Human Services

The field of Human Services is broadly defined by the objective of meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems, and maintaining a commitment to improving overall quality of life. The Human Services major attracts students with a strong commitment to social and economic justice, human dignity, self-determination, and the desire to support change through direct and indirect service delivery. Human Services students have a variety of interests, including social service, education, advocacy, criminal justice, international studies, and a shared desire to bring about positive change.

 

“My major requires its students to complete three quarters, a total of 360 hours, of internships in the community. It's been great to develop important job skills and build on my resume, as well as staying active in the community.” 

-Nicole Proctor, Student

Human Services is a unique major that combines academic study with professional internships. The three quarters of required internship are key parts of the curriculum, allowing students to engage with the community, while adding to their academic experience through applied practice. The program is offered in Bellingham, Everett, and through Distance Learning (online classes), and is designed to meet National Standards in human services education as outlined by the Council for Standards in Human Service Education. 

The Department of Health and Community Studies is part of Woodring College of Education.

Beyond the Classroom

Human Services internship activities include community outreach, grant writing, event planning, program coordination, advocacy, field organizing, client interaction, and mentoring. Interns often provide direct services with a variety of populations, including veterans, children, youth and families, people with disabilities, the elderly, and students and staff in educational institutions pre-K through college. Students have the opportunity to work with organizations that focus on a wide range of issues, community health, homelessness, domestic violence, chemical dependency, youth and family work, foster care, and more.  

Recent Internships:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Bellingham Food Bank
  • Bellingham Fire Department
  • Skagit Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services

 

"I wanted to interact with others directly and have work I could easily see the meaning in. Human Services has guided me towards experiences that have been more and more fulfilling."  

-Melanie Patterson, Student

Careers and Graduate Studies

Thousands of Human Services program graduates are currently working in meaningful positions in nonprofit, government, and community-based services.

Roles of Recent Western Graduates:

  • Executive Assistant to Leadership Team: Alzheimer’s Association
  • Impact Coordinator: AmeriCorps VISTA
  • Youth Chemical Dependency Counselor: Catholic Community Services
  • Housing Coordinator: Compass Health
  • Clinical Support Specialist: Downtown Emergency Service Center
  • Adoption Advisor: Seattle Humane Society
  • LGBTQ Youth Advocate/Homeless Prevention Specialist: Skagit YMCA
  • Women’s Support Advocate: Womencare Shelter

Human Services graduates pursue graduate studies all over the country, most frequently in programs such as: 

  • Social Work
  • Law
  • Adult and Higher Education 
  • Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Psychology
  • School Counseling

 

“The Human Services program has a more than 45-year history of close engagement and collaboration with community partners. It is a mutually beneficial relationship, with our students providing much needed services for our partners while adding to their academic experience through applied practice.”  

-John Korsmo, Professor

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Children, Youth, and Family Services
  • Veterans Services
  • Mental Health
  • International Relief
  • Rehabilitation Counseling & Disability Services
  • Corrections & Law Enforcement
  • Community Development & Organizing
  • Faith-Based Services
  • Human Resources
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Non-Profit Organization Administrator

 

Department of Health and Community Studies

History—Elementary

The History — Elementary major at Western is designed for students who plan to become elementary school teachers. In their history courses, History — Elementary majors learn how to locate and access a wide range of sources, to analyze historical evidence, including textual and visual sources, to evaluate historical interpretations, and to develop and support their own interpretations. The quantity of writing and discussion required in history courses also helps students to develop effective communication skills. 

The History—Elementary major satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in elementary education and must be accompanied by the professional preparation program in elementary education. See the Elementary Education section of the University catalog for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.

Western’s History Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Beyond the Classroom

History students often get involved with the National Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta. Phi Alpha Theta offers many fun and scholarly activities to participate in through the chapter. Involvement with the chapter is a good way to expand your knowledge of history and the association with the honor society is a great way to make connections for future opportunities in history.

Careers and Graduate Studies

The History — Elementary major at Western is designed for students who plan to become elementary school teachers. The major satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in elementary education 

Employers of Recent Western Graduates: 

  • Federal Way School District 
  • Seattle School District

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Elementary Teacher

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

History/Social Studies

History/Social Studies focuses on locating and accessing a wide range of sources to analyze historical evidence, including textual and visual sources to evaluate historical interpretations, and to develop and support one’s own interpretations. The quantity of writing and discussion required in history courses also helps students to develop effective communication skills. The required courses in economics, geography, and political science are intended to prepare students to teach these subjects in middle and high schools.

The History/Social Studies major at Western is designed to prepare students to teach history and social studies in secondary schools. However, this major also prepares students for a wider range of careers. The History/Social Studies degree does not require that a student pursue a teaching certificate. History/Social Studies majors interested in a Secondary Education certification must apply separately to the certification program in Woodring College of Education.

