Area of Study Guidelines: Community and Human Services Policy for Students Matriculated Before Jan. 1, 2014 Policy

Area of Study Guidelines: Community and Human Services Policy for Students Matriculated Before Jan. 1, 2014 Policy


Office of Academic Affairs


Vice Provost





Effective Date:


Implementation History:


Area of study guidelines, Community and Human Service

Background Information:


To provide context for the area of study guidelines for area of study Community and Services.


Area of Study Guidelines: This set of guidelines helps students plan their degree plans by spelling out what the academic world and many employers understand a particular concentration to mean.  The guidelines are found in many academic publications.

Disciplinary — A program of study guided by the existing framework of a discipline.

Interdisciplinary — The simultaneous and interrelated study of two or more disciplines.

Professional/Vocational — A study which focuses on acquiring knowledge and skills needed for specific career performance and applications. It also entails inquiry into the conceptual foundations of the profession, the role of the professional in that career, and the relations between the profession and society at large.

Disciplinary — A program of study guided by the existing framework of a discipline.

Interdisciplinary — The simultaneous and interrelated study of two or more disciplines.

Problem Oriented — A program of study organized around a problem.

Thematic — A program of study focusing on a particular theme or set of ideas.


The area of study called Community and Human Services explores the relationship of human beings needs and values to social conditions in community living and prepares students for a wide array of helping professions and community service roles. Through study in Community and Human Services, students obtain and enhance values, knowledge and skills necessary to understand and contribute to the development and maintenance of healthy communities, groups and individuals. They analyze, develop, carry out and evaluate methods of prevention and resolution of social and individual problems and barriers.

The objectives of studies in Community and Human Services are to prepare students for:

  • work with individuals, groups and communities in problem-solving situations;
  • entry or continuation in the practice of human services in a variety of areas and at a variety of levels of practice including advocacy/community organization, social policy and change, administration, and/or direct service delivery/practice/intervention with groups and individuals;
  • graduate education or other forms of professional development.

Study in this area emphasizes the understanding and integration of four essential foundations each with its own set of unique competencies:

Knowledge -- understanding of the interdisciplinary, conceptual base of practice, historical contexts and the nature of people who live in communities. Studies will include the history of social institutions and social change; human beings and their behavior individually and in groups; the evolution of human service systems and public policy; the impact of social, economic, political, biological and environmental factors on individuals and communities, and the relationship of social policy to human service practice.

Skills -- understanding of the collaborative, helping and problem-solving relationships between the human service worker and the client. Studies will include: interpersonal skills; prevention and intervention skills; administrative skills; information management skills; research skills; advocating, community organizing and policy management skills.

Attitudes and values -- understanding of the ethical basis for human service practices with individuals, groups and communities. Studies will include developing understanding, respect of, and commitment to autonomy, confidentiality, self-determination, and the basic rights of individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds.

Experience, application and practice -- understanding of the settings, dimensions, systems and mechanics of human service delivery. Studies will include the experience of delivering effective services to individuals, groups and communities; contributing to the development and maintenance of healthy individuals, groups and communities through prevention, intervention, organizing and policy-making activities. Application can focus on individual, group, community and/or systems activities.

Students should explicitly discuss in their rationale essay how each of these four foundations are incorporated and demonstrated in their degree program. It is not necessary that these foundations appear in specific degree titles.

The potential concentrations are numerous and may be focused or broadly conceptualized depending upon the student’s specific interests and goals, the student’s prior learning and experience, the organizing framework, and the general expectations of recognized helping professions. The organizing framework will typically be professional/vocational; however, problem oriented, thematic or interdisciplinary frameworks may also be appropriate.

Because degrees in Community and Human Services may take many forms, students must support their designs with clear and articulate rationales. Even in a broadly conceptualized concentration in Community and Human Services, it is not expected that all of the areas listed previously will be reflected in specific study titles; however, the student should discuss in the degree program rationale how they have been explored. In more narrowly conceptualized concentrations, students are encouraged to consider and discuss in their degree program rationales whether and/or how the areas listed above may be relevant to their specific concentrations.

Sample concentrations: titles are meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive nor comprehensive.

Health care related

Health Care Administration
Health and Human Services Case Management

Human services related

Advocacy in Human Services
Human Service Management
Disability Studies in Human Services
Studies in Diversity and Human Services
Education and Training in Human Services
Public Safety
Economic Security

Management related

Human Resources
Personnel Issues for Employee Assistance Professionals
Managed Care

Mental health related

Intervention Strategies
Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Child and Adolescent Development
Counseling Skills
Adult Development

Social agency related

Social Welfare Institutions
Agencies, Systems and Organization Behavior
Program Development
Administration in Human Services
Criminal Justice Services
Rehabilitation Services

Social science related

The Child and Family in Society
History of the Family
History of Social Institutions
Social Issues
Criminal Justice
Studies in Social Change
Community Studies
Public Policy

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Introduction to the Area of Study Guidelines

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices

College Learning Goals Policy