dcsimg

Behavioral science degrees online

Human behavior is one of those rare constants across all human systems, and learning how to understand and interpret the way people behave in various situations can give you a singularly valuable set of skills. By earning a behavioral science degree, or even just by taking a few behavioral science courses, you set yourself up to hit the job market with knowledge and skills that employers in nearly every industry can use.

What's more, the study of behavioral science can be learned in the virtual classroom almost as easily as it can in a brick-and-mortar environment, which can be a great help for students whose circumstances make it difficult to take the traditional route. Take a look at how many campus-based and online behavioral science degrees are offered at institutions in each region of the country, according to the National Center for Education Statistics:

Region No. of schools offering behavioral science degrees No. of schools with online behavioral science degree programs
Far West (CA. OR, WA, NV, AK, HI) 18 6
Rocky Mountains (ID, MT, UT, WY, CO) 8 3
Southwest (AZ, NM, TX, OK) 19 7
Plains (MO, KS, IA, NE, MN, ND, SD) 11 2
Southeast (AR, LA, MS, AL, FL, GA, SC, NC, TN, KY, VA, WV) 17 8
Great Lakes (IL, IN, OH, MI, WI) 13 5
Mideast (PA, NY, NJ, DE, MD, D.C.) 11 4
New England (CT, MA, RI, VT, NH, ME) 5 1
Total (all 50 states) 102 36

Entry-level behavioral science degrees

Even though candidates for employment in academia often have an advanced education, a bachelor's or associate degree in applied behavioral science is often enough for jobs in both the public and private sectors. Take a look at these brief explanations of what students typically encounter in each type of program:

  • Associate degrees - At the associate level, students are introduced to the general concepts that form the foundation of higher scholarship and theory in the discipline. Introductory behavioral science courses at two-year colleges include such subjects as sociology, psychology, human development, deviant behavior, social issues, abnormal psychology and more. Some schools may also encourage students to choose from a list of behavioral science concentrations such as family studies, criminology, pre-physical therapy (pre-PT), research methods or counseling.
  • Bachelor's degrees - Behavioral science degrees at the bachelor's level often consist of a combination curriculum that blends psychology and sociology and may allow students to focus their studies on a practical specialization that prepares them to enter a specific career field after graduation. University-level behavioral science degrees cover a wider range of fundamental ideas of the discipline, often up to and including their application in real-world settings like organizational management and the delivery of human services.
  • Non-degree study - One-off behavioral science courses, such as those that teach the psychology of group dynamics or sociological approaches to coping with diversity, may be available at schools in your area and can give you some widely applicable personal and professional skills. Certificate and diploma programs in behavioral science are fairly rare, but may be found.

Social science is one of the academic disciplines that can be taught in the virtual classroom with limited difficulty, provided the student is capable of maintaining the initiative necessary to complete the courses in good standing. Online study of theoretical or applied behavioral science can allow you to continue your education without unduly disrupting your life and work routine.

Advanced-degree behavioral science programs

At advanced levels, study of theoretical as well as applied behavioral science tends to narrow down a bit, with many courses falling more solidly on one side or the other of the sociology-psychology divide, but some more generalized degrees do exist. Here's a quick overview of behavioral science degrees at the master's and doctoral level:

  • Master's degree programs - A master's degree in behavioral science is often grouped into a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program with a concentration in the behavioral and social sciences. Some institutions may offer a Master of Science (MS) or Master of Arts (MA) program in behavioral sciences as well, designed to give advanced students the requisite knowledge and skills for a broad spectrum of possible careers or post-graduate study paths.
  • Doctorate programs - Behavioral science degrees at the highest level are categorized similarly to master's degrees in the field, which is to say that several programs take a community health approach to the study of behavioral science while a few come at it from a more broadly academic point of view and may include sections on economic behavior, epistemology and the theory of knowledge. Whichever direction your program takes, you can expect to be intensively trained on research methods and statistical analysis before proposing, composing and defending your dissertation.
  • Graduate certificates - Graduate certificates in behavioral science are more common than their undergraduate counterparts, and the balance between health-oriented and generalized behavior analysis is skewed a bit less toward the health side than it is in full degree plans at the graduate level. If you're hoping to become a certified behavior analyst, look for a graduate certificate course that's recognized by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. (BACB).

It's been mentioned that going to class online can be a great way to continue your education despite obstacles in scheduling or financial availability, and that's no less true for students in graduate programs. In fact, taking online graduate courses at your own pace may allow you to stretch out the overall program length and spend more time and energy on each course in the curriculum.

