Master of Science: Online Human Services Degree

Find out about online Human Services courses and in which degrees they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

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Essential Information

Online Master of Science in Human Services degree programs are fairly common. While these programs can be completed fully online, some schools require that students participate in classroom instruction that complements online courses.

Some of these professions, such as clinical social worker, may require licensing from the state, and accredited online master's degree programs will meet the education requirements for licensing. Certification is also available from professional organizations in many fields. Applicants must have successfully completed an undergraduate program in either human services or a related field.

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

Master of Science in Human Services

Online master's degree programs in human services offer instruction in the processes of clinical assessment and treatments, administrative service roles and counseling. Students are expected to have successfully completed an undergraduate degree program in either human services or a related field. Curricula are heavy in business and communication courses.

Information and Requirements

This type of degree provides training in a variety of areas, including addictions counseling, counseling psychology, family counseling, gerontology, health care delivery systems, negotiations and conflict management and rehabilitation counseling. These degree programs typically require around 30-40 credit hours over the course of 18 months.

Course Topics

Courses will typically focus on a specific area within human service and prepare students to perform research in the field and work with clients. In addition to psychology and social work courses, students will also learn about running a non-profit organization.

Research Methods

Students explore various techniques and methods for human service organization-related research. Opportunities are also available to learn about grant writing procedures and evaluation.

Human Service Organizations

Students study non-profit organizations to learn about the important role they play in society. In addition, students may learn about legal and administrative procedures for this field.

Non-profit Administration

Courses in non-profit administration may involve the evaluation of case studies dealing with various institutions. Students will learn about employment, labor-management issues and management principles.

Social Institutions

This course tends to focus on the variety of institutions that play a role in the human services industry. Students study the organizations dealing with religious, political and educational aspects of this field.


Career Information

Human services are a vital aspect of society and employment prospects are diverse, varying according to region, specialty and experience. On-the-job training is important and combining advanced degree work with specific experience is a big plus when looking for a new job.

Those holding this degree can pursue careers in therapy, counseling and social work in both service and administrative roles. Graduates often work with organizations that help individuals living with mental illness, disabilities and substance abuse issues, as well as the elderly, small children and victims of domestic abuse. Job titles include social and community service manager, social and human service assistant and community and social service specialists.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015, child and family social workers, healthcare social workers and mental health social workers earned a median annual salary of $45,900.

Students can earn a Master of Science in Human Services degree through online coursework which can take about 18 months. These programs are normally fully online, but can be hybrid for programs wanting students to participate in some classroom instruction.

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