An Online Health Services Degree That Sets You Up
Professionals with skills in health and human services are some of the most in-demand workers around—prepared with a B.S. in Health and Human Services degree from WGU, you can be too. This degree is your step forward to a career where you can help people live better and healthier lives and drive optimal community outcomes.
The Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services degree will prepare you to drive change in the field of healthcare as well as facilitate changes in your community. You'll be equipped to advocate for patients and clients in a variety of settings. You'll also be armed with the latest theories on:
- Value based care systems
- Community and public health strategies
- Communication of health plan information to patients
- Promotion of client centered holistic care
- Strategies on how to be a change agent for integrated care management
Compare this degree: The B.S. Health and Human Services program is one of many undergraduate degrees at WGU. Not sure this is the right program for you? You may also be interested in our B.S. Business – Healthcare Management degree program, or our B.S. in Health Information Management degree program.
95%* of students finish similar programs faster than the traditional
WGU lets you move more quickly through material you already know and advance when you're ready. The result: You may finish faster.
*WGU Internal Data
Tuition per six-month term is
Tuition charged per term—rather than per credit—helps students reduce the ultimate cost of their degrees. Finish faster, pay less!
Graduates who recommend WGU
The vast majority of alumni say WGU delivered on its promises. In fact, over 50% of students found WGU thanks to a friend's recommendation.
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COURSES & COMPETENCIES
Health and Human Services Courses
WGU’s Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services curriculum was designed, and is regularly updated, with input from the professionals on our Health Professions Program Council, ensuring that you learn important healthcare best practices and keep up with the latest trends in the industry—the kind of expertise you need for a successful career in health services.
Courses in this program provide you with realistic experiences as a health services professional via virtual simulation. You’ll gain field experience in a variety of contexts, depending on your professional career goals in the health services industry.
The health and human services program prepares students for responsibilities in patient-focused health care, leadership, communication, cultural awareness, person-centered care coordination, and more.
The B.S. in Health and Human Services program is an all-online program that you'll complete by studying and working independently with instruction and support from WGU faculty. You’ll be expected to complete at least 12 competency units (WGU's equivalent of the credit hour) each six-month term. Each course is typically three or four units.
Understanding Substance Abuse and Addiction provides an overview of the causes, signs, and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction, and the impact on individuals, groups, and the community. Learners will evaluate educational prevention programs for a variety of target audiences and settings and evaluate evidence-based assessments and interventions for successful outcomes.
Community and Public Health provides learners with an understanding of the benefits community health offers individuals and families. The course also will identify barriers that will impact health and healthcare access, leading to improved community health. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Introduction to Epidemiology provides an overview of the determinants of communicable, viral, and chronic diseases. Students also will study various other conditions and the impact to public health. Using problem-based inquiry, students will analyze real-world public health problems by examining the distribution and patterns of data, selecting the methods to gather evidence, interpreting the information, and analyzing the trends to support decision making. There are no prerequisites to this course, but students are highly encouraged to adhere to the standard path, whose content is scaffolded to enhance the learning experience of this course.
End-of-Life Care focuses on the Connected Care model as it applies to the final stage of life. This course will explore ethnic and cultural factors that affect an individual’s response to death and dying. This course will cover planning and implementing ideal interventions to help individuals, families, and groups cope and agree on a common care goal. This course will also discuss empathy and compassion in healthcare. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Introduction to Gerontology will introduce learners to health issues that are typically associated with the older adult population so they can become familiar with health challenges this population may face. The learners will gain an understanding of the effects that policy and legislation have on the older adult population. Emphasis is placed on the importance of maintaining the dignity of older adults by focusing on cultural and communication needs, and by collaborating on care with older adults, families, and caregivers. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health examines the social determinants of health (SDOH) as underlying causes of health inequity in populations and communities and their effect on health outcomes. This course will help students understand the evidence-based strategies that address the negative impact of inequities caused by the SDOH and analyze approaches to promote health equity. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Evidence-Based Practice for Health and Human Services prepares the learner to apply evidence-based practice (EBP) to inform healthcare recommendations in out-patient, organizational, and other public health settings. Learners will be introduced to an EBP framework to guide them through the steps of EBP using real world scenarios. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Cultural Awareness is a course for the healthcare professional providing learners with the understanding of what it means to have personal, explicit and implicit cultural biases and how they can affect client outcomes in the health and human services industry. The course also will explore strategies for responding to personal biases and for promoting cultural awareness in health and human services. Through critical readings, videos, and activities, the learner will gain knowledge in this essential subject. There are no prerequisites for this course.
