Human Services BS

College of Community Studies and Public Affairs
Undergraduate major / Bachelor of Science

About this program

The Human Services major (BS) is for students preparing for a career as helping professional, broadly trained to provide direct service, advocacy and coordination of services.

Students complete nine core four-credit classes (36 credits), sixteen elective credits in areas such as violence prevention, family studies, disability studies or aging studies, and a 160-hour practicum at a community-based agency. This coursework and community experience is designed to prepare professionally and culturally competent students who integrate theory and practice in order to effectively deliver human services.

The flexible, student-centered curriculum emphasizes advocacy, social justice, empowerment and a strengths-based approached.

Student outcomes

Students will:

  • deliver best-practices human services that meet the needs of the multi-cultural communities they serve.
  • use quality data to inform decision making.
  • communicate effectively in all relationships.

Enrolling in this program

Current students: Declare your program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Human Services BS now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Human Services BS

More ways to earn your degree: Metropolitan State offers the flexibility you need to finish your degree. Through programs at our partner institutions, you can find a path to getting your Human Services BS that works best for you.

About your enrollment options

Course requirements

Prerequisites

In addition to the human services major requirements, students must complete the university's general education and liberal studies requirements.

SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology

3 credits

This course is an introduction to the sociological perspective. Students examine the social processes that shape societies and the course of their histories. The social nature of biographies is explored through the study of the family and socialization, education and work, bureaucracy and the economy, gender, social class, and race and ethnicity.

Full course description for Introduction to Sociology

Requirements (120 credits)

Required (32 credits)

HSCD 300 Introduction to Substance Use Disorders

4 credits

This course is designed to be an overview of the practice of Alcohol and Drug Counseling. It covers the main theories or models which explain what chemical dependency is. It also provides a survey of the practice of alcohol and drug counseling, including history, licensure requirements, 12 core functions, continuum of services, culture, evidence-based practices, laws, ethics and professionalism. An orientation to the Alcohol and Drug major will also be provided.

Full course description for Introduction to Substance Use Disorders

HSER 346 Counseling and Interviewing Skills

4-5 credits

This course introduces students to basic counseling skills. As such, it is designed to help students develop essential helping skills needed for client engagement, follow-through, completion and overall therapeutic effectiveness. Specific skills and techniques covered include; developing rapport, building empathy and listening, encouraging trust, self-disclosure, immediacy, questioning & evoking, addressing discrepancies, etc. This course is highly experiential in its format. Students will participate in classroom exercises, real plays, and video-taping of counseling skills.

Full course description for Counseling and Interviewing Skills

HSER 348 Group Counseling

4 credits

This course teaches the dynamics of group counseling. Students learn the skills of group counseling in a classroom and Training group experience. Topics include: stages of group, group rules and goals, group leader skills, and types of groups. Students learn writing and charting skills necessary to document client progress. Emphasis is on interaction among group members, the counselors role in group facilitating, and techniques to help group members learn to view their own behavior for self-awareness and self-disclosure.

Full course description for Group Counseling

HSER 395 Intersection of Race and Diversity in Human Services

4 credits

This course emphasizes the experience of race and racism and how both intersect with various forms of human diversity in the helping arena. It will provide students an understanding of how power and privilege are operant in the human services. Students will examine assumptions, myths, beliefs, and biases that block effective relationships between groups of people and that hamper helper-helpee dynamics. Course activities involve self-assessment and opportunities for application of learning in a human service environment. COMPETENCE STATEMENT: Knows conceptual frameworks dealing with racial-ethnic identity, racial-cultural world views, oppression and power well enough to explore, develop, and evaluate personal responses and professional strategies to eliminate the myths, beliefs, biases, actions and efforts, that sustain social oppression in the helping professions.

Full course description for Intersection of Race and Diversity in Human Services

HSER 455 Human Services Capstone Seminar

4 credits

This course comes at the end of the student's senior course work in human services. Students complete a human services portfolio assignment demonstrating what they have learned in human services over the period of time while studying in this program. This assignment helps students to reflect on their academic course of study (both theoretical and practical) and how it applies to the professional practice of human services. The written portfolio provides evidence of competence and is a way for students to demonstrate readiness for graduation and work as Human Services professionals. In order to complete the portfolio assignment students must complete at least ten (10) hours of community service in a Human Services Agency with a Human Services professional. The course culminates with students giving presentations on the agency studied and written about in their portfolio.

