Note: All courses are required unless otherwise noted.

The Master’s Degree

The M.A. degree in Human Services (HMS) provides advanced professional education for students who have an undergraduate education in human services or who have completed specific prerequisite courses to prepare them for study in the field. It is a multidisciplinary degree that prepares students to become competent as human services professionals for multiple roles and settings.

The degree contains core courses that teach skills and concepts needed by all human services professionals and integrates content from several academic concentrations to allow students to develop specific expertise. The concentrations are:

  1. alcoholism and substance abuse,
  2. child and family studies,
  3. gerontology, and
  4. social services administration.

Students are prepared to practice with competency and confidence within all concentrations. Study in this degree program requires that students examine aspects of their past lives and family experiences in an effort to understand their beliefs, values, and biases. This self-awareness is necessary when working with vulnerable populations.

The degree program teaches students to appreciate contemporary and historic human characteristics, issues, and problems and to plan for the delivery of human services in the future. Courses teach students to design, assess, treat, plan for, advocate for, counsel with, manage, and collaborate with individuals, groups, or agencies needing and using human services.


The Human Services Alcohol and Substance Abuse concentration is accredited by the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association (IAODAPCA).


The Human Services faculty has a professional and ethical obligation to conduct continual assessment with students so they are aware of limitations that may impede their future success. Moreover, the faculty has an obligation not to admit or to remove from candidacy any student who does not meet these requirements.

Grading Policy

Graduate students must earn a grade of B (3.0) or better in each course (grades of B- or lower will not be accepted).

NOTE: Students also should refer to the campus policy on Grades Acceptable Toward Master’s Degrees section of this catalog.


The four-credit hour internship is designed to provide an opportunity for students to integrate knowledge and skills gained in courses into direct practice. The internship consists of intensive work experiences with supervision (100 work hours for each academic hour) in a human services environment (500 hours are required for students in the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Concentration).

Students with three years of supervised full-time experience in their designated human services field may, with approval of their academic advisor, submit a Student Petition to substitute four hours of regular course work for the internship.

Degree Requirements

A master’s degree in Human Services requires 44 hours of graduate-level course work, including 24 hours of core course work, plus 20 hours earned in a concentration selected from one of four options outlined.

Prerequisite Courses (two courses) or the equivalent

  1. A course in either human behavior in the social environment or a course in life-span developmental psychology, and

  2. A course in either research methods or a course in statistics.

Core Requirements 1
HMS 501 Critical Perspectives in Human Services 4
HMS 502 Interviewing and Assessment Skills in Human Services 4
HMS 511 Social Policy and Human Services 4
HMS 516 Ethics and Professional Development 4
HMS 550 Internship 4
HMS 585 HMS Capstone 4
HMS 586 HMS Capstone Continuing Enrollment 2 0
Total Hours 24

HMS 580 is available with permission from the HMS department for those students who enrolled in the graduate degree program during the time when the project/thesis were used as the closure options.

Master’s Closure

Taken during the last semester of studies, HMS 585 helps students complete their Capstone. It integrates learning from core and concentration courses and further prepares students to use best practices. To receive credit, students must present their Capstone project to a faculty committee, and obtain formal committee approval.

HMS 580 is available with permission from the HMS department for those students who enrolled in the graduate degree program during the time when the project/thesis were the closure options.