Q&A with experts

Michael Zouhri, Canadian entrepreneur and co-founder of Predictive Analytics, Omnisensory and Neuromarketing Society (PONS)

Michael Zouhri, Canadian entrepreneur and co-founder of Predictive Analytics, Omnisensory and Neuromarketing Society (PONS)Why would you encourage someone to consider a behavioral science degree?

Right now, this is one of the most active and growing fields of applied psychology and neuroscience. Part of this boom is spurred by advances in assessment techniques, but much of the boom is due to increased corporate and cultural interest driven by the modern analytics and optimisation movement. Successful practitioners can easily command over 6 figures today.

What are the most common educational paths for students hoping to use behavioral science concepts on the job? Are there particular degrees that provide the most effective preparation?

The typical journey involves an undergraduate degree in science psychology. Usually cognitive psychology. Alternative paths usually involve biopsychology (behavioural neuroscience) and most practitioners have an advanced degree. Successful practitioners usually also have experience with lab research and understand good experimental design.

What surprised you most about the professional value of behavioral science once you got into the working world?

How remarkably universal the applications are. Every company in the world that hires people has a pain point that can be solved or alleviated using behavioural science. Entire governments even have "nudge" units now.

Mike Provitera, business consultant and management professor at Barry University

Mike Provitera, business consultant and management professor at Barry UniversityWhat level of education is typically necessary to get started in a behavioral science career?

Graduate study. A terminal degree in the industry is master's level for many careers. However, a doctoral degree is necessary in academic careers.

What's some advice you might have for a student who's thinking about working toward a career in behavioral science?

Take the research and math courses in your discipline. Even an MBA that offers a thesis component is well worth it…..especially if you decide to go on for your doctoral coursework.

Types of behavioral science careers

Career potential for behavioral science graduates is strongest in the business and academic sectors, although knowledge of human behavior can be valuable just about anywhere you choose to apply it. With a hat tip to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the data, take a look at this table of careers where behavioral science skills often come into play:

Occupation title National mean annual salary
(2014)
Projected job growth
(2014-2024)
Total U.S. employment
(2014)
Entry-level education
HR specialist $62,590 5 percent 482,000 Bachelor's degree
Training and development specialist $61,530 7 percent 252,600 Bachelor's degree
HR manager $114,140 9 percent 122,500 Bachelor's degree
Training and development manager $111,030 7 percent 32,900 Bachelor's degree
Survey researcher $54,730 12 percent 16,700 Master's degree
Social sciences teacher, postsecondary $78,690 17 percent 12,900 Master's degree

Common misconceptions about behavioral science degrees

Unless you've already got some behavioral science training yourself, solid information about degrees in the field may be something of a mystery. Check out these common misconceptions about campus-based and online behavioral science degrees and make sure you're not getting ready to start your own educational journey with bad information:

Misconception: Studying behavioral science is only for research scholars and advertising agency analysts.

  • Fact: A fair portion of behavioral science degree jobs come from the academic and business sectors, especially for candidates who also have a marketing degree, but those are by no means the only places that you can use your skills. Health care facilities may have greater need for employees with nursing degrees or physical therapy training, for example, but your understanding of human behavior can help develop policies and practices that help the team work better together.

Misconception: It's easier to earn an online degree in behavioral science than get one on campus.

  • Fact: This one is perhaps the most common, and one of the most dangerous to potential students. Earning your degree in the virtual classroom can allow you to attend courses on your own schedule, and it can in some cases be less expensive than attending brick-and-mortar school, but it does come with an extra measure of difficulty in motivating yourself to review the material and finish the work week after week.

Misconception: Employers don't respect behavioral science degrees earned online.

  • Fact: There once was a time when candidates with online degrees inspired little confidence in the hiring process, but that gap has definitely closed with time. Thanks in part to the popularity of online study for computer programming degrees, Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees, early childhood education degrees and others, employers across the career market are beginning to understand that the learning outcomes of your degree matter more than its method of course delivery.

How can I enroll in an online behavioral science degree program?

If you're thinking about earning a behavioral science degree for yourself, finding out more can be as simple as getting in touch with the school of your choice and discussing your plans with an admissions counselor. Take a look at the schools in our listings below and get in touch to learn what it takes to enroll.