History of Healthcare in America will examine individuals such as Henrietta Lacks, Ryan White, Clara Barton, and Katie Beckett, who influenced healthcare in the United States, from its inception to the present day. This course examines how specific individuals and their contributions influenced healthcare delivery and the continued evolution of healthcare, teaching from a system or a value-based care perspective. The course also focuses on the way healthcare interacted with culture, politics, and society throughout U.S. history and evaluates current challenges we face in the U.S. healthcare system today. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Introduction to Health and Human Services explores representative roles and responsibilities of health and human service professionals and key governmental entities involved in Health and Human Services delivery. The course also examines the importance of understanding clients’ illnesses and disabilities, building trust with clients, and engagement models that promote client outcomes. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Financial Resource Management and Healthcare Reimbursement examines financial practices and reimbursement types within the healthcare industry. This course covers the analysis of regulations required for health reimbursements. This course also covers the evaluation of effective revenue cycle management, focusing on the organization’s financial stability. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Pathophysiology is an overview of the pathology and treatment of diseases in the human body and its systems. This course will explain the processes in the body that result in the signs and symptoms of disease, as well as therapeutic procedures in managing or curing the disease. The content draws on a knowledge of anatomy and physiology to understand how diseases manifest themselves and how they affect the body.
Introduction to Pharmacology will introduce learners to medication and supplement regulations and safety protocols. It provides an overview of the use, benefits, effects, and contraindications of commonly used drugs to treat conditions of the cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, nervous, and renal body systems. It also explores the types of anti-infective, antineoplastic, psychotropic drugs, and dietary supplements and their effects on the body.
Care for Individuals and Families focuses on the holistic care of individuals, families, and populations with multifaceted healthcare needs. This course improves critical thinking and interdisciplinary communication skills to provide information to individuals or groups in a variety of settings. The focus of the course is on managing the transition of an individual, family, or group through a variety of healthcare settings, which can include acute care hospitals, extended stay facilities, ambulatory care clinics, home care, outreach, or wellness. This course helps students develop effective professional communication skills and appropriate behaviors to ensure an individual, family, or group is successful in meeting its healthcare goals. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Healthcare Ecosystems examines how the aims and elements of the healthcare ecosystem can affect client and patient outcomes. The course explores the main aims of healthcare access, affordability, and quality and how regulators, providers, producers, and funders (such as payors or purchasers) support those aims. The course also examines insurance regulations and reimbursement procedures that affect healthcare access and affordability and decision-making processes that support affordable, quality care for clients and communities. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Health Literacy for the Client and Family helps students recognize the importance of health literacy in overcoming healthcare barriers and creating patient-focused changes through family and patient empowerment. This course demonstrates how education, research, and technology all integrate and serve as a foundation for students as they create effective resources to improve health literacy for patients and families. This course helps students become advocates for their patients and their patients’ families. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Healthcare Values and Ethics requires students to synthesize an interdisciplinary approach to decision-making as it applies to health and human services. This course explores the contemporary issues facing health professionals, which include ethics, regulations and compliance, and handling protected healthcare information. In this course, learners will develop their ability to make ethical decisions in collaborative care environments and working within a team. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Medical Terminology focuses on the basic components of medical terminology and how terminology is used when discussing various body structures and systems. Proper use of medical terminology is critical for accurate and clear communication among medical staff, health professionals, and patients. In addition to the systems of the body, this course will discuss immunity, infections, mental health, and cancer.
