The 25 Best Online Bachelors in Human Services Degrees for 2017-2018

Are you passionate about working with people, and helping to improve the quality of life for individuals and entire communities, and compassionate towards humanity as a whole? Do you feel that many degrees become too specific in their coursework and lose sight of the bigger picture of improving the human condition? If these sentiments apply, then a degree in human services may be the perfect fit for you. Human services is broadly defined as a profession where one pulls from an interdisciplinary knowledge base to prevent and remediate problems pertaining to the quality of life of various populations. Human services professionals work to improve accessibility, accountability, and coordination among professionals and agencies who work with populations that need assistance–from the sick, to the impoverished, to substance abusers. No matter whether they are improving existing systems or pioneering new ones, human service professionals may find themselves working in any business or organization–anywhere in the world where quality of life is a priority.

Earning a bachelor’s in human services will prepare you to work in such diverse professional environments including: halfway houses; correctional facilities; community and mental health centers; family, child, and youth service agencies; or other programs/agencies concerned with human health. While similar in nature to a degree in social services or psychology, the human services degree implores a macro–or more generalized–perspective of health that combines elements from both schools of thought, so its students can analyze and improve upon existing systems regardless of their affiliation with social work, psychology, or other industries. For the human services professional health always comes first. In this list, we have compiled 25 of the best online bachelor’s of human services degrees, so that you can view the top options available, and explore the characteristics that make them the best of the best. Below you can find an explanation of the three-fold metric used to create this ranking. It is also important to note that schools with insufficient public information were excluded from our consideration.

If you are interested in further information regarding distance learning, visit our ranking of the top schools online

Methodology:

  • Affordability (1/3): The estimated average cost per credit hour.
  • Academic Quality (1/3): The classification of the program’s parent organization by prominent ranking entities such Forbes, The Princeton Review, and US News & World Report.
  • Flexibility (1/3): The extent to which programs offered flexible course pacings, specialization options, and/or personalized coursework.

1. Colorado State University-Global

1. Colorado State

At Colorado State University (CSU) Global, the human services degree is all about making an impact on the lives of others. According to the program director, “if you’re compassionate and have a will to learn, listen, and help those in need, this program is for you.” Students of the program will learn to offer assistance to clients in fields such as psychology, rehabilitation, social work, or family support. Thus much of the curriculum is designed around developing, organizing, and implementing programs to prevent and resolve problems originating in substance abuse programs, social relationships, rehabilitations, or dependent care.

While the human services degree can be rather broad in nature, the CSU program offers 18 degree specialization options so that students can have the opportunity to emphasize certain areas of specialty in their degree. This will allow graduates to pursue certain areas of the human services field more vigorously and with a more experienced education background. The program also offers two award options for students: The Research and Decision Making in Human Services and Strategy Award, and the Execution of Modern Human Services Award. These awards serve to highlight specific strengths and skillsets among most qualified students, granting them a distinction that will be a highly valuable professional asset. They also serve to motivate students to strive for excellence–a form of motivation which is often lacking from online education.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $350
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Many specialization tracks.
  • Academic Prestige: 5th

2. Northeastern University

1. Northeastern University

Northeastern University offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Human Services, featuring courses in public health, sociology, politics, and of course human services. The program is designed to provide a macro view of how services are developed and implemented to address specific problems or client-groups. The program employs the same quality faculty for the online component as for the on-campus one, so students can rest assured the program delivers the same quality education as the residential program. The program also allows students to hone their specific interests through specialization options, which grant students expertise in a specific area in order to enhance their professional repertoire.

The program offers three specialization options: child and family studies, human development, and health and social issues. While many programs on this list offer specializations, these three specializations are exceedingly specific, and represent distinct career paths within the field. Thus these specialization options are especially important for students looking to focus on specific paths within the inherently broad human services field. Furthermore, while offering these highly specific specializations, the curriculum itself is impressively well-rounded and covers areas of politics, social psychology, and juvenile justice. Thus this program is one of the rare examples of a program offering both highly specialized tracks and a well-rounded foundational curriculum.

