Enact real change—in your life and others’—with one of the nation’s Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Services Degrees.
Do you want to lead teams while inspiring effective change in struggling communities? Are you a visionary who also knows how to manage the nitty-gritty behind successful programs?
Then an advanced degree in human services may be just for you!
Top 10 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Human Services Degrees
||Youngstown State University
||University of Illinois at Springfield
||Arizona State University
||Western Carolina University
||New Castle, DE
||University of Nebraska-Lincoln
||Saint Joseph's College-New York
||Virginia Beach, VA
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What kind of online Human Services degree should you get?
All of the programs on our list will, in the first year, provide a foundation in human services concepts and practice. You’ll take classes on direct client care, leadership formation, and cultural awareness.
Then you will have the opportunity to specialize. Areas of focus vary, covering child and adolescent care, marginalized communities, and healthcare administration. Be sure to closely examine each school’s curriculum. We’ve highlighted concentrations and program emphases to expedite your search.
Whichever program offers the best fit, know that all of these degrees can be completed fully online.
Online education is both a flexible and affordable way to advance your education and career. For that reason, be sure to check out College Choice’s Most Affordable Schools for an Online Graduate Degree.
How much money do people make with an online Human Services degree?
With an advanced degree in human services you can land a career in nearly every sector, from government to education, nonprofit to corporate business. Average salaries therefore vary depending on job title.
However, the return on investment is solid. Social workers, for example, make on average $46,890 a year. However, with an advanced degree, you will be in the position to become a health and human services manager, who make upwards of $96,540 annually.
Plus, the need for one with advanced training in human services is continually on the rise. It’s projected that the need for those with a MHS degree will grow another 15 to 20 percent in the next few years.
What are the requirements for an online Human Services degree?
Graduate degrees in Human Services take two full years to complete. Though, depending on past college experience, you may be able to expedite graduation. We’ve been sure to note which programs can be earned in less time.
While earning your online Master’s in Human Services degree you will take classes on everything from community advocacy to direct client care. And through many of these programs you can further specialize by tacking on a concentration.
Finally, some of these programs require a field experience, internship, or capstone research project to give you real-world professional experience.
What are the most affordable online human services degrees?
Though some of programs focus on community health and others on psychology, all share one thing in common: they are the most affordable human service programs in the nation.
To determine the most affordable human service graduate degrees we gathered all programs that are offered online. From there we examined tuition and credit hours rates to determine those with the best value.
After such exhaustive research we found that these degrees are not only the most affordable but some of the best ranked too!
Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.
See our rankings methodology page.
Located in the Nebraskan town of the same name, Bellevue University is both a traditional college and a premier distance education university. In fact, the school was founded as a provider of education to adult and non-traditional learners. More than 10,000 students attend Bellevue.
Bellevue offers a fully online MA in Human Services degree that provides a foundation in leadership, community involvement, and nonprofit work. This is an ideal program for those who are less interested in counseling and more geared toward administration. In fact, you can pair this degree with a specialization in non-profit and administration management. Core classes cover:
- Community Engagement
- Social and Cultural Diversity
- Sustainable Funding
- Leadership Theories and Research
The online courses and degrees at Bellevue are considered among the top 10 best in the nation. Because of Bellevue’s unique focus on innovative, flexible, and accessible education, it is often designated a top college for distance education.
Youngstown State University
Youngstown State University (YSU) is located in Youngstown, Ohio. It is a research-driven university known for its work in engineering, health and community wellness, business, and more. Over 15,000 students currently attend YSU.
The online Master of Health and Human Services degree at YSU is equal parts business and health. This is therefore the perfect program for those who seek managerial positions within nonprofits, healthcare agencies, or community service. In addition to core classes covering health behavior, community health practice, and management, students can concentrate in:
- Health Promotion
- Health Care Administration
- Health Informatics for Health and Human Service Professions
Youngstown State is regionally ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, so are its programs in engineering, business, and health. U.S. News also consistently recognizes YSU’s online programs as among the best in the country.
University of Illinois at Springfield
A member of the prestigious University of Illinois System, the Springfield campus (UIS) is a liberal arts college. UIS offers nearly 50 undergraduate and graduate degrees in a diverse range of professional and academic fields. More than 5,000 students attend UIS, either on campus or online.
UIS offers a MA in Human Services degree that is notably multidisciplinary. You will not only study contemporary and historic human characteristics, but you’ll learn how to design, assess, advocate for, counsel, and treat both individuals and groups. And at UIS you can gain further specialization through one of their concentrations in:
- Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
- Child and Family Studies
- Social Services Administration
U.S. News & World Report ranks UIS regionally, while also including it on its “Best Colleges” and “Top Public Schools” lists. Because UIS has offered online education for nearly 20 years, it is a leader in distance learning. UIS’ online courses make many rankings and gain many recognitions.
