Equip yourself to help individuals, families, and organizations with a top-ranked master’s in human services.
You’re committed to improving the quality of life for others. Whatever the focus of your current work, a master’s in human services can provide the leadership, administration, and advocacy skills you’ll need for long-term success in the field.
Designed for professionals who work in a wide range of non-profit, government, or private agencies, a master’s in human services is a multidisciplinary degree with numerous options for specialization.
You’ll gain real-world skills and knowledge – from research and management to legal and ethical standards. And your training will help drive transformational change in current and future jobs.
Top 10 Best Master’s in Human Services Degrees
||University of Illinois at Springfield
||Argosy University, San Diego
||San Diego, CA
||Purdue University Global
||West Lafayette, IN
||University of Northwestern-St Paul
||Saint Paul, MN
||New Castle, DE
||Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
||St. Joseph's College New York
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What kind of Master’s in human services degree should you get?
The human services degrees on this ranking have a wide range of emphases. Most are non-clinical (though a couple do lead to licensure). The program you choose should depend largely on the area you want to work in – whether that’s health, counselling, or administration.
But that, of course, is not the only consideration. Many of these programs are targeted towards working students. But if there isn’t one offered in your area, you don’t necessarily have to pack up and move away to complete a Master’s in Human Services. There are great, reputable options available online.
For more information, check out our College Choice ranking of the Best Online Master’s in Human Services.
How much money do people make with a master’s in human services degree?
The enormous range of jobs within the human services field means that salaries also vary widely. However, two broad statements can be made. First, there is a huge demand for workers in human services – the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an 18 percent rate of job growth for the next several years.
Secondly, having a master’s degree offers a huge potential pay increase by opening up management positions. The BLS reports that human service assistants make a median salary of $33,120 while those in management in the same field make around $64,100 per year. Even after you factor in the cost of the degree, that’s a huge yearly premium.
What can you do with a master’s in human services?
There are many opportunities in the field of human services, mostly in the nonprofit and public sectors. And due to demographic realities like an aging population, those opportunities are ever-expanding. This degree is also beneficial to those working in areas like public health, law enforcement, religious organizations, and behavioral health.
Here are a few job titles your master’s in human services might qualify you for:
- Social or community service manager
- Nonprofit manager
- Development director
- Executive director
What are the requirements for master’s in human services?
Admissions requirements vary from school to school, but the most basic requirement for all the programs on our ranking is a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Most program websites detail admissions requirements – but if you’re missing a component, don’t despair! It’s worth contacting the admissions staff at the school to see if you can compensate for whatever you’re missing.
Here are some requirements you’ll encounter:
- Prerequisite undergraduate courses in the Human Services field
- A personal statement detailing career goals and experience
- Professional references
What are the best master’s in human services degrees?
At College Choice, the educational trifecta balances academic excellence, return on tuition investment, and high student satisfaction. And to find the best master’s in human services programs, our research team slogs through a ton of data – like national reputation scores, net tuition, early career earnings, and where possible, student satisfaction surveys.
The end result of all that data compilation is the College Choice score for each school on the ranking you see below. We’re confident that our score reflects the quality of program you’ll encounter on campus.
We hope our ranking helps you find the best Master’s in Human Services program for you!
See our rankings methodology page.
Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University is a large, private, Evangelical Christian university. Established in the 1970s, the University takes a faith-based approach to education, emphasizing a commitment to biblical truth. Their School of Behavioral Sciences exists to promote an integrated understanding of science, practice, and faith.
Liberty University’s School of Behavioral Sciences offers a Master of Arts in Human Services Counselling which does not lead to national certification. This is an ideal program for those working in fields like education, pastoral ministry, or healthcare with a need to apply psychological insights within their job settings. The program offers several options for specialization, including:
- Addictions and Recovery
- Criminal Justice
- Christian Ministry
Liberty University’s MA in Human Services Counselling is a 30-credit program which is comprised of 18 credits of required courses and 12 credits of electives from other disciplines. Students also have an opportunity to complete a Pastoral Counseling Internship which offers students supervised pastoral counseling experience in an approved setting. The program is offered in both residential and online formats.
