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What is Human Services?

The field of Human Services is broadly defined, uniquely approaching the objective of meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems, and maintaining a commitment to improving the overall quality of life of service populations. The Human Services profession is one which promotes improved service delivery systems by addressing not only the quality of direct services, but also by seeking to improve accessibility, accountability, and coordination among professionals and agencies in service delivery. (Source: National Organization of Human Services)

Make a Difference in Your Community

The primary purpose of the human services professional is to assist individual and communities to function as effectively as possible in the major domains of living.

"Human services professional" is a generic term for people who hold professional and paraprofessional jobs in such diverse settings as group homes and halfway houses; correctional, intellectual disability, and community mental health centers; family, child, and youth service agencies, and programs concerned with alcoholism, drug abuse, family violence, and aging. Depending on the employment setting and the kinds of clients served there, job titles and duties vary a great deal.

A strong desire to help others is an important consideration for a job as a human services worker. Individuals who show patience, understanding, and caring in their dealings with others are highly valued by employers. Other important personal traits include communication skills, a strong sense of responsibility, and the ability to manage time effectively.

Career Opportunities

Grounded in a liberal arts education, UNC’s Human Services program combines expert mentoring professors, challenging coursework and hands-on experience a broad range of helping environments.

  • Community health education in hospitals and federal, state and local health departments
  • Case management for alcohol or drug prevention
  • Social service in mental health or vocational rehabilitation agencies
  • Care management and activities in assisted living or nursing homes
  • Case management in area agencies on aging or activities in senior centers
  • Advocacy for prevention of abuse for children, adults, older adults, or people with disabilities
  • Specialization within various private sector or non-profit settings or entrepreneurial occupations
  • Preparation for graduate education in various Human Services-related fields 

About Us

The Human Services program is housed on the first floor of Gunter Hall, located on central campus, home to the health sciences.  Built in 1928 as the Gunter Hall of Health, the blonde-brick building with its distinctive bell tower is a campus landmark. Gunter Hall was renovated in 1996, retaining historic features such as the center court of the old gym floor, as well as original decorative murals.  Space utilized by the program includes faculty and staff offices, student computers labs, and hi-tech classrooms equipped with current multimedia devices. 

To support your learning and research, the James A. Michener Library houses hundreds of resources for the study of Human Services and each of its emphasis areas, plus links with a broad network of other libraries to provide both printed materials and online databases.