Graduate programs in behavioral science provide advanced knowledge in multiple fields, including public health, social work and mental health. Most online master's degree programs for behavioral science award a Master of Science degree. A Master of Arts is also available for graduates interested in teaching.
Some online programs with behavioral science coursework lead to degrees in psychology, human behavior or public health. These programs commonly require two years of fully online coursework with a capstone thesis paper, a project or an in-person clinical practicum at the end. An internship may also be a requirement of these programs.
Those interested in pursuing a master's degree in this field of study must have previously earned a bachelor's degree. Work experience, volunteer work, academic activities and recommendation letters are also common factors in admissions decisions.
Behavioral science classes focus on the psychological and behavioral aspects of human behavior. Lessons range from a general overview of psychology to the examination of specific factors affecting humans, like age or environment. Inspections of modern medicine and drugs help graduates to understand what medications may help relieve a patient's problems and how to assist other patients in drug rehabilitation. The online master's degree program requires a lot of reading and research. Potential behavior science online courses include:
- Social problems
- Cultural development
- Medical treatment for behavioral conditions
- Developmental psychology: childhood
- Developmental psychology: adolescence
- Developmental psychology: adulthood and aging
- Abnormal psychology.
Students engage each other in discussions and problem-solving exercises via online class forums and scheduled online class chats. Some of these discussions happen in real time while others occur over the week. Aside from scheduled class meetings, students are free to complete readings and coursework at their own pace as long as they meet the due dates for papers and examinations. Professors may require internships or visits with other behavioral science professionals. This live experience is required in order for students to obtain personal interaction with patients.
Graduates of the behavioral science online master's degree program can obtain numerous professional positions in the private and public sector. Counseling positions are available with many local government agencies. Opening or joining a private practice is an alternative to working for the state or city. Employment opportunities for graduates may include:
- School psychologist
- Social psychologist
- Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor
- Public health and medical social worker
- Substance abuse and mental health social worker
Some of these positions may require professional credentials or licenses depending on the student's location. The American Board of Professional Psychology, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. and state organizations, can provide licensing and credentials. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that multiple behavioral science professions - including mental health counseling and social work - should grow at a faster rate than the average for all occupations from 2014-2024.
Students who would like to enroll in an online master's degree program in behavioral science will need a bachelor's degree and some combination of work experience, volunteer work, academic activities and recommendation letters. Students who complete this program may graduate with a Master of Science or a Master of Arts degree, depending on their chosen career path.