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Behavioral Science Program

The Behavioral Science Program is a small (35 student) program leading to a doctoral degree (Ph. D.) in psychology. Students entering with a Bachelor's degree earn the Master of Arts degree (MA.) as part of the graduate studentsdoctoral program. The objective of the program is to provide a rigorous base of knowledge in psychology, including data analytic and methodological skills. Students are able to develop research and content specializations through department-wide focus areas. Experiences in basic and applied research are emphasized. Our graduates are employed in such diverse roles as academic research and teaching positions, professional positions in industry, and in roles such as evaluation specialists in public service and policy settings.

Program Strengths

In our Behavioral Science Program, we seek to bring the power of science to bear on meaningful social issues. We are particularly strong in research methods, with several internationally known quantitative methodologists and solid qualitative research opportunities as well. We share the conviction that research designs and data, rigorously applied, are powerful tools for transforming our understanding and guiding effective action.

  • Applied research focus: We have a number of faculty engaged in work on the prevention of health problems and the promotion of well-being for problems such as alcohol, tobacco, and other addictions; sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS; and cancer prevention across a spectrum of risk factors. Another area of strength for us is work on the effects of cultural difference, defined broadly to include ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, gender, social class and their intersections.
  • Collaboration: Clinical and School Program students and faculty work alongside Behavioral Science students and faculty on many kinds of research, and the research strengths of the Behavioral Science collaborators are in demand for projects linked to clinical, school and community concerns. Students are encouraged to seek out opportunities to work and learn with a variety of faculty and collaborative programs.
  • Flexible requirements: Behavioral Science program requirements are relatively flexible, making it possible to "tailor" your academic experiences and research practica to focus on the strengths you want to build for your own professional direction.
  • Multicultural emphasis: Our research and curriculum requirements reflect commitment to a science that actively engages with the realities of our multicultural world. Although we cannot promise perfection, we do work hard on these challenges and we have been acknowledged on our campus for doing so. You will find faculty and students representing a range of cultures, broadly defined to include race and ethnicity, social class, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. We are committed to building the knowledge base with research that genuinely expands our understanding of diverse lives. Furthermore, we are committed to teaching and applying that knowledge with competencies suited for our multicultural world.

Basic information about our program of study, our program faculty, curricular requirements, and the admissions process are provided on this site. In addition, general information about the psychology department should be reviewed in considering our program.

Interdisciplinary Interest Areas

The Department has special strength in several interest areas that involve faculty and graduate students from all three of our Ph.D. programs. Students in the Behavioral Science Program are encouraged to explore opportunities in at least one of these interest areas, which represent promising avenues for professional development.

Research Methodology. Training in quantitative methods, qualitative methods, evaluation research, experimental and quasi-experimental designs, consulting, data management, and programming for research applications.

Gender and Multicultural Issues. Interest in antecedents and consequences of gender, sex, sexual orientation, class, and ethnic similarities and differences, through the life span.

Health Promotion. Focus on environmental, physiological, interpersonal, and community factors associated with illness, as well as behavioral and community-based strategies to promote health. Specific interests include processes of self-change directed toward cancer prevention and AIDS risk reduction; women's health issues; alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse prevention in community settings; and etiology of alcohol use, misuse and prevention.

Child/Family/Developmental Studies. Consideration of topics in human development throughout the lifespan from early childhood to senior populations. Special foci on well-being, anxiety, family, school, and applied longitudinal designs and analyses.