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Lead Bold Social Change With a Master’s in Human Services From Walden

Do you have a passion for helping people—and a desire to make a difference? Become the next-level practitioner and leader you want to be with Walden’s MS in Human Services program.

In our highly interactive and applied master’s in human services program, you’ll build real-world skills that are essential to supporting diverse communities. Gain the confidence to lead departments and organizations of people who are serving the greater good.

A master’s degree in human services prepares students to evaluate and oversee programs, work with nonprofit organizations, and work directly with people in need.

Why Choose Walden?

Skills That Matter

Gain highly applicable skills such as grant writing, motivational interviewing, assessment, and cultural humility.

Experiential Curriculum

Discover an interactive learning experience that brings concepts to life through virtual simulations and animated case studies.

Multiple Specializations

Choose from a broad range of specializations and tailor your coursework to your professional interests and goals.

Professional Portfolio

Turn your assignments into a comprehensive digital portfolio that you can showcase once you graduate.

Program Savings

Speak with an Enrollment Specialist to learn about our current tuition savings.

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Program Details

Curriculum - General Program

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.


Course Code Title Credits

Foundation Course

HUMN 6000
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.

(3 cr.)

Core Courses

HUMN 6160
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.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 6161
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.


  • HUMN 6000
  • HUMN 6160

(5 cr.)
HUMN 6162
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.


  • HUMN 6160
  • HUMN 6161

(5 cr.)
HUMN 6480
Evidence-Based Evaluation Methods

Nonprofit and public/government organizations need to be able to show positive evidence related to their mission and ability to effect social change to remain viable. By developing performance improvement evaluation plans that are structured with metrics, leaders can disseminate an organization's progress to build stakeholder engagement and collaboration. Students in this course will be introduced to a critical appraisal of levels of evidence, performance improvement and evaluation methods, and the importance of dissemination of organizational outcomes to help contribute to a positive future for social change.


  • HUMN 6161
  • HUMN 6162

(5 cr.)
HUMN 6207
Grant Writing

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).


  • HUMN 6160
  • HUMN 6480

(5 cr.)

Elective/Specialization Courses

HUMN 6785
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.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 6336
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.

(5 cr.)
(5 cr.)

Capstone Course

HUMN 6660
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.

(5 cr.)

Admission Requirements

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.

Be Immersed in Experiential Learning

Walden’s online master’s in human services program features simulation technologies and other tools to help you master critical skills in a safe and supportive environment. Build confidence as a human services practitioner and leader while learning how to apply new competencies to your current and future roles. You’ll have the opportunity to work with tools such as:

  • Hart City, a virtual city that allows you to visit different locations, find resources, and complete assignments using these resources. See perspectives of different agencies and populations as well as the bigger picture of how it’s all connected.
  • Virtual simulations to help you practice intake interviews, educational sessions, and working with clients and community members.
  • Animated, real-world case studies that help you apply what you’ve learned in your studies.

Tuition and Fees

General Program

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost amount
Tuition 48 quarter credit hours $507 per quarter hour $24,336
Technology Fee Per quarter $165 $825


Effective February 27, 2023

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost amount
Tuition 48 quarter credit hours $530 per quarter hour $25,440
Technology Fee Per quarter $170 $850


*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.

Paying for Your Education

Our Enrollment Specialists can help you outline a plan and find resources for funding your education.

Learn more

Program Savings

Speak with an Enrollment Specialist to learn about our current tuition savings.

Get Started Now


General Program

Explore the full spectrum of human services competencies and strategies you need to make a greater difference in your community.

Community and Social Services

Study the prevention, intervention, and promotion of well-being in a variety of settings.

Criminal Justice

Examine both traditional and contemporary intervention and rehabilitation approaches for both offenders and victims.

Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention

Focus on theories and strategies to meet the needs of individuals, families, and communities in crisis.

Family Studies and Interventions

Explore a broad spectrum of theoretical and clinical approaches to intervention.

Studies in Aging

Discuss the impact of societal expectations on older adults and demographic trends, including global cross-cultural issues in aging.

Human Services Nonprofit Administration

Gain a broad understanding of the nature of leadership in human service organizations, including management of nonprofits.

Mental Health

Develop the skills to help individuals navigate community mental health services.

Military Families and Culture

Deepen your understanding of military culture by exploring topics such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and vicarious trauma.

Program Outcomes

What’s the Career Impact of Earning an MS in Human Services?

From food and clothing assistance for those in need to abuse victim advocacy, human services are vital to helping people live safe, stable, and happy lives. Organizations that deliver these community services need advanced-level practitioners and qualified leaders to help them fulfill their mission.

With a master’s in human services degree, you’ll have the knowledge and skills to meet this need. Open the door to rewarding new opportunities and become a catalyst for sustainable social change.

Employment of social and community service managers is projected to grow


through 2030.1

A master’s degree in human services can academically prepare you for work such as:

  • Working for a nonprofit organization to address food insecurity in a community.
  • Helping people who are struggling with multiple problems of living, such as food insecurity, addictions, mental health issues, disabilities, homelessness, employment, and healthcare needs.
  • Assisting individuals seeking services and programs provided by governmental agencies.
  • Leading a department or organization of human services practitioners.

A master’s degree in human services can academically prepare you to work in settings such as:

  • Community health and support centers
  • Nonprofit agencies
  • Departments of health and human services
  • Schools
  • Government agencies

Career options may require additional experience, training, licensure or other factors beyond the successful completion of this online master’s in human services program.

Learning Outcomes

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.


Meet Your Academic Team

  • Jim Castleberry

    Jim Castleberry

    Associate Dean

    Dr. Castleberry’s legal and professional experience has focused on criminal law, regulatory law, and administrative law. He has held administrative positions in both the public and private sectors and worked as a legal officer (JAG) for the Coast Guard and Navy until he retired in 2003 and began teaching.

  • Barbara Benoliel

    Barbara Benoliel

    Core Faculty

    Dr. Benoliel, who has been with Walden since 2007, is a certified mediator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) who practices in both civil and criminal dispute resolution. Her primary areas of research are in disputes related to human rights and interfaces with justice systems.

  • Dorothy Seabrook

    Dorothy Seabrook

    Contributing Faculty

    An Army veteran, Dr. Seabrook (“Dr. Dee”) recently retired from a leadership position with the federal government in military family programs. She is credentialed as a Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP) and Resilience-Building Leadership Professional Trainer (RBLP-T).

  • Veronica Carey

    Veronica Carey

    Contributing Faculty

    Dr. Carey, has taught in academia for the past 23 years. She is chair of the Academy of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Recovery, a certified psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner (CPRP), and vice president of the Caravan of Life, a behavioral health nongovernmental organization in Pakistan.


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