The best human services master’s programs prepare you for a career as a human services educator, a therapist, or a higher education counselor. One of the top benefits of earning master’s degrees in human services is that they can help with leadership development. Since leadership skills are imperative to the success of those working in human services, ensuring they are adequately developed is of the utmost importance. By earning a human service master’s degree, you will have the chance to hone your leadership skills under the guidance of those working in and knowledgeable of the sector you plan to enter. Therefore, you can develop your leadership skills or have them fine-tuned in such a way that allows you to be more effective when you’re working in the field.
Additionally, you can also receive the specialized training needed to succeed when working in the field. Given that human services are such a broad sector, finding your specialization can help you become more effective and successful in your chosen position and earn a higher salary. By completing a series of courses, you will become much better prepared for your future career.
How We Ranked the Best Human Services Master’s Programs
The Social Work Degree Center editors feature accredited colleges and universities, so prospective students know their hard work will pay off. In addition, we rank programs according to IPEDS and Niche data, including cost, potential salary, and student reviews.
1. Chestnut Hill College
Chestnut Hill College offers an MS in Administration of Human Services that prepares students for many careers working to help others in times of need. In addition to a field placement requirement and a traditional master’s degree program, students enrolled in Chestnut Hill College’s best masters in human services division can opt for dual Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Administration of Human Services completed saving time and tuition fees. The CSHSE has approved this coursework offered by Chestnut Hill College.
Chestnut Hill College was founded in the 1920s as Mount Saint Joseph College by the Sisters of St Joseph as an all-women’s school. The college’s urban campus and online platform serve approximately 1,400 undergraduate and postgraduates each year. The college campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Program: MS in Administration of Human Services
2. McDaniel College
McDaniel College offers an MS in Human Services Management (HSM) that requires degree candidates to complete 30 master’s level semester credits to graduate. Additionally, this best master’s in human services degree program includes two internships, plus classes that include applied behavior analysis introduction to special education, medical and physical aspect of severe & profound disabilities, and human resource for public and nonprofit organizations, to name a few. McDaniel has an articulation agreement with Stevenson University.
Founded as a private liberal arts school, McDaniel College was initially known as Western Maryland College to honor an alumnus. The school operates its main campus in Westminster, plus an international campus in Budapest that serves more than 1,550 students. In addition, McDaniel College operates a for-profit arm involved in property ownership and management.
Program: MS in Human Services Management
3. Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) offers a non-clinical MS in Human Services Counseling that prepares students for careers as counselors, therapists, care specialists, home coordinators, or behavioral scientists, to name a few. This best master’s in a human services degree program from Southwestern Assemblies of God University includes classes in crisis intervention, human growth & life span development, ethical & legal issues, and methods of counseling, to name a few.
Founded by the Assemblies of God in the 1920s as a bible institute, Southwestern Assemblies of God University is the only school in Texas affiliated with the Assemblies of God USA. The university’s suburban campus and online platform are home to approximately 1,7550 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Program: MS in Human Services Counseling
4. University of North Georgia
The University of North Georgia offers an MS in Human Services Delivery and Administration (HSDA) that can be completed in approximately two years if studying full-time. The University of North Georgia’s best master’s in human services degree program requires degree candidates to complete 35 graduate semester hours to meet UNG requirements. Core requirements include advanced topics in diversity and social justice, and progressive organization of human service delivery, to name a few.
The University of North Georgia was founded as a public institution of higher education when two colleges were consolidated in 2013. The university is also a space-grant and senior military school with a student enrollment that nears 20,000. The University of North Georgia holds the distinction of being the sixth largest higher learning institution in the state of Georgia.
Program: MS in Human Services Delivery and Administration
5. Texas Southern University
Texas Southern University offers an MS in Human Services and Consumer Sciences that offers three academic tracks to degree candidates. Students can choose child development, consumer sciences comprehensive, or food & nutrition human services. The school’s human services degree also offers two tracks. There is a 30-credit program with a thesis or a 36-credit program with a mini-thesis or research project. The core curriculum for this master’s degree in human services includes the guidance of children, parental influence and involvement in child development, and language cognition and development in early childhood, to name a few.
Founded in the 1920s, Texas Southern University is recognized as a Historically Black College and University and one of the most prominent HBCUs with more than 10,000 students. In addition, Texas Southern is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Finally, the school is a significant economic and revenue resource in Houston.
