Graduate programs in behavioral science are widely available, usually interdisciplinary in nature and may go by a variety of names. These programs are available at the master's and doctoral levels and usually include some hands-on learning experiences. Explore a few of the more common graduate programs in the field below.
Types of Graduate Programs in Behavioral Science
Master of Arts in Behavioral Sciences
Master of Arts (MA) in Behavioral Sciences degree programs are usually interdisciplinary in nature and include perspectives in criminology, psychology, sociology and more. These programs may range from about 36 to 45 credits and typically include some kinds of culminating experience, like a thesis, professional paper, internship and/or capstone project option. Some of these programs may also require students to choose a specialization and take courses that customize the program for their particular career goals. However, some common course topics for these programs may include statistics, research methods, law, criminology and psychology.
Master of Public Health in Social and Behavioral Sciences
Master of Public Health (MPH) in Social and Behavioral Sciences are usually offered in flexible formats with full- or part-time programs available, as well as programs on-campus and online. Depending on the format taken, these programs can be completed in 2 to 4 years and usually include hands-on learning through internship or fieldwork practicum opportunities. These programs may range from around 42 to 48 credit hours and also typically require a final paper or special project, which way be a paper or presentation. Courses in these programs are also interdisciplinary and can be tailored to students' interests, but may include core courses in areas such as public health program planning, research methods, public health theories/fundamentals and health information.
Doctor of Philosophy in Social and Behavioral Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social and Behavioral Sciences are typically full-time programs that are usually research-focused. These programs may typically range from 45 to 54 or more credit hours and usually require preliminary exams and a dissertation. Students can complete these programs in as little as 4 years and often have the opportunity to participate in a range of unique learning opportunities, such as faculty research projects, conferences, professional development workshops and journal clubs. Many students also have the opportunity to teach and the curriculum allows students to focus on various areas of interest, but may include core courses in subjects like research methods, program planning and evaluation, current issues and health disparities.
Common Entrance Requirements
Applicants to master's degree programs in behavioral science must hold at least a bachelor's degree, while applicants to doctoral degree programs usually need at least a master's degree. Most of these programs require applicants to meet a minimum GPA of a 3.0 and submit 'satisfactory' GRE scores, but generally do not require specific scores to be met. Students wishing to apply to graduate programs in behavioral science will typically need to include their official transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation and a personal/goal statement with their application. Some programs may also ask for a resume or CV.
Students can most commonly pursue MA, MPH or PhD programs in behavioral science and participate in hands-on learning through internship, research or fieldwork opportunities. These programs vary greatly in the required number of credits and usually allow students to customize their plan of study to fit their career goals.