School: Arts and Social & Behavioral Sciences
Degree Type: Masters Degree
Format: In-Person | Online
Student Type: Graduate Accelerated and Online

Master of Arts in Human Services Degree

The Master of Arts in Human Services program is geared toward individuals who are passionate about social change and want to make a difference as a leader in their community. In on-campus evening and online formats, this 13-course master’s program prepares students for a wide range of occupations in the community and social services sector. 

Our versatile curriculum explores both the administrative side of the industry, as well as the skills needed for outreach and assisting vulnerable populations. Coursework for this National Council on Family Relations (NCFR)–accredited program focuses on advocacy, offers opportunities for integrative projects, experiential learning, and fieldwork, and prepares students to pursue a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) credential following graduation. 

In turn, the knowledge and experience gained help human services professionals advance into a management role and benefit others interested in changing careers to better serve their community through advocacy, outreach, and policy changes. 

Program Objectives

Warner Pacific University’s Master’s degree in Human Services program strives to create knowledgeable, competent, skillful, and self-reflective human services professionals who improve the lives of others, strengthen relationships, and enhance communities. Combining classroom work with hands-on learning, the program’s content and structure:

  • explore the historical, philosophical, and theoretical sides of human services;
  • discuss human services theories and practice principles concerning social change and advocacy;
  • examine the ways human systems from individual to community and societal levels overlap and interact;
  • emphasize spirituality through all human services disciplines, particularly ethical standards involved in its delivery;
  • cover the methods, statistics, research, and technological applications behind human services practices;
  • encourage students to hone their speaking, listening, and motivational skills; 
  • prepare students to implement educational and prevention programs and evaluate public policy;
  • go over human development life cycles for society’s vulnerable populations and at-risk individuals;
  • cover best practices for human services administration and theories for fundraising and grant seeking;
  • address human sexuality from a value-respectful position and the effectiveness and appropriateness of parenting strategies; and
  • require students to apply the theory, skills, behavior, and knowledge learned in the classroom in the field and a human services project. 

MA in Human Services Curriculum

The Master of Arts in Human Services is a 39-credit program requiring 13 courses. The curriculum examines the field from a holistic perspective: the application of human services principles across society, essential research and practice skills, case management, resource management, public policy and legal services, and the methods to examine and assist vulnerable populations, with spirituality and ethics emphasized throughout. In seeing students as a force of positive change in the field and behind the scenes, the curriculum requires all candidates to select one of three emphasis areas.

Along with classroom subjects, students must decide to complete a field practicum or a thesis project. For the field practicum assignment, Warner Pacific University’s Professional & Graduate Studies (PGS) program supports students as they find a community-based agency that fits their career goals. Here, realistic, hands-on experiences in family life education delivery and policy development complement the theoretical knowledge acquired during the program. 

Program Formats

Considering the scheduling needs of working adults seeking to advance their career and gain additional skills, WPU offers the Master of Arts in Human Services in online and on-campus formats:

  • All courses last six weeks, unless noted.
  • Our instructors work in the field themselves and bring their professional insights into the classroom.
  • Courses begin on a monthly basis, instead of on a semester schedule, allowing students to start their degree when they’re ready.
  • Online and on-campus programs use WPU’s Learning Community’s cohort model, which allows for more interaction with instructors and encourages connection-building between students.

On-Campus MA in Human Services Degree

WPU’s PGS program schedules courses for the on-ground MA in Human Services degree one night per week, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at our local campuses in Portland and Vancouver. For convenience, the location remains the same during the course’s entire duration, allowing you to earn your degree close to home or your workplace. 

Online Master of Arts in Human Services Degree

Ideal for individuals living outside of the Portland and Vancouver areas or for whom attending classes in person isn’t feasible, WPU offers the Master of Arts in Human Services degree online in an asynchronous format. 

While you can watch lectures and complete assignments around existing obligations, realize that participation is integral to success. WPU expects students to log in at least five out of seven days per week to access materials and to contribute a minimum of three substantial posts to class forums over two days’ time. 

Careers with a Master’s Degree in Human Services

The Master of Arts in Human Services prepares working adults to change careers or advance in the human services field. The blend of theoretical and hands-on knowledge with fieldwork equips graduates to pursue positions as a:

  • Program Director;
  • Program Manager;
  • Human Services Administrator;
  • Senior Case Manager;
  • Community Organizer;
  • Family Life Educator;
  • Social Services Manager Case Manager;
  • Educator;
  • Site Director;
  • Alcohol and Drug Counselor;
  • Client Care Surveyor;
  • Non-Profit Leadership; or
  • Behavioral Specialist.

Due to the growing aging population, more human services professionals are needed than ever, and that demand is predicted to increase over the next decade. According to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is projected to see 12% more positions between 2019 and 2029. Within this scope, organizations are expected to need 17% more Social and Community Service Managers and Social and Human Service Assistants. In the field, changing demographics will fuel demand for 10% more Rehabilitation Counselors and 25% more Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors.

Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) Credential

Family life education professionals work with family members to teach skills for improving personal wellbeing and strengthening interpersonal relationships. This approach based on family science views the overlapping relationship between family and community—particularly that addressing societal problems begins by acknowledging individuals and families as part of a larger structure.

A family life educator strives to teach the importance of strong communication, human development, decision making, positive self-esteem, and interpersonal relationships to family members to foster their individual and collective growth.

Students seeking to start a career as a family life educator may pursue a CFLE credential through the NCFR. This nationally recognized standard supports a professional’s education and experience and consists of two levels of certification:

  • Full: Candidates can demonstrate knowledge of the 10 Family Life Education content areas and have fulfilled all work experience requirements.

Students who have graduated from a CFLE-approved program within the past two years are eligible to pursue certification. Learn more about requirements and how this process works

Requirements for the MA in Human Services Degree

Interested in applying to the Master of Arts in Human Services program? Candidates need to:

  • complete an application;
  • have earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better; if GPA is under 3.0, the applicant may supply a letter explaining circumstances that affected their undergraduate GPA;
  • include official transcripts from all prior college institutions attended;
  • prepare for a phone interview; and
  • include two professional or academic letters of recommendation (non-family members).

Students whose native language is not English must also show proof of English proficiency by earning a minimum score of 70 for the TOEFL or a 6 for the IELTS.

Learn More About WPU’s Master of Arts in Human Services Degree

If you aspire to improve and advocate for your community, WPU’s Master of Arts in Human Services equips you with the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue your goals. To learn more about the program, contact PGS Admissions by email or by phone at 800-804-1510, or request additional information today.


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