Online Human Behavior Degree Programs

You can pursue an online associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in human behavior or the related field of psychology. Learn about the curricula, requirements and online format for these programs. Explore careers in the human behavior field, and check the licensure requirements. Schools offering Applied Behavioral Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are My Online Degree Options in Human Behavior?

If you're interested in studying human behavior, you can earn numerous different degrees through distance learning programs. There are few online degree programs in human behavior itself. However, there are many online degree programs available in psychology, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines as the analysis of human behavior (www.bls.gov). You can earn a psychology associate's, bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited distance learning program.

What Will I Learn in an Online Undergraduate Degree Program?

The most basic online degree option for students interested in psychology or human behavior is an Associate of Arts in Psychology. Online associate's degree programs will give you a foundational education in psychology. Course curricula focus on the mental and behavioral processes of such areas as abnormal psychology, human sexuality, marriage and family, sociology and developmental psychology. All theoretical coursework can be completed online, generally via interactive teaching and learning course delivery systems. Some programs may require you to make a few visits to campus or report to a local testing site to take exams, however.

As a student in an online Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program in psychology, you'll receive a comprehensive education in the foundations of human thought and behavior. Exact course curricula can differ depending on school and degree type. For example, B.S. programs may focus more intensely on the functions of the human brain and its influence on behavior. Conversely, B.A. programs may place more emphasis on the social science-related elements of psychology, such as personality and culture.

Courses and course materials are transmitted fully online in much the same manner as in the associate's degree programs explained above. Some bachelor's degree-granting institutions require or permit you to have completed some core associate's degree-level courses at another institution before beginning your bachelor's degree studies. These credits transfer over and are counted towards fulfilling your bachelor's degree requirements.

Completion of either a B.A. or a B.S. degree program will teach you foundational concepts important in clinical psychology or psychological research, like human perception, behavioral neuroscience, psychology of social interactions and cognitive therapy. You'll become educated in psychology as it relates to specific factions of society, such as education, business and industry, addiction, youth and gerontology. You'll also learn skills prevalent in the practice of psychology, such as psychological assessment and diagnosis, clinical patient treatment, psychological research and behavior modification.

What Will I Learn in an Online Graduate Degree Program?

At the master's level, you can pursue an online Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) degree in either psychology or human behavior. Some psychology master's degree programs may offer specializations in research or teaching. Online programs in both human behavior and psychology will educate you fully in the cognitive and behavioral functions of sexual relationships, industrial organizations, students, the elderly and individuals taking psychological medications. You'll also learn about such related skills as personal growth, behavioral assessments and interventions and group communication dynamics.

Most online master's degree programs are heavily research-based. You'll learn how to use popular research theories to conduct psychological and behavioral assessments, as well as becoming educated in the analysis of existing research. Some programs also include courses on statistics, which teach you how to conduct statistical analysis and create a research design using statistics. When you get towards the end of your master's degree studies, you'll have the chance to put these research skills to use with a required thesis or project in a relevant area of psychological or behavioral studies. Some institutions offer or require a comprehensive exam in lieu of a thesis or research project.

You can also pursue a doctoral degree in psychology or psychological measurement. These degrees, which may be available as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), may only be offered online from for-profit institutions. These programs will provide you with an in-depth education in the use of statistical and psychological measurement to conduct research or psychoanalysis. Many of your mandatory core courses will likely be research related, but you can broaden your education in general psychological concepts via electives. A thesis or research project will also be required in order to graduate.

Do I Need Licensure for a Career in Human Behavior?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clinical psychologists are required to be licensed in every state and the District of Columbia (www.bls.gov). The clinical psychology discipline includes academic research and teaching positions, so these regulations may apply to human behavior careers. However, the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) reports that some states may not require licensure for psychology professionals working in some government, military, postsecondary education or clinical laboratory research positions (www.asppb.net). Since these may be common job settings for human behavior professions, you may want to check into your state's requirements before beginning the process of obtaining licensure.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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