A sprawling research university, Arizona State University is spread across five campuses in and around Phoenix. It is one of the nation’s largest schools with over 70,000 combined students. ASU is a known leader in medical and health science research development.
Arizona State offers an online MS in Family and Human Development degree. This program was designed for those who want to work in family advocacy programs. The ASU degree is comprised of ten classes, each of which is seven weeks longs, including those such as:
- Leadership and Social Justice
- Marriage and Family Relationships
- Theoretical Issues in Child Development
ASU’s recognitions and awards are many. It is the nation’s top-ranked university among “The Most Innovative Schools in America.” And it is equally lauded by such sources as The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, The Daily Beast, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and much more.
Western Carolina University
Western Carolina University (WCU) is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina and is part of the wider University of North Carolina System. WCU is comprised of five undergraduate colleges plus the Graduate School, through which it offers dozens of interdisciplinary programs. More than 11,000 students attend WCU.
Though technically not a human services degree, this online Master of Science in Human Resources program introduces students to the fundamentals of community health and human development. It also provides specific instruction on management within organizations and administration. Classes cover;
- Orientation to Human Resources
- HR Consulting
- Performance Management
- Employee and Labor Relations
As an institution, WCU is focused on community issues and research development. Campus is home to several prominent centers that are committed to the study of and development in health, public policy, business, and the Cherokee and Appalachian Mountain cultures.
Wilmington University is based in New Castle, Delaware, though it has several campuses throughout the state, plus a large online learning platform. Wilmington offers nearly 100 degree programs, across all academic levels, to its 20,000 students.
Wilmington’s MS in Administration of Human Services degree prepares students for a range of career options, from non-profit work to government agencies. At Wilmington you will learn how to research, design, and evaluate human services programs. You’ll also come to understand the nuanced legal and ethical issues relevant to human services administration. Wilmington’s classes include:
- Administration of Human Service Organizations
- Contemporary Issues in Administration of Human Services
- Administering Disability Services
- Guided Practicum in Administration of Human Services
Wilmington’s online programs are consistently included on the rankings put out by U.S. News & World Report. Similarly, Forbes includes the University on many of its prestigious listings, including best Northeast Universities, best Research Universities, and best Private Colleges.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The Lincoln member in the wider University of Nebraska (UNL) system is a flagship university. Not only is it the oldest school in the state, but the most prestigious. Over 25,000 students attend UNL.
At the University of Nebraska in Lincoln you can earn a MS in Child, Youth, and Family Studies degree that can be paired with a specialization in Human and Family Services Administration. This is a fully online program. It integrates four core areas of study: family, program design and evaluation, professional issues, and administration and management skills. Classes cover:
- Family Professionals as Consumers of Research
- Special Topics in Contemporary Family Issues
- Theories of Human Development and Family
- Foundations in Public Service
UNL is well ranked by ARWU, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and Washington Monthly. It is equally praised for its academic rigor as it is its commitment to sustainability, research, and art. UNL, a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, is home to a number of highly regarded research institutions and archives.
Capella University is a recognized leader in online learning. Though based in Minneapolis, Capella offers degree programs to students all over the world. More than 1,600 courses, plus 150 degree programs, are available online through Capella.
Capella offers an online MS in Human Services degree through its School of Counseling. At Capella you will hone your leadership and advocacy skills in order to solve real-world case issues. And you will have the opportunity to specialize by enrolling in one of three provided concentrations:
- Leadership and Organizational Management
- Social and Community Services
- Program Evaluation and Data Analytics
Capella’s student-centric approach to education makes it stand out from the crowd. Students are given numerous opportunities for supplemental education and professional experience. For example, students are eligible to turn past jobs into tangible course credit, thereby expediting their graduation date.
Saint Joseph's College-New York
St. Joseph’s College (SJC) has campuses throughout New York State, including in Brooklyn and Long Island. SJC is a Catholic university that offers over 50 degree programs to its 4,000 students. A private school, SJC provides a liberal arts education.
The MS in Human Services Leadership degree at SJC covers a range of industries, thereby preparing students for diverse professional opportunities after graduation. For example, students have gone on to work in child welfare, mental health, substance abuse, family support, health care, criminal justice, and much more. Classes include:
- Leading in Mission Driven Environments
- Leadership Ethics and the Law in Human Services
- Strategic Leadership in an Information Age
- Leading Policy Initiatives in a Political Environment
St. Joseph’s is regionally ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Likewise, it is listed as one of the top 50 best colleges for veterans. And it is among the top 10 most affordable colleges in the U.S.
