Affordable Online Master’s in Human Services

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Updated: February 29, 2024, Reading time: 15 minutes

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For those passionate about positively impacting communities, finding an affordable online master’s in human services is crucial. We understand the financial concerns when pursuing an online master’s. Most advanced master’s programs come with a hefty price tag. 

We are here to guide you through the fastest routes to an advanced degree, empowering you to address complex social issues and contribute meaningfully to community well-being.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Top 12 Affordable Online Master’s in Human Services

If you’re considering a master’s degree, selecting a reputable online university that aligns with your financial capacity and educational needs is crucial. This section will delve into the specifics of the best online master’s programs, providing insights into each program’s structure, distinctive features, and noteworthy aspects.

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Purdue University Global

Offering an MS in Human Services, Purdue University Global stands out for its comprehensive curriculum. The program entails a minimum of 45 credit units completed over ten-week terms.

Purdue University Global’s program stands out with its emphasis on two tracks: Organizational/Social Services and Family/Community Service. Additionally, it mandates an internship corresponding to the chosen track.

The university is for meeting the academic requirements of the HS–BCP examination. It operates mostly online and maintains four educational facilities in Florida and Illinois.

University of Alabama

The University of Alabama offers an online MS in Consumer Sciences – Family Financial Planning and Counseling. The program requires 30 credit hours and focuses on family and consumer sciences, emphasizing relationships, behavior, and social development.

Courses such as Psychology of Money, Personal Estate Planning, and Family and Consumer Law constitute the curriculum. The program qualifies students to sit for the CFP Certification Examination.

The University of Alabama facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning through Blackboard. With a strong emphasis on family financial planning, the program prepares graduates for financial counseling and advising roles.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University’s MS in Family and Human Development program targets professionals. It mandates 30 graduate credit units for graduation. The online curriculum encompasses various aspects of family and human development.

Topics include Social Statistics, Parenting, Diversity & Society, Theoretical Issues in Child Development, Leadership & Social Justice, Marriage & Family Relationships, and Human Services Delivery Systems. Additionally, students complete a capstone project for practical application.

The program has an illustrious alumni network featuring Nobel Laureates, Guggenheim, Academy of Engineering, Fulbright Scholars, and MacArthur Fellows. This underscores the university’s dedication to academic excellence and alumni success.

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The University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma offers an MA in Human and Health Services Administration, an accelerated program totaling 33 credit hours. Courses cover cultural, social, and diversity issues, psychosocial aspects of disability, and legal and ethical considerations.

The program includes courses on senior issues, research, and cross-cultural health issues. As part of their academic experience, students must participate in an internship related to their field of study.

The University of Oklahoma, with over 400 programs across multiple campuses and online, stands out for its innovative and diverse academic offerings.

Eastern Illinois University

Eastern Illinois University offers an online Master of Science in Human Services with 33 credit hours. The program is an applied graduate program focusing on children, adults, and the community. Students can complete the program in approximately two years.

The program covers a range of subjects, including current issues and trends, adolescents and emerging adulthood, leadership, and administration.

With a high financial aid recipient rate of 99%, Eastern Illinois University stands out for providing substantial support to its students. The program is delivered through D2L Brightspace, offering a mix of asynchronous and synchronous online learning.

Oklahoma State University – Tulsa

Oklahoma State University – Tulsa offers an online MS in Human Development and Family Science, focusing on Applied Human Services. This accelerated program is delivered entirely online, providing flexibility for students. This program delves into interdisciplinary coursework, exploring various aspects of human development and family science.

Specializations within the program include Infant Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Gerontology, and Nonprofit Management. Students engage in 33 graduate units from Oklahoma State University to complete the coursework required for this graduate degree.

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Kansas State University

Kansas State University offers a comprehensive Master of Family and Community Services program. This program explores various aspects, including Lifespan Development, Residence in Families, Family Resource Management, and Crises Across the Lifespan.

The program emphasizes courses researching different facets of family and community services, preparing students for roles like caseworkers, family advocates, and counselors. The capstone project involves a family/community services practicum or a family economics study.

Kansas State University houses nine colleges and schools where students benefit from various resources and educational support across multiple disciplines.

University of Nebraska Lincoln

The University of Nebraska Lincoln offers an MS in Human and Family Services Administration. The program will equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in this field.

The curriculum includes specialized courses that provide an in-depth understanding of human and family services. Students can explore topics such as Family and Cultural Diversity, Human Services Research, and more. The program aims to prepare graduates for leadership roles in this sector.

CUNY School of Professional Studies

The CUNY School of Professional Studies provides an online MS in Disability Services in Higher Education, recognized as one of the premier Master’s in Human Service programs. Students enrolled in this graduate degree must complete 30 semester units.

