Applied Behavioral Science
The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences offers a BA and BGS, as well as a MA, PhD, and a joint PhD-MPH in Applied Behavioral Science, which prepares students for careers in such fields and setting such as early childhood education; early childhood intervention programs; community programs for children, youth, and adults with developmental and/or physical disabilities; delinquency, juvenile justice, and law enforcement programs; public health and health care settings; and community-based and nongovernmental organizations. Many careers are enhanced by or require graduate study or professional training.
Sample of Related Skills
- Interconnect personal, interpersonal, institutional, and community change
- Evaluate and try to overcome barriers to healthy development and well-being at all levels of life
- Strategize and develop policies that promote well-being in individuals, families, and communities
- Research and develop preventive and strengths-promoting strategies as applied to complex, multicultural systems
- Address social problems within communities
- Better the lives of people with disabilities and youth and/or juvenile offenders
Popular Career Paths
Social and Human Services: Involves providing personal care services to special populations such as lower SES, youth at-risk or people with disabilities as well as community outreach and education.
Counseling/Therapy Services: Includes participating in programs that emphasize client empowerment, advocating for policies that promote the well-being of specialty populations, and providing counsel.
Gerontology: Entails providing personal care, health care, advocacy, and personal counseling to older adults in a variety of settings.
Health Professions: Involves many outlets to expand on personal interests in a wide range of health occupations such as nursing, occupational therapy, and speech pathology.
Education: Embodies working with children and adolescents in an educational setting while focusing on their development.
Explore More Career Paths
- American Association of Family and Consumer Services - resource for students and professionals from multiple practice settings and content areas
- Applied Behavioral Science Review - national publication addressing research issues in the field of applied behavioral science
- Counselor License - licensing requirements for every state, information on specific counseling specialties, and articles investigating new trends
- Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services - career paths and job listings with SRS
- KU Center for Community Outreach - local volunteer opportunities in a variety of areas, including poverty, seniors and youth
- Local Applied Behavioral Science Resources - list of local organizations with information and opportunities for ABS majors
- National Association for the Education of Young Children - national organization dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children
- National Council on Family Relations - information for students and new professionals regarding a concentration on the family system
- Social and Welfare Services in Lawrence, KS - local social services agencies and organizations in the Lawrence area as well as links to each organization's website
- The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science - professional publication containing articles concerning research in the field of applied behavioral science
Jobs to Consider
Places to Seek Employment
Child Development Centers
Child Welfare Agencies
Criminal Justice Settings
Human Rights Organizations
Military Family Support Services
Head Start Programs
Victim/Witness Support Services
State and Local Health Departments
Senior Day Program Centers
Employee Assistance Programs
- Identify areas of interest in applied behavioral science so you can focus your academics and experiences towards these fields.
- Become familiar with the required professional qualifications associated with careers that interest you (i.e. advanced degrees, licensure and/or certifications).
- Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent studies, internships, part-time jobs, or volunteering.
- Register for KU Career Connections and subscribe to the Internship Newsletter to receive automated weekly emails with specific internship information.
- Consider joining a professional organization related to your area of interest in applied behavioral science, such as the American Association of Family and Consumer Services, and, if possible, attend local and/or regional conferences to make connections with professionals working in your field.
- Practice interviewing on your own or by conducting a mock interview at the University Career Center. List of practice questions: general interview (pdf).
- Develop your resume and tailor it to your area(s) of interest: sample resume (pdf).
- Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when relevant.
- Maintain a strong GPA if you are considering pursuing graduate or professional education.
- Consider getting involved with a student organization at KU related to your area of interest, such as: Mentors in the Lives of Kids, Play Pals for Children, Piecing Together Autism, Ablehawks and Allies, Best Buddies, and Helping Unite Generations.
Job and Internship Search Resources
- American Society on Aging - information, job listings, and helpful links for those interested in working with the elderly
- Children's Defense Fund - internships to help in the advancement of children's rights and standard of living
- Guide to Careers in Child and Family Policy - opportunities for national internships and fellowships
- Idealist.org - local, national, and international internships in non-profit and government organizations
- Internships USA - Lists of internships by industry including The Human Rights Internship Book and Internships in Community and Social Service Agencies (Username:Ukansas / Password: Kan201213)
- Non-Profit Connect - local non-profit job and internship opportunities as well as non-profit career resources