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Department of Applied Behavioral Science

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Why study applied behavioral science?

Because a science of behavior helps us understand and improve the human condition, both individually and globally.

The department teaches students to understand behavior and solve societal problems through evidence-based practice and critical thinking in applied behavioral science. Areas of application include infancy and early childhood, developmental disabilities, delinquency and juvenile justice, independent living and rehabilitation, physical disabilities, health promotion and community development, and basic research and conceptual foundations.

Introductory and core courses provide a sequence of instruction in

  1. The basic principles of behavior;
  2. Applications of these principles for solving problems of individual and societal importance;
  3. Rules of evidence for data-based decision-making in solving these problems; and
  4. The conceptual, comparative, and historical foundations of modern behavioral science. Specialty courses instruct students further about the contexts of application at the individual, family, and community levels.

Recommended courses in other departments and schools provide students with an even broader appreciation for the diversity of society’s problems and an interdisciplinary perspective on their solutions (e.g., biology, psychology, sociology, political science, social welfare, special education). A practicum in the senior year integrates course requirements with supervised training or research experience.

Courses for Nonmajors

All 100-level ABSC courses are open to nonmajors. Each fulfills a College principal course distribution requirement in the social sciences for either individual behavior or public affairs; ABSC 310/ABSC 311 also fulfills the public affairs requirement. Courses numbered from ABSC 200 to ABSC 674 are open to nonmajors who have the prerequisites. Practicum courses numbered ABSC 675 and higher are restricted to majors unless students have the instructor’s permission.

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