These cover essential topics like Neurodiverse Students, Legal Aspect of Disability Service, Assistive Technology, and a capstone course.

A noteworthy aspect of the CUNY School of Professional Studies is its affiliation with the JFK Jr. Institute of Worker Education, which aims to foster human service initiatives. 

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California State University, Northridge

At California State University, Northridge, students can pursue an MS in Assistive Technology Studies and Human Services, recognized as one of the top online master’s programs.

As part of this program, students must complete at least 30 semester credits, with 70% completed in residence at CSUN. Throughout the program, students engage in classes like Assistive Technology Across the Lifespan and Medical Conditions Affecting the Quality of Life.

Additionally, they undertake a directed comprehension study project. Upon graduation, there are steps to pursue if aspiring to become a social worker in California. 

Bryan College

Bryan College offers students an MA in Human Services and Lifespan Development, delving into health’s interconnected social, psychological, and spiritual dimensions. This online program equips students for fulfilling careers as Caseworkers, Family Advocates, and Counselors.

To complete the program, students must earn 30 graduate credits, which can be completed online. Courses in the program cover a range of topics, including Group Dynamics, Multicultural Awareness in Human Services, Adult Development and Aging, and Christianity & Counseling.

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona offers an MA in Human Services with various coursework, including delivery skills, group theories, and human systems.

Students also gain an understanding of the field through an integrative project. Specialization courses allow students to focus on areas such as Gerontology, Criminal Justice Organizations, Mental Health Compliance Issues, and Victimology Theory and Research.

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Significance of Earning a Master’s in Human Services Online

The decision to pursue an online master’s degree in Human Services holds significant advantages, shaping both career trajectories and personal development. This mode of education allows professionals to advance in their careers while still keeping their current jobs. 

Below are the reasons why earning a master’s in this field is a very wise option. 

Increased Earning Potential and Career Opportunities

One of the primary motivations behind pursuing an online master’s in human services is the potential for increased earning and diverse career opportunities. Research shows that by 2032, positions such as Substance Abuse and Mental Health Counselors are projected to have a 18% increase

Graduates armed with a master’s in this field often find themselves in lucrative positions. Some career paths they can pursue include roles such as Agency Directors, and Marriage and Family Therapists. These positions offer financial rewards and present opportunities for leadership and a meaningful impact within communities.

Flexibility and Convenience of Online Learning

Online programs allow students to maintain professional and personal commitments. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for students looking to enhance their skills without disturbing their careers. Furthermore, the retention rate of students taking online classes is 79%, which is much higher than conventional classroom studies.

Advantages of Pursuing a Master’s Degree Online

Beyond the traditional classroom setting, pursuing a master’s in human services online introduces students to unique advantages contributing to a well-rounded educational experience. Some of them are given below:

The significance of earning a master’s online extends beyond acquiring knowledge. These unique advantages prepare professionals for the complexities of modern practice.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Master’s in Human Services Program

Choosing the right online master’s in human services program is pivotal for a rewarding educational experience and future career. Here are key considerations to guide your decision:

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Importance of Accreditation

Opt for accredited programs to ensure the legitimacy of the institution and the curriculum. Accreditation enhances employability by showcasing a commitment to quality education.

Evaluation of Program Options

Assess programs offering self-paced or evening classes to find a format that aligns with your schedule. Look for programs accommodating work schedules to support professional commitments.

Consideration of Tuition Costs

Evaluate tuition costs to ensure they align with your budget constraints for a sustainable educational journey. Explore financial aid options, scholarships, or employer reimbursement programs to ease the financial burden.

Does the Program Offer Specializations to Tailor Your Education?

An online master of science in human services program is a great way to advance in the fast-paced industry. While you peruse the many program possibilities, it’s important to keep a few key considerations in mind to ensure the one you choose supports your career and academic goals.

When considering an online master’s in human services program, it’s important to look beyond the course titles and tuition fees. Here are some key factors to consider in detail:


Make sure recognized accrediting bodies license the program and the institution. Accreditation ensures that the program meets certain standards of quality and rigor, which is crucial for your education and future career prospects.

Curriculum and Specializations

Look for a program with a curriculum aligned with your career goals and interests. Check if they offer specializations or concentrations that cater to your specific area of interest within human services. This allows you to tailor your education to your career aspirations.

Faculty Expertise and Support

Look for faculty with relevant experience and expertise in the field. Additionally, inquire about the level of support and interaction you can expect from faculty members throughout the program.

