Course of Study

Human Service Studies mission and the curriculum designed to accomplish it are based on a set of Core Principles that guide our actions and are infused throughout our courses.

These principles are:

  1. Viewing the world through a Systems Perspective
  2. Valuing Human Difference and Inclusion
  3. Pursuing Social Justice
  4. Working with people utilizing a Strength’s-based approach
  5. Utilizing practices that are Evidence-based
  6. Valuing and ensuring Self-determination
  7. The on-going pursuit of Self-Awareness

HSS majors build skill competency by taking courses that teach theory and foundational knowledge, interventions and skills, and provide opportunities to apply that knowledge to practice in professional settings.

  • Foundational and skill-building courses include Counseling Individuals and Families, Working with Groups and Communities, Designing and Evaluating Human Service Programs, Inequality and Social Policy, Research Methods and Advanced Interventions.
  • Students choose specialized electives that focus on populations or areas of study such as Juvenile Justice, Play Therapy Health Social Work, International Human Services, Eating Disorders, Deaf Culture and ASL, and Aging.
  • Practice courses, Service-Learning, Practicum and Internship, give students the chance to apply their skills and knowledge to real-world situations. Field education is always linked to courses where students learn foundational and practice knowledge, process their practice experience with other students, and are closely supervised by a faculty member.  All majors complete at least 40 service-learning hours, a 100 hour practicum, and a 300 hour internship in various local, national and international settings chosen to fit their individual goals.

Research Opportunities

HSS majors have many opportunities to conduct original research with a faculty mentor. They present their findings at academic forums on campus and at professional conferences. Elon students have presented on topics such as human trafficking, play therapy, child abuse prevention, foster care, food justice and community gardens. Some HSS majors participate in one of Elon’s competitive Fellows programs.

After Graduation

HSS majors graduate fully prepared to begin careers in the profession or to pursue graduate study. Elon’s HSS majors 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:

  • Columbia University
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Wake Forest University
  • University of Chicago
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Georgia
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Dublin
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Boston College
  • Appalachian State University
  • University of North Texas
  • Rutgers University
  • Penn State
  • Villanova University
  • Simmons College
  • University of Denver
What recent students and graduates say:

I am graduating with my masters in social work this May and I have already been hired to be a therapist for Children and Families! Elon’s HSS department prepared me for the classes I took in graduate school. The topics I learned here introduced the foundational theories of social work, and even basic clinical therapy skills which is more than some of my peers entered our program with.

I just finished my first month at United Way of Miami and I LOVE it! Thank you so much for everything you taught me!

I’m about a month into working and I have to say the HSS major has prepared me so well for my job and I cannot be more thankful for all your help in helping me feel prepared and ready for post-graduation life.

I am going to graduate school to become an LCSW. I have always known I wanted to work in a medical field so I am planning on having a health care specialization. This semester has really opened my mind up to working with the aging and geriatric population. Through my experience at Hospice I am now thinking about completing the Certificate in Aging Populations at Penn. I am grateful to have had my internship experience at Hospice.

The HSS major really has prepared me for the future and has opened my eyes to the work that needs to be done all around us. All my friends are nervous, scared or not ready to graduate yet, but I can confidently say that I feel ready for the future because of the HSS major.  I will always value the discussions I have been able to have in the HSS classes.

I love my classes! I have been able to learn from experts in the field who really care about their work.