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Master's in Human Services Vs. Master's in Social Work

A master of human services or master of social work degree are two options for students interested in human services. Both degree programs can prepare students for similar career paths, while focusing on different aspects of the industry.

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Master of social work and master of human services degree programs will educate students about counseling and social work, though may lead graduates to either the managerial side of the industry or to social work positions within the field. There are also a handful of admittance requirements, which you can explore below.

Master of Human Services vs. Master of Social Work Degree Program Information

Master of Human Services

A master's degree in human services looks at how humans function in a social environment and how to facilitate this functioning, in addition to the workings of the human services industry and the organizations that deliver these services. To this end, the program might prepare graduates to become mental health counselors, community service specialists, or substance abuse counselors, among other positions. You could have the chance to concentrate your study on a particular field of interest, such as alcohol and drug counseling, non-profit management, or organizational communication. Some common courses in these programs will include human service management, policy issues in human service, and ethics for human services.

Master of Social Work

Degree programs leading to a master's in social work are often available both online and on-campus and are typically two year programs, though accelerated programs are available from some institutions. The program's goal is to prepare students to become a licensed clinical social worker, and graduates could find work as counselors or other positions in nursing facilities, hospitals, schools, outpatient facilities, and other settings. Core curriculum in master of social work programs might include theories of mental health, therapy and crisis intervention, and integrated care policies. Many programs offer the chance to choose a concentration of study, which could be in fields like military social work, childhood and family counseling, adult mental wellness, or social innovation.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Child Care Management
  • Child Care Services
  • Child Development
  • Community Organization and Advocacy
  • Family and Community Services
  • Family Systems
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Social Work
  • Youth Services

Admission Requirements for Master of Human Services and Master of Social Work Degree Programs

Master of Human Services

In order to be considered for acceptance into a master of human services degree program, you will commonly need a bachelor's degree; this degree may not have to be in a related field. Additional application documents, such as personal essays, statements of purpose, resumes, letters of recommendation, and official transcripts, will probably be required. Minimum GPA requirements of anywhere from 2.5 to 3.0 on a 4.0 scale can be mandatory for some programs. Standardized test scores, such as GRE scores, may not have to be submitted with the application.

Master of Social Work

One of the most common requirements for enrollment in a master of social work program is a bachelor's degree, though it is not always necessary for the degree to be in the same field. A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale might be required by some programs, though not all; for others, a minimum GPA may be necessary to be considered for accelerated programs. GRE scores are not usually required to be submitted when applying. Official transcripts, one or more letters of reference, statements of purpose or personal essays, and resumes of personal and professional experience will likely be required as well. For some program tracks, prior work experience in the field of social work could be necessary.

A master of social work degree program gears students towards licensure as a social worker, while a human services program may focus more on the organizational level of human services. Requirements for acceptance may include minimum GPA scores, a bachelor's degree, prior experience, and additional documentation.

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