Home > Top 10 Online Master’s in Human Services Programs for 2018

Top 10 Online Master’s in Human Services Programs for 2018

Students who earn an online master’s in human services learn to guide and counsel individuals, families, and organizations to better access and navigate community social services. As a reliable advocate, you gather and analyze information and make suggestions to help improve people’s quality of life; tasks may include mental health counseling, crisis intervention, and conflict management.

You can pursue any number of career options after earning an online human services master’s degree. For example, many graduates enter community and social service occupations like counselors or social workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these occupations are expected to experience 14% growth by 2026.



University of Northwestern-St PaulSaint Paul, Minnesota

Degree M.A. in Human Services
Admissions Rate 87%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 66%
Online Enrollment 34%

UNWSP, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a Christian institution offering an online master's in human services. The program is available both fully online and in a blended format, which incorporates both online and in-person learning. Through coursework in human development, intervention strategies, and parent education, students develop the skills necessary to succeed in fields such as public health, education, law enforcement, and ministry.

Most students complete the master's of arts in human services in 18 to 22 months. The degree is ideal for students who seek to understand the intersection of human services and their Christian faith.


Liberty UniversityLynchburg, Virginia

Degree M.A. in Human Services Counseling
Admissions Rate 22%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 47%
Online Enrollment 82%

Liberty's master's of arts in human services counseling provides flexible delivery and content and is ideal for working professionals. The program is available 100% online, and courses are delivered asynchronously so students can choose when and where to complete coursework. Transfer students may bring up to 15 of the program's 30 required credits. Students may concentrate in areas such as addictions and recovery, life coaching, and military resilience for a customized degree that fits their career goals. Applicants must have at least a 2.0 undergraduate GPA, though Liberty considers the quality of transfer applicants' graduate work.


Saint Mary's University of MinnesotaWinona, Minnesota

Degree M.A. in Health and Human Services
Admissions Rate 78%
Default Rate 3%
Retention Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 61%
Online Enrollment 16%

Saint Mary's University's master's in health and human services is accessible for students juggling personal and professional responsibilities. The program is offered entirely online, with no on-campus requirements, which is ideal for working professionals and distance learners. Each student receives an iPad preloaded with course materials, so they can study and collaborate with students and faculty at their convenience.

Students may complete the 40-credit master's in human services program in as few as 26 months. Students build foundational knowledge and skills in healthcare, human resources, and financial management, and graduates are prepared to pursue licensure as long-term care administrators.


University of Illinois at SpringfieldSpringfield, Illinois

Degree M.A. in Human Services Administration
Admissions Rate 63%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 48%
Online Enrollment 35%

UIS offers a master's in human services with four concentration options. The social services administration concentration is available entirely online, and the alcoholism and substance abuse, child and family studies, and gerontology studies concentrations are available in a blended format. Students complete courses in policy, professional ethics, staff development, and grantwriting, and online programs meet the same high standards as UIS's on-campus programs.

The 44-credit degree requires a four-credit internship, however students with previous field experience may petition to substitute regular coursework for the internship. Human services students must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout their studies.


Saint Joseph's College-New YorkBrooklyn, New York

Degree M.S. in Human Services Leadership
Admissions Rate 68%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 68%
Online Enrollment 5%

SJC's master's of science in human services leadership program prepares students for leadership roles in the field. The program is available at the college's Long Island campus and online, so students across the country can earn their human services master's degree from SJC. The program consists of ten courses and a project-based capstone, during which students assess their leadership competencies and create a personalized plan to address deficiencies. Coursework focuses on the financial, regulatory, and supervisory skills leaders need to succeed in the social services sector. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree and a 3.0 GPA. Transfer students may bring up to six credits of graduate-level coursework.


Southeastern UniversityLakeland, Florida

Degree M.A. in Human Services
Admissions Rate 46%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 39%
Online Enrollment 40%

Southeastern, a Christian institution based in Lakeland, Florida, offers a fully online human services master's degree. The program blends social work theory and practice and features five specializations: administration, gerontology, children and families, emergency management, and the ministry. Online classes are offered in eight-week sessions, and students can complete the degree in as few as 12 months -- though part-time students typically require about two years. Coursework covers historical, legal, and multicultural issues in human services and is delivered through a Christian lens. Applicants should have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, though students with lower GPAs may be admitted on the basis of non-academic accomplishments.