Program: MS in Human Services and Consumer Sciences
6. University of Dayton
The University of Dayton offers an MS in Education – Human Services specialization that requires students to finish a minimum of 30 graduate credit units. The University of Dayton’s best master’s in human services is designed for nursing, criminal justice, the clergy, or other related fields. Core classes for this graduate degree in human services from the University of Dayton include personality & development across the human lifespan, counseling diverse populations, theories and techniques of counseling, and human services administration.
The University of Dayton was founded in 1850 as a Catholic higher learning institution. The University of Dayton is also a space-grant research school with 11,150 undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, the University of Dayton offers the first baccalaureate degree in human rights. The University of Dayton is among the ‘best value’ schools by US News & World Report.
Program: MS in Human Services
7. Lehigh University
Lehigh University offers a Master of Education (MEd) in Counseling and Human Services that requires the completion of 20 courses or sixty graduate credit units. Students enrolled in Lehigh University’s best master’s in a human services degree program can be completed in two years if studying full time through one summer. Additionally, degree candidates are required to complete 100 hours of relevant fieldwork, plus two semesters of 15 -20 hours of internships. MPCAC accredits this program from Lehigh. Graduates can apply for an LPC license in Pennsylvania.
Established by a businessman in 1865, Lehigh University now operates as a private research and space-grant school with a student enrollment that nears 7,000 vying for degrees offered by Lehigh University’s five colleges/schools. The school’s campus is about an hour from downtown Philadelphia and 1.5 hours from New York City’s city limits.
Program: MEd in Counseling and Human Services
8. Pacific Oaks College
Pacific Oaks College offers an MA in Human Development with an academic track in Leadership in Education and Human Services, among the most innovative and best masters in human services degree programs in California. Students enrolled in Pacific Oaks College’s graduate degree in human services include classes like conflict resolution and mediation and advanced studies in leadership in education, plus a relevant internship, to name a few.
Founded as a nonprofit higher learning institution in the 1950s, Pacific Oaks College operates on Quaker principles and the concept of social justice. The school’s campuses and distance-learning platform is home to approximately 1,150 students. Pacific Oaks College also maintains a school for children on their campuses that have been in operation for nearly 80 years.
Program: MA in Human Development: Leadership in Education and Human Services
9. University of Delaware
The University of Delaware offers an MS in Human Services Leadership that offers students a chance to complete their Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in only five years. Delaware’s master’s in a human services degree program is a 33 credit degree program with classes that include theories of human development and program planning. Students also take courses in assessment and evaluation, family studies, empirical and theoretical perspectives, and also a thesis or theoretical paper along with field experience.
The University of Delaware (UDEL) was founded under the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1833, although its roots can be traced back nearly a century before to the ‘Free School.’ The sea-grant and space-grant school serve approximately 24,050 students each year. Additionally, the University of Delaware is the largest school in the state, with satellite campuses in Dover and Wilmington.
Program: MS in Human Services Leadership
10. Wilmington University
Wilmington University offers an MS in Human Services that offers two academic specialty tracks to degree candidates – human services practice or administration of human services. The university’s master’s in human services degree program requires the completion of eleven classes for a total of 33 graduate semester units. In addition, students enrolled in Wilmington University’s graduate degree in human services can select from a thesis capstone or guided practicum as a culminating graduation experience.
Wilmington University is a multiple-campus institution of higher education that was established in the 1960s by Dr. Donald Ross, a famous educator. The university’s campuses and distance-learning platform is home to more than 20,350 students each year. In addition, Wilmington also offers programs through partnerships in nearby New Jersey and the northeastern portion of Maryland.
Program: MS in Human Services
11. Coppin State University
Coppin State University offers an MS in Human Services Administration that collaborates with the University of Baltimore. This best master’s in a human services degree program from Coppin State University requires the completion of a minimum of 36-semester credits. Coppin State University’s degree offers special education, addictions counseling, rehabilitation counseling, family counseling, family counseling, negotiations/conflict management, and health care systems. Core classes include contemporary issues, leadership and supervision, and leadership and decision-making, to name a few.
Founded as a regular school & teacher’s training college in 1900, Coppin State University (Coppin State) operates as an HBCU school and a Thurgood Marshall College Fund member school. More than 2,710 students attend classes offered by Coppin State University. Coppin State University is organized into four schools and colleges providing business, health, behavioral/social sciences, and arts/sciences/education programs.
