The Master of Human Services Program: A Brief History
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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