Sources:

  1. School pages, accessed February 24, 2016: Associate of Arts, Concentration in Behavioral Science, Texarkana College, https://www.texarkanacollege.edu/study/behavioral-science/; Social & Behavioral Science Degrees, Walsh University, https://www.walsh.edu/social-science-degree; Behavioral Science, Associate of Arts Degree, Northeast Community College, https://www.northeast.edu/Degrees-and-Programs/2015/Behavioral-Science/AA/; Behavioral Science Degree Completion Program, Wilmington University, https://www.northeast.edu/Degrees-and-Programs/2015/Behavioral-Science/AA/; Online Degree in Behavioral Science, Bellevue University, http://www.bellevue.edu/degrees/bachelor/behavioral-science-bs/; Behavioral Science Bachelor's Degree, Mercy College, https://legacyweb.mercy.edu/academics/school-of-social-and-behavioral-sciences/department-of-social-sciences/bs-in-behavioral-science/; Certificate in Applied Behavioral and Social Sciences, University of Maryland University College, http://www.umuc.edu/academic-programs/legacy/applied-behavioral-and-social-sciences-undergraduate-certificate.cfm; MPH in Social & Behavior Sciences, Capella University, http://www.capella.edu/online-degrees/mph-social-behavioral-sciences/; Master's in Behavioral and Social Health Sciences, Brown University, https://www.brown.edu/academics/public-health/behavioral-and-social-sciences/masters-behavioral-and-social-sciences-intervention; Master of Science - Behavioral Sciences, Cameron University, http://www.cameron.edu/graduate/programs/ms; Masters Porgrams, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard University, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/social-and-behavioral-sciences/about/masters-programs/; PhD, Behavioral and Community Health, University of Maryland, http://sph.umd.edu/degrees/phd-behavioral-and-community-health; Online PhD in Advanced Studies in Human Behavior, Capella University, http://www.capella.edu/online-degrees/phd-advanced-studies-human-behavior/courses/; Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social & Behavioral Sciences, http://www.jhsph.edu/departments/health-behavior-and-society/degree-programs/phd-in-social-and-behavioral-sciences/; Doctoral Program in Behavioral and Social Health Sciences, Brown University, https://www.brown.edu/academics/public-health/behavioral-and-social-sciences/graduate-programs-behavioral-and-social-science/doctoral-program-behavioral-and-social-health-scienc; Behavioral Science, PhD Program, The University of Chicago, http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/phd/academics/dissertation/behavioral-science; Behavioral Science PhD Program, University of Rhode Island, http://web.uri.edu/psychology/behavioral-science-ph-d/; Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis, National University, http://www.nu.edu/OurPrograms/SchoolOfEducation/EducationalAdministration/Programs/891.html; Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis, http://www.nu.edu/OurPrograms/SchoolOfEducation/EducationalAdministration/Programs/891.html;
  2. Behavior Analyst Certification Board, accessed February 24, 2016, http://bacb.com/
  3. Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed February 24, 2016: Human Resources Specialists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/human-resources-specialists.htm; Training and Development Specialists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/training-and-development-specialists.htm; Training and Development Managers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/training-and-development-managers.htm; Human Resources Managers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm; Survey Researchers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/survey-researchers.htm; Postsecondary Teachers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm
  4. May 2014 National Occupational and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed February 24, 2016, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
Explore Schools Offering Behavioral Science Programs
Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.

Searching Searching ...

Prefer exploring options talking to our staff?
Call toll free now: 1.855.330.6938
Matching School Ads
PhD - Multidisciplinary Human Services
  • An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession.
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
General Studies - Bachelor
Good for Working Adults
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Online Master of Information
Good for Working Adults
  • Ranked one of the Top Public Schools in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1766 as a public institution; it has a main campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey and offers many programs online.
  • Has an average freshman retention rate of 91.8%.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 14:1, and 38% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has famous alumni including chef and restauranteur Mario Batali, author Junot Diaz, actor James Gandolfini, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Master of Social Work (MSW) Degree

Our Lady of the Lake University is a private, Catholic university with a deep connection to the history and community of San Antonio. Founded in 1895 by the Congregation of Divine Providence, we have developed a reputation for our personal teaching style. Since 2011, OLLU has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.  We are a university that helps students develop their full potential in an environment that's encouraging and stimulating.


 

  • Online Courses
Human Services (MS)
Good for Working Adults
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
Show more [+]
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
MA in Human Services, Mental Health Administration Specialization
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Received the 2013 Making a Difference for Students Award from Quality Matters.
  • Offers a free student app for smartphones and tablets, helping students keep up to date.
  • Has a Golden Key International Honour Society and SALUTE Veterans Honor Society.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
MA Human Services: Christian Ministry
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits