The Black Hills State University Human Services program (BHSU HMS) provides students with the knowledge necessary to understand and address unique needs of various human populations. BHSU HMS is an interdisciplinary program where students study the psychology and sociology of human behavior and learn how this information can be used to address human needs. Through three emphasis areas, students also have opportunities to focus their studies and take internships within the field for academic credit.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics expects professional opportunities within the field of human services to grow faster than average through 2030. Whether you are looking to enter a career in school counseling, child welfare services, probation and parole services, law enforcement, social work, or other related fields, BHSU Human Services provides students with the foundational skills and knowledge necessary to pursue these diverse professional opportunities.  

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The Black Hills State University Human Services program is an interdisciplinary program that provides you with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and address human and societal needs.  In addition to studying the psychology and sociology of human behavior, our human services classes provide hands-on learning to develop foundational skills for serving individuals and communities.

BHSU Human Services also offers the choice of three emphasis options in Justice Studies, Family Studies, and Community Studies, allowing you the opportunity to focus your studies within the field best suited to your professional goals. Through personalized instruction and advising, our faculty and staff are here to help you identify your goals and navigate your path to achieving them. This includes personal guidance and support with internship, employment, and graduate school opportunities. Click the links to the left to learn more about careers, faculty, and other information about majoring in Human Services. 


Beginning with the very first Human Services course, the BHSU Human Services curriculum is designed to help you envision your goals and build a path to achieving them. The interdisciplinary core curriculum delivers a well-rounded understanding of human behavior from our sociology and psychology faculty, while the human services courses focus on applying this knowledge to important practical skills. Three emphasis areas allow you to focus your studies within the coursework most closely aligned with your professional goals, including: Justice Studies, Family Studies, and Community Studies. Our faculty and advisors will help you tailor your curriculum in a way that reflects your unique professional goals.  

BHSU HMS Core Curriculum – 30 credits


• HMS351: Case Management

• HMS400: Program Planning & Evaluation

• SOC100: Introduction to Sociology

• SOC150: Social Problems

• SOC307: Research Methods I

• SOC350: Race & Ethnic Relations

• SOC400: Social Policy

• PSYC101: General Psychology

• PSYC451: Psychology of Abnormal Behavior

• PSYC452: Psychology of Trauma

BHSU HMS Emphases – 12 credits


Career Opportunities

Employment opportunities include:
» Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
» Case Workers
» Client Advocates
» Crisis Intervention Counselors
» Juvenile Court Liaisons
» Probation/Parole Officers
» Social Service Liaisons




» Human Services major (Justice Studies emphasis) with a Sociology minor
» Today Kayla is a professional caseworker with the Wyoming Department of Corrections

Human Services Programs

Student Organization

The BHSU Human Services and Sociology Association (HSSA) is a student organization holding a variety of service related professional development opportunities on campus. They were the 2017 recipient of the Outstanding Educational Program Award for hosting several Mental Health First Aid training programs.


Through the BHSU School of Behavioral Sciences Internship Program, you will receive valuable field experience along with academic credit while working for real human services agencies. Human Services majors intern with: Division of Child Protection of SD Department of Social Services, SD Division of Criminal Investigation, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, Canyon Hills Center, and more.

Human Services Faculty

Faculty teaching courses within the BHSU Human Services program have a wide-range of experience in human services related research and work. Our faculty includes licensed clinical psychologists, professional counselors, former youth programming workers, sustainability scholars, and community development researchers. Faculty are well connected with human services agencies and organizations within and beyond South Dakota.

Contact Info

Dr. Trenton Ellis
Assistant Professor, Human Services and Sociology
Jonas Skywalk 207 Map
Phone: 605-642-1283

Black Hills State University
1200 University St.
Spearfish, SD, USA 57799