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  • Estimated tuition: $378
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: 3 Concentrated specialization tracks.
  • Academic Prestige: 1st

3. UMass Amherst Online

1. UMass

UMass Amherst Online’s program director cites the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than a half million human services jobs and social services jobs will be created in the next decade, making this one of the nation’s fastest growing, high-demand sectors of the economy.” The fully online Bachelor of Arts in Human Services program is designed for those of all experience backgrounds, so that anyone can capitalize on this massively growing job market. The program prepares students to take jobs in human services administration, child and youth services, child protective service, victim advocacy, social work, disability services, family support, elder care, counseling, mental health, and substance abuse.

As stated above, this program is uniquely focused on career preparation and professional outcomes. As such the program is especially helpful and flexible towards working professionals. The program grants credits for previous school or professional experience, and offers a self-paced curriculum where students can complete coursework amid full-time jobs or even the most demanding of work-life schedules. One-on-one personal advisement is also provided for all students from the time of enrollment to that of graduation, so that students can make the choices that best accommodate their professional goals. The program is also delivered through the 3rd most prestigious school on this list, so students can expect a world-class education.

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  • Estimated tuition: $385
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Credit for life experiences.
  • Academic Prestige: 3rd

4. University of Maine at Augusta

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The University of Maine at Augusta offers a fully online Bachelor’s of Mental Health and Human Services, which was designed in response to a statewide need for those types of services. Thus this program is uniquely designed around community-based needs and the systems, outreach, and intervention required to accommodate such needs. This connection with the state also fosters unique opportunities to engage in real-world projects and experiences that are often lacking in an online education. The program’s course curriculum covers topics including: mental health, substance abuse, human services, and child and family development. In terms of professional preparation, this curriculum in particular is designed to prepare students to thrive in human service positions such mental health agencies, or substance abuse programs–which were the services most needed by the state.

The program also grants students a great opportunity for professional development through a built-in internship opportunity, where students can engage the University’s large network of human service companies to gain professional experience. Prior to the internship, students will also have the option of customizing their degree coursework to accommodate professional goals and aspirations. Also, extremely generous credit-transfer policies allow the transfer of up to 100 credits for prior coursework, learning, and life experience. Career-oriented internships, personalized coursework, and the generous credit-transfer system make this an impressive program worthy of the #4 spot.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $271
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Personalized degree options and generous credit transfers.
  • Academic Prestige: 26th

5. Utah State University

22. Utah State

Utah State University offers a unique concentration in human services, a bachelor’s in family life studies. This degree is focused on the intersection between human development, family relationships, and consumer issues. Potential careers for this concentration include: Head Start Programs, Social Service Agencies, Drug Treatment Centers, Youth and Adult Residential Care Centers, Foster Care, Youth Centers, and Crisis Centers. The program’s philosophy is to provide students with an education of the same quality as they would receive in top-tier on-campus programs through cutting-edge distance learning technology and quality instructors.

This program is the 4th most affordable on this list, and also offers students self-paced coursework, so that the degree is neither a burden of time or money. The Advising and Career Services department helps students to make the most of their time in the program, and ensures they will have a guiding hand from enrollment to graduation. This department also helps students line up potential internship and professional opportunities to enhance their appeal to employers down the line. For career-minded students looking for an affordable degree focused on family life this is a great option.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $299
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Self-paced coursework.
  • Academic Prestige: 9th

6. Southern New Hampshire University Online

12. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services, which is designed specifically to prepare students for leading the charge in helping individuals and communities in need. The program employs a unique focus on advocacy and emphasizes the intersection of compassion and policy. Students will master the systems that create actionable change for the lives of individuals, families, and of entire populations. In order to master these systems, students will learn how to assess needs; plan, monitor, and evaluate a strategy; and measure result outcomes. While the curriculum does provide a general foundation for the field of human services, there is a recognizable focus on policy change, law and ethics, and social science research.

The Bachelor’s in Human Services program also offers students the opportunity to build an experience background in a certain area through degree concentration options. Students can choose a concentration in either Child & Family Services–where students learn to advocate for change on behalf of children and their families; or Gerontology–where students will master existing and developing systems of care for aging populations. Beyond concentration options the program is research intensive, allowing students to explore personal and professional interests through conducting research that also functions as a portfolio-builder. 24/7 access to classes, generous credit-transfer policies, and self-paced coursework also make this one of the most flexible program options on this list.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $320
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Degree concentration options, generous credit-transfer policy, and self-paced coursework with 24/7 online access.
  • Academic Prestige: 25th

7. American InterContinental University

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American InterContinental University offers an undergraduate degree that focuses on a highly concentrated area of human services. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Homeland Security and Crisis Management, focuses on how to improve quality of life through the sphere of national security systems. Students of this degree will learn how to protect the quality of life for individuals, communities, and for entire regions of the country. They will also learn interdisciplinary principles to develop and implement systems to prevent, intervene, and then counteract crisis situations, so to best reduce and reverse the damage caused by such events.

