Concentration In Human Services

What is the Concentration in Human Services?
What are the Field Education Internships like?
What else would be helpful to know about the CHS?
What are the admission requirements for the CHS?
Do you want to travel and study abroad?


What is the Concentration in Human Services?

- Students enjoying a break during the Ropes Course

The Concentration in Human Services (CHS) is a comprehensive educational program that prepares students for diverse generalist practice in the field of human services. Students are prepared to work with people throughout the life span and the focus is on people, who face a variety of needs and issues, e.g., poverty, discrimination, crime, disability, interpersonal violence, and substance abuse. Students in the CHS also examine the intersection of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and ability as well as issues related to immigration and transnational families. In addition, the CHS has a distinct focus on advocacy, international social welfare, social justice, and human rights.


Graduates work with children, youth, and adults in direct practice and administration. They are employed in a variety of settings including children’s homes, criminal justice agencies, runaway and domestic violence shelters, nursing homes, hospitals, day treatment centers, and community-based residences. Graduates also work in social justice and preventative settings and have gone on to graduate programs in fields such as: Social Work; School and Mental Health Counseling; Humanistic/Multicultural Education; Public Health and Public Administration; Law; Special Education; Higher Education; Criminal Justice; and International Human Rights.


Some of the main features of the Concentration in Human Services are three supervised field education internships, staying together as a group throughout the educational process, and an emphasis on arts and recreation. The CHS culminates with a senior thesis and the exploration of the intersection of professional and personal identities.


The Concentration in Human Services is inspired by the social pedagogy/social education profession and practices and influenced by critical pedagogy with an emphasis on self-directed learning.

What are the Field Education Internships like?

- Students sharing their Life Lines

Students do their field education internships in a variety of human services agencies, including domestic violence shelters, residential treatment facilities and runaway shelters for children and youth, community residences for adults with disabilities, hospitals, and criminal justice settings, such as prisons, jails, and probation departments. Field education settings also include daycare and child development centers and schools for children with and without special needs as well as daycare, advocacy programs, and nursing homes for the elderly. Students are afforded the opportunity to do their internships in a variety of advocacy and social justice programs as well as in programs that utilize arts and recreation and animal assisted therapies.

Students choose their field education placements in collaboration with the college human services faculty and are expected to do their internships in a variety of agencies diversifying their experiences.  Intensive individual and group supervision is a main feature in the field education experience.

Students do three consecutive field education placements of each 104 hours (8 hours a week for 13 weeks) while also attending the three consecutive Field Education and Human Services Theory and Practice courses.

All current and previous students highlight the field education component of the CHS as one of the most important part of their educational experience.  The field education placements afford students an opportunity to truly experience “real life” before graduating, to explore which populations and agency settings they prefer, to rule out what they do not prefer, and to guide them in their future career choices.

What else would be helpful to know about the CHS?

- Adventure Based Ropes Course: Balancing the Raft

Although students certainly study and read about group dynamics, they actually LIVE it in their educational process. They stay together for 3 semesters as a cohort, often more than 5 hours a week.  This cohort experience affords students the opportunity to learn to work together, experience together, have fun and work out differences together and, very importantly, learn from each other.

Students have a variety of learning experiences both inside and outside of class.  For example, students participate in field trips every semester.  Some of the field trips include: visits to residential treatment centers for children, who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect; visits to agencies serving people with developmental disabilities; and a trip to New York City, where students tour the United Nations. This field trip also includes a visit to nonprofit agencies advocating for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning people. Examining and understanding human rights are an integral part of the CHS.  All field trips augment the learning process in the classroom and serve to further strengthen the cohort experience.

- Becoming Friends: CHS Student in NYC

The requirement to build knowledge and skills in the area of arts and recreation is also an integral part of the CHS. Although mastering verbal counseling skills are paramount to the practice of any human service professional, the value of building skills in the arts and in recreation is equally important.  “Doing with” people is an amazing opportunity to build relationships and rapport and it provides people with competence and skills.  Students continuously do class exercises to demonstrate and learn about the use of the arts and recreation.  Students are also encouraged to take expressive arts courses, which have been developed specifically for CHS students.

Cognate courses are courses outside the Department of Sociology. Since human services is an interdisciplinary profession, students are required to take courses across disciplines and departments. Cognate courses include, but are not limited to, courses in the following departments: Anthropology; Black Studies; Communication Disorders; Communication and Media; Education; History; Philosophy; Political Science and International Relations; Psychology; and Women, Gender and Sexuality. Cognate courses underscore the need for students to explore and integrate a deep appreciation for intersectionality and cultural humility.

Finally, an international social welfare and social development perspective is integrated into every aspect of the CHS (see below for more information regarding the International Social Welfare/Social Development course).  Expanding knowledge and learning about other cultures further prepare CHS students to take on the challenges that they will face once they are in the field working with a diversity of people and issues.


What are the admission application requirements for the Concentration in Human Services

Students interested in majoring in Sociology with the Concentration in Human Services must submit this application by October 7.

The Concentration in Human Services consists of courses offered consecutively during the student’s junior and senior year. The first course in the Concentration in Human Services, Introduction to Human Services, is offered fall, spring, and summer and the core courses in the sequence begin in the spring semester only.   In order to apply, students must already have been accepted to or be a current student at SUNY New Paltz, have completed a minimum of 30 credits of college level courses, and have Grade Point Average of 3.0.

Do you want to travel and study abroad?

- Students visiting the United Nations

In addition to the required courses, the Concentration in Human Services (CHS) offers an International Social Welfare/Social Development course every other summer to South Africa (6 credits for undergraduate and 3 credits for graduate students). This course is 3 weeks long and counts as either Sociology Elective or CHS Cognate courses. The course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.  Human services practitioners and educators are also welcome!  The course has been approved at several master’s programs related to human services. Students are also encouraged to study abroad a semester and the CHS faculty work with each student individually to make sure all major course requirements are fulfilled.