Interdisciplinary Team Dynamics explores interpersonal communication strategies, collaborative team interactions methods, and problem-solving techniques to promote effective communication and improve quality client outcomes in a team environment. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Community Relations and Leadership focuses on analyzing community health and human services’ needs to create change. As emerging leaders, students will learn to engage in collaborative approaches with various stakeholders to achieve positive outcomes. This course helps students develop their abilities to interpret community health needs assessments, make decisions, and bring stakeholders together to advance access to health and human services. This course has no prerequisites.
Models of Care and Healthcare Trends is a course for health professionals in a variety of roles in the health and human services industry, which examines the unique characteristics of healthcare models in the United States and emerging trends created by social and political drivers. The course explores the evolution of healthcare models from fragmented systems to cohesive, quality-centric, and client-focused systems. The course also focuses on innovative trends, such as access to care, telemedicine, and subsequent shifts in the continuum of care as it relates to patient or client outcomes. There are no prerequisites for this course.
The Health and Human Services Professional Field Experience course provides students with real-world experiences as a health services professional via the virtual world of simulation. The course allows students to conduct their field experience in a variety of different contexts they will find themselves, depending on their professional career choices in the health services’ industry. All program coursework leads to this course. This course is eligible for an In Progress grade. Please see the Grading Scale Policy for more information.
Introduction to Medical Coding provides students with the foundation for translating medical terminology into correct diagnosis and procedure codes. The course focuses on how diagnosis and procedure codes are used to accurately document medical records and inform accurate medical billing. This course introduces the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10-CM), ICD-10-PCS, and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code sets as well as ethical considerations throughout processes in medical coding. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Learning Strategies in Higher Education provides students with a toolbox of skills that will support student academic growth as they advance in their academic journey. Students will be introduced to the WGU Library; how to use it and best practices for research strategies. Students will learn how to be professional in written communication and how to correctly use current APA format. In this course, students also will learn about setting goals, time-management, study strategies, making and keeping appointments, professional decorum, and test-taking skills. Learning these skills, strategies, and methods will establish an academic foundation for students to be successful in higher education. There are no prerequisites for this course.
In this course, students will develop an understanding of psychology and how it helps them better understand others and themselves. Students will learn general theories about psychological development, the structure of the brain, and how psychologists study behavior. They will gain an understanding of both normal and disordered psychological behaviors, as well as general applications of the science of psychology in society (such as personality typing and counseling).
In this course you will learn key critical thinking concepts and how to apply them in the analysis and evaluation of reasons and evidence. The course examines the basic components of an argument, the credibility of evidence sources, the impact of bias, and how to construct an argument that provides good support for a claim. The course consists of an introduction and four major sections. Each section includes learning opportunities through readings, videos, audio, and other relevant resources. Assessment activities with feedback also provide opportunities to check your learning, practice, and show how well you understand course content. Because the course is self-paced, you may move through the material as quickly or as slowly as you need to gain proficiency in the four competencies that will be covered in the final assessment. If you have no prior knowledge or experience, you can expect to spend 30-40 hours on the course content.
Welcome to Introduction to Communication: Connecting with Others! It may seem like common knowledge that communication skills are important, and that communicating with others is inescapable in our everyday lives. While this may appear simplistic, the study of communication is actually complex, dynamic, and multifaceted. Strong communication skills are invaluable to strengthening a multitude of aspects of life. Specifically, this course will focus on communication in the professional setting, and present material from multiple vantage points, including communicating with others in a variety of contexts, across situations, and with diverse populations. Upon completion, you will have a deeper understanding of both your own and others’ communication behaviors, and a toolbox of effective behaviors to enhance your experience in the workplace.
Welcome to Composition: Writing with a Strategy! In this course, you will focus on three main topics: understanding purpose, context, and audience, writing strategies and techniques, and editing and revising. In addition, the first section, will offer review on core elements of the writing process, cross-cultural communication, as well as working with words and common standards and practices. Each section includes learning opportunities through readings, videos, audio, and other relevant resources. Assessment activities with feedback also provide opportunities to check your learning, practice, and show how well you understand course content. Because the course is self-paced, you may move through the material as quickly or as slowly as you need to gain proficiency in the seven competencies that will be covered in the final assessment. If you have no prior knowledge or experience, you can expect to spend 30-40 hours on the course content.
Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology provides an overview of the structures and functions of organs and systems of the human body. This course will explore how the parts of the body systems work together to produce movement, transport nutrients, eliminate wastes, protect vital tissues and organs, regulate bodily functions, and support reproduction and growth, through videos, readings, exploratory learning, and practice activities.
Applied Healthcare Probability and Statistics is designed to help develop competence in the fundamental concepts of basic mathematics, introductory algebra, and statistics and probability. These concepts include basic arithmetic with fractions and signed numbers; introductory algebra and graphing; descriptive statistics; regression and correlation; and probability. Statistical data and probability are now commonplace in the healthcare field. This course will help candidates make informed decisions about which studies and results are valid, which are not, and how those results affect your decisions. This course will give candidates background in what constitutes sound research design and how to appropriately model phenomena using statistical data. Additionally, this course guides candidates in calculating simple probabilities based on events which occur in the healthcare profession. This course will prepare candidates for studies at WGU, as well as in the healthcare profession.
This is Human Growth and Development, a three-module course that examines the entire human lifetime, from conception to death. Presented chronologically, the course focuses on three key areas: physical, cognitive, and psychosocial growth, along with other important issues such as cultural influences, emotions, and resilience. Because the course is self-paced, you may move through the material as quickly or as slowly as you need to, with the goal of demonstrating proficiency in the four competencies covered in the final assessment. If you have no prior knowledge of this material, you can expect to spend 30-40 hours on the course content.
Health, Fitness, and Wellness focuses on the importance and foundations of good health and physical fitness—particularly for children and adolescents—addressing health, nutrition, fitness, and substance use and abuse.
Introduction to Systems Thinking for Health Professionals provides learners with the skills required to engage in a holistic systems-based approach to analyzing complex problems and solutions. This course introduces the foundational concepts and principles of systems thinking and provides opportunities to use a systems thinking approach to analyze and evaluate real-world case studies. The course will culminate with using systems thinking to develop a solution to an authentic complex problem. This course has no prerequisites, but general education math (C955 or C957) is preferred. Because the course is self-paced, learners may move through the material as quickly or as slowly as needed, with the goal of demonstrating proficiency in the five competencies covered in the final assessment. If learners have no prior knowledge of this material, they can expect to spend 30 to 40 hours on the course content.
This course is a foundational introduction to the biological sciences. The overarching theories of life from biological research are explored as well as the fundamental concepts and principles of the study of living organisms and their interaction with the environment. Key concepts include how living organisms use and produce energy; how life grows, develops, and reproduces; how life responds to the environment to maintain internal stability; and how life evolves and adapts to the environment.
Health Services Professional Capstone will provide learners the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to communicate in a professional manner that supports high quality, safe client services. Learners will also engage in career and professional development within the health and human services industry. This course is eligible for an In Progress grade. Please see the Grading Scale Policy for more information.
Program consists of 35 courses
At WGU, we design our curriculum to be timely, relevant, and practical—all to help you show that you know your stuff.
Special requirements for this program
At the end of your program, you will complete a capstone project that represents the culmination of all your hard work—a field experience project applicable to the field of health services that aims to expand the body of knowledge in the profession. All students will be required to pass a background check prior to completing the field experience portion of the program. Also, most of your courses can be accelerated based on your prior knowledge and hard work.
“The completion of my WGU BS degree has motivated both my children to go back to school and finish their degrees. They're saying 'well if Mom can do it.' I am happy at this point in my life to be able to still influence my children in a positive way."
B.S. Health Services Coordination
WGU tuition is charged per six-month term, not per credit. That means if you want to move faster through the online health and human services program, you'll pay less.