For students interested in the intersection between human needs and national security and wish to further concentrate their degree, the program offers four specializations: A Criminal Justice Generalist Degree, A Corrections and Case Management Degree, A Forensic Science Degree, and A Law Enforcement Degree. Regardless of the chosen coursework path, the program employs industry specialists as instructors, so that students can attain a realworld and accurate perspective of the field. The program also offers a one of a kind learning technology, intellipath ™ , which allows students to focus more on topics the need to learn and less time reviewing topics they already know. These incredibly unique features make the program a one of a kind option for anyone looking to take their passion for human services into one the areas listed above.

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  • Estimated tuition: $302
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Intellipath ™ learning technology and four specializations
  • Academic Prestige: 26th

8. Colorado Technical University

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Colorado Technical University (CTU) offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Human Services. This degree focuses on the area of human services where criminals are processed and punished, where systems are developed to reduce recidivism, and where procedures are put in place to mitigate the blowback of criminal activity on families and their youth specifically. The degree provides students with a broad set of skills required to properly administrate and manage law enforcement agencies, courts, and correctional facilities so as to preserve ethics and high standards for quality of human life. The program also employs a philosophy that to best develop these skills, students must master aspects of leadership, so as to inspire change where they choose to work–the primary goal of a human services professional.

Courses within the program are taught by instructors with real world experience in a wide-array of areas within the criminal justice field, so as to provide students with a well-rounded perspective trenched in the true demands and challenges of the field. This program is unique in that it offers the human services curriculum as a specialization of the criminal justice degree, thus making it a one of a kind option for students with primary interests in criminal justice who are passionate about the philosophy of human services. This provides them with a background in human-life ethics, client relationships, and sociological science that would otherwise be lacking in a traditional criminal justice degree.

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  • Estimated tuition: $325
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: N/A
  • Academic Prestige: 9th

9. Shorter University

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Shorter University’s motto is “Transforming Lives Through Christ.” The University’s Bachelor of Science in Human Services program exemplifies this motto, as students are tasked with doing just that–transforming lives of others. Students will accomplish this task through learning the human developmental processes and use diagnostic skills to analyze and manage behavioral issues as they relate to global and domestic issues, cross-cultural differences, and to the ethical responsibilities of a human services professional. This 120 hour degree program is delivered entirely through a traditional online format, however, students will find the online program is firmly rooted in a Christian values system through compassion-oriented learning perspectives.

The program employs a virtual classroom learning format, so that despite the distance learning constraints, students will be able to interact with professors and peers in real-time. Students will gain further real-world experience through field-work learning projects that take students into their local communities to accomplish tasks that mirror the demands of the profession. While course scheduling is flexible, it requires students to develop skills in time management, organization, and prioritization, since many of the scheduled courses represent opportunities to interact with instructors and peers, an opportunity that is both rare and valuable in the context of online education.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $350
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: N/A
  • Academic Prestige: 9th

10. Kaplan University

19. Kaplan

Kaplan University is a well-known name in online education–distance learning and the requisite technology for cutting-edge online learning techniques are the University’s specialities. Kaplan offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Human Services that capitalizes on the its vast resources of online learning technologies. Thus students are granted flexibility in the scheduling of coursework, coursework delivery format, and in the coursework itself. Students literally choose when, where, and how they learn, opting into coursework formats that best suit their personal learning styles. Furthermore, students are granted a personal adviser where one-on-one counseling sessions help align individual goals to available program paths.