Program: MS in Human Services Administration
12. Lincoln University
Lincoln University offers an MA in Human Services (MAHS) that is considered among the best masters in human services degree programs in the greater Philadelphia area. The university’s graduate degree in human services is for adults currently in administrative or supervisory positions. This human services master’s degree from Lincoln University requires 30 graduate credit units, which can be done in only twelve months. The objectives of Lincoln University’s program are to develop ethical interventions appropriately in a group or individual situations that facilitate change.
Lincoln University is an HBCU public institution of higher education founded in the 1850s as the Ashmun Institute. The school’s rural campuses and online platform serve approximately 2,150 students each year. Additionally, Lincoln holds the distinction of being the first HBCU school to grant degrees in Pennsylvania.
Program: MA in Human Services
13. Webster University
Webster University offers an MA in Human Services that is one of the best master’s in human services degree programs in the state of Missouri. Classes for Webster University’s graduate human services degree include foundations of human services, social welfare policy, organization and systems of leadership, applied research in gerontology, plus two field experiences and a capstone project. The total credit hours required to complete Webster University’s Master of Arts degree program in human services is 36.
Established in 1915 as Loretto College, a women’s school, Webster University now operates as a multi-campus higher learning institution with nearly 10,000 students each year. Webster University maintains international campuses in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Loretto College is one of the first all-women’s schools located west of the Mississippi River.
Program: MA in Human Services
14. University of Baltimore
The University of Baltimore offers an MS in Human Services Administration that collaborates with Coppin State University. This best master’s in a human services degree program from Baltimore requires degree candidates to complete at least 36-semester credits. The University of Baltimore’s master’s degree is ranked among the best campus-based program by besthealthdegrees.com. Core classes include contemporary issues, leadership and supervision, and leadership and decision-making, to name a few.
The University of Baltimore (UB) is a public institution of higher education that was founded in the mid-1920s. Baltimore’s urban campus and online platform serve more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. In addition, the University of Baltimore’s programs are organized into four colleges and schools, offering business, law, arts and sciences, and public affairs programs.
Program: MS in Human Services Administration
15. Albertus Magnus College
Albertus Magnus College offers an MS in Human Services (MSHS) ranked among Connecticut’s most innovative and best masters in human services degree programs. Degree candidates enrolled in Albertus Magnus College must complete 39 graduate semester units that prepare students for a rewarding career across a wide variety of social service/human service settings. Classes are offered in eight-week accelerated terms and include counseling techniques, case management, and addictions counseling, to name a few.
Established as a women’s school by the Dominican Sisters of Peace in the 1920s, Albertus Magnus College became a coeducational institution of higher education in the 1980s. The college’s 50-acre campus is located a few miles from Yale University’s central campus. The school is home to approximately 1,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students each year.
Program: MS in Human Services
16. Springfield College
Springfield College offers an MS in Human Services that is for working learners. Students can complete this master’s in human services degree program in sixteen to 24 months, depending on the selected academic concentration. This program is available in Massachusetts, Texas, Wisconsin, Vermont, Florida, and Delaware. Additionally, this graduate degree is offered on a weekend schedule and allows for six graduate credits to be transferred, if eligible.
Springfield College started as a private institution of higher education in 1885 as a department in the local Young Men’s Christian Association. The school’s various campuses and distance-learning platform is home to more than 5,000 students each year. In addition, Springfield is known to be the birthplace of basketball.
Program: MS in Human Services
17. Amridge University
Amridge University offers an MS in Human Services to complete this degree in only four semesters. Students enrolled in Amridge University’s College’s best master’s in human services degree program must complete 18 of the required 30 credit units are required to be earned at Amridge. The core curriculum of Amridge University’s graduate degree in human services includes professional ethics and the law, family and community services, basic counseling techniques, human development, negotiation and conflict resolution, and research and evaluation, to name a few.
Founded in the 1960s by the Churches of Christ as a theological seminary was known as the Montgomery Bible School, Amridge University’s urban campus and online platform serve approximately 700 students each year. Amridge University’s Montgomery campus is adjacent to the Montgomery branch of Auburn University.
Program: MS in Human Services
18. Eastern Illinois University
Eastern Illinois University offers an MS in Human Services Program Administration that is recognized as one of Illinois’ best masters in human services degree programs offered at an accelerated pace. Students enrolled in Eastern Illinois University’s graduate degree in human service program administration includes research opportunities, program flexibility, and professional development, among other benefits. This program from Eastern Illinois University is offered online, on-campus, or a hybrid format, whatever fit is best for the student’s schedule.
