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The Master of Human Services Program: A Brief History

graduationIn 1977, Lincoln University and Eagleville Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, along with eight other human service agencies in Pennsylvania, jointly developed and launched the Master of Human Services (MHS) Program, supported by grants from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

When, in May of 1981, Eagleville terminated its contract with the university, the MHS Program became officially known as the Lincoln University Master of Human Services Program. The Lincoln University is a state-related university in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth System of Higher Education, chartered by the state to offer both baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Lincoln is accredited by the Middle States Association; this accreditation covers all degree programs granted by the university, including the performance-based MHS degree.

studentsThe impetus for the creation of the MHS Program came from its founders' realization that many individuals without advanced academic degrees have become highly skilled practitioners in the human services field. With their experience and personal qualities, non-degreed workers have made enormous contributions to the field and have helped to keep their agencies responsive to the needs of the citizens they serve.

Many professional schools, however, were unwilling or unable to credit the demonstrated skills and knowledge of this group and maintained the baccalaureate degree as a condition for admission. This practice effectively prevented a group of skilled practitioners from continuing their academic education and from acquiring needed credentials for career advancement.

studentsThe MHS Program offered a solution to this problem. Affiliated human service agencies helped to identify candidates with demonstrated work experience. Lincoln tested their academic skills and admitted both degreed and non-degreed qualified candidates. The two-year program was designed to be competency-based, applying relevant academic theory to problems encountered in agency practice. This approach made it an attractive alternative to traditional graduate programs for both the degreed and non-degreed professional. In 1987, a Pre-master's Program in Writing and Critical Thinking was added to the curriculum, for students wishing to strengthen their academic skills before beginning full-time graduate study.

In 2013, in response to changes in requirements for licensing and credentialing in the human service field, the decision was made to limit admissions to those with undergraduate degrees.

MHS Mission Statement

Dedicated to the idea of positive social change, the Lincoln University Master of Human Services Program enables students to integrate theory with practice and positions them to be leaders within their respective agencies and communities.  Professional and personal development is enhanced through a combination of academic and performance-based experiences stressing action research and problem-solving skills among the dimensions of values/ethics, psychology, systems, and professional communication.  The Lincoln University Master of Human Services Program is committed to providing an innovative graduate program for adult learners.



The Lincoln University - University City
Center for Graduate and Continuing Education Programs
3020 Market St., Philadelphia PA 19104
(215) 387-2405