Students are ensured a quality curriculum as the program adheres to the standards of the Council of Standards in Human Service Education. Students are also able to customize this curriculum, choosing from various learning paths that suit their background and professional goals. Open electives and the option of three degree specialization tracks further deepen the personalization of the curriculum, offering concentrations in these three areas: Child and Family Welfare–where students study the nuances of adolescent development and the advocation of systems for family and child welfare systems, Gerontology Populations–where students study the social, psychological, and ethical issues of aging populations, and Human Services Administration–where students study public relations, administrative systems in human services, and the legal and ethical issues in human services.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $371
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Personalized learning formats, personalized degree tracks, and 3 degree specialization options.
  • Academic Prestige: 26th

11. Columbia College

16. Columbia College

Columbia College’s Bachelor’s in Human Services program explicitly states the importance of the field being one of the most rapidly growing sectors within the United States economy. The program thus aims to prepare students to capitalize on this growth by preparing them in the areas of highest demand in the industry. First, the program allows students to choose between a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science, the former of which is better for those with previous experience in the field, while the latter is superior for those entering the field without previous experience. Second, the program prepares students to develop empirically-based knowledge and skillsets needed to excel in the human services career, or to succeed in future graduate studies. The core philosophy of the program is to instil a passion and desire for lifelong learning and improvement in the field of human services.

As stated above, the program’s philosophy is suited for students who are preparing for a lifelong commitment to human services, or a related field. As such the curriculum is rigid and covers a wide-range of topics, so as to prepare students for whatever challenges they may face during their lifelong careers. While the curriculum is for the most part concrete, students do have the opportunity to pursue professional interests in the form of electives including: Military Case Work, Social Gerontology, Disabilities, Substance Abuse, Mental Health, Child Welfare, and Class, Status, and Power. The program concludes with an integrative seminar where students guide the structure of the course so as to capitalize on each class’s unique strengths and weaknesses.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $290
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: N/A
  • Academic Prestige: 19th

12. Walden University

Walden-University

Walden University offers a Bachelor of Science in Human Services. The program director states, “We live challenging times. From political unrest and unemployment to homelessness and natural disasters, the difficulties and demands of these situations affect individuals and families in countries and around the world.” Walden’s B.S. in Human Services is designed to prepare students to become advocates for such individuals and communities, and help change their world. The program employs a unique focus on the principles of conflict management and resolution, so that students can explore ways to remedy and prevent individual and social issues. The curriculum is constantly changing, and is kept up-to-date in order to represent the findings of the latest research and theories.

For students interested in graduation education after completing their bachelor’s the program offers the AIM (Accelerate Into Master’s) degree option, where students earn credits towards their master’s degree while completing their bachelor’s degree. Another unique feature of the program is MobileLearn, which enables students to choose learning formats that best fit their personalities and work-life schedules. Students of the program will also be able to deepen their their experience backgrounds through choosing from a wide-array of professional interests including 9 degree specialization options: Addictions, Child and Adolescent Development, Courts and the Legal System, Criminal Justice, Cultural Studies, Global Social Justice and Civic Engagement, Leadership and Administration, Psychology, and a Self-Designed Degree.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $650
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: AIM (Accelerate Into Master’s) and 9 degree specialization options.
  • Academic Prestige: 9th

13. Kansas State University

kansas-state

Kansas State University offers a Bachelor’s in Family Studies and Human Services. As the name of the degree implies, the program emphasizes the intersection between family dynamics, health, and human services. The program features an interesting teaching philosophy where the goal of the human services student is to serve the great good through augmenting and improving specific, existing disciplines such as psychology, sociology, gerontology, or women’s studies. While the program does hold an implicit focus on family studies, an academic advisor will work with students to customize their degree paths towards their own particular career goals and interests. The adviser also serves as the student’s guide to scheduling coursework, so that students can pursue this degree amidst a full-time job or even the most demanding of work-life schedules.

As mentioned above, the program entails a built-in focus on family studies, but this focus is as peripheral as the student chooses it to be. The curriculum by and large is personalizable by the student through a wide-array of professional electives and degree concentrations. Professional Electives are fast-paced courses designed to increase a student’s experiential background in any of these 8 areas: Family Studies-Human Services, American Ethnic Studies, Gerontology, Political Science, Psychology, Women’s Studies, Sociology, and Social Work. Degree concentrations are comprised of a deeper commitment to a subject matter that will serve as foundation for the degree as a whole. They include: Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, and Conflict Resolution.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $407
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Professional electives, course and 4 degree concentration options.
  • Academic Prestige: 7th

14. Baker College of Flint

baker_college

Baker College offers a Bachelor’s of Human Services that is designed as a well-rounded foundation for students, so that they may proceed into any of the many different areas of the field prepared. Students are trained to work in close collaboration with professionals in other fields such as psychology, rehabilitation, or in patient counseling. The program features a unique undercurrent of psychological theory throughout the curriculum, intended to give students a unique psychological perspective on the systems and techniques used in human services to tackle social problems. To prepare students to work with the diverse problems and populations of the field, the curriculum mirrors this diversity, employing coursework that touches on a great number of topics briefly, rather than delving deeply into fewer.

