Bachelor of Science in Applied Behavioral Science

School of Behavioral Sciences and Education

The Applied Behavioral Science major offers two options: Social and Human Services and Interdisciplinary Social Science. The major helps students prepare for careers that provide direct service to individuals in need of assistance. These careers are in a variety of human services, in both the public and private sectors, and in personnel-related positions such as human resources.

Graduates may also pursue advanced degrees in fields such as community psychology, social work, human resource management, human services, and counseling. The strengths of the program include: internships directly related to the student’s area of interest, flexibility in course selection that allows students to focus on particular interests, a solid foundation of knowledge on which to build skills, and skill development courses.

For a B.S. degree in Applied Behavioral Science, a minimum of 120 credits is required.

Entry to Major Requirements:
Entry to the Applied Behavioral Science major requires a 2.00 or higher cumulative grade-point average.

Career Opportunities

The Applied Behavioral Science program provides a base of theoretical knowledge and the hands-on skills needed to apply that knowledge effectively in working with people. The program aims to prepare graduates for a career that provides direct service to individuals in need of assistance. These opportunities exist in human service settings under a variety of job titles, such as social service technician, case management aide, social work assistant, residential counselor, alcohol or drug abuse counselor, mental health technician, child abuse worker, community outreach worker, and gerontology aide. In community and government settings, human service positions can be found in welfare, Medicaid, job training programs, or other agencies that evaluate client need and provide benefits. Finally, graduates of the Applied Behavioral Science program may find opportunities in both the private and public sectors as human resource professionals.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects opportunities for graduates of Applied Behavioral Science to be excellent through 2018. Opportunities are expected to be best in job training, residential settings, nursing homes, and private social service agencies. Local and state governments are also expected to employ additional graduates in correctional and public assistance programs. Positions will also increase in programs to assist the mentally impaired, the disabled, and those diagnosed as substance abusers.

Graduate Study

The Applied Behavioral Science program provides an excellent background for further study in the fields of social work, human services, or resource management. Students with these goals are encouraged to speak with their faculty adviser as soon as possible to receive support toward preparing a course of study.


Applied Behavioral Science students are encouraged to gain experience through an internship with an agency matching their interests and goals. The program permits a student to complete several internships, earning up to 9 credits. Additional information on internship planning and opportunities is available from the program office.

Student Organizations

Students are encouraged to join organizations related to their education and profession. Applied Behavioral Science majors may consider Pi Gamma Mu, an organization that recognizes scholastic achievement. Membership is given by invitation to students who have achieved at least a B average. The International Affairs Association promotes international and cross-cultural interaction through the sponsorship of activities such as the global pursuit tournament, fall international dinner and folk dance, and the Penn State Harrisburg Model United Nations Conference.

For Current Students


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