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What Is Behavioral and Social Science?

Have you ever thought about a career in marketing or sales? Could a non-profit organization be the right choice for you? How about research, social services, psychology or criminal justice?

It may be surprising that you can prepare for a career in all these areas and more with Avila University’s Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Behavioral and Social Science online program. This program equips students with knowledge in core topics such as religion, pop culture, psychology, sociology and economics while allowing them to tailor their degree to various marketable interests. In addition, it helps students develop in-demand skills that apply to several sectors, including aptitudes in writing and reading comprehension, history, critical thinking, mathematics, digital technology and more.

An Overview of Behavioral and Social Science

Behavioral science and social science both involve the study of human behavior, but there are differences between the two. Behavioral science is the study of why people do what they do. Understanding how individuals make real-world decisions can help generalize the behavior of groups or populations. Social science is the study of “how individuals behave within society.” Anthropology, economics, political science, psychology and sociology are all social sciences.

Public health is a good example of the use of behavioral and social science research to “predict, prevent, and manage illness — in individuals and in whole populations,” according to the National Institutes of Health. Behavioral and social science research is used to help people change unhealthy behaviors like smoking. In a global health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, behavioral and social science research provides insight into emotional responses to encourage compliance with protective health measures.

What Careers Can You Pursue With a B.A. in Behavioral and Social Science?

Avila University’s B.A. in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Behavioral and Social Science online program prepares graduates with a strong educational foundation to support diverse careers.

For example, students build a knowledge base in psychology with coursework that examines human behavior and mental processes. Coursework builds workplace essentials in areas such as:

  • Leadership
  • Communication, including public speaking
  • Collaboration
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Ethical and social responsibility
  • Conflict resolution
  • Statistical analysis
  • Spreadsheet, database and presentation software

Here is a sampling of careers that draw on knowledge in behavioral and social sciences:

Marketing specialist: What does it take to get consumers to purchase one brand of shampoo, sneakers, coffee, cleaning supplies or any other product over another? As a graduate with aptitudes in behavioral and social science, your psychology knowledge will be an asset in helping companies understand how and why consumers make purchasing decisions.

This degree also prepares graduates with the communication, statistical analysis and creative problem-solving skills for marketing careers. In addition, coursework that analyzes pop culture also lends itself to marketing strategies.

Human resource coordinator (or specialist): This entry-level position is often the first step for graduates who want to pursue a human resources (HR) career. This job will rely on your understanding of human behavior and diversity, along with communication, analytics, technology and even conflict management skills to support activities such as recruiting, interviewing applicants, checking references, onboarding employees and managing HR records.

Probation and parole officer: Qualifying bachelor’s degrees for these law enforcement officers, also called community supervision officers, include behavioral and social science. As Chron explains, this background provides probation officers with the scientific basis to assess a client’s progress and make informed recommendations. While probation and parole officers need required training and certifications, this B.A. degree can give students a necessary foundation of skills.

Graduates can use their degrees as stepping stones to careers that require additional education and, in some cases, licensing and certification. Examples of professions include social worker, psychologist, counselor, economist, lawyer, biostatistician and anthropologist. Graduates also have the baseline skills to pursue the following careers (with necessary credentials and certifications):

  • Grant writer
  • Development/fundraising coordinator
  • Crisis hotline counselor
  • Sales manager
  • Research assistant
  • Behavior support specialist (schools)
  • Program administrator

Start With the Basics of Behavior

If you are ready to earn your bachelor’s degree but want to leave your career options open, Avila University’s B.A. in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Behavioral and Social Science may be an ideal choice. You can graduate with the knowledge and skills to enter the job market immediately and with a degree considered excellent preparation for many graduate school programs.

Learn more about Avila University’s online B.A. in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Behavioral and Social Science program.

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