B.A./B.S. in Human Services

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Human Services is an interdisciplinary program which integrates courses from a wide range of fields—including, but not limited to, human services, psychology, and sociology—with practices, theories, and skills relating to political advocacy, community development, and direct service. The curriculum, which also includes intensive fieldwork internships in nonprofit and government agencies, provides students with the opportunity to acquire and to hone the attitudes, skills, and expertise that are fundamental to those careers which often fall under the category of “helping professions”. The program offers a number of undergraduate major options and a minor option.

Graduates pursue positions and apply their skills in both public and private settings— social service and welfare agencies, programs for youth, halfway houses, rape crisis and domestic violence centers, drug treatment institutions, and within the fields of mental health and criminal justice. Students can work in a number of capacities as counselors, community organizers, administrators in human services agencies, and as fundraisers for social programs.

Through course work, one semester of internship experience, and a suggested minimum of two, six-month sessions of co-op work, students have the opportunity to explore possibilities such as:

  • casework in welfare agencies
  • serving deaf clients
  • rehabilitation counseling
  • court liaison
  • community organizing
  • services for the aging
  • agency administration
  • research and evaluation

Degrees Offered

The main distinction between the two bachelor’s degree options is that the B.A. requires three specialization courses while the B.S. requires five.

Combined Majors

  • B.S. in Human Services and American Sign Language
  • B.A. in Human Services and International Affairs
  • B.S. in Human Services and Criminal Justice

Human Services and American Sign Language

**This is not a combined major for students interested in ASL Interpreting, to complete a ASL Interpreting & Human Services BS Double Major students have to complete all requirements in both majors.**

Students who choose to pursue this major will find many employment opportunities working with individuals who are facing life transitions or social and emotional challenges. Specifically, students will be prepared to work in a variety of social service settings with an under-served segment of the population-individuals who are Deaf and who use the language of the Deaf Community, American Sign Language.

Increased national awareness of the Deaf Community and its language, coupled with the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act has resulted in an increased demand for bilingually competent professionals in a wide range of human services. This dual major provides students with a solid theoretical and practical foundation in the Human Services field along with the linguistic skills and cultural sensitivities necessary to work directly with Deaf people in a range of public and private agencies.

Upon graduation from Northeastern students earning this combined major will find a number of employment opportunities created, in part, by the severe shortage of ASL/English interpreters. This shortage means that Human Service agencies are constantly seeking ways to comply with federal and state mandates to provide communication access to clients and employees. One way of complying with an agency’s legal obligations is to employ students who have the “value-added” attraction of bilingual and bicultural competence. Such students will find themselves extremely marketable upon graduation.

This combined major also provides the academic foundation necessary for students to pursue graduate study in Deaf Education, Special Education, Social Work, Counseling, or Public Administration. Entering graduate programs in any of these areas, students will find their graduate experience academically, linguistically, and culturally enriched by the foundation established in this dual major.

Human Services and International Affairs

Combine Human Services and International Affairs to create a focus on Global Humanitarian Action.

Human Services and Criminal Justice

A combined major in Human Services and Criminal Justice will present students with an opportunity to gain both a conceptual-theoretical understanding of both types of agencies and the real world link through various co-op experiences. There is considerable overlap in the populations served by the criminal justice system and various human services agencies. Leadership positions in either type of agency will require individuals who have a firm understanding of how cultural, social, economic and political contexts affect the daily and long-term organization and operation of both types of agencies.


Students who major in human services select specializations in areas that they wish to pursue further. A specialization is classified as a set of classes that further explore subject matter within the field of Human Services. Standard specializations include:

  • Administration and Policy
  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Deaf Studies (BA majors only)
  • Family and Children’s Services
  • Psychology/ Counseling Psychology
  • Social Justice, Identity and Religion


Typical majors that acquire a minor in Human Services Minor include:

  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Business
  • Communication Studies
  • Biology
  • Nursing
  • Criminal Justice
  • International Affairs

Human Services Website