Human Services

Evening Weekend & Graduate student in classroom

Program Format

Online and evenings
(West Des Moines Campus)
8-week courses

Program Information

128 credit hours
Faculty Profiles

18-19 Tuition Rate

$375/ credit hour

When Can I Start?

6 start times/year
Fall, Spring or Summer Semester



Find out more

BRAND NEW for Fall of 2017! 

The Human Services major and minor will prepare students to address the needs of a variety of diverse communities, groups, families and individuals in our society. The Human Services major will target skills needed to engage in service to others.

Students will analyze social forces, policies, and human service delivery systems both at the micro and macro levels. Students will gain knowledge in the area of crisis assessment and intervention, counseling strategies, program evaluation and grant writing. Students also will gain an understanding of the linkages between theory and research and their application to analysis and policy development. Finally, students will gain practical skills and knowledge from community agency placements through their required field experience, and conclude the program with an emphasis in ethical standards of professional behavior.

Students completing the Human Services major will be able to:

  • Apply human services theories to concrete situations;
  • Formulate ethical responses to professional situations; and
  • Critique how issues of power and inequalities in the U.S. impact social relationships between groups.

The Human Services major is 44 credits (11 courses), while the Human Services minor is 20 credits (5 courses).

Click here for a quick look at the majors and minors offered in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice: Major and Minor Requirements.

Required Major Courses (44 credits)

HSV 101: Introduction to Human Services 4cr.

This course addresses basic social service structures, both public and private as they serve families, individuals, and communities to meet the needs of citizens. The field of human services as a profession will be examined. The nature of how to build a professional helping relationship will be examined, along with the techniques and skills to avoid discouragement and burnout within the helping profession. Students will examine personal values and how those will influence a career in human services. Offered alternate years. 

SCJ 340: Race and Ethnic Relations OR SOC 215: Sociology of Gender and Sexuality 4cr.

  • SCJ 340: Race and Ethnic Relations - This course explores the dynamics and results of inter-group relations. Prejudice and discrimination are examined in both historical and international perspective. Among the concrete topics discussed are affirmative action, multiculturalism, institutional discrimination, and the interrelationship of sex, class, and ethnicity. Offered every semester. (DIVRSTY)  OR
  • SOC 215: Sociology of Gender and Sexuality - The goal of this course is to engage in a sociological investigation of sex, gender, and sexuality. This class is designed to allow students to begin to think critically about sex, gender, and sexuality and the social issues that shape and are shaped by these identities. The primary objectives for this course are: 1) to provide an introduction to concepts of sex, gender, and sexuality; 2) consider how socialization and our individual standpoints shape our ideas about sex, gender, and sexuality; and 3) acquire an understanding of the diversity and complexity of sex, gender, and sexuality in our society. Offered every other spring. (DIVRSTY)

HSV 250: Grant Writing 4cr.

This practical grant writing course will provide the student with the fundamental skills needed to research, develop, write and submit grant proposals. Students will learn concepts of grant development, the components of a grant, how to research and identify funding sources, and how to develop and submit a complete grant proposal. Additionally, students will learn about different types of program evaluation, including needs assessment, process evaluation, monitoring of outputs and outcomes. Prerequisite: HSV 101. Offered once every other year.

HSV 301: Counseling Strategies 4cr.

The goal of this course is to provide information about the theories and practice skills used in counseling, especially with non-voluntary clients or consumers. Emphasis will be placed on short-term therapy, reality therapy, mediation, cognitive therapy and counseling skill-building. Offered once a year. (COLLABLDR)

SCJ 341: Crisis Intervention 4cr.

This course is designed to present conceptual frameworks and useful methods of intervention to help us understand and address a variety of crises confronting people in families and within their communities. We will examine numerous situations and have student study and practice responses to various crisis situations. Such topics as family violence, divorce/separation/desertion, sexual abuse of children in families, loss of family members through death, chemical abuse, criminal victimization, hostage situations, suicide, and community disasters will be examined. (ORALCOM) 

HSV 342: Human Behavior in the Social Environment 4cr.

Survey course designed to introduce the student to various theoretical conceptualizations of the levels of human behavior (societal/cultural, community, organization, group, family, and individual). Students will examine issues related to social, cognitive and environmental factors that contribute to personal choice and decision-making. Offered alternate years. 

HSV 343: Social Welfare Policy 4cr.

An examination of the response of American society to people in need from the colonial period to the present. Social welfare programs in the United States will be studied within the contextual framework of social, economic, political and ideological influences. Students will learn methods for analyzing social welfare policy in light of social justice issues and methods for impacting social welfare policy. Prerequisite: one prior sociology or human services course, and junior/senior standing. Offered spring semester. (CIVIC)

HSV 348: Field Experience in Human Services 4cr.

Required Capstone in the department. Placement in a court, planning agency, or other human services agency for a minimum of 120 hours of supervised fieldwork. Open to majors with Junior or Senior standing. Offered every semester. (WRITCOM)

SCJ 352: Standards of Professional Behavior 4cr.

Ethical concerns in human services professions will be examined. Dilemmas involving confidentiality and privacy, conflicts of interest, deception, coercion and control, and human subjects review will be explored within the broader context of the concepts of justice, fairness and respect. In addition to theoretical constructs of ethical issues that arise in social science disciplines, various written codes of conduct (such as National Association of Workers, American Corrections Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, American Bar Association and American Psychological Association) will be explored. Senior Standing required. Offered every semester. (ETHICS, WRITCOM)

Electives 8cr.

Elective options include:

  • SOC 101: Intro to Sociology (CE)
  • SOC 204: Modern Social Problems
  • SOC 211: Sociology of the Family
  • SOC 311: Women: The Struggle for Equality (DP)
  • SOC 321: Methods of Social Research (IL)
  • ANTHRO 210: Cultural Anthropology (WC)
  • ANTHRO 310: Indians of the Americas

NOTE: One course (4 credits) can be from a related area outside of the department, with departmental approval.

We are so excited to be offering the human services major for our continuing and graduate students.  This major will prepare students to address the needs of a variety of diverse communities, groups, families and individuals in our society through an interdisciplinary knowledge base. Students will develop skills in working one-on-one with marginalized people in the area of crisis or long term human service needs. Additionally students will gain knowledge in the area of human service agency grant writing and program evaluation. The Simpson College human services major provides a strong focus on diversity, social justice and ethics which are all critical to developing quality human service workers. Graduates of the program will be ready for entry level jobs in the human service field or enter the Master's level of study.

Dr. Carolyn Dallinger, Chair Sociology and Criminal Justice Department