Western’s History Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Beyond the Classroom

Students often get involved with the National Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta. Phi Alpha Theta offers many fun and scholarly activities to participate in through the chapter. Involvement with the chapter is a good way to expand your knowledge of history and the association with the honor society is a great way to make connections for future opportunities in history.

Careers and Graduate Studies

The knowledge students acquire and the skills they develop in their history and social science courses prepare them for law school; graduate programs in teaching, public policy, or international affairs; and careers as journalists, government officials, and attorneys.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Social Studies Teacher 
  • Politician/Attorney 
  • Teacher 
  • Archivist 
  • Museum Curator

History

In high school, students often are given the impression that the study of history simply requires memorization of names, dates, and other facts about events in the past. At the college level, however, the study of history facilitates the development of research, analytical, evaluative, and interpretive skills. The study of history involves a careful search through existing evidence to determine what happened in the past, but understanding how and why that evidence was created and then saved stands at the center of the discipline. It’s all about asking tough questions.

That’s why the History major at Western prepares students for many different careers. Due to the quantity of reading, writing, and discussion, History majors have strong communication and analytical skills, which are valued by all employers, including businesses and government agencies. History majors learn how to locate and access a wide range of sources, to analyze evidence, including textual and visual sources, to evaluate competing interpretations, and to develop and support their own interpretations. They can help make sense of the kinds of challenges faced by almost any organization or business.

Beyond the Classroom

Students often get involved with the National Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta. Phi Alpha Theta offers many fun and scholarly activities to participate in through the chapter. Involvement with the chapter is a good way to expand your knowledge of history and the association with the honor society is a great way to make connections for future opportunities in history. 

The History department encourages students to find internships and explore their passions. Recent student internships include: 

  • Friedman Rubin Trial Lawyers: Investigation Intern 
  • Skagit County Public Works: Records Intern 
  • WA State Archive: Northwest Regional Intern

Careers and Graduate Studies

Liberal Arts and Sciences majors show some of the highest gains in critical thinking and analytical skills, the skills employers consistently say that they want most. History majors, in addition, learn to think about other cultures past and present, an important career skill in an increasingly diverse world. In short, History majors’ skills prepare them to be effective citizens, lifelong learners, and to have successful careers. Some choose to work in history-related fields such as teaching, library science, museum studies, or public history. The vast majority of History majors, however, go on to successful careers in business, government, and the nonprofit sectors. Studies show that History majors have some of the largest gains in earning over time because of their impressive skills.

Employers of Recent Western Graduates: 

  • Google
  • Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust: Processing Archivist 
  • Skagit County Public Works: Records Assistant 
  • United States Postal Service 
  • King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office: Legal Administrative Specialist 
  • Friedman Rubin Trial Lawyers: Investigator 
  • CEP Felipe II (Madrid, Spain): Language/Culture Assistant 

Western graduates who pursue graduate studies are doing so at such schools as: 

  • University of Maryland: Library and Information Science (MLS) 
  • Western Washington University: Archival Studies and Records Management (MA)

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Foreign Service Officer 
  • Attorney 
  • Museum Curator 
  • Government Official 
  • Journalist 
  • Business Manager 
  • Social Studies Teacher 
  • FBI/CIA Agent 
  • Librarian 
  • Archivist 
  • Historical Preservation Specialist

German—Elementary

German studies aims to learn about a culture in depth through both language structure and literary analysis. The department provides instruction in history, culture, and literary theory to impart skills to future foreign language teachers so that they may similarly enable elementary school students to begin the acquisition of foreign languages.

Western’s German studies program is one of only two programs nationwide to be recognized in 2013 as a “National Center of Excellence” by the American Association of Teachers of German — the governing body for German instructors at all levels. German studies at Western is the only undergraduate program at a public university in the United States with this designation. 

The German — Elementary major satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in elementary education and must be accompanied by the professional preparation program in elementary education. See Elementary Education for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements. 

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“The student centered support of the German faculty at Western does not end in the classroom! The professors support and advise students on opportunities to study abroad, scholarships, and work opportunities.” 

-Andrew Erickson-Lapidus, Student

Beyond the Classroom

Gain a global perspective through study abroad programs to numerous Austrian, German, and Swiss universities as well as direct exchanges with the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Universität Duisburg-Essen, and Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz. Students may enroll at the host university for a semester or whole academic year and will receive credit toward the German major or minor. 

Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities, such as the German Table (Stammtisch) at Rudy’s Pizzeria in downtown Bellingham, the intramural German soccer team, and the German Club. The faculty also regularly organizes special events. Recent highlights include outings to the Frye Art Museum in Seattle and a Rammstein concert in Tacoma, WA Western’s version of German Day, “German Rocks”, with an evening dance party, and presentations by Microsoft on the advantages of having a foreign language degree in the business world.