University of Illinois at Springfield
The youngest member of the world-class University of Illinois, the University of Illinois Springfield is a top-ranking regional university (#64 in the Midwest, according to U.S. News and World Report). The university’s Department of Human Services provides outstanding professional education programs that prepare students for work and study in the field.
The University of Illinois Springfield’s Department of Human Services offers a Master of Arts in Human Services for those with undergraduate education in the area. This multidisciplinary program prepares students to excel as Human Service professionals in multiple roles and settings. The core curriculum is based on essential skills and concepts, while four concentrations allow students to tailor the degree to their own career goals. The concentrations are:
- Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
- Child and Family Studies
- Social Services Administration
The University of Illinois Springfield’s MA in Human Services is a 44-credit program which includes 24 credits of core coursework and 20 credits in the concentration area. An internship in a human services environment forms an essential part of the degree program. And for those interested in the Alcohol and Substance Abuse concentration, it is accredited by the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association.
Bellevue University has been offering affordable graduate degrees since 1966. Their Master of Arts in Human Services program is actually entirely online. The program is designed for both aspiring human service professionals and those who are already practicing.
Bellevue’s program is not designed for those seeking a professional licensure, but the program has several established student outcomes:
- Assess funding strategies
- Assess how effective a program is
- Strengthen management and leadership abilities
- Become experts in human engagement
Because this program is entirely online, it’s probably the most flexible option on the list. The university is still relatively small, even though it’s online. Bellevue graduates around 9,000 students annually.
Located in Lakeland, FL, Southeastern University is a private, Christian liberal arts university that is affiliated with the Assemblies of God denomination. The fast-growing university has a mission to help students discover their calling through Christian mentorship and solid academic programs. And the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences prepares students to make important contributions in their community and around the world.
Southeastern University’s College of Behavioral and Social Sciences offers a Master of Arts in Human Services that integrates the principles of the human services profession with biblically-informed values. This non-clinical program provides a detailed understanding of the field, as well as administrative and leadership skills that equip students to elevate and improve the lives of the people they serve. Specializations include:
- Children and Family
- Christian Ministries
Southeastern University’s MA in Human Services is a 36-credit program comprised of 24 credits of core coursework and 12 credits of specialization courses. Students can choose to study on a part-time or full-time basis. The degree takes four semesters of full-time study to complete, and courses are available both online and on-campus. This program does not prepare students for state licensure as a clinical professional.
Argosy University, San Diego
A member of the extensive, for-profit Argosy University system, Argosy University, San Diego is a regionally accredited institution. Recently acquired by the Dream Center Foundation, the school focuses on providing quality and accessible education in programs that span health and behavioral sciences to business, education, and digital arts.
Argosy University, San Diego offers a Master of Science in Human Services which prepares students to work in a variety of human services organizations. Designed for those already working in the field, the curriculum provides advanced education in relevant academic theory. Students develop an understanding of the needs of diverse populations – as well as the systems essential to operating human service programs. Courses include:
- Theory and Scope of Human Services
- Life Course and Human Development
- Human Behavior in Context
Argosy University, San Diego’s MS in Human Services is a 36-credit program that is comprised of 12 required courses. This program is excellent training for those wishing to work in mental health centers, guidance centers, mental hospitals, alcohol and drug treatment centers, and correctional institutions. However, this is a non-clinical program that does not lead to state or national licensure.
Purdue University Global
West Lafayette, IN
Headquartered in West Lafayette, IN, Purdue University Global is a recent addition to the renowned Purdue University System. A result of Purdue University’s 2018 acquisition of the for-profit Kaplan University, Purdue University Global is an adult-focused, public university with programs offered online and on campuses throughout seven states.
Purdue University Global offers a Master of Science in Human Services designed for a wide range of professionals working in the field of Human Services. Designed to propel students into positions of leadership in their diverse professional settings, the curriculum provides a comprehensive education in both theory and practice. Two degree concentrations are available:
- Family and community services
- Organizational and social services
Purdue Global’s MS in Human Services is a 45-credit program comprised of 30 core credits and 15 elective credits. There are multiple start-dates for the program, and it is offered on Rockville, Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin campuses – as well as entirely online. The program is a member of the Council for Standards in Human Service Education and adheres to their curriculum standards (though it is not officially accredited by the agency).