While many programs allow students to enhance their professional expertise and knowledge-base through degree specializations, Baker’s program does not. This is due to the program’s very sensible position that such specializations often put too much constraint on the coursework, meaning that students do not cover enough of the general curriculum to the extent that best meets the requirements of the field when they choose to focus on one specialization. Baker’s solution to this is to offer an alternative to degree specializations in the form of minors. This allows students to maintain full focus on the general curriculum of the human services degree, adding to their professional expertise on the side without sacrificing knowledge of the general curriculum. You can find a list of the minors that augment the human services degree here

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $240
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: N/A
  • Academic Prestige: 26th

15. Indiana Wesleyan University Online

indiana-wes

Indiana Wesleyan University offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Human Services. A defining feature of this program is that the curriculum is rooted firmly in biblical understandings of material. Thus students of the program will be tasked with a moral and ethical responsibility to both improve their personal knowledge of human services, and improve the state of the field upon their graduation. In this program, enhancing the quality of human life is not just a professional calling, it is a spiritual one. The curriculum focuses on a biblical understanding of advocacy, service delivery and management systems, and social change as vehicles for greater change in both individuals and organizations.

Students can complete the program in approximately 18-20 months, making it one of the fastest programs on this list. Students will also participate in cohort groups, which are designed to emulate the peer collaboration and team-building that is often lacking in online education. The schedule of the program is extremely lenient, as it only requires one night per week of the student’s time, however, this does place more personal responsibility on the student to complete coursework unaided. For students looking to pursue a Human Services degree rooted in a biblical understanding in a fast-paced, self-motivated environment this program is likely a perfect fit.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $364
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Only one class per week.
  • Academic Prestige: 16th

16. Ottawa University

23. Ottawa University

Ottawa University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services where courses are centered around introducing students to policies and programs that are designed to meet community needs among diverse populations. The teaching philosophy of the program is to take a macro perspective (or bigger picture perspective), so as to gain insight into the factors that influence the most central challenges to human services. While the overall philosophy of the program is to view the field from this higher perspective, students are also trained to deal with challenges at the personal level such as poverty, substance abuse, mental health, and relational crisis.

The program curriculum adheres to the standards of the National Organization for Human Service and Education, so students can be assured that they are entering a highly relevant and well-developed program. The well-rounded curriculum touches on a wide variety of interdisciplinary coursework, and the extent to which students have mastered these courses is tested in a final comprehensive Capstone Project, where students can demonstrate their personal expertise over the material. While minors are available as augments to the degree, the program offers a communication concentration, which is meant to directly enhance the program’s curriculum. Students who choose this concentration will delve more deeply into the communication systems used in human services to reach a variety of outcomes. 5 certification options are also available to further strengthen a student’s professional repertoire.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $495
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Communication degree concentration, and 5 professional certificates available.
  • Academic Prestige: 20th

18. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

17. Northwestern Louisiana

Northwestern State University of Louisiana’s Global Campus offers a highly concentrated human services degree. The degree is entitled a Bachelor of Science in Addiction Studies, and focuses on the area of human services where professionals tackle the central challenges of addiction, and the problems that addictions generate in communities. Much of the foundational core work is the same as more general human services programs: students first learn communication skills, data analysis, and behavior analysis. Further into the program, however, the curriculum delves deeper into science of addiction, its various treatment systems, and the impact of state and federal policy on the field.

The program features a highly generous credit-transfer system known as the Louisiana Transfer Degree Program, where credits transfer not only from previous undergraduate schooling experience but also from associate’s degrees. The program is also highly flexible, and allows students 24/7 access to online coursework. While the coursework is set to certain requirements, students are for the most part able to choose when and where they learn. Tests and quizzes can be completed during scheduled periods to accommodate the busiest of work-life schedules.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $325
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Generous credit-transfer program and 24/7 online access.
  • Academic Prestige: 26th

19. Pennsylvania State University–World Campus

9. Penn State

Penn State University’s World Campus offers a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies. While the name of the degree implies a more concentrated focus than other human service degrees on this list, the program employs a comprehensive curriculum that explores the foundational concepts of the field human services. Deeper into the program, however, the core teaching philosophy of becomes evident. This unique perspective focuses on the interaction between aging populations and human development. With geriatric populations growing in size and living longer, there are a variety of brand new factors affecting family life, and more specifically, human development that have never been seen before. Students of this program will be on the frontlines of studying these interactions.

