Social Services

The social services major at Earlham prepares ethical, culturally sensitive individuals who are prepared to thrive in a variety of careers in counseling, social work, human resources and other fields. Throughout the major, you will gain a deep understanding of how people and social systems affect one another. You will gain policy skills and knowledge and graduate equipped to make meaningful change in the world.

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of work seekers who majored in the social sciences between 2018-2022 were employed, pursuing graduate school or volunteering within six months of graduation.
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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, specialized areas of social services such as mental health and substance abuse, healthcare, and child, family and school social services are projected to grow 17 percent, 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively, between 2019 to 2029.

A degree in social services will prepare you for a variety of potential career paths, including social work, school and career counseling, marriage and family therapy, and human resources.

Thoughtful learning and practical experience

The social services major at Earlham combines the study of society and systems with hands-on, practical experiences in social services settings. In your first and second years, you will be introduced to the fields of social work, psychology and sociology. In your third and fourth years, you will learn counseling skills, including a practicum at a local agency in your senior year.


In your classes, you will learn ethically grounded, culturally competent approaches to problem-solving. You will have the flexibility to pursue your interests in your upper-level competency courses. Students interested in health might take “Racism in Public Health.”  Students interested in working with disabled populations might take “Disabilities Studies.” We offer a wide range of courses not available at most colleges, including “Psychology of Immigration” and “Cradle & Grave,” among others.
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Hands-on experience

Practical experiences are woven into the social services major, and you’ll complete an internship practicum before graduation.

Learn more about internship practicum

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Experienced faculty

Our faculty come from a range of disciplines, including psychology and sociology/anthropology. We also have a practicing professional partner on staff, so you’ll get a firsthand look at careers in social services.

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Our faculty

We bring a diverse set of perspectives from a number of fields to help you understand individuals, groups and social systems.

Frequently asked questions

Social services majors take a variety of courses in social services, psychology and sociology/anthropology, as well as other disciplines, providing you with a breadth of knowledge and a grounding in ethical practices.

The social services major will prepare you for jobs and graduate/professional programs in social services, public health, counseling, human resources and many other professions. You will be equipped to understand societal and organizational structures and work in ethical ways to support the people living and working within these structures.

If you’re considering a career in social work, counseling, public health, human resources or another area that works with people and systems, the social services major could be the right fit for you. Social services majors are passionate about helping others and working to provide ethical, socially responsible services to their communities.

Next steps

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.