On Your Schedule
Continue working at your job and keep up with your family responsibilities all while earning a degree. You don't have to take time off work or rearrange your shifts—at WGU you don't have to log in to classes at a certain time, and your assignments don't have deadlines. You can work any time, any where.
When you earn your degree from WGU you can take your existing knowledge and put it to use. You can move through your courses as quickly as you show mastery in the material. WGU also has a generous transfer policy for students, helping them graduate faster.
One important measure of a degree’s value is the reputation of the university where it was earned. When employers, industry leaders, and academic experts hold your alma mater in high esteem, you reap the benefits of that respect. WGU is a pioneer in reinventing higher education for the 21st century, and our quality has been recognized.
COST & TIME
An Affordable Healthcare Degree
By charging per term rather than per credit—and empowering students to accelerate through material they know well or learn quickly—WGU helps students control the ultimate cost of their degrees. The faster you complete your program, the less you pay for your degree.
A Health and Human Services Bachelor's Degree Is Within Reach
There is help available to make paying for school possible for you:
The average student loan debt of WGU graduates in 2022 (among those who borrowed) was less than half* the national average.
*WGU undergraduate students have approximately half the debt at graduation compared to the national average, according to the Institute for College Access and Success (2022).
Most WGU students qualify for financial aid, and WGU is approved for federal financial aid and U.S. veterans benefits.
Exclusive $3,000 Health and Human Services scholarship available to applicants.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Human Services Designed to Fit Your Life
Online. Competency-based. Student-obsessed. There are lots of things that make our programs a great fit for today’s working students—and that make WGU a different kind of university.
Competency-based degree programs allow you to speed up your progress—no waiting for other class members to catch up or for a new semester to start. Taking a course covering concepts you’ve been applying for years? Review the online course material, take the online assessment, and move on. Taking a course in a subject you’ve never tried? Maximize all available resources to ensure you’re comfortable with the material by the time you take the assessment.
"I had a great educational experience at WGU, and the course instructors had a positive impact on the study curriculum. Each course was very organized, easy to follow and learn, and the educators are very attentive. I gained a greater understanding of research that is aimed at establishing facts and quality improvement.”
B.S. Nursing RN-BSN
Choose a Profession Where Patient Care and Health Management Go Hand in Hand
There are many roles in the healthcare field that involve helping patients, without directly caring for their medical needs. With a health and human services degree, you can work with exciting and diverse teams, bringing support to many and making an impact on lives and communities.
This program prepares you for responsibilities in:
- Patient-focused health care
- Leadership, communication
- Cultural awareness
- Person-centered care coordination
After earning your degree, you’ll be able to work directly with patients and families to provide support, address early intervention issues, develop a process to intervene with high-risk patients, identify and close patient care gaps, provide outreach to patients, coordinate care transitions, develop a process for medication reconciliation and adherence, and coordinate referrals and test results.
The number of positions for health educators and community health workers is expected to grow 12% from 2021 to 2031.
—U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Gain an Advantage in Today’s Fast-Growing Patient Care and Coordination Professions
WGU’s Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services is designed to give you a competitive edge in today’s fast-growing patient care and coordination job market. This program incorporates several career-boosting competencies, including courses in the areas of substance abuse, epidemiology, cultural awareness and diversity, equity and inclusion, pediatrics, care of aging adults, and more.
The B.S. in Health and Human Services degree prepares you to stand out in the job market by utilizing a cutting-edge technology platform that simulates in-person field experience. The result? You get hands-on experience, without the time commitment of an internship. If you choose to advance your career even further, this degree program lays the perfect foundation for a future MBA in Healthcare Management, a Master of Health Leadership, or a Master of Health Administration degree. And with additional preparation, the B.S. in Health and Human Services can help you sit to become a Board Certified Patient Advocate.
- Health Care Coordinator
- Patient Advocate
- Health Services Manager
- Patient Educator
- Community Health Worker
- Mental Health Aid
- Family and Human Development Worker
- Social and Community Services Manager
Possible Work Settings
- Acute Care Hospital
- Nursing Home
- Extended Stay Facilities
- Home Care
- Wellness and Outreach
WGU Grads Hold Positions With Top Employers
Hospitals and clinics around the country know the benefit of a bachelor's degree from WGU, so your healthcare degree is valuable.