The program features virtual classroom technology, where students can interact and collaborate with their peers in real time, and also engage their instructors. One of the most impressive features of this program, however, is the certificate-to-credit program. Students of the program can pursue certificates such as The Undergraduate Certificate in Children, Youth, and Family Services; and The Undergraduate Certificate in Adult Development and Aging Services. Or they can pursue the Associate in Science in Human Development and Family Studies. Credits earned through these certificates or through the associate degree may be applied toward the Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies. This feature is incredibly valuable, allowing students to increase their knowledge-base and professional expertise while decreasing the credit requirements of their bachelor’s degree.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $557
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Certificates/Associate’s degree counted towards BA.
  • Academic Prestige: 1st

20. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

UWO Wordmark

The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh offers a fully online Bachelor’s degree in Human Services Leadership. As the name of the degree implies this degree emphasizes the role of leadership in human services, positing that to most effectively impact human services professionals must take on roles of leadership. The fundamental coursework of the program covers four main subject areas including: Interpersonal relations in the helping profession; Human behavior and strategies for intervention; Program evaluation and grant writing; and Legal and ethical aspects of human services. Graduates of the program have gone into careers such as advocates, criminal justice workers, and community administrators.

The program offers generous credit-transfer options, and allows the transfer of associate’s degree credits towards the degree as well. Once enrolled, students will cover the same coursework that the residential students cover from the same instructors. The Desire 2 Learn (D2L) software creates a flexibility in this coursework that strikes an appealing balance. Though there are no scheduled class times, students regularly interact with peers and their professors through online discussions, and use Drop Box to upload assignments. This open-ended flexibility is balanced through deadlines and due dates for projects, assignments, and discussions. This is likely an appealing feature for students who are attracted to online education, but require a schedule and/or deadlines for motivation or optimal performance.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $360
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Generous credit-transfer program, and Desire 2 Learn (D2L) flexible coursework.
  • Academic Prestige: 23rd

21. East Tennessee State University

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East Tennessee State University’s (ETSU) E-Campus offers a wealth of degree programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s level. Among these is the Bachelor of Science in Human Services, which establishes itself through a noticeable focus on behavioral science. This focus translates into an emphasis of coursework on human services in the context of developmental psychology, community health administration, and mental health treatment strategies. Graduates of the program can thus expect futures in careers such as counseling, case management, program administration, and other psychology-oriented professions.

The curriculum is credentialed under the auspices of the National Organization of Human Services, a collaboration of over 1,200 colleges and universities in the U.S, and is for the most part rooted in psychological theories and learning principles. Though unlike many of the programs on this list it does not offer degree specializations or certificate options to branch out from this focus. Without these options to increase professional expertise and knowledge bases, the program instead offers a more advanced curriculum that naturally delves deeper into the psychology of human development, adolescence, and counseling. An impressive benefit of this curriculum design is that once students have completed it, they will be prepared for Certification as a Child Life Specialist. For those interested in such a certification, this perk is likely too good to ignore.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $452
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: N/A
  • Academic Prestige: 9th

22. Grand Canyon University

10. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University has a well-developed online education branch and offers many fully online, and in many cases, highly focused degree options. This holds true for the study of human services, as the University’s only human services degree is a Bachelor of Science in Counseling with an Emphasis in Addiction, Chemical Dependency, and Substance Abuse. This increased level of focus, however, grants students a level of expertise and specialization unobtainable elsewhere. Even in the cases of a similar degree-specialization or a similar certification, the same level of specialization could not occur, because this program’s entire undergraduate degree curriculum is focused on this one area. For students looking to jumpstart their careers in the addiction industry, this highly-focused degree is a perfect option.