“Whether raising money and walking together for Relay4Life, teaching underprivileged youths German at Compass 2 Campus events, weekly Stammtisch dinners, creating a soccer team, attending a Rammstein concert, theater-nights, or even dancing together at the “German Rocks!” event through Radio Goethe, one thing is certain: our department never has a dull moment.” 

-Valeria Fisher, Student

Careers and Graduate Studies

Knowledge of the German language and culture opens up doors for students to apply for competitive grants for research and study in Germany, such as those from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Service). Since 2009, our German students have won 17 nationally and internationally competitive scholarships for studying, teaching, and working in German-speaking countries, including the following: 

  • Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) 
  • Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships 
  • German Academic Exchange Service Graduate Scholarships 
  • German Academic Exchange Service RISE (Research Internship in Science and Engineering) 
  • German Academic Exchange Service University Summer Grant 
  • German Academic Exchange Service Bundestag Internship

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Elementary Teacher

Department of Elementary Education

Geophysics

Geophysics involves studies in the application of physics as a means of understanding a range of geological processes.

Western’s Geophysics major is distinct from geology in that a more intensive set of math and physics courses, and applications of these skills, are required. Students are strongly encouraged to complete a senior thesis project as part of this degree, providing them with an excellent capstone experience.

Western’s Geology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

Our students graduate with many valuable skills and experiences, and leave Western for graduate school or for jobs in a variety of geoscience fields as professional geologists. There are many exciting opportunities for new students in our program, and the future demand for geoscientist will be significant.

–Bernie Housen, Faculty

Beyond the Classroom

The Geology department is home to two active professional-society student chapters — the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) that offer professional development and networking opportunities outside the classroom.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Students who complete the Geophysics degree at Western will be prepared to continue to graduate studies in geology, geophysics, planetary geology/geophysics, physics, or other related fields, or to enter into industry.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • U.S. Geological Survey 
  • Department of Natural Resources 
  • Oil and Mining companies 
  • NASA 
  • U.S. Forest Service 
  • U.S Army Corps of Engineers 
  • Explorations Geologist 
  • Museum Curator 
  • Climate Change Scientist 
  • Earthquake or Volcano Monitor 
  • Engineering Geologist

Geology

Geology is a diverse discipline, incorporating aspects of physics, chemistry, biology and natural history in the attempt to solve earth-related problems. Geoscientists provide basic information to society for solving problems and establishing policy for resource management, environmental protection, public health, safety, and welfare. 

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Geology is designed to provide students with a broad background in geology with advanced preparation in earth materials, structural geology, and tectonics. Completion of this program prepares students for a variety of careers in geology or graduate work in geology. The BS is recommended for students who are preparing to become professional geologists and intend to enter industry or enroll in a graduate program upon completion of the degree. 

The Geology Department has: 

  • Engaging award winning teachers who inspire students and instill modern active-learning pedagogies in their courses. 
  • Active scholars in diverse specialties that involve students in their research projects. 
  • Helpful staff that support the educational mission of the department and create a positive atmosphere for students. 
  • Excellent role models for women in science — 30% of faculty and 50% of undergraduate and MS graduate students are women that are actively engaged in teaching, research, and service. 
  • A reputable high-quality program that integrates unique field experiences and modern technology throughout the curriculum.

Western’s Geology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

“Our students graduate with many valuable skills and experiences, and leave Western for graduate school or for jobs in a variety of geoscience fields as professional geologists. There are many exciting opportunities for new students in our program, and the future demand for geoscientist will be significant.” –Bernie Housen, Faculty

 

“The geology program provided me with a really well-rounded education with great one-on-one teacher-student collaborations, a nice variety of subjects to study, and a strong friendship with fellow students.” –Margaret Pueringer, Student

Beyond the Classroom

The department is home to two active professional-society student chapters — the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) that offer professional development and networking opportunities outside the classroom.

“My professors and classmates have shown dedication to excellence in academics, which is something that I cannot appreciate more. I started a senior research project involving active tectonics in the Yakima/Ellensburg area. In the project we are measuring stream channels from LIDAR (light detection and ranging), to try and interpret the way in which Cleman Mountain (a mountain in the area) grew above the surrounding landscape.” –Tabor Reedy

Careers and Graduate Studies

Geology graduates are in high demand for jobs and graduate programs in Washington and across North America. Western’s Geology Department has the highest percentage of licensed geologists in Washington State than any other college or university in the state, and our students' success rate on the national geology fundamentals exam (required for geologists licensing) is 20% higher than the national average.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • U.S. Geological Survey 
  • Department of Natural Resources 
  • Oil Exploration 
  • Mining Geologist 
  • NASA 
  • U.S. Forest Service 
  • Engineering Geologist

Geology

Geology is a diverse discipline, incorporating aspects of physics, chemistry, biology and natural history in the attempt to solve earth-related problems. Geoscientists provide basic information to society for solving problems and establishing policy for resource management, environmental protection, public health, safety, and welfare. By applying knowledge of forces that shape the Earth, Geoscientists seek to reconstruct the past and anticipate the future.

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Geology is designed for students who want to study geology, but who are not intending to work as professional geologists. This degree is appropriate for someone interested in pursuing a liberal arts education with a less rigorous course of study in Geology and supporting sciences than students in the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Thus, students are allowed more flexibility for additional courses that complement their goals. An accompanying minor in one of the sciences or in mathematics is recommended. 

The Geology Department has: 

  • Engaging award winning teachers who inspire students and instill modern active-learning pedagogies in their courses. 
  • Active scholars in diverse specialties that involve students in their research projects. 
  • Helpful staff that support the educational mission of the department and create a positive atmosphere for students. 
  • Excellent role models for women in science — 30% of faculty and 50% of undergraduate and graduate students are women that are actively engaged in teaching, research, and service. 
  • A reputable high-quality program that integrates unique field experiences and modern technology throughout the curriculum.

Western’s Geology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

“I am a Geology undergraduate [major] because I have a passion for science, the outdoors, and having a productive role in society. Geology is a diverse discipline that attempts to solve earth-related problems, and I love the variety of career options, high employment rates, and societal relevance in keeping communities safe, healthy, clean, and functional.” –Kaelin Newman, Student

Beyond the Classroom

The department is home to two active professional-society student chapters - the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) that offer professional development and networking opportunities outside the classroom.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Geology graduates are in high demand for jobs and graduate programs in Washington and across North America. Western’s Geology Department has a higher percentage of licensed geologists than any other college or university in Washington State, and our students' success rate on the national geology fundamentals exam (required for geologists licensing) is 20% higher than the national average.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • U.S. Geological Survey 
  • Department of Natural Resources 
  • Oil and Mining companies 
  • NASA 
  • U.S. Forest Service 
  • U.S Army Corps of Engineers 
  • Explorations Geologist 
  • Museum Curator 
  • Climate Change Scientist 
  • Earthquake or Volcano Monitor 
  • Engineering Geologist

French—Elementary

The study of French includes instruction in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. Students of French studies acquire the skills required to not only speak the language, but also to learn about and appreciate French societies, cultures, and artistic expressions. The French studies program is designed to help students develop a solid grammar and vocabulary base that allows students to become effective communicators with an equal emphasis on cultural awareness and imparts skills to future foreign language teachers so that they may similarly enable elementary school students to begin the acquisition of foreign languages.

The French-Elementary degree satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in elementary education and must be accompanied by the professional preparation program in elementary education. See Elementary Education for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.

The Modern and Classical Language Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Beyond the Classroom

Students can participate as facilitators in the WELP (Western Employee Language Program) program, which gives students first-hand experience teaching French to speakers of other languages, or get involved with the “On Parle” program, which helps high school students develop their French conversational skills. 

Many students apply to the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France), which offers students the opportunity to work in France for seven months teaching English to French students of all ages. Each year three to eight students succeed in obtaining the assistantship and are sent to schools in various French cities. 

The French Club puts on the Table Française, a weekly table at the local pizzeria for students to converse in French. The students meet once a week for discussions, social gatherings, and cultural activities.

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Elementary Teacher

Department of Modern and Classical Languages

French/Spanish

Students of both French and Spanish studies acquire the skills required to not only speak the languages, but also to learn about and appreciate French and Spanish societies, cultures, and artistic expressions. The guiding principle of the curriculum is that one of the best ways to understand a culture is directly through its language.

Students develop a solid grammar and vocabulary base that allows them to become effective communicators with an equal emphasis on cultural awareness through culture, film, and literature courses. The department emphasizes the diversity and multicultural aspects of the Spanish and Francophone (French speaking) worlds through civilization, culture, literature and sociolinguistic courses. 

Western’s Modern and Classical Languages Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Beyond the Classroom

With both resources and events from both the French and Spanish programs, French/Spanish students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities:

  • WELP (Western Employee Language Program) 
  • “On Parle” 
  • Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) 
  • French Club 
  • Table Française 
  • Sigma Delta Pi, The National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society 
  • Spanish Program Volunteer Opportunities
  • La Mesa del Español
  • Cultural Ambassadors Program in Spain: North American Language and Cultural Assistants in Spain

 

Careers and Graduate Studies

Students in the French/Spanish program graduate with career and continued education plans from locally to all over the world.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Interpreter 
  • Foreign Correspondent 
  • Foreign Service Officer 
  • FBI Agent 
  • Educator 
  • Linguist 
  • Travel Writer 
  • Communications Consultant

 

Department of Modern and Classical Languages

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