Human Services

Your passion is helping people, and deep down you want to do more.

A human services degree from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, will prepare you to take on a meaningful role in the helping professions. Whether on campus or in our Woods Online program you will develop skills for working with individuals, families, groups and communities. You’ll learn to problem solve by assessing clients’ needs and identifying community–all with the goal of making a difference and serving in the lives of others.

The Human Services major at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College emphasizes theory, knowledge and skills for competent practice in this emerging helping profession. Human Services graduates assist individuals, families and groups in many settings through a variety of modalities including social work, casework, groupwork, community organization and advocacy. They are employed in mental health centers, residential facilities, child and family welfare agencies, and community-based organizations.

Human Services Major - (49 credit hours)

In addition to the general study requirements, the Human Services major requires the completion of 49 credit hours of human resource related coursework.

Required Courses

43 credit hours required; all courses listed.

Designed to serve as the capstone course for Not-for Profit Administration majors. Covers advanced topics in Not-for-Profit Administration and current issues facing not-for-profit organizations. Students gain a view from the executive perspective and in-depth study of not-forprofit operations at that level.

Combines the study of state and local government and the American federal system. Students will view federalism as a dynamic relationship between the various levels of government in order to develop an understanding of the interplay of laws at each level.

A general overview of the knowledge base, value structure, purpose, nature, history and functions of work in the various settings of the human services.

Supervised introductory field experience (100 hours) in a selected social service agency. Prerequisites: HS 211 and PS 285.

Techniques of human services practice and helping processes for individuals and families, with emphasis on system analysis, needs assessment, case planning, documentation, ethics, and the professional use of self in human services roles. Prerequisite: HS 311 (may be taken concurrently).

Skills for human services practice with groups and communities, with emphasis on system analysis, ethics, the helping processes used in therapeutic groups and the community, and the professional use of self in human services roles. Prerequisite: HS311 (may be taken concurrently).

Supervised field experience (250 hours) in a selected social service agency combined with reflective and analytical writing assignments. Prerequisites: HS 325. Human Services majors only. Course must be taken at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College; applied learning, transfer, or course substitution not accepted.

The study of law and the legal system. Introduces case law, analysis and ethical consideration in our world. Provides an overview of the courts, civil and criminal procedure, torts, contracts, property law and the individual’s rights. An excellent course for any student because of its practical, universal content and for students who are interested in attending law school.

Theoretical and practical knowledge needed to make use of basic counseling skills. Emphasis on process in utilizing these skills. Activities include role playing and video presentations.

Studies the dynamics of abnormal behavior including etiology, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of emotional disorders, psychoses, substance abuse and childhood disorders. Prerequisite: PS 111.

Sociological perspectives on the societal conditions and institutional roots as well as the social consequences of major social problems; includes analysis of assumptions underlying both popular and theoretical explanations of social problems, and policies and programs by which society attempts to alleviate them. Prerequisite: SO 211 or instructor‘s consent.

Sociological analysis of the structure and functions of the family in contemporary society;interrelationships and structures; impact of social change on family structure and stability; and current trends in the institution. Focus on industrial societies with some comparative material included.Prerequisite: SO211 or instructor's consent.

Studies interracial and interethnic relations, prejudice, discrimination and the changing nature of contacts and problems generated between groups within the social institutions of multiethnic societies. The primary focus is the U.S., with use made of comparative material from several societies. Prerequisite: SO 211 or instructor‘s consent.

Presents basic principles of research design and the primary techniques used by social scientists in the collection and analysis of data; for example, surveys and polling, observation, experiment, case study and content analysis. Prerequisite: SO 211 or instructor‘s consent.


6 credit hours of human services focused courses must be completed. Elective choices must be approved by your advisor.

General Studies

The following courses are required for Human Services majors but also meet general studies requirements.

An overview of contemporary psychology introducing students to: human development, cognition and language, learning, memory, sensation, perception, motivation, emotion, biological basis of behavior, social psychology, personality, psychopathology and psychotherapy. The focus of the course is on both the scientific method of acquiring psychological data, as well as the theories which interpret that data and help guide further research in the field. For majors and non-majors, this course also serves as the prerequisite for most psychology classes. Fulfills general studies requirement.

Studies the basic principles, perspectives and concepts of sociology. Broad overview with emphasis on social structure, social interaction, culture, socialization, groups, formal organization, stratification, social institutions and social change. Fulfills general studies requirement.

Information about Course Requirements
We do our best to keep this information updated, but you should always double-check to ensure you are meeting graduation requirements. For the most current course requirements please review the latest undergraduate college catalog.  Always consult your academic advisor when registering for courses or when you have questions about course requirements.

The human services degree prepares you for work under the supervision of a helping professional with a more advanced degree in a variety of entry level social worker positions in a diverse array of settings including:

  • Group homes and halfway houses
  • Community mental health centers
  • Hospital psychiatric units 
  • Service agencies for families, children 
  • Shelters or outreach services for the homeless 
  • Agencies that protect and serve the elderly 
  • Health care settings
  • Organizations serving youth
  • Agencies working to end substance abuse
  • Victims of family violence
  • Financial assistance to those in need 
  • Criminal justice system
  • Hotlines that respond to crisis or help people find assistance

For more specific information regarding the human services degree, please contact Christine Wilkey.

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