers' motivational interviewing and assessment skills.
Cultural Humility and Diversity
Students in this course examine the theory, philosophy, and practice of working with diverse populations, with a focus on the interplay between individual and unique cultures within societies and organizations attempting to move toward equality and cultural humility. They explore cultural issues and ethics related to economic disparity, power, privilege, and social justice. Students also explore the complex social, political, and related ethical challenges advanced human services professional practitioners face as they seek to meet the needs of diverse populations. Applying concepts presented in the course, students engage in in-depth assessments of emerging or persistent ethical or social justice issues, through which they demonstrate their ability to empower, support, and connect service users with community resources. Throughout the course, students engage in readings, case studies, and practical assignments to build skills to work in multicultural environments and participate in an immersive experience with a specific culture to further develop their cultural humility.
Applied Research and Evaluation Methods
Organizational credibility, community trust, and fund-raising are increasingly dependent upon demonstration of program effectiveness and success. Students in this course are introduced to research and evaluation methods in the public and nonprofit sectors. They examine the strengths, limitations, and threats to validity; models, quantitative metrics, and tools used to evaluate programs and policies; and legal and ethical issues associated with research and evaluation methods. Students are asked to critically evaluate sample research using these parameters.
Social Change in Action
In this course, students prepare for their roles as change agents in the human services profession. Throughout the course, students focus on a specific social problem they are passionate about and plan for a community needs assessment to address the problem. As they do so, they examine how prevention, advocacy, and consultation are used to effect positive social change. Students also discuss a variety of social change topics with their peers, such as the language of social change, the use of systems thinking to better understand and address social problems, the emergence and progress of social justice issues, and the strategies for effecting global social change.
Crisis, Trauma, and Disaster Response
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the personal and systemic impact of crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events on individuals, couples, families, and communities. Students examine theories and response models as they relate to sexual trauma, crisis in individuals and families, crisis in the community, and crisis in the nation and in the world. They explore topics including crisis assessment, counselor competencies, vicarious trauma and countertransference, specific related diagnoses, and advocacy. Students consider cultural, legal, and ethical issues related to crisis, trauma, and disaster events and response.
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).
Social Change, Leadership, and Advocacy for Human Services Professional Practitioners
This capstone course is the culmination of the MS in Human Services program. In this course, students have the opportunity to demonstrate senior case management skills and their understanding of the responsibility and leadership of the advanced human services professional practitioner to advocate for social change with service users, organizations, communities, and the human services profession. Students also demonstrate methods of advanced human services practice within local, national, and international organizations. Students continue to enhance their professional development plans by preparing for professional opportunities.
|VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses|
Elective courses may be any MS Human Services specialization course.
To be considered for this master’s program, you must have a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, from an accredited school and meet the general admission requirements. All applicants must submit a completed online application and transcripts. More information for international applicants.
Tuition and Fees
General Program Specialization
|Tuition||48 quarter credit hours||$495 per quarter hour||$23,760|
|Technology Fee||Per quarter||$160||$800|
Effective February 28, 2022
|Tuition||48 quarter credit hours||$507 per quarter hour||$24,336|
|Technology Fee||Per quarter||$165||$825|
*Tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition reductions. Walden may accept up to 20 transfer credits. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.
Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,000 and $1,400.
Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.
*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.Find Ways to Save
Explore the full spectrum of human services competencies and strategies to prepare you to make a greater difference in the community you serve.
This specialization prepares you to work in community social work in nonlicensure roles.
Explore both traditional and contemporary intervention and rehabilitation approaches for offenders as well as their victims.
This specialization focuses on theories and strategies to meet the needs of individuals, families, and communities in crisis.
Explore a broad spectrum of theoretical and clinical approaches to intervention.
Explore the impact of societal expectations on the elderly and demographic trends, including global cross-cultural issues in aging.
Gain a broad understanding of the nature of leadership in human service organizations, including management of nonprofits.
Develop the skills to help individuals navigate community mental health services.
Deepen your understanding of military culture; explore topics such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and vicarious trauma; and examine how frequent relocations, parent-child separation, and extensive deployments impact military families.
