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Human Behavior Degree

The study of human behavior is part of the study of behavioral sciences. As a discipline, studying human behavior enables us to provide more effective social services by increasing our understanding of how, why, and what may affect the behavior of an individual or a group of individuals. The knowledge and skills taught in a human behavior degree equip you with the tools necessary to address these issues.

What does the study of human behavior entail?

The study of human behavior forms a part of the larger behavioral sciences field of study. This field attempts to connect social science and natural science in its pursuit of understanding human interactions.

Psychologist at Work

You can expect to tackle some of the following questions and considerations:

  • What circumstances affect behavior?
  • How is behavior affected?
  • Why do certain circumstances and triggers cause a change in behavior?
  • How can we optimize human behavior?
  • How can behavior be optimized or modified in certain circumstances?

A behavioral science degree is concerned with exploring the causes and effects of human actions and interaction. Anyone interested in understanding humans and their social interactions would benefit greatly from a behavioral science degree.

Human behavior degree types

In order to undertake a human behavior degree at the graduate or doctoral level, one would first need to have the proper educational credentials at the undergraduate level. Since human behavior isn’t offered as a major at the undergraduate level, students may choose to enroll in a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field, first.

Master’s degree in human behavior

A master’s degree in human behavior is intended for those students who wish to increase their knowledge and understanding of the behavioral sciences. The degree takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the many aspects of human behavior and its causes and effects.

Human Behavior and Mind Image

Entry requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field
  • Minimum GPA requirements are determined by individual programs
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose


Graduate degree programs in human behavior take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of this discipline. Students can expect to cover a wide range of topics and subjects in pursuit of understanding the dynamics of human behavior.

Some of the courses offered in this degree program may include:

  • Statistics and research methods
  • Family relationships and group dynamics
  • Anthropology
  • Human development and the brain
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Personality theories and learning styles
  • Critical thinking, philosophy and ethics
  • The individual's place in society
  • Abnormal psychology

PhD in human behavior

Doctoral programs in human behavior are concerned with research and interdisciplinary leadership theory in the field of behavioral sciences. This advanced course of study will enable you to be able to evaluate prominent theories in the field and determine the best practices in the field of human behavior.

The degree’s strong emphasis on research will also enable students to conduct reliable and ethical research of their own in the field of social and behavioral science. The outcomes of the skills and knowledge gained through this degree will allow graduates to lead the way in designing and developing interdisciplinary services and programs related to social and behavioral sciences, in a variety of different sectors.

Entry requirements

  • A master’s degree in human behavior
  • Minimum GPA requirements are determined by individual programs
  • GRE test scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose  


Doctoral programs in human behavior focus on complex dynamics such as human perception, the use of technology with regards to human behavior, and how to optimize human performance. Ph.D. programs highly emphasize on research, and therefore students can expect to spend more time conducting research than in the classroom.

Some of the courses offered in this degree might include:

  • Anthropometrics and ergonomics
  • Perception and sensation
  • Physiological psychology
  • Planning and managing facilities
  • Industrial psychology
  • Mixed methods research
Human Behavior Illustration

Job prospects and salary

With a graduate or doctoral degree in human behavior, there are a variety of different career paths available for graduates to pursue. Many behavioral science majors choose to pursue social work and become counselors or therapists. There are also those who enter the business world that is now also seeking behavioral science majors to help them find ways to beat the competition.

