Young woman holding paper heart in hands of another person

Human Social Services Major

Human social services is an interdisciplinary major combining the strengths and perspectives of our psychology, communication, and religious studies courses. This major is for students seeking to enhance the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual quality of life for those in need.

By electing to major in human social services, you’ve chosen a path to change lives and have a lasting, meaningful impact on people in need - serving as an innovative practitioner able to integrate knowledge, theory, practice, research skills, servant leadership, and cultural sensitivity within community organizations.

Our human social services major is grounded in Scripture and fueled by the Great Commission, providing opportunity for you to apply God's Word to the theory and practice of serving others.

Our curriculum is developed in accordance with the National Organization for Human Services and our program was included in the HumanServicesEdu.org list of Most Affordable Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Human Services 2022.

Experiential Learning Beyond the Classroom

You’ll practice the skills related to personal and professional growth through knowledge-based learning, experiential processes, community involvement, and practical experience under the direct supervision of professionals in human social service agencies.

Our program is service-oriented and you'll have the opportunity to engage in several opportunities outside of the classroom, such as the HSS Club, attending area conferences, and volunteering at area agencies, community centers, clinics, and shelters. 

Core human social services courses require personal contact with area social service agencies as well as documented volunteer hours. This hands-on experience and mentorship allows students to practice and develop mastery of learned skills. The major culminates in two practicum experiences, providing students with long-term practical learning focused on progressive skills development and understanding.

Practicum Partnerships

As aspiring service providers, our students practice perspective taking, problem solving, critical thinking, and communication skills. Specifically, you’ll apply the skills related to observation and behavioral recording, interviewing, implementing treatment plans, employing research and evaluation, crisis intervention, and proper case management and referral procedures with ethical insight and professionalism.

Students have previously served at:

  • Community Services at Children’s Hospital
  • Milwaukee House of Correction
  • Lighthouse Youth Center
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • Milwaukee Christian Center
  • Milwaukee Rescue Mission
  • Safe Babies Healthy Families
  • Walworth County Health and Human Services
  • The Women’s Center, Inc.
Human Social Services Club

The HSS Club is a student-led organization that serves Wisconsin Lutheran College and the community by providing learning opportunities, creating an organized response to need, and lending a helping hand. All students majoring in human social services are welcome to join the HSS Club and assist in making the world a better place.

The difference between human social services and social work

Human social services is a diverse and broad area of study, centered around the goal of applying interdisciplinary knowledge toward meeting people's basic needs, while social work is focused on the particular areas of building skills and resource access to improve people's circumstances. Both require empathetic students with a desire to serve others.

Though the human social services major is not identical to a bachelor’s degree in social work, a student graduating with a human social services degree will be prepared to improve accessibility, accountability, and coordination among the multiple professionals and service agencies designed to provide support, education, resources, and/or assistance to diverse populations. Students are assisted in meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems, and maintaining a commitment to improving the quality of life of those with whom they serve.

Occupational outlook for social and human service assistants

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a much faster than average job outlook for social and human service assistants between 2021 and 2031, with an increase of 52,400 jobs within the ten-year period (a 12% rise).

Students may choose to work in any number of areas, including:

  • Adoption and Foster Care
  • The Aged
  • Case Management
  • Child Welfare
  • Community Resources
  • Community Recreation
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Delinquent/Court Youth
  • Group Homes
  • Mental Health
  • Counseling
  • Probation and Parole
  • Addiction

Advising Resources

Connect with Human Social Services Faculty

Dee Dee Mackie
Dee Dee Mackie Human Social Services Adjunct Professor 414.443.8954 deedee.mackie@vatora.net
Laura Reinke
Laura Reinke Human Social Services Assistant Lecturer 414.443.8954 laura.reinke@vatora.net