Applied Behavioral Science

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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.

Applied Behavioral Science Department website



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

Jobs to Consider

Case Manager

Child Development Supervisor

Child Life Specialist

Community Organizer

Day Care Provider

Development Officer

Family Financial Counselor

Family Resource Coordinator

Family Support Worker

Human Resources Manager

Marriage and Family Therapist

Parent Educator

Preschool Instructor


Probation Officer

Public Health Educator

Public Relations Director

Psychosocial Skills Trainer

School Counselor

Family Policy Analyst


Places to Seek Employment

Adoption Agencies

Child Development Centers

Child Welfare Agencies

Criminal Justice Settings

Research Institutes

Policy/Advocacy Organizations



Human Rights Organizations

Military Family Support Services

Non-profit Organizations

Head Start Programs

Victim/Witness Support Services

State and Local Health Departments

Senior Day Program Centers


Employee Assistance Programs


Employment Strategies

  1. Identify areas of interest in applied behavioral science so you can focus your academics and experiences towards these fields.
  2. Become familiar with the required professional qualifications associated with careers that interest you (i.e. advanced degrees, licensure and/or certifications).
  3. Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent studies, internships, part-time jobs, or volunteering.
  4. Register for and subscribe to the Internship Newsletter to receive automated weekly emails with specific internship information.
  5. 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.
  6. Practice interviewing on your own or by conducting a mock interview at the University Career Center. List of practice questions: general interview (pdf).
  7. Develop your resume and tailor it to your area(s) of interest: sample resume (pdf).
  8. Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when relevant.
  9. Maintain a strong GPA if you are considering pursuing graduate or professional education.
  10. 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

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