Some of the career paths that you can pursue with a human behavior degree include:

  • Psychiatrist
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Criminal Profiler
  • Anthropologist
  • Researcher
  • Behavioral Sciences Professor

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Studies (BLS), here are the statistics for the following professions:

  • Psychiatric Technicians and Aides – In 2012, the annual median salary that these professionals made was $27,440
  • The top 10 percent earned more than $40,430

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

  • In 2012, the annual median salary earned by these professionals was $38,520
  • The top 10 percent earned more than $60,000
  • The projected employment growth for this profession between the years 2012-22 is 31% (this is much higher than average, which is 11%)

Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists

  • In 2012, the annual median salary earned by these professionals was $41,500
  • The top 10 percent earned more than $66,630
  • The projected employment growth for this profession between the years 2012-22 is 29% (this is much higher than average, which is 11%)

Sociology Teachers, Postsecondary

  • In May 2014, the annual median salary made by these professionals was $67,880
  • The top 10 percent earned more than $124,290

Interesting facts:

Here are a few interesting facts about human behavior. If you find yourself intrigued by what you are about to read, a human behavior degree may interest you greatly.

Did you know?

  • Behavior and morality are directly related – Studies show that people who commit immoral acts begin to perceive what is good or bad in a different way.
  • In situations where people feel that they have no control over what is happening, ‘they tend to see non-existent patterns in unrelated pictures and believe in conspiracy theories.’
  • If a person is being watched, they behave or perform better - Even the illusion of being watched cause performance to be better.

In summary, if you’re interested in pursuing a human behavior degree, here is what you’ll have to do:

  1. Get an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related field
  2. Enroll in a master’s degree program in human behavior
  3. Gain some professional experience
  4. To further your career and credentials, enroll in a doctoral degree in human behavior

States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 16600.111.2618.1337720
Florida 11300.141.6817.9737370
Illinois 9600.161.9217.937240
Texas 7600.070.7816.6234570
New York 6500.070.8520.1241840


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What will I learn in a human behavior degree?

A:In a human behavior degree program, you will learn about human behavior and what factors affect the behavior of individuals living in societies. The program will help you practically apply communication theories, understand the moral and ethical principles that govern behavior, and understand what processes and societal factors determine human behavior.

Q:Are human behavior degrees all about the study of human behavior?

A:Yes, a human behavior degree will help you understand the basis of human behavior in societies. You will develop a theoretical understanding of factors that shape human behavior. The program will cover a wide range of courses such as critical thinking philosophy, human development, research methods, ethics, anthropology, psychology, etc.

Q:What are behavioral and social sciences?

A:Social sciences can be defined as the study of the social system. The field sheds light on various social processes, impacts of social organizations, structural adjustment of groups and individuals. On the other hand, behavioral science is the study of human and animal behavior. This discipline focuses upon the factors that shape behavior in a society.

Q:Can you please name a few behavioral science careers?

A:There are many different career paths you can pursue with a degree in behavioral sciences. Some of the areas where you can consider working in are: human services, urban planning, human resources, law enforcement, religious institutions, consumer science, youth services, customer services, etc. The job position and income may vary from place to place.

Q:What can you do with a behavioral science degree?

A:With a degree in behavioral science, you can pursue diverse career paths. Some of the entry level careers you can consider are: mental health case manager, behavioral interventionist, educator or teacher. Advanced job positions in this field include: behavioral scientist, outpatient therapist, human resources expert, etc. These are just a few of the job options.

Q:What are human behavior careers I can consider pursuing?

A:With a degree in human behavior, you can enter different sectors for employment. These include: child welfare services, educational institutions, criminal justice and corrections, mental health, healthcare, religious organizations, government departments of human services, etc. The income level will depend on various factors such as your job position, degree level, skills, and location.

Q:What are the main components of a PhD human behavior degree?

A:A PhD human behavior is a post-graduate degree that is designed for individuals preparing for leadership roles in this field. The program can take anywhere from 4 to 8 years to complete. The main components of the program include: coursework, research, qualifying examinations and completion of a dissertation. You can also pursue this program online.

Q:Is it possible to cover human behavior courses online?

A:Yes, a number of colleges are offering human behavior courses and programs online. This mode of education is suitable for those who are working and do not have time to attend on-campus classes. The coursework is generally covered via videos and online lectures. You may also have to download specific learning programs designed by the institute. All you need is a computer and an internet connection to study online.

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