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Online Colleges for Behavioral Science

Human behavior is complex and most certainly never dull. Behavioral scientists spend their entire careers delving into the forces that shape human behavior. They also help individuals overcome mental and emotional challenges and replace them with healthier habits. They may connect individuals with community resources or promote strategies to help strengthen family bonds. For those interested in this rewarding field, online behavioral science degrees can provide instruction in human development as well as an understanding of how social structures can affect behavior.

Best Online Colleges for Behavioral Science

As more and more mental health services fall under insurance coverage, the need for trained behavioral disorder counselors is expected to grow, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We've compiled a list of the top five online bachelors degree programs in behavioral science using data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). You can learn more about how we created this list at the bottom of this page.

1

Western International University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$6,000
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
22
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Western International University was founded as a campus-based institution in Phoenix in 1978, but today more than 89 percent of the university's student population attends West online. Several factors place WIU at the top of our list of best online colleges for behavioral science, including an open admissions policy, cost of in-state tuition, and percentage of behavioral science degrees awarded by the university in 2015.

The university's Bachelor of Arts in behavioral science degree explores many important themes in the discipline, including:

  • How early childhood experiences determine behavior in older adults
  • Sensory experiences and complex cognition
  • Normal development and pathology
  • Interaction of genetics within social and cultural environments

The program requires 120 credit hours to complete and includes 45 credits in the program major, 21 credits in electives, and 51 credits of general education courses. It is estimated to run for 189 weeks, or approximately 3.6 years.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

1601 W. Fountainhead Pkwy.
Tempe, AZ 89528
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2

Mercy College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$17,466
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
42
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Mercy College serves residents of Dobbs Ferry from its main campus location, with additional campuses in the Bronx, Manhattan and Yorktown Heights. Annual student enrollment exceeds 10,000 full- and part-time students from 43 different states. Being a runaway first for percentage of behavioral science degrees awarded in 2015, it's no surprise Mercy makes it so high on our list.

The college offers a B.S. degree in behavioral sciences that requires 120 total credit hours to complete, and it includes the option to specialize in health services management, gerontology or community health. Students must complete 60 credits of general education courses, 24 credits in open electives and 36 credits in the major concentration to earn this degree. Also, a minimum of 18 credit hours must be completed at Mercy College for classes that fall within the program major.

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Location:

555 Broadway
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
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3

Wilmington University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$10,380
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
40
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Wilmington University primarily serves residents of Delaware and New Jersey, although 41 percent of the university's more than 20,000 students are enrolled in online classes. The university offers 26 online bachelor's and 20 online master's degrees, including a fully online Bachelor of Science in behavioral science. Coursework emphasizes in-depth study of normal and abnormal human behaviors, as well as group and family behavioral dimensions. Students must complete a minimum of 33 credit hours of general education courses and 45 credit hours in the program major. The degree is also offered as a completion degree for transfer students who have completed the requirements for an associate's degree from an accredited institution. Wilmington University lands in the No. 3 spot in our list of best online colleges for having all-around solid rankings in all areas of our metric, from tuition to graduation rate.

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs -- Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program

Location:

320 DuPont Hwy.
New Castle, DE 19720
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4

Granite State College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$7,032
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
40
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Granite State College is one of four institutions within the University System of New Hampshire. The college serves residents of the Granite State from full-service campus locations in Concord, Claremont, Conway, Manchester and Rochester. Eighty-four percent of students in 2016 were transfer students from 47 different states. With its open admissions policy, it's not hard to see how this could be possible.

This college offers an online Associate of Science in behavioral science degree that is designed to smoothly transition students into the college's bachelor's degree in psychology program. The program requires 60 credits to complete, and a minimum of 16 credits must be completed at Granite State College. Students study a broad range of topics, including psychology, biology, sociology, human development and the latest research methods.

Granite State College scored fourth out of the 12 schools in our methodology for affordability of in-state tuition, and having two degree options for behavioral science means it has twice as many as the three schools above it on the list.

Accreditation:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Location:

25 Hall St.
Concord, NH 03301-3471
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5

University of Phoenix-Arizona

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$11,003
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
115
Accredited
School Type
4-year

University of Phoenix -- the fifth-place winner on our top 5 list of best colleges for online behavioral science degrees, due to its cost for in-state tuition, graduation rate and percentage of behavioral science degrees awarded to students in 2015 -- takes a slightly different approach than other institutions on this list with its Bachelor of Science in Correction Program Support Services. The name may be different, but the principles are still the same: students learn the communication, problem-solving and analytical tools needed to work with people who have had interaction with judicial courts to help them better transition from the criminal justice system. This intriguing program requires 120 credit hours to complete, although credit requirements can vary depending upon a student's eligible transfer credits.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

1625 W. Fountainhead Pkwy.
Tempe, AZ 85282
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Sources and Methodologies

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor's) in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2014-15

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on five criteria:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  5. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015

Sources:

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, accessed April 2017, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm

Our History, Western International University, http://west.edu/why-west/history.html

Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science, Western International University, http://west.smartcatalogiq.com/en/2016-2017/Academic-Programs-Addendum-September-2016/Academic-Program-Requirements/Undergraduate-Program-Listing/Bachelor-of-Arts-in-Behavioral-Science

Fast Facts, Mercy College, https://www.mercy.edu/about-mercy/fast-facts

B.S. in Behavioral Science, Mercy College, https://www.mercy.edu/degrees-programs/bs-behavioral-science

Wilmington University at a Glance, Wilmington University, http://www.wilmu.edu/about/ataglance.aspx

Behavioral Science, Bachelor of Science, Wilmington University, http://www.wilmu.edu/behavioralscience/behavioral-science-curriculum.aspx

Facts and Figures, Granite State College, https://www.granite.edu/about/facts-and-figures/

Behavioral Science (A.S), Granite State College, https://www.granite.edu/degree-programs/associate-degrees/behavioral-science/

Associate in Science in Behavioral Science, Granite State College, https://www.granite.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/AS_BehavioralScience.pdf

Bachelor of Science in Correctional Program Support Services, University of Phoenix, http://www.phoenix.edu/programs/degree-programs/human-services/bachelors/bscpss.html

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Sources and Methodologies