Full course description for Human Services Capstone Seminar

HSER 351 Crisis Intervention/Caring for Trauma through the Lifecourse

4 credits

This course is designed to teach the crisis intervention concepts and counseling skills used in helping individuals in crisis situations, including batterings, sexual assaults, suicide attempts, drug overdoses, psychiatric emergencies and family crises. The course includes role-playing exercises. Evaluations are based in part on performance and growth in the role-playing segments. Overlap: HSER 360 Crisis Intervention Theory Seminar.

Full course description for Crisis Intervention/Caring for Trauma through the Lifecourse

Electives: Group two
Research requirement

Choose one

HSA 369 Program Evaluation

4 credits

This course focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to appropriately identify, collect, analyze and report evaluative information to be used in making decisions about, and changes in, programs. Topics include approaches to program evaluation, the process of planning and conducting an evaluation, basic principles and practices of designing evaluation instruments, and methods for interpreting and presenting data with an emphasis on providing relevant information to decision makers. This course is appropriate for anyone in business, public, nonprofit or human services administration who is responsible for making decisions about service programs or for conducting evaluations.

Full course description for Program Evaluation

HSER 368 Understanding and Using Research for the Practitioner

4 credits

It is important for human service practitioners to understand the relationship between practice and research. According to social psychologist, Kurt Lewin, the best practice is founded in research and the best research is grounded in practice. Acknowledging this insight, this course will engage students in an examination of research as it is employed in the human service field. The primary focus of this course is to teach students how to be critical consumers of research, able to read, evaluate, and apply research for human service practice purposes. A second purpose is to develop students skills for their future role as collaborators with researchers in generating knowledge from the field. This course can serve as a companion course for the program evaluation offering or a foundations course for students interested in pursuing graduate study or a preview course for those intending to take social or behavioral science research methods courses.

Full course description for Understanding and Using Research for the Practitioner

Specialty areas

Select any four courses (16 credits). Five courses in a single concentration area comprises a minor in that area

Violence Prevention and Intervention 

HSVP 300 Violence: Origins and Explanations

4 credits

This course examines causes and underlying factors that account for violence in American Society. Students examine the extent, causes and challenges of violence in today's society. For those students who work in the human services field, this course prepares them to identify and critique methods and strategies for addressing violence. It may be taken alone or as the first of three core courses required for the community violence prevention minor. Prerequisite: Courses in psychology or sociology.

Full course description for Violence: Origins and Explanations

HSVP 301 Violence: Individual, Community and Global Responses

4 credits

This course addresses how violence is responded to at various levels. It examines the role and development of personal skills and involvement in addressing violence, community intervention resources, systems responses such as punishment and rehabilitation in violence prevention, social change movement responses to violence, and international violence and the growth of human rights movements.

Full course description for Violence: Individual, Community and Global Responses

HSVP 307 Gender Violence in Global Perspective

4 credits

This course examines gender violence in its multiple forms from a global perspective. An introduction to the history of violence against women, current theories and research on the causes of violence in intimate relationships, past and current responses, and interventions and prevention models to address this worldwide problem will be discussed. Understanding the multiple approaches for addressing gender violence will provide students the knowledge to describe culturally competent intervention and prevention strategies.

Full course description for Gender Violence in Global Perspective

HSVP 308 Family Violence Across the Lifespan

4 credits

This course is designed as an introduction to the study of family violence across the lifespan. It will introduce students to history, current theories, research, and policies in the three areas of family violence: child maltreatment, elder abuse, domestic violence. You will examine the cultural, social and political roots of family violence, as well as the dynamics of abuse in the family and in intimate relationships. You will explore the effects of abuse at the individual, family, and community levels, and be able to identify abusive and controlling behaviors. The content of the course focuses on current theories, research and policies on domestic violence (battering, sexual assault, stalking), child maltreatment (physical and sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect) and abuse of vulnerable adults (elderly, non-elderly vulnerable populations). This course is an introduction to the topic. It will give students a basic overview of the issues across types of family violence…