Virginia Beach, VA
Regent University is located in Virginia Beach. It is a private Christian university with both traditional and notable online degree programs. Around 9,000 students attend this evangelical school.
At Regent University you can earn a MA in Human Services degree that provides a foundation in behavioral science. While a Regent student you will get to explore human development, common social issues, and both individual and group counseling. And with nearly a dozen concentrations offered, Regent provides some of the broadest specialization opportunities. Some of those concentrations include:
- Addictions Counseling
- Conflict and Mediation Ministry
- Grief Counseling
- Life Coaching
- And much more
Regent was founded by Pat Robertson, the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Channel. Today it maintains those conservative roots, even being called the “Harvard of the Christian Right.”
Post University is located in Waterbury, Connecticut, but has additional campuses throughout the state, plus a notable online college. Post offers hundreds of programs, both on campus, and online. Its graduate degrees cover the gamut, from sports management to human services.
The MS in Human Services degree at Post brings together theory and practical issues. Meaning, as a student you will gain insight into multicultural awareness while also learning how to develop effective community programming. Post also offers students four areas of focus through which they can specialize:
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Alcohol and Drug Counseling
- Non-Profit Management
- Forensic Mental Health Counseling
U.S. News & World Report ranks Post’s online programs as being among the top 20 best in the country. In fact, Post started offering non-traditional, accelerated degree programs way back in the 1970s, specifically working with student veterans. This has made Post a recognized leader in innovative education.
Concordia University-Saint Paul
Part of the larger Concordia University System, which has ten members, the Saint Paul campus is home to 5,000 students. It is a private university and affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
Concordia’s online MA in Human Services degree is specifically for those who want to work in the criminal justice and legal systems. This program integrates forensic and behavioral health, introducing students to crime and its impact on victims, families, and communities. Therefore, you will take classes such as:
- Family Violence, PTSD, and Trauma
- Psychopathology in Human Services
- Substance Use and Co-Occurring Disorders
- Sexual Offending
Concordia University is ranked among the top universities for its region. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report includes the University in nearly a half dozen of its rankings for best online programs, specifically those in the area of health, business, and criminal justice.
Argosy University-San Diego
Argosy University in San Diego offers a number of undergraduate and graduate degrees online that are not only affordable but flexible. Students also have the opportunity to take hybrid classes, meaning they can complete coursework both online and on campus. Over 60,000 students study at Argosy.
Argosy’s online MS in Human Services degree will ready you for a career in either the public or private sector. From mental health centers to correctional institutions, hospitals, and rehab clinics, graduates from Argosy have secured careers in a diverse array of settings. Some of the classes you’ll take during your two years at Argosy include:
- Theory and Scope of Human Services
- Life Course and Human Development
- Multiculturalism and Diversity in Practice
- Personal Values and Professional Ethics
Like many other universities that specialize in distance and online learning, Argosy has in place a number of student-centric resources and services. For example, students have access to free one-on-one counseling, on-demand tutoring, and technical support.
Lubbock Christian University
Lubbock Christian University is located in Lubbock, Texas. It is associated with the Churches of Christ denomination and provides a faith-based education to its 2,000 students. Finally, Lubbock has offered online degrees for nearly a decade.
At Lubbock you can earn a MS in Human Services degree that is rooted in Christian faith and values. You will therefore grow spiritually as well as academically while a Lubbock student. And, of course, you will also gain a deep understanding of organizational leadership, policy development, fundraising, and more. Coursework covers:
- Crisis Intervention
- Conflict Resolution
- Rehabilitation Strategies for Individuals and Family
- And more
Lubbock Christian University is considered among the top 100 best universities in its region. It is the site of vibrant student activity, research initiatives, and sustainability projects. With a student-teacher ratio of 12:1, Lubbock is known for its close relationships between the student body and faculty.
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (SMU) is located in Winona, though there are many campuses located throughout the state and even in Wisconsin, Jamaica, and Kenya. SMU is a private school with more than 6,000 students. It is affiliated with the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
Saint Mary’s offers a Master’s in Health and Human Services degree that can fully completed online. This program emphasizes leadership development while guiding students through the intricacies of the health care sector. Saint Mary’s graduates have gone on to find careers in:
- Home health agencies
- Hospitals, clinics, and long-term care centers
- Governmental health and human service agencies
- Non-profit agencies and clinics
Saint Mary’s is ranked among the top 50 best colleges in its region by U.S. News & World Report. It is also among the top 30 best colleges for veterans, and one of the most affordable schools in the nation.