The program’s curriculum is accredited by numerous entities, and thus graduates of the program can directly pursue licensure as an addiction counselor or prevention specialist. If graduates decide to continue their education, this program also adequately prepares students for graduate and even doctorate level study in the psychology of addiction. During their time in the program, students will experience one-on-one discussions with highly experienced instructors and will also have opportunities to collaborate in real time with their classmates on research projects. Students are also required to complete a field research project, where they go out into the community to gather data that’s necessary to explore their particular thesis, granting students real world learning experiences that are rare in online education. Also, particularly invested or experienced students may be interested in the program’s accelerated course track options, which speed up the rate at which coursework is to be completed, and thus reduces the overall time requirement of the degree.

  • Homepage
  • Estimated tuition: $470
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Accelerated classes.
  • Academic Prestige: 26th

23. Arizona State University

2. Arizona State

Arizona State University (ASU) is a prestigious university that has recently invested a large portion of its resources into the development of its online education branch. This branch of the University offers a Bachelor of Science in Family and Human Development. As the name of the degree implies, the program focuses on the intersection of human services, family dynamics, and developmental psychology. Students will master knowledge of human development–from infancy to death–as well as family dynamics–their formation, development, and dissolution. The program director reports that graduates go on to pursue graduate degrees or doctorate degrees, or careers in social services and government.

Arizona State University is #1 in the country’s Fulbright Scholars list, ahead of Cornell, UC Berkeley, and UCLA. Thus students of the program can feel confident they are receiving a world-class education. This also means, however, that the program has steeper admission requirements than are typical of an online degree, but conversely it means that students can count on high quality peership. According to the Wall Street Journal the program also generates the #1 best qualified graduates in Arizona, and the 5th best in the U.S, further evidencing the quality of ASU classmates. The program also capitalizes on ASU’s state-of-the-art learning technology, which is highly interactive, and ensures that each student engages with the instructor and peers. The technology also requires constant feedback from students, testing to make sure they understand content before moving on. And the same rockstar faculty who teach the residential classes teach the online courses, so the program’s students can look forward to both interacting with some the nation’s best professors as well its best e-learning technology.

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  • Estimated tuition: $500
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: N/A
  • Academic Prestige: 6th

24. National Louis University

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National Louis University (NLU) offers a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services that will prepare students to advance in organizations that provide support and service to those in need at the individual level and at the community level. The program prepares students to work in social service agencies, community health centers, and rehabilitation clinics. NLU holds the oldest human services program in the Chicago area, and employs this rich history of education to help its students reach the upper rungs of their desired career. In order to prepare students for this, the program employs a career-oriented curriculum with options for practicums, research projects, and a unique degree specialization. Similarly, a special emphasis is placed on research methods and data analysis, as both are universally valuable in the human services industry.

The program is designed to be flexible, so that part-time, full-time, and working students can comfortably complete required coursework. Despite the online learning environment, NLU’s program still upholds the philosophy that students receive better personalized care if classes are made to stay small. To this end, classes are broken up into groups, so that the learning environment is more personable both between peers and for the instructor. No specialization options are available to directly enhance a student’s expertise in a human services subject area, so instead the program aims to deliver a foundational curriculum that meets the current demands of the industry. The program, however, does offer an incredibly unique feature in allowing students to pursue a specialization in entrepreneurism. This specialty encourages students to think of new and innovative ways to implement human services into the modern business world.

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  • Estimated tuition: $470
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: Entrepreneurism specialty offered.
  • Academic Prestige: 9th

25. Quincy University

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At Quincy University the motto of the Human Services department is “Improve Lives and Make a Difference.” The University was founded through a Franciscan faith movement, one that centered around service to others, so the University designed the Human Services program with special care to pay homage to that Franciscan tradition of service. Four elements core to the program are covered in coursework: Case management; Statistics and research methods; Appraisal and psychological testing; and Needs and assessment and program evaluation. From counseling theories and techniques to the study of group and family dynamics, the program’s central philosophy is to guide students into a deeper understanding of service, thereby facilitating a lifelong commitment to it.

This philosophy of service extends beyond the curriculum, and has achieved the program recognition in businesses and organizations across the country. Thus students have access to a large professional network where students can volunteer their services, earn internships, or conduct field research. These real-world opportunities help to counteract the somewhat hyperbolic nature often associated with online education. And while the online learning schedule offers flexibility, it still sets deadlines and strict guidelines for its students. This may be viewed as an attractive feature for students who work better with a schedule and deadlines to motivate them.

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  • Estimated tuition: $380
  • Flexibility Enhancing Features: N/A
  • Academic Prestige: 22nd

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