Established as a state-run normal school for teachers by the state legislature, Eastern Illinois University now operates as a comprehensive school offering programs and degrees in arts, science, education, business, and humanities. Eastern Illinois University is home to more than 8,550 students and notable alumni, including Burl Ives, John Malkovich, and Jerry Van Dyke. Eastern Illinois University’s programs are offered through four colleges/schools.
Program: MS in Human Services Program Administration
19. East Tennessee State University
East Tennessee State University offers an MS in Human Services that provides an interdisciplinary approach to prevention and remediation. Students enrolled in East Tennessee State University’s best masters in human services degree program offer contextualized options in the area of family services, leadership, education, and teaching. In addition, students attending East Tennessee State University can pull from related programs for electives in rural health, criminal justice, child care, gerontology, or business, among others.
Founded in 1911, East Tennessee State University now operates as the fourth largest institution of higher learning. ETSU serves as a space-grant research school with a student enrollment of 14,150 students. East Tennessee State University operates academic facilities in Sevierville, Elizabethton, and Kingsport.
Program: MS in Human Services
20. Winona State University
Winona State University offers an MS in Human Services Professional (HSPM) designed for those who hold a baccalaureate and masters in a non-counseling degree. WSU’s best master’s in human services degree program requires degree candidates to complete a minimum of 34 graduate semester units. Concentrations for Winona State University’s graduate degree in human services include addiction counseling, leadership education, or a customizable degree plan. Culminating projects for this degree can be a capstone project, a professional research presentation, or a master’s thesis, with department pre-approval.
Winona State University is a public school founded as a regular school for teachers training in 1858, the first of its kind to the west of the Mississippi River. Winona State University is home to nearly 9,000 students. In addition, WSU operates sister schools worldwide in Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, and Malaysia, among others.
Program: MS in Human Services Professional
21. West Liberty University
West Liberty University offers an MA in Education – Leadership in Disability Services that is considered one of West Virginia’s most innovative and best masters in human services degree programs. This thirty graduate credit degree program from West Liberty University includes classes in assessment and data literacy, advocacy, communication, public policy, education, community services, and curriculum for the gifted, creative leaders and innovative thinkers, and characteristics of students with high incidence disabilities name a few.
West Liberty University was founded in the 1830s as an academy and then a normal school – about a quarter-century before West Virginia became a state. The university’s campus and online platform serve approximately 2,800 undergraduate and postgraduate students. West Liberty University holds the distinction of being West Virginia’s oldest institution of higher education.
Program: MA in Education – Leadership in Disability Services
22. University of Illinois Springfield
The University of Illinois Springfield offers an MA in Human Services (HMS) that offers enrolled students these academic concentrations – social services administration, nursing home administration, gerontology, child and family studies, and alcoholism/substance abuse. The University of Illinois Springfield’s best master’s in human services degree program’s concentration in alcohol/substance abuse is IOADAPCA accredited. Featured coursework includes critical perspectives in human services, social policy, human services research, human services delivery systems, and human services, ethics & professional development, plus a capstone and internship, to name a few.
The University of Illinois’s Springfield campus was established in the 1960s. The University of Illinois’s Springfield campus is home to more than 4,050 undergraduate and graduate students. The Springfield campus is the newest member school of the state’s university system. It is organized into four schools/colleges that provide programming in business/management, arts/sciences, education/human services, and public affairs.
Program: MA in Human Services
23. Oklahoma State University – Tulsa
Oklahoma State University – Tulsa offers an MS in Applied Human Services (HDFS), one of Oklahoma’s best masters in human services degree programs. Additionally, Oklahoma State University’s graduate degree in human services is accelerated and can be completed in as few as 1.5 years. Degree candidates can select from these academic concentrations – nonprofit management, infant mental health, development disabilities, and gerontology. This degree from OSU requires a total of 33 graduate semester units.
Oklahoma State University (OSUT) was established in 1999 after being an extension center for another school. The university’s campus is located in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood and offers bachelor’s to doctoral degrees programs. Oklahoma State University is recognized as a member of the university system but operates as an extension of the Stillwater main campus.
