Human Services Leadership

Human Services Leadership (HSL) is an integrative and empowering area of study that will prepare you for career paths that are rewarding on both a personal and professional basis.

Through professional internships and interactive class sessions in our nationally-accredited HSL program, you will become a well-rounded leader of social change at all levels

You will become an advocate for individuals, families and communities and address personal, social and environmental issues.

Human services professionals aren’t defined by a single job or work setting, but they all share a common mission: to improve the lives of individuals and communities, including vulnerable or disadvantaged populations.

Skill Areas

HSL students gain knowledge and expertise in:

  • Conflict resolution and critical thinking
  • Grant writing and resource allocation
  • Human behavior
  • Intervention strategies
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Professional development and leadership
  • Project planning and sustainability
  • Social issues

HSL Career Opportunities

A University of Wisconsin Oshkosh human services leadership (HSL) degree is ideal for anyone who desires a career leading people and organizations to help address social economic and environmental issues at all levels of society.

Visit the Human Services Leadership Department’s Career Opportunities page for details.

  • Aging and Disability Services
  • Business and Community
  • Education and Higher Learning
  • Family and Child Services
  • Health and Wellness
  • Social and Protective Services

Transfer Credits

Build on your previous experience

See how your previous college-level course-work would transfer into the HSL degree program by filling out our prospective student form.

If you have an associate of applied science degree from a Wisconsin Technical College, you may receive a block of up to 45 credits, in addition to all applicable general education coursework. Typically, this totals about 60 credits in transfer.

Here are some examples of technical college degrees that may transfer into the HSL program:

  • Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA)
  • Business Management
  • Criminal Justice—Law Enforcement
  • FireMedic
  • Health Information Technology
  • Radiography
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Human Services

Online Program Delivery

The Human Services Leadership program is offered completely online. The online delivery of the HSL program at UW Oshkosh combines the best of both worlds. You get the flexibility they need with the same academic quality of our on-campus programs.

Courses are delivered through the online learning environment, Canvas. You will interact with professors and classmates through online discussion and use a drop box to upload assignments. There are no scheduled meeting times, but there are deadlines and due dates for projects, assignments and discussions.

A Supportive Community

You will have a strong support network from day one with small classes, dedicated advisors and excellent campus resources that are available to all online students: academic advising, Polk Library, and writing center.


Our tuition rate makes budgeting for your degree easy! Courses taken outside of your degree requirements may have additional fees.

Program Requirements

University Studies Program 38 credits
Human services required courses 40 credits
Electives and/or minor courses 42 credits
Total credits 120


Required Core Courses

The online Human Services Leadership program consists of general education courses and required major courses that will help you understand what it means to be a leader in today’s marketplace.
Human Services 203: Introduction to Human Services (3 credits) (Required)
A survey course introducing the roles, functions, history, and future of human service workers from a generic skill perspective. Provides opportunities for career exploration through initial field placement in the human services field.

Human Services 310: Interpersonal Relations in the Helping Professions (3 credits) (Required)
Basic human services skills, including listening and interviewing; decision making and problem-solving strategies will be presented, discussed, demonstrated and practiced.

Human Services 320: Human Behavior and Strategies for Intervention (3 credits) (Required)
This course presents a wide variety of theories and research findings. The theories cover both internal and external factors that influence human behavior. The main focus of the course is assessment in human services; that is, material is presented to help the student identify why people do what they do and to evaluate the strengths and deficits in an individual’s development.

Human Services 325: Internship (3 credits) (Required)
Supervised experiences focusing upon human relation skills in human services. The student has the appropriate environment to observe, participate, and integrate accepted practice in human services. Note: 120 hours of field experience required.

Human Services 335: Globalization in Human Services (3 credits) (Required)
This course will examine the life chances and social welfare within a globalized political-economic context focusing on poverty and anti poverty development programs worldwide, as the major theme of study. It describes the impact of U.S. political, military and corporate policy on other nations. Students will develop a sense of self-understanding and cross-cultural awareness based on respect for differing ways of life.

Human Services 340: Social Issues & Solutions in Human Services (3 credits) (Required)
This course focuses on social situational analysis and human service program planning, by collecting information about identified social issues/problems, synthesizing it by using the logical framework analysis as a tool that can be used in all human service projects at all stages – from design through implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all human services programs, projects and other tools of advocacy.

Human Services 360: Program Evaluation & Grant Writing (3 credits) (Required)
Evaluation research is the process of using social science research methods to study, appraise, and help improve programs in non-profit organization systems, governmental departments, and businesses. Program Evaluation is an important component of strategic planning – working to improve the effectiveness of an organization. The ability to conduct an evaluation research will help to prepare you for leadership roles in the human services workplace. The ability to develop a Grant Proposal for program funding will provide you with opportunity to fund your proposed program plan.

Human Services Elective: (3 credits) (Required)
Any non-core 300/400 level HSL course.

Human Services 385: Financial Sustainability in Non-Profit Organizations (3 credits) (Required)
This course is designed for students to develop knowledge and skills related to the diverse mix of funding streams that are necessary for the nonprofit to achieve sustainability. The course will cover the 501 (3) (c) reporting requirements, basic accounting information, marketing, investments, grants and other sources of income/support. The impact of economic trends will be reviewed.

Human Services 415: Legal and Ethical Aspects of Human Services (3 credits) (Required)
An introductory course providing an overview of the legal aspects in the field of human services and implications for the human services worker. Included are such topics as liability, confidentiality and privilege, records and rights of clients, due process and equal protection in terms of staff and clients, discrimination, and witnessing. A unit on ethics will also be included.

Human Services 440: Leadership and Decision-Making in Non-Profit Organizations (3 credits) (Required)
This course will address theories, principles and practices of leadership in non-profit organizations. Students will explore strategies and leadership styles unique to organization, gender and culture. Focus will be on understanding all facets of leadership as it relates to nonprofit organizations and their stakeholders. Economic decision-making will be addressed as it related to growth and viability, as well as organizational decline.

Human Services 420/421/422: Advanced Internship (7 credits) (Required)
Supervised experiences which enable the student to observe, participate, and integrate accepted practice in the field of human services. 280 hours of field experience required.


Online Degree Programs

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Phone: (920) 424-0234