Find Your Opportunity to Create Real Change
The growing demand for individual and family social services—from addiction treatment to senior care—means a greater need for qualified human services leaders. By 2029, employment of social and community service managers is expected to grow by 17%, faster than the average for all occupations.1
Walden’s MS in Human Services program prepares you to help facilitate social services in various settings around the world. Gain in-demand skills that open up a world of possibilities, whether you dream of forming your own organization or forging ahead into leadership roles.
18%FASTER THAN AVERAGE.1
What Can I Do With a Master’s in Human Services?
An MS in Human Services from Walden can prepare you for a number of direct nontherapeutic services or leadership positions in government agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and foundations.
- Human services administrator (coordinator, director, program lead)
- Agency coordinator
- Foster care case coordinator
- Family services specialist
- Program director
- Development director
- Medical and health services manager
- Social and community service manager
- Emergency management manager
- Community and social service specialist
Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this online master’s in human services degree program.
Increase Your Earning Potential
A master’s in human services degree can potentially lead to higher earnings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2019, social and community service managers in government, civic, community, and other organizations earned median salaries between $60,180 and $85,550 per year.1
Graduates of Walden’s online master’s in human services program will be prepared to:
- Articulate the role that human services leaders play in promoting social change and advocacy for individuals, families, and communities in need.
- Interpret and apply human services research to inform the practice of human services delivery systems.
- Synthesize findings from research to develop culturally and contextually relevant interventions and direct services.
- Use knowledge of formal and informal networks in the development and evaluation of human services delivery systems.
- Apply legal and ethical standards in the administration and delivery of human services systems.
- Discuss how personal values and attitudes affect leadership, planning, and advocacy activities.
It was difficult going back to school when I was close to my 50s, but it was worth it.
Monique Allen MS in Human and Social Services Graduate
I chose to continue my education and pursue my MS in Human Services to open more doors for my career.
Robin Worthington MS in Human and Social Services Graduate
Walden’s advisors made me feel comfortable in choosing to attend Walden over other online programs.
Kimberly Dean MS in Human Services Graduate
FAQ About Walden’s Online MS in Human Services Program
With a master’s in human services—like the one earned online at Walden University—you can gain the knowledge to work at the program level of social and human services agencies and be a change agent for improved services. Human services professionals function as program managers, administrators, and directors. Their responsibilities often include:
- Managing staff and the daily activities of the human services agency or department.
- Coordinating with other human services and social services agencies.
- Researching to determine whether services are effectively reaching target populations.
- Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of existing services.
- Recommending and implementing improvements in the delivery of existing services.
- Adjusting human services programs to meet the community’s changing needs.
Online graduate degree programs give you an exceptional level of convenience and flexibility. In fact, in an online MS in Human Services program—like the one at Walden—you can complete the majority of your degree program from home. In addition, you can attend classes and handle coursework at a time of day that works best for you—meaning you can earn your master’s while continuing to work full time.
Careers in social work and human services are both motivated by a desire to improve the lives of people in need. They can take place in similar settings, including home health agencies, hospitals, and health clinics. Nevertheless, there are differences. One of the biggest differences between social work and human services jobs is licensure. To be in social work practice, you need a license; to work in human and social services, you do not. In addition, time to completion tends to be longer for social work programs due to a larger credit requirement. Career paths may also differ: Social workers generally work more directly with clients, while human and social services professionals tend to work with organizations to direct needed resources to vulnerable, underserved populations.
MS in Human Services programs may offer a wide variety of focus areas, to help you center your career on the social issue you most want to address. At Walden, these specializations include:
- Community and Social Services – Prepares you for community social work in non-licensure roles.
- Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention – Prepares you for emergency management leadership and/or helping communities that have suffered a natural or man-made disaster or are experiencing an ongoing crisis.
- Gerontology – Prepares you to help older adults with issues ranging from home care to finances.
- Military Families and Culture – Prepares you to help active-duty members and/or veterans of the armed services and their families.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2028, employment of social and community service managers is expected to grow by 17%, much faster than the average for all occupations.*
*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social and Community Service Managers. National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, do not guarantee actual job growth, and are subject to change.
With an advanced degree in human services, one could pursue a number of careers, including:*
- Human services professional
- Agency coordinator
- Foster care counselor
- Family services specialist
- Emergency management manager
- Medical and health services manager
- Development director
*Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.
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