Few endeavors are more worthy than committing oneself to be of service to others. Elon’s human service studies (HSS) program prepares students to go on to a variety of human services careers such as case management, program administration and volunteer coordination, and positions such as activities director, habilitation specialist, community educator, outreach worker, human resource specialist, court counselor and substance abuse counselor. These positions exist in a variety of settings, including hospitals, school systems, social service and law enforcement agencies, public health departments, juvenile and adult correctional facilities, eldercare and retirement centers, and many others. The HSS major also provides foundation for graduate study in counseling, social work and related fields.
“The HSS major provides broad training, allowing students to have an array of career options. The service-learning component takes the HSS major to the next level, providing students the competitive edge to succeed in the working world.”
HSS majors gain an understanding of the many societal, cultural and personal variables that contribute to human problems globally. They learn and apply diverse approaches to addressing and solving those problems.
Elon takes a three-pronged approach to the study of human services. Majors experience the various facets of the field and build skill competency by taking three types of courses: content, skill-building and practice. Content courses include foundational classes such as Violence in the Family, Childhood and Human Services, Juvenile Justice and International Human Services. Skill-building courses include Counseling Individuals and Families, Working with Groups and Communities, Play Therapy and Advanced Interventions, which give students specific tools they will need to work with various populations. Practice courses give students the chance to apply their resources and skills to real-world situations. All majors complete at least 40 service-learning hours, a full-time practicum during one winter term and a full-time, seven-week internship during their senior year.
Elon is a national leader in engaged learning, and HSS majors receive targeted opportunities to develop their knowledge by working in the field. During service projects and internships, HSS majors work alongside professionals to gain the invaluable training only real-world experiences can provide. Elon students’ fieldwork is closely linked to their classroom studies through seminars and assignments.
Field placements are highly individualized. The Elon HSS field placement coordinator uses professional expertise and knowledge of the various human service agencies in the greater Elon area and helps students obtain placements specifically matched with their goals and interests. Elon HSS majors have completed internships with dozens of organizations, including:
“Elon’s HSS program offers unique opportunities through experiential learning. I was able to volunteer for hospice, tutor underprivileged children, work in a guidance counseling department at a local high school, conduct research on teen suicide, and work as an intern at a human services agency for an entire semester.”
HSS majors have many opportunities to conduct original research and present their findings at academic forums on campus and at professional conferences. Elon students have presented papers on topics ranging form the relationship between intimate-partner violence and the risk for HIV, to children’s understanding of AIDS, to teen perceptions of suicide risk factors. Some HSS majors participate in one of Elon’s competitive Fellows programs and in Tau Upsilon Alpha, the human service field’s national honor society.
At Elon, you will learn from and work alongside dynamic faculty committed to helping you identify your goals and then achieve them. These faculty are experts in experiential learning, and they periodically consult with other academic institutions and agency professionals regarding the most up-to-date skills and training required and anticipated within the discipline. The faculty incorporate this information into the curriculum, ensuring that Elon students will be among the best prepared in the field.
HSS majors graduate fully prepared to begin careers in the profession or to pursue graduate study. Almost one-third of Elon’s HSS majors opt to attend graduate programs in social work, counseling, public health, law and other areas. They have been accepted to many of the nation’s premier institutions, including: