Online Health & Human Services Degree Courses

Revitalize your career! In this curriculum, you will learn about the US health care system, as well as medical ethics and law. Your courses cover subjects from community health to special populations.


Below you will find the courses for this program beginning with the introductory course. You have a choice in this program, either to take a standard program composed of major course requirements, or you may choose to add a specialization. Please note that you must complete the major course requirements' capstone course before you can begin your specialization. A specialization consists of four (4) courses, each worth three (3) credits.

    Introductory Course

    All Bachelor’s program students are required to successfully complete EXP 105 Personal Dimensions of Education as their first course. Students with zero (0) traditional college-level transferable credits are also required to successfully complete the Student Success Orientation prior to enrolling in credit-bearing coursework. Following successful completion of orientation, students are required to successfully complete EXP 105.

    Student Success Orientation
    The orientation is designed to provide students with a complete overview of the Ashford University experience, prepare them for success in their courses, and help them to self-evaluate their readiness to succeed in an online classroom setting. Students will be instructed on Ashford University policies and the learning resources that are available to them through interactive videos and assessments. Students enrolled in orientation must successfully complete all assigned activities.

    EXP 105 Personal Dimensions of Education 

    This course is designed to help adult learners beginning their university studies to achieve academic success. Students will explore learning theories, communication strategies, and personal management skills. Adult learners will develop strategies for achieving success in school and work. Students will also be introduced to the University's institutional outcomes and learning resources. A minimum grade of C- is required to successfully complete the course.

    Major Course Requirements

    (36 credits, all courses are 3 credits. Courses are listed in the recommended sequence.)

    HHS 201 Introduction to Human Services
    This course introduces students to the profession of health and human services beginning with the historical evolution of the field and continuing up to modern day. A broad-based view of the purpose, preparation, and theoretical orientation of the profession is stressed including the many types and career settings of human service professions, scope of work, and duties and functions. Basic skills required by health and human service workers are reviewed, in addition to the roles of human service workers in both clinical and non-clinical settings. An introductory examination of orientations, ethics, and skills related to health and human service delivery in diverse practice settings is included.

    HHS 207 Communication Skills for Health & Human Service Personnel
    This course emphasizes theories and practice of professional communication skills within the context of health and human services. Students will examine classical approaches and new theories and research in interpersonal, and group communication. Active listening, empathy interviewing, nonverbal communication, and presentation skills are stressed. The impact of family, culture, and gender on communication is integrated through communication exercises and class projects. In this class, students will also have an opportunity to examine the practical implications of these concepts in developing their own communication skills through application of selected communication techniques and strategies.

    HHS 310 Health & Human Services Culture: The Helping Relationship
    This course examines the role and function of "helping," and helping processes as applied within the context of the health and human service profession. Helper characteristics are considered, relative to optimizing service delivery in diverse health and human service settings serving a multitude of constituents/client groups. Helping strategies and interventions, with attention to principles, methodology, practitioner skills and knowledge are overviewed. Interpretive strategies such as case study analysis, and vignette analysis are used to simulate health and human service settings.

    HCA 205 Introduction to Health Care
    This is an introductory course that explores the historical evolution of health care in the United States, its financing sources, technology, delivery of care and the stakeholders who comprise the health care system. The structure of the health care system, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, will be discussed along with the various components that influence health care such as legal, ethical, regulatory, and fiscal forces. Students will also explore other health care systems and examine the potential future of health care in the United States.

    SOC 313 Social Implications of Medical Issues
    This introductory course provides learners with a basic foundation of human biology, as it applies to health and human services providers. This course explores basic human biology and its relationship to selected socio-cultural domains, grounded in Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Model of Human Development.

    HCA 415 Community & Public Health
    Community and public health is an introductory course exploring community and public health services in the well-being of a population. Regulatory mandates promoting public and community health are explored. The interface among community and public health services and the overall health care industry is explored. Legal and ethical imperatives emergent in public health services are discussed. Financing options are explored recognizing the role of categorical fiscal resources. Health care promotion and prevention strategies are explored in concert with the role of health care institutions and the public sector. Health information data is utilized in the planning of a community and/or public health project.

    HHS 320 Cultural Awareness in the Human Services
    This course prepares students to understand cultural systems, and the nature of cultural identity defined by gender, ethnicity, race, national origin, sexual orientation, income, physical and mental ability, age, and religion. Emphasis is placed on defining and developing skills for the culturally competent delivery of health and human services.

    HCA 430 Special Populations
    Special Populations is a topics course exploring health care services for special populations. The populations include clients/patients in the following groups: those with mental health issues, substance addiction, in rehabilitation, geriatric populations, and clients/patients utilizing selected specialty services. The course is problem focused emphasizing access, cost-quality issues and financing considerations. Health information data is utilized as resources for the analysis of demand, quality and cost-efficiency. Historical perspectives are presented as shaping factors influencing the present models of health services for special populations. Government mandates, categorical services, legal, ethical, and reimbursement issues are presented as driving forces in the provision of special population health services. Multidisciplinary models of special population health service models are discussed. Learners will develop a model program for a self-selected special population.

    HHS 435 Contemporary Issues, Trends, Health Law Ethics in Health & Human Services
    Health and human service delivery practices are discussed using contemporary issues, trends, legal aspects, and ethics in an integrated approach. Health laws, ethics, and professional conduct standards including boundary- setting and confidentiality requirements are covered. Professional roles, functions, and legal/ethical responsibilities of health and human service professionals are overviewed using standards published by selected professional organizations.

    HIM 301 Introduction to Health Informatics
    This foundational course details the history and factors driving the emergence of health informatics. In addition to emphasizing the concepts, terminologies and scope of health informatics, the course delves into health information exchanges, data standards, health informatics ethics, online resources and E-research. The course includes an overview of basic database architecture, design and file structure, and data warehousing and data mining in health care.

    HHS 460 Research Methods in Health & Human Services
    This course is a survey course encompassing the application of research methodology. It prepares students to critically evaluate published research. The nature and history of the scientific method, research tools, data collection and analysis will be reviewed. Although key statistical concepts are covered, the focus of the course is helping students gain a conceptual understanding of the components of sound research, and to understand the steps and procedures involved in ethical research of the content area.

    HHS 497 Health & Human Services Capstone
    In this final course, students will reflect upon and synthesize the major insights gained in their study of Health and Human Services. A substantive paper is developed which requires students to critically analyze their experiences and integrate knowledge gained through out their program. The focus is on a strategic health and human services topic that is directly related to access and delivery of services to a selected client group.


    You may also choose to delve deeper into other areas of health care administration when you add a specialization to your degree program. A specialization consists of four (4) courses, each worth three (3) credits each. These courses are taught online as part of your degree program. Choose from the following specializations:

    Health Care Informatics Systems
    HIM 301 Introduction to Health Informatics
    This foundational course details the history and factors driving the emergence of health informatics. In addition to emphasizing the concepts, terminologies and scope of health informatics, the course delves into health information exchanges, data standards, health informatics ethics, online resources and E-research. The course includes and overview of basic database architecture, design and file structure and data warehousing and data mining in healthcare.

    HCA 417 Electronic Health Records
    This course begins with an exploration of the evolution of electronic health records (EHRs) and then delves into the current forces driving the adoption of electronic health records. The components of EHR's are reviewed and the core functionalities of the EHR are examined. Major consideration is given to HIPAA and confidentiality regulatory requirements in terms of EHR management. In addition, the different methods of data capture and recording of data are reviewed, as well as a comparison of contents for an inpatient versus an outpatient EHR.

    HIM 410 Health Informatics – A Systems Perspective
    This course focuses on the behind the scenes components of exchange, standards and interoperability of information in healthcare. The course will evaluate informatics-based support resources to include evidence based practice, clinical decision support and transport protocols.

    HIM 435 Analyzing Healthcare Data
    This course is a synthesis of the major ideas, perspectives, and concepts gained from the study of health informatics. Students will learn about the construction and utilization of health care data sets; the use of computerized statistical packages in health care; and the role of health informatics in financial and performance improvement goals. The student will apply common performance improvement models and tools to develop data-driven organizational reports.

    Long-Term Care
    SOC 304 Social Gerontology
    This course focuses on social stereotypes and prejudice against the aged, discrimination, friends and family, care giving, living environments, demography, senior political power, legislation, elder abuse, and death and dying.

    PSY 317 Cognitive Functioning in the Elderly
    This course explores cognitive functioning in later life including biological, socioeconomic, environmental, cognitive adaptation, and life history factors influencing cognitive function as an individual progresses along a developmental continuum. The major psychological constructs of self concept, socialization, and thinking processes are presented. Etiology, interventions, education, and support systems are discussed.

    HCA 442 Contemporary Issues in Aging
    This course presents significant major interdisciplinary aging issues and controversies drawn from biological sciences, medicine, nursing, psychology, sociology, gerontology, public policy, and social work. With an emphasis on critical thinking, divergent views and perspectives of aging phenomenology are explored through the reading and research of selected articles and reports covering current topical content.

    HCA 333 Introduction to Long-Term Care
    This course provides an overview of the long-term service delivery continuum. Course topics include: the concept of patient-family-centered services, introduction to theories of adult development and aging, modalities of the long term care delivery system, organizational culture, introduction to regulatory agencies, financial resources, and assurance of quality.

    If this program fits your personal and professional goals, contact Ashford University at 866.711.1700 to learn more, or request additional information.