Rehabilitation and Human Services, B.S. (Education)

Program Code: RHS_BS

Program Description

This major helps prepare students for entry-level positions in a variety of human service settings, particularly settings that provide services to persons with physical, emotional, or mental disabilities. Graduates pursue employment in a variety of settings including rehabilitation centers, drug and alcohol programs, senior citizens centers, community mental health programs, programs for people with intellectural disabilities, corrections systems, and hospitals.

Increasing opportunities are available in private for-profit insurance programs for the industrially injured, and in employee assistance programs within business and industry. Well-planned use of electives and internships allows for specialization. The full-semester (15-credit) internship is provided under the supervision of professionals in human service agencies. These intensive "hands-on" experiences are frequently avenues for employment since the internship is completed during the senior year. Students may not go on internship until they have successfully completed all other course work. Students are encouraged to participate in volunteer experiences that provide opportunities to work with people with disabilities. Students are encouraged to declare a minor in a related area and should be discussed with the student's adviser. The major also helps prepare students for graduate study in many human service professional disciplines such as rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy and social work.

You Might Like This Program If...

You enjoy learning about human development, diversity, health and disability, treatment interventions, advocating and working directly with people, and solving individual problems using applied interpersonal skills.

Entrance to Major

Baccalaureate degree candidates must have a minimum 2.0 GPA to be admitted to the Rehabilitation and Human Services (RHS) major; thereafter, students must earn a C or better in all RHS required courses.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 17-20
Requirements for the Major 70-72

12-14 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 6 credits of GS courses; 3-4 credits of GQ courses; 3-4 credits of GN courses.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
PSYCH 100Introductory Psychology Keystone/General Education Course3
PSYCH 270Introduction to Abnormal Psychology3
SOC 1Introductory Sociology Keystone/General Education Course3
SOC 119NRace, Ethnicity and Culture Keystone/General Education Course4
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
RHS 100Introduction to Disability Culture Keystone/General Education Course3
RHS 300Introduction to Rehabilitation and Human Services3
RHS 301Introduction to Counseling as a Profession3
RHS 302Client Assessment in Rehabilitation and Human Services3
RHS 303Group Work in Rehabilitation Practice and Human Services3
RHS 400WCase Management and Communication Skills3
RHS 401Community Mental Health Practice and Services3
RHS 402Children and Families in Rehabilitation Settings and Human Services3
RHS 403Medical Aspects of Disability3
RHS 495ARehabilitation and Human Services Internship15
Additional Courses
Select one of the following:3
Individual Differences and Education Keystone/General Education Course
Adolescent Development Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Developmental Psychology Keystone/General Education Course
Select 3-4 credits of the following:3-4
Introductory Biological Anthropology Keystone/General Education Course
Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity Keystone/General Education Course
Genetics and Evolution of the Human Species Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Human Physiology Keystone/General Education Course
Structure and Function of Organisms Keystone/General Education Course
Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution Keystone/General Education Course
Environmental Science Keystone/General Education Course
Human Body: Form and Function Keystone/General Education Course
Select one of the following:3-4
Analysis and Interpretation of Statistical Data in Education Keystone/General Education Course
Statistical Concepts and Reasoning Keystone/General Education Course
Elementary Statistics Keystone/General Education Course
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 6 credits from CRIM, BBH, HDFS, KINES, PSYCH, or SOC6

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

College of Education
Advising and Certification Center

228 Chambers Building
University Park, PA 16802


Kathleen Fadigan
Assistant Professor of Education
1600 Woodland Road
Abington, PA 19001


Erin Johnson
Program Coordinator, Assistant Professor
Franco 153
Reading, PA 19610


Lorie Kramer
Assistant Teaching Professor of Rehabilitation and Human Services
Graham 112
Hazleton, PA 18202

Lehigh Valley

Leigh Cundari
Coordinator of Rehabilitation and Human Services
2809 Saucon Valley Road
Center Valley, PA 18034


Melisa Littleton
Program Coordinator, Rehabilitation and Human Services
44 University Drive
Dallas, PA 18612

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2021-22 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Rehabilitation and Human Services, B.S. at University Park Campus and Commonwealth Campuses

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
ENGL 15 or 30H*3PSYCH 100*†3
SOC 1*†3Arts or Humanities3
Quanitification*3Natural Science3
Arts or Humanities3Elective/Minor3
EDUC 1001Health and Physical Activity1.5
 16 16.5
Second Year
CAS 100A3RHS 300*13
SOC 119N4RHS 301*13
ANTH 21, BIOL 133, BIOL 110, BIOL 141, BISC 1, BISC 2, BISC 3, or BISC 43-4Natural Science3
PSYCH 212, HDFS 239, or EDPSY 103Elective/Minor3
RHS 100†13Arts or Humanities3
 Health and Physical Activity1.5
 16-17 16.5
Third Year
ENGL 202A or 202B3RHS 303*3
EDPSY 101, STAT 100, or STAT 2003-4RHS 400W*3
RHS 302*3RHS 401*3
Arts or Humanities3Elective/Minor3
PSYCH 2703Criminology or Biobehavorial or Human Development and Family Studies or Psychology or Kinesology or Sociology*3
 15-16 15
Fourth Year
RHS 402*3RHS 495A*215
RHS 403*3 
Criminology or Biobehavorial or Human Development and Family Studies or Psychology or Kinesology or Sociology3 
 12 15
Total Credits 122-124

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Additional Notes:

  • GWS, GHW, GQ, GN, GA, GH, and GS are codes used to identify General Education requirements.
  • Must complete at least 3 cr. of United States (US) and 3 cr. of International Cultures (IL).
  • Summer study could reduce some of the credit loads above.
  • Effective Fall 2012, all incoming Schreyer Honors College freshmen at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits. At the discretion of the college, ENGL/CAS 138T satisfies the first-year seminar requirement.
  • Academic Advising Notes: The course series listed above is only one of many possible ways to move through this curriculum.   Please be sure to also use the curriculum checksheets and degree audits, as well as consult with an adviser about appropriate scheduling sequences, clearances for field experiences and Testing requirements. Advisers also can assist students in identifying coursework offered at Penn State in the SUMMER.

Career Paths

The RHS major provides excellent preparation specifically for graduate programs leading to professions such as occupational therapy, counseling, social work, and physical therapy. Advising of courses outside the major for electives are provided in order to enhance competitiveness of graduate school applications.



RHS allows students to pursue a variety of employment options as case workers and direct service providers in alcohol and other drug treatment centers, correctional facilities, mental health agencies, private non-profit rehabilitation centers, private-for-profit rehabilitation agencies, human resources, programs for children and youth, programs for older adults, public welfare agencies, rehabilitation hospitals, schools, social service agencies, and vocational rehabilitation programs.


Opportunities for Graduate Studies

To prepare students for graduate studies, students can work with faculty on independent studies and can petition to take graduate courses within the department. For qualified students, we also offer the Schreyer Honors Program.



The College of Education educator preparation program is currently NCATE accredited and is seeking accreditation by the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP) in Spring 2019. CAEP advances excellence in educator preparation through evidence-based accreditation that assures quality and supports continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 student learning.



University Park

125 CEDAR Building
University Park, PA 16802


1600 Woodland Road
Abington, PA 19001


Franco Building
Reading, PA 19610


Graham 112
Hazleton, PA 18202

Lehigh Valley

2809 Saucon Valley Road
Center Valley, PA 18034


44 University Drive
Dallas, PA 18612