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Social Services Concentration

The Social Services concentration provides students with knowledge and skills to prepare for entry-level careers in human services and nonprofit work, as well as graduate training in social work, counseling, marriage and family therapy, and a variety of other helping professions.  Students build upon the understanding of human behavior that they gain in their core courses as sociology majors with specific coursework in social problems and policies, helping skills, and treatment strategies.  All Social Services students also complete a 112-hour internship relevant to their career interests.  Required courses include:

  • SOC 3800 Introduction to Social Services
  • SOC 4140 Policy and Social Change
  • SOC 4950 Field Experience

Students also select six hours of additional coursework in sociology, anthropology, rural sociology, and/or criminal justice.  Popular concentration electives include:

  • SOC 3110 The Family
  • SOC 3940 Mental Illness
  • SOC 3970 Substance Abuse
  • SOC 4810 Aging and Death
  • SOC 4840 Child Abuse and Treatment

Courses in the Social Services concentration are taught by our core sociology faculty, as well as two licensed social workers, one of whom is dually trained as a marriage and family therapist.  These social services practitioners are able to weave into their classroom presentations their experiences in mental health, child welfare, and medical social work.  Active and experiential learning are also important components of the Social Services concentration, with students having the opportunity to shadow human services professionals in the local community, engage in service learning projects, work through case studies with their classmates, and hear from guest speakers representing a variety of professional fields.  For those interested in graduate training, recruiters from local Master of Social Work programs conduct application workshops in our department a couple of times a year, and professional development events are also offered to those who plan to pursue entry-level positions after graduation.   

Our Social Services alumni are employed in federal and state government agencies, such as the Social Security Administration and the Department of Social Services, as well as nonprofit organizations like the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the United Way, and America’s Tooth Fairy.  Other popular work settings include health and mental health agencies, such as hospitals, hospice providers, and drug treatment facilities.  Educational organizations of all levels, from early intervention programs to college career centers, are also common employers for our Social Services graduates.  Further, our alumni have entered graduate programs in social work, guidance and mental health counseling, and marriage and family therapy at institutions such as the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

If you are interested in helping people one-on-one or at a community level, the Social Services concentration may be for you.  For further information, please contact Jennifer Holland