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Human Services at BHSU

The Black Hills State University Human Services program provides students with the knowledge necessary to understand and address the needs of various human populations. This program allows students to study the psychology and sociology of human behavior, while our human services classes provide hands-on learning opportunities. The BHSU Human Services program also offers three emphasis options: Justice Studies, Family Studies, or Community Studies. These options allow students to focus their studies within the field best suited to their professional goals. Faculty and staff are here to help students identify their goals and navigate a path to achieve them. This includes personal guidance and support with internships, employment, and graduate school opportunities.

Get Involved

Internships are service experiences for students who have already attained considerable academic preparation related to a professional field. Internships involve advanced undergraduate or graduate students working in professional settings under the supervision of practicing professionals. Not only does an internship provide an amazing learning opportunity, and many internships earn students academic credit. To learn more about internship credit at BHSU, please view our Internship Manual. Internship experiences may also involve some type of income. There are many internship opportunities available for students wanting to gain practical experience.

Possible Internship Opportunities:

Human Services Faculty

Faculty 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.

Professional Organizations

Stay connected in the realm of Human Services by joining a professional organization.


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

Professional opportunities include:
» Caseworker
» Employment Specialist 
» Probation/Pretrial/Parole Officer
» Child and Family Services Specialist
» Human Services Administration
» Social Service Assistant
» Graduate and Professional Programs

Colton in his uniform.

Colton Taylor

Class of 2021
  • Colton double majored in Human Services and Sociology.
  • Today Colton is a Deputy Sheriff in Williston, North Dakota. 

Beyond the Classroom

After Graduation

Graduates of the BHSU Human Services enter in-demand careers within the criminal justice system, child and family services, mental health care, nonprofit administration, and other related fields. Our graduates have the necessary skills to advance beyond entry level positions. They also have the knowledge to become leaders within their field. BHSU Human Services maintains strong relationships with employers within and beyond South Dakota. This includes law enforcement agencies at the local/state/federal levels, state social services departments and agencies, nonprofit human and social services agencies, and more. From their very first human services course, students begin exploring professional opportunities and building their path toward achieving their career goals. The Human Services curriculum and high-quality mentorship from faculty and professional advisors help guide students wishing to further their education beyond BHSU.  Many of our Human Services graduates attend graduate and professional programs, including social work (MSW), school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, addiction studies, public health (MPH), and more.

Job Outlook

Through 2030, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics expects  the field of human services to grow faster than average. From careers in child welfare services to law enforcement, the BHSU Human Services program provides students with the foundational skills and knowledge necessary to pursue any professional career in the field.

Contact Info

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

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