Human Services

Course work and field placements in the Human Services (HS) program prepare students for human service careers. The program is recognized by a national accreditation organization for its excellence in meeting academic and pre-professional standards. Student organizations and study abroad opportunities further enhance the undergraduate experience.

Course work in Human Services provides a strong background in child, family, and adult development as well as the structure and functioning of human services in the community, the delivery of services to children and families, and research, evaluation, and policy process.

Watch this video and learn more about the Human Services Major.

What is the Human Services Major?

Human Services Majors join the fields of human services, psychology, human resources, public policy, social work, and related professionals helping to support individuals and families in their communities and work places. They learn to provide direct services as well as to develop programs and policies that can make a broad difference in communities and public policy. There is a great need for professionals who can work with diverse children and their families in a variety of settings, including nonprofit organizations, schools, hospitals, human resource departments, legal aid and advocacy organizations, and public policy. The training of a Human Service major is recognized nationally and accredited by the Council for Standards in Human Services Education (CSHSE). Students:

  • learn about supporting the development of children, youth, adults and their families over the span;
  • individualize their program of study so that they can focus on one select area of emphasis such as counseling, adults with disabilities, juvenile justice, youth development, health, parenting and many other areas;
  • select, when appropriate, an academic minor in such areas as psychology, disabilities studies, Black American studies, Spanish, public administration, sociology, legal studies and criminal justice; this major has the flexibility to make a minor a real possibility.
  • participate, when appropriate, in the University Honors Program, and work with HDFS faculty in their research, earning a Degree with Distinction.
  • secure jobs in state and local government agencies and programs, community agencies, hospitals, schools, and the private sector;
  • pursue graduate work in social work, counseling, public administration, human development and family studies, law, public health, and many other disciplines.
  • have the choice of pursuing four concentrations:
    • Clinical Services
    • Administration and Family Policy
    • Community Education
    • Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  • Clinical Services Concentration students:
    • learn to work directly with children, adolescents, adults, and their families;
    • identify an area of emphasis such as youth development, disabilities, health, juvenile justice, alcohol and substance abuse prevention, domestic violence prevention, counseling, and many other areas;
    • have two field placements in human service programs in their interest area; one of these is during their senior year, where the internship is a semester long at a program related to their area of emphasis.
    • graduate and directly enter the workforce in challenging jobs working directly with children, youth, and families;
    • graduate and pursue graduate studies in a wide range of graduate programs, including psychology, counseling, social work, early childhood intervention, law, human development and family studies, public health, and more.
    • students have the opportunity to take graduate course work while they are an undergraduate, and (if qualified), can begin a Combined Undergraduate/Graduate program to earn their Masters in Human Development and Family Studies.
  • Administration and Family Policy Concentration students:
    • learn about the development and management of community-based, school, and human resource programs that support children, adolescents, adults, and families
    • learn skills about how to support staff, evaluate programs, and initiate and pursue legislative advocacy;
    • prepare themselves for a variety of careers in public service that involve providing leadership in government, public policy, profit, and non-profit organizations.
    • identify an area of emphasis such as youth development, disabilities and inclusion in schools, health promotion, juvenile justice, alcohol and substance abuse prevention, domestic violence prevention, and many other areas;
    • students have field placements in human services programs in their interest areas; service learning is emphasized in all internship experiences; they can even have a legislative internship in Dover, DE.
    • students have the opportunity to take graduate course work in Public Policy while they are an undergraduate, and (if qualified), can begin an Combined Undergraduate/Graduate program to earn their Masters in Public Administration, Masters in Urban Affairs and Public Policy, or Masters in Human Development and Family Studies, with a concentration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Leadership at the University of Delaware.
  • Community Education Concentration students:
    • is designed for students with interests in developing and administering educational programs for children, youth, and their families in a variety of community based setting;
    • provides students with a wide range of career options, including positions working with children and their families in settings such as after school programs, YMCAs, camps, early intervention, outreach and cooperative extension, and preventive, asset building community based programs.  Graduate school is a recommended option for many students;
    • is a great option for students who start their career at UD thinking they want to be a classroom teacher with young children.  They can easily transfer into this Concentration to better meet their interests.  For example, they may have started as an HDFS Early Childhood Education (ECE) major, or a SOE Elementary Teacher Education major (ETE).  The Community Education Concentration/Human Services major is an exciting, innovative program for these students who want to work with, and educate young children, but whose interests are much broader than classroom teaching;
    • incorporates many of the core courses of the ECE and ETE majors, as well as educates students in human service approaches with children, families, and communities.
  • Family and Consumer Sciences Education Concentration students:
    • prepares students for teaching family and consumer sciences in middle and high school settings with an emphasis on early childhood and human services, along with apparel and food services education;
    • is designed for students with interests in developing and administering Family and Consumer Sciences Education programs in schools or in the community with organizations such as Cooperative Extension.  There is a nationwide shortage of Family and Consumer Sciences teachers.  Family and Consumer Sciences teachers prepare individuals for the challenges of living and working in a diverse global society while strengthening the well-being of individuals and families across the life span.
    • Graduating students will be eligible to be certified in Delaware as a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher in middle schools and high schools in Delaware under Title 14 of the Delaware Administrative Code (http://regulations.delaware.gov/AdminCode/title14/1500/1554.shtml)

What forms do I need?

Human Services Internship Site Supervisor's Handbook 2012-2013

Human Services Student Handbook 2014-15 

The program has the following expected competencies for students, which will vary depending upon a student’s concentration:

  • Understand and discuss the ethical issues facing human service professionals.
  • Understand how to work effectively with diverse populations in terms of ethnicity, ability, economic background, and wellness, in the context of communities.
  • Understand development across the lifespan, normative developmental transitions, and at-risk situations.
  • Understand family processes, family diversity, and family transitions, and the risk and resiliency factors of healthy family functioning
  • Identify different approaches to intervention, including prevention, promotion/empowerment, and treatment.
  • Develop the ability to integrate field experience with academically acquired knowledge and skill as well as related professional literature.
  • Demonstrate self-development regarding personal values, motivation, orientation toward human services work and interpersonal relations.
  • Demonstrate information management skills such as obtaining, organizing, disseminating, and evaluating information using computer skills throughout placement activities and the completion of course requirements.
  • Understand the relations between theory, research, and practice.
  • Demonstrate skills for working with people in groups, helping to establish clear goals and achieve optimum results.
  • Have the skills of a counselor, helping clients resolve problems in a manner that promotes growth and independence.
  • Be able to function as a community liaison, working with sectors of the community to identify community needs and deliver services to meet those needs.
  • Be able to function as a supervisor, encouraging and enabling other workers to make best use of their abilities on behalf of the clients.
  • Act as a change agent -- planning, researching, and promoting programs to improve human service delivery.
  • Understand the structuring and functioning of human service agencies.
  • Know how to assess needs of populations at different stages of the life cycle.
  • Be able to function as a researcher or policy analyst, dealing with individual and family related issues in governmental, business, legal or social service settings.

IT IS THE POLICY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE THAT NO PERSON SHALL BE SUBJECTED TO DISCRIMINATION ON THE GROUNDS OF RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, NATIONAL OR ETHNIC ORIGIN, AGE, HANDICAPPED OR VETERAN STATUS.

Contact Information:

Lynn Worden, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Undergraduate Programs
Department of Human Development and Family Studies
111 Alison West
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716

  • Departmant of Human Development & Family Studies •  111 Allison Hall West •  Newark, DE 19716 •  USA
    Phone: 302-831-6500 Fax: 302-831-8776 E-mail: hdfs-dept@udel.edu  • ©