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

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


Office of Academic Affairs


Vice Provost


Academic and Student Affairs



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.


Community and Human Services Guidelines

Community and human services is a field of study that aims to prepare learners to:

  • improve the quality of life of individuals, families, groups and communities
  • develop, enhance and improve access to services for people in need
  • promote equality and social justice.

The community and human services area of study prepares students for a wide array of roles in direct service and/or management in the helping professions and community service. Fields of study may include, but are not limited to human services, health services, early childhood, child welfare, emergency management, advocacy and community organizing, public affairs and criminal justice. Students will acquire and apply a broad range of knowledge about the social, economic and political conditions of our world.        

Study in this area emphasizes six essential foundations that should be represented in students’ degree plan and discussed in their rationale. Examples of studies that could meet these areas are also provided; however, please be aware these are only examples and is in no way an exhaustive list. Students need to provide evidence as to how they are meeting each foundation. 

  • Knowledge of human behavior: Students should identify and demonstrate an understanding of human behavior within the context of various social, developmental, global, economic, political, biological and/or environmental systems. These studies should cover theory, historical and developmental perspectives.
    • For example, studies could include human development, fire-related human behavior, child development, deviant behavior, stress in families, or cognitive psychology.
  • Knowledge of service delivery: Students should identify and analyze systems, institutions and policies that are relevant to the delivery of services in their field of study.
    • For example, studies could include history of social welfare, human service management, introduction to social welfare, fire-prevention organization and management, introduction to human services, early childhood program administration, the United States health systems, managed care, social policy, and/or community organization.
  • Skills: Students should acquire skills in assessment, intervention and evaluation with individuals, families, groups and/or communities in their field of study. Additionally, students should demonstrate digital and information literacy as appropriate to their field.
    • For example, studies could include case management, documentation in human services, observation and assessment in early childhood programs, counseling theory, working with survivors of rape and sexual assault, fire investigation and analysis, creative arts therapy: working with special populations, health informatics, family intervention, and/or crisis intervention.
  • Ethics: Students should articulate and evaluate the code of ethics and/or the professional standards within their field and apply them to practice situations within their field. Students should identify and examine possible conflicts between their own values and professional expectations.
    • For example, studies could include human service ethics, introduction to ethics, ethical dilemmas in criminal justice and ethics in health care.
  • Diversity: Students should demonstrate recognition of the range of human diversity, as well as examining the impact of their own power, privilege and oppression on work with individuals, families, groups and communities. Human diversity may include, but not be limited to race, ethnicity, gender, class, socioeconomic status, age, culture, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, sexual identity, geographic differences, and/or ability. 
    • For example, studies could include sex and gender in a cross-cultural perspective, contemporary global issues, economic issues in health services, crime and punishment in American life, exploring human diversity through film, exploring poverty and resiliency and disabled in America.
  • Application and Integration: Students should plan to demonstrate the application of knowledge, values and skills related to their field. This can include practical applications included in studies, prior learning assessment, and/or relevant volunteer or work experience.
    • For example, studies could include applications of fire research, survey of social science research methods, social policy analysis, management of health services, developing infant toddler programs, interviewing skills and techniques, protecting America: Cases and controversies, observation and assessment of children, risk analysis, family intervention, crisis intervention, managing bioterrorism and delivering human services.

The potential concentrations are numerous and may be focused or broadly structured, depending upon the student’s specific interests and goals, prior learning and experience, organizing framework and general expectations of recognized helping professions. The organizing framework may be arranged by professional/vocational expectations; however, some frameworks may be guided by practice with a specific population, theme or interdisciplinary concentration.  

Within any conceptualized CHS concentration, students are expected to consider and discuss in their degree program rationales whether and/or how the areas listed above are relevant to their specific concentrations.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Introduction to the Area of Study Guidelines


Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices

AOS Community and Human Services Before 2014 Jan 1

College Learning Goals Policy