Online Behavioral Science Degree Program Options

Learn about online degrees with behavioral science courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

Essential information

Online associate's degree programs for behavioral science are often designed to transfer to bachelor's degree programs after students complete general education core requirements and introductory coursework in sociology and psychology. These provide an economical and flexible option for the first two years of a four-year program, but alone do not prepare students for careers. In online associate's degree programs, coursework that would require an on-campus presence, like meetings with advisors and exams, is often deferred until after the student transfers to a campus-based bachelor's degree program.

Online bachelor's degree programs allow behavioral science students to take the full undergraduate curriculum through distance education. These programs emphasize research and analysis in sociology and psychology. They may require word processing, spreadsheet and/or presentation software, PDF reader, and the ability to stream video and audio.

Online Associate's Degree in Behavioral Science

Although they might be difficult to find, it is possible to pursue an online associate's degree with a focus on behavioral science. Online Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS) degrees are commonly available. These degrees may or may not specify that a concentration in behavioral science is available. However, students can work with an advisor to select electives that focus primarily on behavioral science, such as psychology and sociology.

Additional Program Details and Technical Requirements

An online associate's degree program with a focus on behavioral science usually requires approximately 58-64 credits. For a full-time student, this can take two to three years to complete. Although most courses are available online, some schools require students to come on campus for orientation, exams or advisor meetings.

Pursuing an online degree requires an up-to-date computer with an Internet connection and the school's recommended Web browser. To access lectures, which could be in video, audio or text, students might need to install certain plug-in software to play media or open PDF files. Assignments might require students to work with word processing, spreadsheet or presentation software, so it is a good idea to have access to a standard office suite of software.

Typical Behavioral Science Courses for Associate's Degree

Students work online by logging into the school's course management software. After logging in, students can get their homework, hand in completed assignments and communicate with peers or the instructor. Communication can take place using message boards, instant messaging and e-mail.

General Psychology

Students learn about the scientific study of certain behaviors, such as stress, motivation and anger. This course provides an overview of research methodology and the biological foundations of human behavior. Students also study personality, perception and consciousness.

Developmental Psychology

This course examines cognitive, emotional and physical development in the human life span. Students study the psychosocial and biological effect on human development.

Introduction to Sociology

The main focus of this course is to provide an overview of sociology's theories, principles and concepts. Students study social issues related to gender, class, age and race. This course also discusses various analytical methods and how to apply what's learned to daily living.

Fundamental Social Problems

Students examine the social issues in modern society, such as substance abuse, discrimination and crime. This course presents different ways to analyze and possibly alleviate these problems.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Behavioral Science

Students study the theories and concepts of sociology, psychology and counseling. They also learn about problems, questions and issues that affect individuals and society. Programs also place emphasis on researching, analyzing and communicating within the field.

Additional Program Details and Technical Requirements

An online bachelor's degree program in behavioral science takes a full-time student approximately four years to complete. Behavioral science classes are usually about one-third of the required coursework. These classes can include psychology, sociology, anthropology and philosophy. Students must also fulfill general education requirements and electives.

Technical requirements typically consist of an up-to-date computer that has a connection to the Internet. A school usually recommends a Web browser that works best with its course management software. A suite of office software is helpful for working on documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Other software needed might include software plug-ins to open PDF files, watch videos or listen to audio material.

Typical Behavioral Science Courses for Bachelor's Degree

It's typical for schools with online programs to use course management software that allows students to access class material. The software also provides a place for students to communicate with classmates and the instructor, as well as upload and download assignments.

Abnormal Psychology

This course covers the types of abnormal behaviors and their definitions. Students learn about possible causes, as well as prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Theories of Personality

Students learn about the different theories that attempt to explain how an individual's personality develops. The theories covered include behavioral, psychodynamic, humanistic and cognitive.

Research Methods in Sociology

To teach students how to gather, arrange and present behavioral science data, this course covers surveys, observation, analysis and experiments. Students learn what resources are available and design their own research studies.


Career Information

Although many graduates with an associate's degree continue their education through a bachelor's degree program, others seek employment in entry-level business or government positions. Payscale.com reported that, in November 2016, graduates with AA degrees in liberal arts held job titles such as administrative assistant and information technology director, and the annual median salary for graduates with these job titles was $37,452 and $111,894 respectfully.

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in behavioral science can apply their knowledge and skills to a range of human service areas, including education, law enforcement, public service and health care. Examples of careers include human resources managers and social workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015, the median human resources manager salary was $104,440, and the median social worker salary was $45,900.

Continuing Education Opportunities

Although it is possible to find the occasional master's degree program in behavioral science, master's degrees in specific behavioral sciences, such as sociology or psychology, are more typical. Other master's degrees that might be appropriate for the behavioral science baccalaureate to pursue are teaching, counseling, social work, education, law and public administration.

Online behavioral science degrees are commonly found at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. Graduates commonly gain employment in administration, social work and human resources.


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