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How to Choose a Behavioral Science School

Behavioral science is an interdisciplinary field dealing with the interactions between people in communities. Examples of these cross-disciplinary fields are women's studies and public policy. There are many training levels available in this field, from certificates to doctorates.

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Some universities contain a college of social and behavioral science, in which students major in areas like sociology, psychology or economics, or immediately begin a cross-disciplinary course of study, such as international relations or gender studies. Other schools have degree programs specifically in behavioral science.

Behavioral Science Schools

Below is a list of colleges and universities that offer programs in behavioral science at various degree levels:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
California State University - Dominguez Hills Carson, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state: $6,213; Out-of-state: $17,373
Metropolitan State University of Denver Denver, CO 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state: $6,420; Out-of-state: $20,057
Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ 4-year, Public Bachelor's and Master's In-state (undergraduate): $10,357; Out-of-state (undergraduate): $23,348; In-state (graduate): $8,691; Out-of-state (graduate): $17,802
Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state: $8,028; Out-of-state: $17,388
University of Kansas Lawrence, KS 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral In-state (undergraduate): $10,825; Out-of-state (undergraduate): $25,659; In-state (graduate): $9,029; Out-of-state (graduate): $21,120
University of Kentucky Lexington, KY 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral In-state (undergraduate): $10,935; Out-of-state (undergraduate): $24,268; In-state (graduate): $10,439; Out-of-state (graduate): $24,905
University of Michigan - Dearborn Dearborn, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state: $11,304; Out-of-State: $23,520
University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE 4-year, Public Master's and Doctoral In-state: $4,505; Out-of-state: $12,644
University of North Texas Denton, TX 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state: $5,450; Out-of-state: $12,470

Source:*National Center of Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students interested in behavioral sciences may want to consider the following when choosing a school or program:

  • Schools often offer multiple degree options, and students may want to consider if they want to pursue a research-based, higher level degree, or a certificate or associate's degree geared towards immediate employment.
  • Many schools give students the option of focusing their studies on a specific area of interest within the behavioral science field, or coupling it with a different discipline in order to build a specialized education path.
  • Some programs may offer opportunities to study abroad or intern to gain practical experience in line with a student's career goals.

Certificate in Behavioral Science

Certificate programs offer condensed training in a specific area of behavioral science. The goal of these programs can be purely academic or career-oriented. Specializations include anthropology, Middle Eastern studies, sociology and women's studies.

Associate's Degree in Behavioral Science

A 2-year program in behavioral science can be concentrated in areas such as psychology and sociology. In addition to core courses, students complete liberal arts courses in communications, math, English and science. Associate's degree programs prepare students to enter the work force at entry-level positions or to continue on to bachelor's degree programs in psychology, behavioral science or related areas.

Bachelor's Degree in Behavioral Science

These 4-year programs often require courses in many of the liberal arts, such as psychology, history and economics. Some programs are structured so that students focus on a specific area, like applied behavioral science, psychology, sociology, education, anthropology, health care or a number of others. Some bachelor's degree programs culminate in a senior-year interdisciplinary research project, and many offer study abroad and internship opportunities.

Master of Science in Behavioral Science

The goal of master's degree programs is generally to prepare students for careers in the behavioral sciences or to continue on to doctorate programs. To this end, students learn to perform in-depth research in interdisciplinary areas and complete a master's thesis or project. Most programs have specific career and academic tracks, such as marriage and family counseling or general psychology.

Ph.D. in Behavioral Science

The most advanced degree available in behavioral science, the Ph.D. prepares students to work as professors, researchers, policy-makers or in other high-level capacities. The program is composed of independent research and small group projects. The degree culminates in the writing of a dissertation, which must be defended before a panel.

Since many schools have behavioral science colleges where students can major in a variety of academic fields, individuals should consider career goals and areas of interest before deciding on a program.

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