Admissions Requirements Unique to This Degree
To be considered for enrollment into the Bachelor of Science Health and Human Services program, you must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Previous misdemeanor or felony convictions may affect eligibility for healthcare employment.
Safety Notice: WGU and the Leavitt School of Health are committed to the health, safety, and well-being of all patients, community members, and key stakeholders that interact with WGU students at various clinical/host sites. Interactions might include direct patient interaction, observation experiences, laboratory experiences, project development, or conducting research.
Get Your Enrollment Checklist
Download your step-by-step guide to enrollment.
Get Your Questions Answered
Talk to an WGU Enrollment Counselor.
Learn more about the B.S. Health and Human Services admission progress and program.
More About the Health and Human Services Program
- General Program Questions
- Expert Panel
- Dr. Richard Merkin Scholar
The goal of health and human services is to support people's health and basic needs. As a health and human services professional, you’ll work with community members and business leaders to provide critical services to your community. This can include health education, substance abuse counseling, mental health services, nutrition services, and more.
Job opportunities for health and human service majors include:
- Case Manager
- Patient Advocate
- Community Treatment Specialist
- Family and Human Development Worker
- Health Educator
- Human Services Manager
- Mental Health Aid
- Public Health Educator
- Social and Community Services Manager
If you want to pursue more advanced roles in health services, you have the option of earning a master’s degree in health leadership and relevant certifications.
To work in health services, most employers will want you to have a bachelor’s degree in health and human services or a related healthcare degree. After you gain experience working in your field, you can advance your career with a master’s degree in health leadership.
A health and human service degree prepares students to work in the healthcare field as a coordinator, manager, patient-advocate and more. These careers involve working with patients to help them understand and get the care with providers that they need.
Many find working in the field of health and human services management very fulfilling. Working to ensure healthcare facilities run smoothly, people in this field make a difference in the lives of doctors, nurses, and patients.
The degree was developed with financial support from the Merkin Family Foundation and is possible thanks to the following expert panel members:
- Nancy A. Myers, PhD – Vice President, Leadership and System Innovation Health Research & Educational Trust, American Hospital Association
- Cassie J. Alexander – Program Director, Public Health Technology, Itawamba Community College
- David Wagner, MHCM – Chief Compliance Officer, Genuine Health Group
- Colleen Swedberg, MSN, RN, CNL – Vice President of Strategy, St. Vincent’s Health Partners
- Denise Patriaco, RN, APN-C – Administrative Director, Accountable Care Organization, Hackensack University Medical Center
- Johnpaul King RN, MSN – Nursing Director, Affinity Living Group
- Cindy Tack, LCSW, MS – Senior Director, Clinical Initiatives, MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization
- Charisse N. Hunter, MHA, RN – Vice President, Population Health, Somatus, Inc
Completion of this program awards the honor of “Dr. Richard Merkin Scholar."
This honor appears on the academic transcript or the certificate of completion depending on the program and acknowledges the achievement of specific skills related to key contemporary concepts for the transformation of healthcare. Graduates of such programs may use the email tagline “Dr. Richard Merkin Scholar” in addition to including it in resumes, CVs, bios, and social media professional profiles.
Dr. Richard Merkin has been a pioneer in healthcare innovation and transformation. Richard Merkin, M.D. is the CEO and founder of the Heritage Provider Network. He has focused on the efficient delivery of high quality patient outcomes while emphasizing early and preventative interventions. Under his stewardship, the Heritage Provider Network has become the largest physician-owned and operated integrated healthcare delivery system in the United States with over 50 related healthcare companies.
Dr. Richard Merkin scholars demonstrate competency in many cutting edge areas including:
• Decision-Making with Evidence-Based Practice
• Helping Individuals and Families Meet Healthcare Goals
• Transition of Care
• Care Planning and Service Delivery
Ready to Start Your WGU Journey?