Behavioral Psychology Major: Information and Requirements

Oct 08, 2019

Essential Information

Behavioral science is a sector of the psychology field that examines how people develop and change at the individual and group levels. Behavioral science degree programs are most typically offered through four-year colleges and universities and are designed to provide students with an understanding of normal and abnormal human development as well as patterns of behavior across cultures.

Students learn to build interpersonal, ethical and professional skills and knowledge, and they might develop counseling and research capabilities. Behavioral science majors are often required to complete hands-on internships or work-study experiences, which allow them to practice applying behavioral psychology theories to actual patients in supervised settings. A high school diploma or GED is required for entry.

Bachelor of Science Degree in Behavioral Science

The courses found within a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science program provide students with both a theoretical and practical background in behavioral psychology. Core courses cover the fundamental principles of psychology, anthropology and sociology. The following are some core course topics:

  • Social change
  • Personality theory
  • Ethics in behavioral science
  • Interpersonal communication and group dynamics
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Lifespan development

Popular Career Options

Behavioral science is a broad degree topic, and it can lead down many professional avenues. Job possibilities might include the following, some of which might require additional credentials (such as teacher certification):

  • Social worker
  • Healthcare program director
  • Behavioral researcher
  • Statistician
  • Behavioral science specialist
  • Behavioral health technician
  • Market research analyst
  • Counselor
  • Special education teacher

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( employment in the field of social work is expected to increase by 11% from 2018 to 2028, and employment for school and career counselors is expected to increase by 8% during the same period. Social workers earned a median salary of $49,470 per year as of May 2018, and counselors earn close to the same amount with a median salary of $56,310 per year.

Continuing Education Options

Just as there are several possible career choices available for those who complete a bachelor's degree program in behavioral science, so too are there several graduate program choices available. Students can go on to pursue master's degrees in fields such as sociology, psychology, counseling or anthropology. They can continue their studies further with Ph.D. programs in these fields, which can prepare them to become professors of behavioral science or psychology at four-year universities or research scientists in the field.

Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science programs prepare individuals for entry-level careers in the social work and behavioral health fields through a combination of hands-on experience and traditional classroom work in topics related to psychology and sociology. Additional training and certifications may be necessary for more specialized careers.

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