Bellevue UniversityBellevue, Nebraska

Degree M.A. in Human Services
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 63%
Graduation Rate 18%
Online Enrollment 78%

Bellevue offers a rigorous and flexible master's of arts in human services program that is ideal for human services professionals who want to advance their careers. Students may earn the 36-credit master's degree in human services online, allowing students to balance their academic goals with personal and professional obligations. Coursework develops skills and knowledge in community engagement, research methods and program evaluation, and sustainable funding. Students conclude the program by completing an internship or independent study project. Applicants should have either an undergraduate degree with a 2.5 GPA or previous graduate-level coursework with a 3.0 GPA.


Lubbock Christian UniversityLubbock, Texas

Degree M.S. in Human Services
Admissions Rate 96%
Default Rate 12%
Retention Rate 73%
Graduation Rate 42%
Online Enrollment 8%

Grounded in Christian principles, LCU's master's in human services program provides students with a foundation in organizational leadership, nonprofit management, and social policy. The 36-credit program can be completed entirely online, and full-time students typically earn the degree in about two years. Required courses include fundraising, crisis intervention, and rehabilitation strategies, and students may concentrate in nonprofit leadership or family life educator, which prepares students for certification. Students in this flexible online master's in human services program can take classes year-round and have no on-campus requirements. LCU does not accept graduate credits transferred from other institutions.


Wilmington UniversityNew Castle, Delaware

Degree M.S. in Administration of Human Services
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 60%
Graduation Rate 23%
Online Enrollment 31%

Wilmington's master's of science in administration of human services prepares students for human services careers in nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Students may earn the master's in human services at the New Castle, Delaware, campus or entirely online. Students complete at least 33 credits in courses such as disability services and alcohol and drug program management, as well as a 120-credit practicum or capstone project.

Online students complete coursework at their own pace; students working on an accelerated timeline may complete the program in a year, but most require 18 to 24 months. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout their graduate studies.


Northeastern University Global NetworkBoston, Massachusetts

Degree M.S. in Human Services
Admissions Rate 22%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 33%
Graduation Rate 23%
Online Enrollment 63%

Northeastern University Global Network caters to working professionals, offering academic programs inspired by emerging fields that emphasize experiential learning methods. The Global Network serves thousands of students worldwide, through graduate degrees and specialized bachelor's degree completion programs.

NEU's master's degree in human services online consists of 45-46 quarter credits. Students may choose a concentration in global studies, leadership, or organizational communication. Coursework explores theory and practice, research and evaluation, and policy issues in human services, culminating in a service-based capstone project. Full-time students can complete the degree in two years.

Applicants must demonstrate completion of an undergraduate degree and submit a statement of purpose, a professional resume, and two letters of recommendation. Online students pay a flat rate for tuition as determined by the College of Professional Studies. Graduates are prepared for positions directing, supervising, and administering human services within government or nonprofit agencies.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Human Services Program

Many variables should be considered when deciding which school offers the best online master’s in human services program to meet your goals. For example, it is important to look at a program’s length and the kinds of courses that are offered. Many different career-related concentrations are available, including criminal justice, disaster crisis intervention, and gerontology. Make certain the degree program you select offers courses that match your professional interests.

In addition, some programs are fully online while others couple online and on-campus classes in a hybrid format. Think about what learning style works best with your personal and professional obligations. Also, be sure to examine what costs you will be responsible for paying, including whether or not out-of-state students pay higher tuition rates. If the cost exceeds your budget, spend time investigating the different kinds of scholarships and financial aid options available.

Careers for Graduates of Master’s in Human Services Programs

Earning an online human services master’s degree can lead to a host of professional opportunities. You can work in nonprofit, government, and for-profit organizations while helping people overcome everyday challenges. This professionally- and financially-rewarding career allows you to make meaningful differences in people’s lives.

Job Outlook and Salary for Graduates of Human Services Master’s Degrees

According to the BLS, community and social service occupations will increase 14% by 2026, which is twice as fast as the average growth anticipated for all occupations in the U.S. The majority of these jobs are expected to be as counselors and social workers. Opportunities for school and career counselors should also be on the rise. Top online human services master’s degree programs prepare you for this expected surge in career opportunities through rigorous academics and hands-on experience that is relevant to the real world. Your salary depends on the specific career path you choose and where you live in the country.

Employment Growth for Human Services
Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
2,480,000 2,827,200


As you gain experience on the job, you can expect your salary to steadily increase. While your entry-level income may be relatively modest, it should grow as you acquire more knowledge and experience and build your skills. Your online master’s in human services degree allows you to help others, fulfil an important role in society, and earn a healthy income to support yourself and your family.

To determine the best online master’s in human services programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in human services programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.