Introduction to Human Services

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSY 130

       Course Name: Introduction to Human Services

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Recommended: PSY 101

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces field of human services and human services theory.  Content includes human problems in aging, child abuse, drug abuse, delinquency, mental retardation, criminal behavior, health, poverty, education and employment, and the organizations and agencies designed to alleviate such problems.  Review of several intervention strategies also included.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

  1. know the history and current status of human services.
  2. be able to define the function of human services workers, list the qualifications of various practitioners in the field, and discuss the various problem areas present in the U.S. today.
  3. understand psychiatric, behavioral, humanistic, and eclectic approaches in the human services.
  4. be able to describe various strategies used by human services professionals and paraprofessionals and give examples of situations in which the specific skills might be used.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Orientation and Perspective
    1. the new direction of human services today
    2. a history or the helping professions
  2. The Roles, Problems, and Boundaries of Human Services
    1. human service workers as change agents
    2. indigenous workers and para-helpers
    3. defining problems and causes
    4. special populations and special systems for helping them
  3. Contemporary Strategies for the Helper
    1. medical/psychiatric approaches to helping and the types of problems to which they are most applicable
    2. behavioral approaches to helping and the types of problems to which they are most applicable
    3. humanistic psychotherapy and the types of problems to which they are most applicable
    4. integrating modem strategies
  4. How Change is Effected in the Human Service Field
    1. problem assessment and planning
    2. crisis intervention
    3. peer therapy and mutual self-help groups
    4. social interventions and environmental change
    5. human rights and ethical behavior

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Methods of instruction may include lecture, discussion, use of pertinent audio-visual materials, role-plays and student presentations.  Students may be encouraged to participate in volunteer helping activities.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to write for the class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded.  This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, summaries of journal articles, and/or a series of shorter, analytical papers.  Each instructor will determine specific reading, writing, and other assignments.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Each instructor will assign textbooks and other reading materials.  Representative texts include:

Burger, William, R. (2011). Human Services in Contemporary America. (8th ed.). Belmont, CA:  Cengage.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Grades are based on exams, written assignments, and classroom presentations as assigned by the instructor.

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Each instructor will establish policies with respect to attendance, make-up exams, incomplete grades, etc., and include these and other course information in a written syllabus to be distributed to students early in the course.
  2. Important dates

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.