Full course description for Family Violence Across the Lifespan

HSVP 309 Violence and Disability

4 credits

This course explores the connections between violence and disability. It investigates how models of disability affect the understanding of violence and abuse of people with disabilities as well as the response to such violence. The focus is on the lived experiences of people with disabilities who have experienced violence and abuse, and how systems and policies have aided or hindered successful interventions. The course also explores how being a victim of violence can affect a person's disability status and the implications of such a connection for policymakers, human services workers, and people with disabilities themselves. The course employs the socio-ecological model of violence prevention and challenges students to apply this model to case studies.

Full course description for Violence and Disability

HSCO 321 Juvenile Offending Prevention and Intervention

4 credits

This course explores the causes of juvenile offending and the social and psychological factors involved in the predictive studies and theories concerning the development of delinquency and the intervention processes. Topics also include formation of youth gangs; methods of coping with gang activity; school violence; the types of crimes committed by children and youth; mental health issues; narcotics problems; neglected and dependent children, the youthful offender and wayward minor, the operation of the juvenile court, and crime prevention and intervention programs. We will explore the current evidence on prevention, diversion, causes and rates of delinquency as it relates to assessment of risk and intervention needs. We will learn how to use Motivational Interviewing (MI) to have productive conversations about behavior change with adolescents and young adults. We will learn the fundamentals of MI and have hands-on practice in the classroom.

Full course description for Juvenile Offending Prevention and Intervention

Disability Studies 

HSER 303 Disability Awareness

4 credits

Disability Awareness provides opportunities for students in all fields of study to increase their awareness of the barriers, attitudes and successes relevant to individuals with disabilities in society as a whole. This course does not focus on specific medical definitions, conditions or types of disabilities. Instead, the course concentrates on a brief history of the treatment of people with disabilities, disability rights, etiquette, work, sports and art related to disabilities.

Full course description for Disability Awareness

HSDS 304 Introduction to Disabilities

4 credits

Introduction to disabilities prepares students who desire to learn about and potentially work in the field of disabilities. Using a diversity model and social perspective approach, students learn about issues common to persons with diverse disabilities. Perspectives of disabilities that recognize disability as a culture and acknowledge the potential and capabilities of persons with disabilities are offered. Course materials include definitions, psychosocial considerations and societal perspectives.

Full course description for Introduction to Disabilities

HSDS 305 Disability Rights: History and Current Trends

4 credits

Disability Rights: History and Current Trends traces the history, policies, and individual and group empowerment efforts that led to the formation of the disability rights movement. Key legislation including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act, and education acts are examined. Future trends in disability policies and civil rights are also explored. The challenges and struggles that persons with disabilities have fought to change in order to gain independence, respect, and opportunities are studied through American perspectives of disability history.

Full course description for Disability Rights: History and Current Trends

HSDS 306 Community Resources and Services for Persons with Disabilities

4 credits

Community Resources and Services for People with Disabilities employs a two-fold approach to learning about resources that people with disabilities use. The course provides an overview of public and non-profit resources that provide services for a diverse range of disabilities. In addition to learning about resources, students critically examine agency functions including how well these resources promote independence and inclusion in society for people with disabilities. Advocacy skills that promote self-determination relevant to people with disabilities is also a focus in this course.

Full course description for Community Resources and Services for Persons with Disabilities

HSDS 307 Blind, Deaf Blind, and Deaf Culture, History and Resources

4 credits

This course examines the historical perspectives, social policies, resources, and culture of persons belonging to the Blind, DeafBlind, or Deaf Culture. It is recognized that persons who are Blind, DeafBlind, or Deaf each have a unique history and culture. The course materials include major writings in comprehensive modules. These materials provide perspectives on the significant culture, civil rights movements, and empowerment of persons who are Blind, DeafBlind, and of the Deaf-World.

Full course description for Blind, Deaf Blind, and Deaf Culture, History and Resources

HSDS 308 Aging and Disabilities

4 credits

The aging of persons with disabilities is a new phenomenon due to improved health and advances that have increased their life-span. In addition, the aging of the baby-boomers is increasing the population of persons acquiring disabilities as they age. Is our society prepared to meet the needs of both groups? How can we prepare to assist all older persons in maintaining quality of life as they age? The need for collaboration across disability and aging networks to analyze these questions is a focus of this course.

