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.

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: This path 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  

Places to Seek Employment 

  • Adoption Agencies
  • Child Development Centers
  • Child Welfare Agencies
  • Criminal Justice Settings
  • Research Institutes
  • Policy/Advocacy Organizations
  • Hospices
  • Hospitals
  • 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
  • Schools
  • Employee Assistance Programs

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 
     
  • Idealist - 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
     
  • Non-Profit Connect - local non-profit job and internship opportunities as well as non-profit career resources

Career Exploration Hub

Employment Strategies

  1. Identify areas of interest related to your major so you can focus your academics and experiences towards these fields. 
     
  2. Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent studies, internshipspart-time jobsstudent organization involvement, or volunteering
     
  3. Register for Hire Jayhawks and subscribe to the Internship Newsletter to receive automated weekly emails with specific internship information. 
     
  4. Consider joining a professional organization related to your area of interest, and, if possible, attend local and/or regional conferences to make connections with professionals working in your field. 
     
  5. Practice interviewing on your own or by conducting a mock interview at the University Career Center. 
     
  6. Develop your resume and tailor it to your area(s) of interest.
     
  7. Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when relevant to your career goals. 
     
  8. Complete an independent study to gain advanced research skills. 
     
  9. Maintain a strong GPA if you are considering pursuing graduate or professional school. 
     
  10. Consider getting involved with a student organization at KU related to your area of interest.