Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Human Services

Human services is a broad field encompassing a variety of occupations, all of which are dedicated to assisting people in crisis. Examples include social workers, drug counselors, public safety experts, and advocates for the homeless. While some human services workers, like caseworkers, focus on individual clients, others specialize in group advocacy and community engagement. For individuals motivated by a desire to help others, the human services field offers countless opportunities to change lives.

The majority of jobs in the human services field require some form of licensure or certification, which a master’s degree program will prepare you for. Students in human services master’s programs develop core competencies required to assess crisis situations and intervene appropriately. Master’s programs also encourage students to select a specialized area of study or career path, and often culminate in a residency or internship within the student’s chosen field.

While the job market for human services professionals is growing steadily, salaries can vary greatly depending on position, location, and experience. If your passion lies in the human services field but you’re concerned about making a worthwhile investment, you may want to consider earning an affordable online degree. Online master’s in human services programs are as academically rigorous as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, and provide the same opportunities upon graduation. Offering self-paced programs and flexible schedules, the following institutions make it possible to earn an affordable online master’s in human services while raising a family or working part time. These programs offer the lowest tuitions, highest returns, and strongest academics. If you’re interested in earning a cheap online human services master’s degree from the comfort of your own home, read on to learn more about these programs.

Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Human Services
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Liberty University

Value Score 7.67
Average Tuition $7,781
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 97
Number of Online Programs 18

Liberty's online master's in human services counseling appeals to students seeking a Christian-centered education. Students can earn the degree's required 30 credits entirely online, and on their own schedule. The university delivers distance learning courses in eight-week intervals, with flexible assignments and coursework. Choosing among specializations ranging from Christian ministries to addiction and recovery, distance learners who earn their master's degree in human services online can customize the program to fit their career goals.

Although students can choose to complete their degree entirely online, Liberty offers one-week intensive courses on campus for those who are local or interested in traveling to Lynchburg, Virginia. Distance learners seeking licensure in human services counseling must fulfill their state's requirements, as Liberty's program does not directly lead to licensure.

Graduate students are eligible for financial aid, including loans and scholarships, and may also be eligible for tuition payment plans.

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Lubbock Christian University

Value Score 7.33
Average Tuition $7,236
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 64
Number of Online Programs 2

LCU offers an entirely online master's in human services for students seeking a spiritually focused program. Geared specifically toward careers in the nonprofit sector, the program features specializations in nonprofit leadership and family life education. Typically, distance learners can earn this 36-credit degree within two years.

LCU delivers courses in the master's in human services online program asynchronously, allowing students to complete coursework on their own schedules. The degree does not include any in-person requirements. Based firmly in Christian values, the curriculum helps students grow both academically and spiritually. Students who choose to specialize in nonprofit leadership learn how to start a nonprofit group and how to manage an existing group effectively.

Admission requirements include official transcripts, GRE or MAT scores, and multiple references. All distance learners at LCU pay the same tuition, regardless of where they live.

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University of Illinois at Springfield

Value Score 7.18
Average Tuition $7,996
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 65
Number of Online Programs 11

Through self-paced, asynchronous delivery, students can earn their master's in human services administration from UIS almost entirely online. The 44-credit curriculum includes 24 credits in core courses and 20 credits in the student's specialization. To graduate, distance learners must also complete a four-credit internship consisting of 400 supervised hours. However, degree candidates who have at least three years of supervised work experience in the field can substitute other coursework for the internship requirement.

Graduates of the online master's in human services administration program at UIS are prepared for a variety of careers that require managing and evaluating social service agencies.

While most of the coursework is available in an asynchronous format, some instructors may require students to take proctored exams at specific dates and times online. Potential applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and must have completed courses in research methods and lifespan development.

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Wilmington University

Value Score 6.86
Average Tuition $7,992
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 75
Number of Online Programs 16

Students can complete WilmU's master's in administration of human services entirely online, with the option to earn the required 33 credits at an accelerated rate to finish within one year. Distance learners who want to adhere to a more traditional course load and schedule typically earn their degree within 18-24 months. By working closely with an advisor, students can map out a customized degree path that works with their lifestyle.

Choosing among electives and courses covering topics like disability services and alcohol and drugs program management, distance learners receive a comprehensive education in the field of human services that equips them for successful careers in various sectors. The program also effectively prepares students for further graduate work, such as doctoral studies. WilmU delivers its online courses asynchronously, but expects distance learners to participate in class discussions and work on assignments about three to five days each week. Courses in this master's in human services are available on normal semester schedules or in seven-week blocks, allowing for even more flexibility in creating a suitable course schedule.