Program: MS in Applied Human Services
24. St Joseph’s College (NY)
St Joseph’s College (NY) offers an MS in Human Services Leadership available online or campus-based. The college’s master’s in human services degree program requires a student to finish a minimum of thirty credits to graduate. Featured classes for this degree from St Joseph’s College include leading in mission-driven environments, leadership ethics, theory & design of culturally responsive organizations, leading policy initiatives in a political climate, and strategic leadership, to name a few.
St Joseph’s College (St Joes, NY) is a multiple-campus private school founded in 1916 as a school for women. The school maintains two campuses in New York, one in Brooklyn and another further west on Long Island in Patchogue. Furthermore, the student enrollment exceeds 4,300 undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, the school holds the distinction of being the only historic women’s college located within Brooklyn.
Program: MS in Human Services Leadership
25. University of Pittsburg
The University of Pittsburgh offers a Human Services Management Certificate recognized among the best human services graduate programs in the greater Pittsburgh area. Classes for this graduate certificate program include community organizing & planning, human services organization management, human resources, supervision, and financial management, to name a few. In addition, certificate candidates must complete 720 clock hours in their specialization in either a human service organization or community-based programs.
The University of Pittsburgh is a research school founded in the 1780s as an academy when Pittsburgh represented the American frontier. The University of Pittsburgh now operates with seventeen colleges/schools with a student enrollment of 28,150 students. In addition, the University of Pittsburgh holds the distinction of being the second-largest non-government employer in the great metro area of Pittsburgh.
Program: Human Services Management Certificate
Why Should I Get a Human Services Master’s?
Professionals with a traditional or online bachelor’s degree in human services may be interested in career advancement. Working human services professionals already in the field can advance with a master’s. If you are wondering about the benefits of pursuing master’s in human services degrees, some of the benefits are as follows:
- Leadership Development
- Specialized Training
- Realistic Experience
- Wide Range of Career Choices
Moreover, by earning a human services master’s degree, you will have the opportunity to gain real-world experience in the human services profession. This is because master’s degree programs are known for being more advanced, and, thus, they go above and beyond to ensure that students are prepared to work in the human services field once they have earned their degrees.
So, one common component of many human services master’s degree programs is the use of real-life simulations. These scenarios mirror real-life and help human services majors get into the professionals working in the field.
What Can I Do with a Human Services Master’s?
If you are wondering about finding the best master of human services jobs, you have options. Some other masters in human services jobs are as follows:
- Non-profit CEO
- Director of Development
- Behavioral Health Specialist
- Life Coach
- Academic Advisor
- Juvenile Probation Officer
- Foster Care Program Coordination
- Grant Writing
Earning your master’s degree in human services will afford you a wide range of career choices. Some potential career choices are human services educator, marriage and family therapist, higher education counselor, student affairs administrator, school social worker, drug and alcohol counselor, and many others.
You may find employment in human services systems at the national, regional, and local levels, in the private sector, and in research and education. There are so many human services agencies across the US, and almost all of them in need of workers and leaders.
In other words, masters in human services jobs are plentiful and vast. So, those serious about careers with a master’s in human services should strongly consider earning a master’s degree in human services.
Will a Master’s Help More Than a Human Services Certification?
Although attaining a master’s degree in human services can be beneficial, certifications can also be helpful. There are places in human services programs for professionals with certification. However, whether or not it will be more beneficial largely depends on your goals for your career. Here are some of the career paths you can pursue with a certification in human services:
Paraprofessional: One of the extraordinary career paths you can pursue with a certificate is that of a paraprofessional. They often work as teacher’s aides, assistants, and other related positions.
Department of Corrections: If you are interested in working in the criminal justice field, earning a certification in human services could qualify you for positions such as corrections officer, caseworker, program manager, and more.
Human/Social Services: On another note, if you are interested in working in human or social services, earning a certificate may be your best bet. This will allow you to work in various positions in either of these sectors.
Administrative Support: Another possible career path is executive support. By choosing this sector, you will pursue jobs such as receptionist, office manager, and other similar positions.
Should I Get a Master’s in Human Services or an MSW?
If you wonder about the differences between earning an MSW vs. a master’s in human services, they are listed below.
Licensure: On the one hand, working in social work requires a license, while working in human services does not.
Time Spent: Also, earning a degree in social work typically takes far longer than it does to earn a degree in human services.
Career Paths: Working in human services will allow you to work in positions that involve working with the general public in a variety of human service organizations. On the other hand, working in social work will allow you to work with families and individuals who need outside assistance to create healthier lives.