University of Northwestern-St Paul
Located in Minnesota’s capital city, University of Northwestern-St.Paul is a private Christian university. Ranking at #47 among regional universities in the Midwest according to U.S. News and World Report, their high-quality academic programs are grounded in a Christian worldview. While focusing primarily on undergraduate education, Northwestern also offers robust graduate programs in a number of areas, including Human Services.
University of Northwestern-St.Paul offers a Master of Arts in Human Services that prepares students for leadership in human services professions or for further graduate study. Students use research to help understand people and their needs. And with small class sizes which allow for faculty-student interaction, Northwestern’s program provides a unique perspective on how faith and human services intersect. Some classes include:
- Theories of Human Development
- Worldview, Leadership, and Human Services
- Multicultural/Diversity Issues in Human Services
Northwestern’s MA in Human Services is a non-licensure, 36-credit program comprised of 12 required courses and the option to complete a concentration in Family Studies. The program takes between 18-22 months to complete on a full-time or part-time basis, and Northwestern students can choose to take the program on campus in St. Paul or fully online.
Located in the town of New Castle, DE, Wilmington University is a private, adult-centered, research university. The university offers more than 150 career-oriented degree and certificate programs in person (on its main campus and educational centers throughout the state) and online. And the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences offers rigorous programs that prepare students to thrive in the field of social services.
Wilmington University’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences offers a Master of Science in Administration of Human Services for new and experienced human services professionals. Designed for working students, the program core is anchored in the disciplines of research, theory, and ethics balanced with real-world professional practice. Electives provide a great deal of room for students to tailor the degree to their own needs. Courses include:
- Survey of Human Services
- Administration of Human Service Organizations
- Legal and Ethical Issues in Human Service Administration
Wilmington University’s MS in Administration of Human Services is a 33-credit program comprised of six required courses and five electives. One of the essential components of the program is a 120-hour guided practicum or capstone master’s project, depending on students’ history and career goals. Course times are flexible, and are offered in varying formats that fit a variety of working students’ needs. Working intensively, it’s possible to complete the program in 12 months.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Located in the small city of Winona, MN, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is a private, Catholic university that ranks among the top 50 regional universities in the Midwest according to U.S. News and World Report. With a primary focus on undergraduate education, Saint Mary’s also offers 60 graduate and professional programs in Winona as well as on campuses in the Twin Cities and elsewhere in the region.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers a Master of Arts in Health and Human Services Administration. Designed for both new and experienced professionals, this program provides new perspectives on how to lead and advance organizations in the complex fields of healthcare, long-term care, and human services. Students learn from instructors who are practitioners with experience in both the classroom and in their respective fields. Courses include:
- Health Informatics and Application
- Human Resources in the Health and Human Services Sectors
- Financial Practices in the Health and Human Services Sectors
Saint Mary’s MA in Health and Human Services Administration is a 36-credit program comprised of 11 required courses and a Capstone project. The program is accredited by the Minnesota Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators and those wanting to qualify for a licensure will have additional courses to complete. This program takes about two years to complete and is offered at Saint Mary’s Twin Cities and Rochester locations as well as online.
St. Joseph's College New York
Located in Brooklyn, New York, St. Joseph’s College New York is a private, Catholic liberal arts university that ranks among the top 75 regional universities in the North according to U.S. News and World Report. In addition to traditional four-year programs, the University offers several graduate programs that help working adults develop skills for outstanding, ethical professional performance.
St. Joseph’s College New York offers a Master of Science in Human Services Leadership designed for working human service professionals. The program provides a a groundbreaking, research-based leadership-development curriculum which covers the financial, legal, regulatory, political, social and historical aspects of the human services industry. Students gain the leadership skills necessary to be a respected professional in the industry. Courses include:
- Leading in Mission Driven Environments
- Leadership Ethics and the Law of Human Services
- Theory and Design of Culturally Responsive Organizations
St. Joseph’s MS in Human Services Leadership is a 30-credit program comprised of ten required courses. St. Joseph’s offers three start-dates for the program in fall, spring, and summer – and most students take five semesters to complete the degree. The program is intended for working students, so most courses take place on Saturdays as well as on weekday evenings.