Technology and Learning Resources

Evaluate the technology and learning resources provided by the program. Ensure the online platform is user-friendly and equipped with tools that facilitate effective learning, such as virtual libraries, discussion forums, and multimedia resources.

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Student Support Services

Consider the availability of student support services, such as academic advising, career counseling, and technical support. These services are crucial to your academic success and overall experience as an online student.

Flexibility and Accessibility

Assess the flexibility of the program in terms of scheduling and pacing. Look for programs that offer asynchronous learning options, allowing you to study at your own pace and balance your education with other commitments. Additionally, consider the accessibility of the program for students with disabilities.

Reputation and Alumni Network

Research the reputation of the program and the institution within the field. Look for programs with a strong track record of producing successful graduates and positive reviews from alums. Additionally, consider the strength of the program’s alumni network, as it can provide valuable networking opportunities and support after graduation.

Cost and Financial Aid

Finally, consider the program’s cost and explore financial aid options available to you. Look for programs that offer affordable tuition rates and explore scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial assistance to help fund your education.

Tips for Financing Your Online Master’s in Human Services

Managing one’s finances well is essential for completing an online master’s. Let’s dive into each of these financing options for an online master’s in human services:

Scholarships, Grants, and Fellowships

Many organizations offer scholarships, grants, and fellowships specifically for graduate students pursuing degrees. These financial awards can significantly offset tuition costs. Students can research and apply for scholarships based on academic merit, financial need, and specific areas of interest within the field.

Additionally, professional associations, nonprofit organizations, and foundations offer grants or fellowships to support graduate education. Students must explore available options and submit applications well before deadlines.

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Federal Financial Aid Options

Graduate students can apply for federal financial aid, including student loans and work-study programs. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the key application for federal aid. Students should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible to determine eligibility for loans and work-study.

These loans typically offer favorable terms and include options for income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs for individuals working in certain public service fields, including human services. Furthermore, work-study programs allow students to work part-time jobs on or off-campus to help cover educational expenses.

Employer Tuition Assistance and Reimbursement Programs

Many employers offer tuition assistance or reimbursement programs as part of their employee benefits packages. Students working in human services or related fields can take advantage of employer-sponsored programs to fund their graduate education.

Employers may have specific requirements or restrictions for tuition assistance programs, such as maintaining a minimum GPA or committing to continue working for the organization for a certain period after completing the degree.

Budgeting and Cost-Saving Strategies

Developing a budget and financial plan can help students manage their expenses throughout their human services graduate studies. Students can explore cost-saving strategies such as purchasing used textbooks, utilizing open educational resources (OER), and taking advantage of the university’s free or discounted software and technology resources.

Additionally, students can consider living frugally, seeking affordable housing options, and minimizing discretionary spending to reduce overall expenses. It’s also essential for students to monitor their finances regularly, track expenses, and adjust their budgets as needed to stay on track financially.

Career Opportunities with a Master’s in Human Services

A master of science in human services degree is an excellent preparation for various rewarding careers in the social services sector. It offers advanced skills and knowledge that can help individuals make a significant difference in many different areas, meeting the changing needs of people and communities. These roles may include the following:

Is Pursuing a Master’s in Human Services Worth It Considering Potential Earnings?

Pursuing a master’s in human services can lead to potential earnings post-graduation, depending on the role, location, and organization. For example, a Genetic Counselor could earn around $89,990, while a Community Service Manager could earn around $74,240.

These figures are medians and can vary based on experience, certifications, and job market demands. However, many professionals find fulfillment in their work, helping individuals and communities navigate challenges and improve their quality of life.

The value of pursuing a master’s in human services depends on career goals, values, and personal aspirations.

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Is It Worth Pursuing a Master’s in Human Services Online?

Absolutely. A master’s in human services online offers increased earning potential, career flexibility, and specialized training, making it a valuable investment in personal and professional growth.

How Do I Choose the Right Online Master’s in Human Services Program?

Consider factors such as accreditation, program options (self-paced, evening classes), and tuition costs. Researching and exploring the outlined programs can guide you toward making an informed decision.

How Does a Master’s in Human Services Contribute to Career Advancement?

The advanced knowledge and expertise gained through a master’s degree open avenues for leadership positions. It also increases employability and provides career flexibility within the field.


Earning a master’s in human services online opens doors to diverse career opportunities and signifies a commitment to positively impacting individuals and communities. As professionals equipped with advanced knowledge and skills, graduates contribute to the betterment of society through roles in agency counseling, leadership, education, and community development.

The journey toward a master’s in this field is an investment in one’s career and a commitment to serving the greater good.

We’re certain of one thing—your search for more information on picking the best graduate degree or school landed you here. Let our experts help guide your through the decision making process with thoughtful content written by experts.