Human Services Degree

Human Services Degree at Harper College

Earn your degree in human services

Career options  Liberal Arts icon


  • Community health
  • Patient advocacy
  • Human services

Get ready for a career in human services with this 60-credit-hour degree program. You’ll develop counseling, interviewing, leadership and professional ethics skills in order to maintain clinical records, work with clients in group settings and relate to diverse cultural, ethnic and racial groups.

After graduation, you’ll be ready to seek entry-level employment as a community health advocate, lay health educator, community health representative, patient navigator or Promotores de Salud in a multitude of therapeutic, recreational and learning environments centered around counseling or facilitating groups. 

Take classes in human services, sociology, abnormal psychology, multiculturalism in the helping professions, group work, crisis intervention, law and ethics, family issues and more. 

AAS degree program requirements

This 60 credit-hour program prepares students to work in a variety of therapeutic, recreational, and learning environments including residential and day programs, shelters for abused women or the homeless, programs for the developmentally disabled, mental health and crisis centers, geriatric centers, and hospice care. Courses in this program help students develop knowledge and skills in counseling and interviewing, leading and facilitating groups, and professional ethics.

F = Fall only course S = Spring only course U = Summer only course

FIRST SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ENG 101 3 Communications

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

HMS 101 3 Program Requirement

Description: Covers history and philosophy of human services profession; function and orientation of human services agencies and institutions; and career opportunities and qualifications at various entry levels of human services employment. Addresses current client populations, sociopolitical issues, and practice settings for micro and macro-level interventions. Includes opportunities for volunteer and/or shadowing experiences to help students better understand the human services profession for purposes of employment or continued education.

HMS 102 3 Program Requirement

Description: Studies practical aspects of helping strategies and interpersonal skills. Focuses on the use of techniques to improve communication, facilitate change, better evaluate relationships and resolve conflicts. Designed for persons in helping roles, professional and paraprofessional, or volunteers in Human Services and health care settings.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in CHW 101 or HMS 101 with a grade of C or better.

Mathematics1 3 Mathematics
PSY 101 3 Social and Behavioral Science

Description: Investigates human and animal behavior with emphasis on the scientific nature of contemporary and classic psychological investigation. Emphasizes psychological theories, principles, and research applications. Introduces the divisions of the American Psychological Association. References biological processes, sensation, perception, learning, memory, thinking, emotional life, mental disorders, intelligence, aptitude, personality, development, daily life and everyday problems. IAI S6 900

SECOND SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
HED 201 3 Program Requirement

Description: Presents materials that examine the physiological, psychological and sociological aspects of drug use and abuse. Provides a potpourri of the facts, attitudes and opinions necessary to understand what drugs do, how they do it, who uses them and why. Discusses treatment modalities as well as legal and ethical issues in drug abuse.

HMS 112  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Investigates group work theories, different types of groups, group dynamics, stages of group process, group facilitation, participant role/influences, and group counseling techniques. Effective participation in and facilitation of task and treatment groups is addressed comprehensively. Cooperative learning, exposure to practice settings and scenarios, group work with special populations,and role playing are incorporated into the learning experience.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in HMS 101 with a grade of C or better.

HMS 121 + 3 Program Requirement

Description: Explores a variety of social, theoretical, psychological and political issues related to multicultural competency in Human Services practice. Concepts of race, ethnicity, culture, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnocentrism, oppression, and power will be explored. Experiential and community-engaged instruction is utilized to integrate current issues with culturally responsive service delivery. Practical application of acquired awareness, knowledge and skills will be stressed.

Recommended: Prior or concurrent enrollment in HMS 101 or CHW 101.

HMS 211 3 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces techniques for beginning crisis counseling, including recognition of crisis, assessment of crises, and referral to the appropriate crisis agency. Special attention will be given to the process of intervention and to the recording of information regarding problems with alcohol and other drugs. Participants will implement a variety of crisis skills through an experiential format.

Prerequisite: HMS 102 with a grade of C or better.

SPE 101 3 Communications

Description: Theory and practice of oral communications. Development of poise, confidence and skill in speech organization and delivery. Emphasis on frequent speaking, development of standards of criticism and selection and organization of material. IAI C2 900

THIRD SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
HMS 221 3 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces the field of social gerontology, utilizing a multidisciplinary approach to examine the basic biological, psychological and social theories of aging. Emphasizes the special needs and problems impacting the aged population. Examines historical, social, and cross-cultural issues in aging.

