Human Services

Students who study Human Services are dedicated to providing services to individuals and families in need of assistance. The goal of human services work is to enhance the quality of life for those who are served. The pioneers of human services education programs believed that the answer to workforce needs was not to train another group of specialized professionals but develop a new type of worker - the "generalist."

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Generalists in Human Services receive core educational courses in the liberal arts, social sciences - particularly sociology and psychology - and humanities. They also learn a wide range of interventions and skills that can be adapted to specific populations in different service settings, such as residential treatment facilities, correctional facilities, group homes, halfway houses, youth services agencies, mental health facilities, and substance abuse treatment programs. The generalist skills include: interviewing, observing and recording pertinent information, implementing treatment plans, advocating for clients, conducting group sessions, and mobilizing community resources.

Some of the roles performed by Human Services workers are: counselor to those who need support, broker to help people access community services, teacher of daily living skills, advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves, mediator between clients and agencies, and caregiver to children, elders and disabled adults.

A major component to all Human Services education is experiential learning - learning by doing. Thus, the Human Services program provides extensive field-based observations and experiences each semester. Students also participate in several internships in a variety of community agencies and treatment facilities. The field work experiences allow students to integrate and apply classroom social service theory under the supervision of qualified professionals. All field work placements must be approved by the Program Director.

Program Objectives

  • To describe the historical and social contexts of human service.
  • To describe the individual, social, economic and cultural conditions which promote or limit people's optimal functioning.
  • To describe the types of deviation from optimal functioning in major life settings.
  • To analyze the specific needs of clients who deviate from optimal functioning in one or more life areas.
  • To identify and select the appropriate intervention to promote growth and goal attainment for that client.
  • To demonstrate the ability to implement and assess interventions.
  • To demonstrate active listening skills.
  • To demonstrate basic case management skills.
  • To demonstrate case-appropriate problem-solving techniques.
  • To demonstrate consistent standards in selecting and implementing interventions congruent with one's self, one's client, the employing agency and the human services profession.

Admissions Requirements:

  • Completed Harcum College Application
  • Official high school transcript or GED transcript. This requirement is waived for applicants who have completed a bachelor's degree, unless specifically requested.
  • SAT or ACT scores, if taken (critical reading and math scores only).
  • Official college transcript(s), if applicable
  • Letter(s) of recommendation from an employer, teacher, guidance counselor, etc.
  • Typed personal essay explaining why you chose your desired major.
  • TOEFL scores are required for students for whom English is a second language


Human Services Program Director:
Carole Champlin
Academic Center, Room 313
Phone: 610-526-6065