Full course description for Aging and Disabilities

HSVP 309 Violence and Disability

4 credits

This course explores the connections between violence and disability. It investigates how models of disability affect the understanding of violence and abuse of people with disabilities as well as the response to such violence. The focus is on the lived experiences of people with disabilities who have experienced violence and abuse, and how systems and policies have aided or hindered successful interventions. The course also explores how being a victim of violence can affect a person's disability status and the implications of such a connection for policymakers, human services workers, and people with disabilities themselves. The course employs the socio-ecological model of violence prevention and challenges students to apply this model to case studies.

Full course description for Violence and Disability

Aging Studies/Gerontology

HSG 376 Mental Health and Aging

4 credits

This course examines issues related to the cognitive and affective development of individuals in their later years. It maps the developmental phases that typically result in impairments that are not physical, and outlines a set of strategies to facilitate coping with those impairments. The course is recommended for those involved in direct services-nurses, activities staff members, social workers and others involved in rehabilitation.

Full course description for Mental Health and Aging

HSG 380 Aging: Planning and Policy Making

4 credits

This course covers various aspects of public policy development, and planning for the aged by federal, state and local agencies. Topics include how policies are planned and implemented, the effects of policies on program services, the roles and functions of community organizations, and how they relate to governmental factions in developing, maintaining, and upgrading services and programs for the aged.

Full course description for Aging: Planning and Policy Making

HSG 384 Civic Engagement in Later Life

4 credits

Older persons are increasingly defying stereotypes through their dedication to civic, social, and creative causes. In this course, students will examine how activism can be part of successful aging, as well as how older persons contribute to society through a variety of civic engagement activities, ranging from community involvement and volunteerism to participation in the political process.

Full course description for Civic Engagement in Later Life

Family Studies 

HSER 352 Family Counseling

4 credits

This course explores the dynamics and processes of family interactions and counseling from the viewpoint of a family counselor. Some of the major theories of family counseling are discussed, with particular emphasis on the theories of Virginia Satir. Evaluation is based in part on a final conference with the instructor. This course is designed for students seeking self-understanding, as well as for students pursuing careers in the human services.

Full course description for Family Counseling

HSFS 343 The Family: A Social/Psychological Exploration

4 credits

This course introduces students to the major social and psychological theories employed in studying family processes and in studying how families function in society today. In addition, the course engages students in an examination of their own families. Key features of this course are that students do a modified social history and case study of their own families. Students demonstrate competence by applying the content of the course in their analysis of their own family's social/psychological analysis.

Full course description for The Family: A Social/Psychological Exploration

HSFS 338 Family: Racial, Gender and Class Dimensions

4 credits

This course familiarizes students with the diversity that exists in families. It is intended for students who want to gain a better understanding of the family, and for students specializing in psychology or human services related fields. Structural inequalities in society based on wealth, race/ethnicity and gender are presented as key determinants in the diversity of family forms and in differing experiences within families.

Full course description for Family: Racial, Gender and Class Dimensions

HSFS 339 Issues and Actions in Family Policy

4 credits

This course considers the impact of public choices on life within families. It is generally offered during the state legislative session in order to give students opportunity to participate in the legislative process. The policy issues covered vary from year to year. Topics may cover competing rights of children and parents, culturally-specific/friendly family policy, international family policy comparisons, and other family policy issues.

Full course description for Issues and Actions in Family Policy

HSFS 341 Work and Family

4 credits

Until recently, the worlds of family and work were seen as separate spheres. Today, people are aware of the many possible relationships between work and family in society. This course examines the challenges, issues and problems associated with a variety of contemporary work-family patterns including single-provider, dual-provider and single-parent families, and families who own their own businesses.

Full course description for Work and Family

HSFS 342 Children in U.S. Society

4 credits

This interdisciplinary course explores historical and contemporary aspects of children's status and roles in family and society, adults' relationships and functions in relation to children, and public policy affecting children in twentieth-century United States. Community and experience-based learning, including a student-designed project, augment class lectures and discussion.

Full course description for Children in U.S. Society

HSVP 308 Family Violence Across the Lifespan

4 credits

This course is designed as an introduction to the study of family violence across the lifespan. It will introduce students to history, current theories, research, and policies in the three areas of family violence: child maltreatment, elder abuse, domestic violence. You will examine the cultural, social and political roots of family violence, as well as the dynamics of abuse in the family and in intimate relationships. You will explore the effects of abuse at the individual, family, and community levels, and be able to identify abusive and controlling behaviors. The content of the course focuses on current theories, research and policies on domestic violence (battering, sexual assault, stalking), child maltreatment (physical and sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect) and abuse of vulnerable adults (elderly, non-elderly vulnerable populations). This course is an introduction to the topic. It will give students a basic overview of the issues across types of family violence…

Full course description for Family Violence Across the Lifespan

Other classes that count toward the major

HSA 362 Human Services Administration

4 credits

This course, designed for those planning careers in human services administration, provides insight into some of the common problems and concerns of management in a human services agency. Students use actual case studies to focus on examples of organizational planning, community relations, the decision-making process and personnel management. Overlap: HSA 360 Health Care Management and Supervision I and HSA 362T Human Service Administration Theory Seminar.

Full course description for Human Services Administration

HSA 363 Program Planning, Budgeting, Proposal Writing and Funding

4 credits

This course aims to introduce common, and sometimes complex, processes used to fund nonprofit organizations and government entities. Students will understand the rationale behind third-party funding, through readings, demonstrations, and guests in the classroom. Working in teams and individually, students will produce a program plan, budget, and proposal. Whether the student is a professional or advocate, funding is essential to human services, health, education and many other sectors. The course will equip students from all disciplines with the necessary skills to sustain their programs.

Full course description for Program Planning, Budgeting, Proposal Writing and Funding

HSER 325 Working with/in Community

4 credits

This course will explore working in community as a form of civic engagement and an arena of human service work. This is typically referred to as community practice. Community practice, whether by the volunteer or the professional, entails helping a community at-large solve its problems and achieve its goals. Insightful, grounded community practice enables helpers to impact the total milieu of peoples lives, improving the broader spectrum of peoples lives in ways that direct client-centered helping cannot. Through the theoretical component of the course students will examine different ideologies of helping and how those become expressed in various forms of community helping including: service, organizing and development, social change and empowerment, and advocacy. Through the experiential component of the course students will become familiar with the varied tools of this distinctive type of helping within a specific Twin Cities social movement. This course is presently designed…

Full course description for Working with/in Community

HSER 415 Spirituality and Helping

4 credits

For the past 30 years helping professionals have deliberated about the role and integration of spirituality or religion in their practice. It is accepted that as clients race, ethnicity, and culture affect their thoughts, feelings, and behavior, so similarly do clients spiritual or religious orientations affect how they function in world and thus perceive and deal with their problems. This course is designed to introduce students to the issues related to spirituality and helping as well as to provide a framework for developing an ethical spiritually-sensitive practice that is cognizant of the significance of these orientations. Students will explore relevant knowledge, skill, and value competencies for success in this frontier of the helping field.

Full course description for Spirituality and Helping

HSTD 389 Organizational Development and Change

4 credits

This course provides an overview of organization development principles necessary for any type of organization to effectively cope and react to inevitable change that will impact organizational effectiveness and survival. Addresses the theory and practice or organizational development including: initial diagnosis, entry, contracting, data collection, data analysis, action planning, approaches to implementing planned change, and evaluation of planned change effectiveness. Today, every manager, at any level, must be capable of dealing with certain change in a proactive manner.

Full course description for Organizational Development and Change

HSTD 393 Organizational Training and Staff Development

4 credits

This course is for students who want to learn how to design training and teach adults in an organizational setting. Students develop an understanding of the role and impact of training in helping organizations reach objectives. Topics include adult learning theory, needs assessment, instructional design, media selection and how to present training content to different audiences.

Full course description for Organizational Training and Staff Development

Practica (5 credits)

Experiential (practica) learning opportunities are an essential component of the human services degree program. Thus, every student is required to complete a practicum experience.