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Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

Value Score 6.64
Average Tuition $7,884
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 28
Number of Online Programs 7

Students seeking a flexible and innovative online human services master's degree should consider SMUM's program as a great option. Requiring students to enroll in just 13 courses, or 36 credits, the degree can take as little as two years to complete. Distance learners can choose one of two available specializations, pursue a nonspecialized degree, or opt for a dual concentration (which increases the credit requirement to 48).

Each student enrolled in the program receives an iPad preloaded with SMUM's online learning platform, allowing for a uniquely mobile and flexible learning experience. Also contributing to the degree's flexibility is the asynchronous class format and lack of residency requirement. Distance learners can choose to participate in a practicum, where students apply work or volunteer experience toward credit requirements. This option is especially appealing for students seeking licensure after earning their online master's in human services.

SMUM provides a variety of financial aid options for those who qualify. Students earning their human services master's degree can work closely with academic and financial advisors to map out a program that works for them.

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Southeastern University

Value Score 5.55
Average Tuition $8,381
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 82
Number of Online Programs 9

SEU's online master's in human services attracts students seeking a program that incorporates Christian theology and faith into core curriculum coursework. Distance learners can complete the 36-credit program, featuring classes structured in eight-week blocks, in just 12 months. Students can choose from a number of specializations, including ministry, gerontology, and emergency management.

SEU delivers courses asynchronously through its online platform, allowing students to complete assigned coursework on their own time. Distance learners must log into online courses on a regular basis, and complete assigned readings and coursework by certain due dates, but no classes require any specific meeting or login times.

Applicants to this master's in human services program should have earned a minimum 3.0 GPA on undergraduate coursework. Payment plans and other financial aid options are available for all students at SEU.

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Bellevue University

Value Score 4.84
Average Tuition $9,450
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 92
Number of Online Programs 15

Bellevue features a 36-credit, comprehensive master's in human services that distance learners can complete entirely online. Including 33 credits of required core coursework and a three-credit capstone course, Bellevue's human services degree program gives distance learners the tools needed for ethical and successful management and leadership of human services organizations. Students may transfer credits earned at an accredited institution to accelerate their time to graduation. A broad approach to the subject material allows graduates to apply their knowledge to a variety of sectors. However, this online human services master's degree does not lead directly to licensure.

Bellevue offers its online courses in an asynchronous format, allowing students to fit graduate coursework into their busy schedules. All distance learners pay the same tuition rates, regardless of their state of residence.

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University of Northwestern-St Paul

Value Score 4.36
Average Tuition $8,820
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 48
Number of Online Programs 5

UNW -- St. Paul offers its master's in human services in a variety of formats, including an entirely online option and a hybrid option that combines online content with in-person instruction. With a curriculum based firmly in the Christian faith, the program is designed for students looking to focus their human services degree within a spiritual framework. Distance learners can complete the 36-credit program in about 18-24 months. Students earning their online human services master's degree program at UNW -- St. Paul enroll in a range of core courses covering topics like multicultural/diversity issues in human services, theories of human development, and marriage and family dynamics.

The university's program does not lead directly to licensure, and is particularly appealing to students planning further education following graduation. The school provides monthly on-campus information sessions for prospective students interested in earning their master's degree in human services online.

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Concordia University-Nebraska

Value Score 4.30
Average Tuition $9,783
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 80
Number of Online Programs 13

Ideal for students looking to jump right into an online human services master's degree, Concordia -- Nebraska's program does not require GMAT or GRE scores for admission and features start dates throughout the year. Based in the Lutheran tradition, the curriculum interweaves faith and academics. The school delivers the 36-credit program's courses entirely online, in eight-week sessions. Sample topics include intercultural communication in counseling, professional ethics, and life span development. To graduate, students must complete a three-credit capstone practicum.

Online classes at Concordia -- Nebraska are self-paced and asynchronous, embodying the "hassle-free" label the school puts on its master's programs. Registration concierge services keep distance learners on track, helping them successfully complete their coursework in a timely, efficient manner. Courses begin every eight weeks.

Concordia -- Nebraska provides a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships. Additionally, the university accepts all education military benefits.

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Northeastern University Global Network

Value Score 3.53
Average Tuition $22,656
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 74
Number of Online Programs 23

Full-time students in NEU -- Global's online master's in human services program can expect to earn their degree in as little as two years. The 45-credit program prepares distance learners for careers in nonprofit, government, and nongovernmental areas of service. Designed for those hoping to gain a wider perspective through a global approach to the human services field, the degree features specializations in areas such as global studies, organizational communication, and leadership. Courses equip students to successfully pursue tasks such as grant writing, fundraising, engaging in global literacy, and financial management.

NEU -- Global delivers courses asynchronously, allowing students to schedule coursework around existing obligations. While distance learners can choose when to log on and complete work, they still have to meet certain instructor-set deadlines.

Admission requirements for this degree include a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and a professional resume.

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