Prerequisite: HMS 102 and prior or concurrent enrollment in PSY 228 with grades of C or better.

HMS 241 3 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces students to developmental, physical, and mental disabilities by exploring behavioral management programs, record maintenance, and facility and/or home maintenance techniques. Covers treatment history and present methods. Introduces students to working with an interdisciplinary team to provide care to a varied population.

Prerequisite: HMS 102 with a grade of C or better.

HMS 290  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides practical and occupational experience working in a Human Services Agency through a supervised 125-hour field placement. Exposes students to the agency's setting, operations, methods of service delivery and target population. Students will engage in direct service; and explore personal interests and potential for growth as a human services professional. Students will participate in seminar to assess, analyze and reflect upon the agency's inner workings and overall effectiveness,as well as upon their professional development and personal contributions to the agency.

Prerequisite: HMS 101 and HMS 102 with grades of C or better. Prior or concurrent enrollment in HMS 112 and HMS 121.

PSY 228 3 Social and Behavioral Science

Description: Investigates the psychological development of humans from conception to death, through grief and bereavement. Investigates the theories, empirically derived science and principles of developmental researchers and developmental psychologists. Emphasizes cultural and/or international contexts as well as normative and non-normative patterns of development. Discusses mortality throughout the life-span. Integrates developmental psychopathologies. IAI S6 902

Prerequisite: PSY 101 or consent of instructor.

SOC 101 3 Social and Behavioral Science

Description: Analysis and description of the structure and dynamics of human society. Application of scientific methods to the observation and analysis of social norms, groups, inter-group relations, social change, social stratification and institutions. IAI S7 900

FOURTH SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
HMS 251 3 Program Requirement

Description: Studies family dynamics with an emphasis on family preservation. Introduces various family theories, approaches and intervention strategies. Explores concepts related to intergenerational patterns of behavior and family traits. Introduces signs and symptoms of behaviors associated with abuse, domestic violence and neglect. Introduces basic family legal issues, ethics and reporting policies and procedure. Introduces the system and services of the local Department of Children and Family Services. Develops human service skills to service families. Explores range of services and resources available to families. Students will develop assessment skills with emphasis on relationships, parenting, abuse and/or neglect.

Prerequisite: HMS 102 and prior or concurrent enrollment in PSY 228 with grades of C or better.

HMS 291  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides a field practicum through 125-hour agency-based experience where students develop professional Human Services competencies in the application of generalist concepts that are incorporated throughout the academic curriculum. The practicum provides an opportunity for students to participate, with supervision, in a variety of planned multilevel Human Services interventions, to learn to work effectively in different Human Services settings, and to understand the everyday operations of community and social service systems. Field Practicum experiences are integrated into classroom seminars where they are examined within the context of the knowledge, values, theories and skills of the Human Services profession and generalist approach to Human Services practice. This course completes the foundational practicum requirements for the degree.

Prerequisite: HMS 290 and prior or concurrent enrollment in HMS 211 with grades of C or better.

Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science2 3 Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science
PSY 230 3 Program Requirement

Description: Investigates the classification, diagnosis, assessment, etiology and treatment of the mental disorders. Evaluates the theories, principles and empirically derived findings concerning the biological, psychological, social and cultural influences of abnormal behaviors. Introduces the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and its coding criteria, as well as the World Health Organization's statistical classifications (ICD). Explores the principles and practices of clinical psychologists and clinical researchers. IAI PSY 905

Prerequisite: PSY 101 or consent of instructor.

PSY 245 3 Program Requirement

Description: Investigates organizational behavior. Explores theories, principles, applications and empirically derived findings of Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Emphasizes classic and contemporary leadership and motivation theories. Discusses structure and management practices; individual and work group behavior; employee culture and employer culture; and organizational conflict and resolution. Addresses international perspectives.

Prerequisite: PSY 101 or consent of instructor.

1 - The mathematics requirement for this degree can be met with Math Competency.  See Math Competency options for information. Students who utilize Math Competency to meet the mathematics requirement must complete an additional three credit-hour elective.

+ - This course meets the World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement.

2 - See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

Program learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • maintain records including the preparation of clinical records, assessments and interim notes, and development of service plans.
  • interview clients and families.
  • work effectively with clients in group settings.
  • effectively perform critical listening, observation and engagement skills with individuals and groups.
  • relate to diverse cultural, ethnic and racial groups.

Related programs

Resources

Next steps

For more information about this program, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.