In the study of human behavior, the past and present are windows to the future. What we can learn from people’s decisions and actions help us draw conclusions and make predictions. The more we learn, the more we understand, and the more we can take action to improve the lives of those around us.
So, what exactly is social and behavioral science? This area of interest we call social and behavioral science applies to a unique range of disciplines -- sociology, and psychology, among them -- that involves careful analysis of human behavior. While these subjects might immediately conjure images of museums and libraries (or in the case of psychology, sitting in a chair listening to patients), in reality, these concepts apply to a wide-ranging and in-demand list of careers and job opportunities.
As a student, you have the opportunity to follow your passion and narrow your interest in human behavior to a specific field. These are the social and behavioral sciences and online degree programs that are shaping modern careers.
Applied Behavioral Science
If you are interested in a broad understanding of human behavior, you could consider a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Behavioral Science, with courses that include psychology, sociology, the study of communication and conflict, as well as gerontology.
Rather than focusing on one specific career, such as a psychologist, you are able to apply your knowledge to multiple fields, including human resources, urban planning, youth services, and law enforcement.
Arguably the most recognized (and popular) amongst the social and behavioral sciences, psychology is the “science of the mind,” a combination of research, theory, analysis, and application that spans nearly every career field.
“Psychology is a fascinating topic,” says Dr. Michelle Rosser-Majors, professor and Lead Faculty for the Bachelor and Master of Arts in Psychology programs in the College of Arts and Sciences at UAGC. “It addresses the fundamentals of human behavior. It asks the why questions: Why do we do what we do? Why do we think the way we think? And, why do we feel the way we feel?”
Whether you are pursuing a master’s or bachelor’s degree in psychology, you are positioning yourself for a career in one of the country’s fastest-growing fields. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the job outlook for psychologists to grow 14 percent – faster than average – through 2026. Psychology graduates are found in public administration, criminal justice, human resources, business, and social services, among others, because they are highly valued for their emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and leadership skills.
If you’re curious about how society functions, how cultures are formed, and how societal structures are defined, sociology is the social and behavioral science that suits you.
A popular discipline due to its broad career applications, a bachelor’s degree program in sociology is a comprehensive exploration of society through everything from class to gender, to religion and race. Your research and critical analysis will allow you to evaluate and posit solutions to society’s greatest challenges.
In addition to studying Social Theory and Problems, courses in the sociology degree program also cover elements of psychology and social science, giving you knowledge in a broad range of social and behavioral sciences.
When trying to understand a person’s behavior, it is important to look closely at brain development. If you are passionate about children or the elderly, how they learn and why they behave in certain ways, you may consider adding an emphasis in cognitive studies to your degree.
An emphasis in cognitive studies introduces you to the study of the brain and how people learn, solve problems, and make decisions. You will discover the unique needs of learners with cognitive delays, as well as the various programs available to address those needs. You will also learn to identify changes in brain development over time and analyze their impact on cognitive functions.
Another overlapping discipline, social science* is a broad study of societal relations that includes elements of sociology, psychology, and history. In a social science degree program, you may find yourself tackling courses such as Anthropology of Gender, Advanced Communications in Society, Global Socioeconomic Perspectives, and Statistics for the Behavioral and Social Sciences.
You not only gain a wide perspective on social trends, you also emerge with highly valued research and analytical skills, which can broaden your career opportunities. A social science background is often seen as a stepping-stone into the communications, public relations, and media industries, as well as careers in social services or human resources.
Why Choose Social and Behavioral Science?
Critical thinking, problem-solving, and understanding what makes people tick-- these skills are not only needed in today's world but also broadly applicable. To one extent or another, organizations from government agencies, to marketing firms, to major corporations all require an understanding of human behavior in order to execute their missions effectively. More and more, organizations are looking for employees who are able to predict the actions of others, or who can apply their skills in negotiations, research, data analysis, and human resources exercises.
What does the breadth of application in the social and behavioral sciences mean to you? In a word: work. The same organizations that require an understanding of human behavior to function effectively are eager to hire employees who understand how people behave and who possess the analytical skills to dig deeply into the "what" and "why" behind any given behavior. You'll gain these skills and more with an online social and behavioral science degree from UAGC.
With understanding comes empathy, and when you have a social and behavioral science background, you are often called upon to put your mind to work solving challenges great and small.
*This program is not offered at UAGC.
The completion of a UAGC degree program does not lead to certification or licensure. Degree programs offered by UAGC are not licensure programs and do not prepare an individual to become a licensed psychology professional. UAGC does not guarantee that any professional organization will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any exam for the purpose of professional certification or licensure. Students seeking licensure or certification in the field of psychology should carefully research the requirements prior to enrollment. Requirements vary by state. Further, a criminal record may prevent an applicant from obtaining licensure, certification, or employment in this field of study.