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Department of Behavioral Sciences

The Department of Behavioral Sciences enables students to explore the social, spiritual and individual aspects of human behavior. At AU, you’ll gain a comprehensive view of human behavior from a scientific and Christian perspective.

Majors and Concentrations
As a student in the Department of Behavioral Sciences, you will have the option of majoring in Psychology with one of two concentrations, or majoring in Human Development & Family Studies.

Psychology with a clinical concentration
You will study how to employ research and psychology principles and theories in applied settings. The experience you gain from this concentration prepares you for a career as a case manager, early intervention specialist and positions in other applied psychology settings, such as within nonprofits and government agencies.

Psychology with a research concentration
You will be immersed in the research side of behavioral sciences and learn how to conduct research. Your education will help you land a position in clinical settings: program evaluator, research assistant, lab assistant and lab coordinator are examples.

Human Development & Family Studies
In this interdisciplinary program, your professors tie together major themes of human behavior, including human development, family studies, psychology and sociology. Because this major is multifaceted, you will be prepared for diverse fields, including social work, counseling, education and healthcare. This degree includes a pre-certification option that includes classes in family financial planning and human sexuality, knowledge you need for professional certification.   

Behavioral Sciences Minors
Our Department of Behavioral Sciences offers several minors: psychology, sociology and human development. These minors help you expand your knowledge of the discipline beyond theory and within the context of societies and families.

Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior. A psychology minor includes courses in scientific writing, research methods, theories of personality, and psychopathology.

Human behavior is influenced, in part, by society and societal trends. A sociology minor includes courses in marriage and family, race and ethnic relations, and the sociology of religion.

Human Development and Family Studies
The family environment is crucial to an individual’s development. This minor covers childhood, families and relationships.

Behavioral Sciences Research Lab

The department’s research lab is the epicenter of your exploration into the behavioral sciences that interest you the most. You will present research at AU and will also have the chance to share it at regional and national conferences. Your exposure at these high-level meetings will expand your professional network, connecting you with thought leaders and future colleagues.

Life after AU
The comprehensive education and hands-on research you will master during your time at AU will send you into the professional world ready to excel in the toughest, most competitive environments. AU alumni have gone on to make an impact in both the academic and applied arenas. Recent grads have achieved the following:

  • Gained entry into American University’s highly competitive clinical psychology doctoral program
  • Started studying the role of mindfulness therapy in perpetrators of domestic violence as part of the clinical psychology doctoral program at Nova Southeastern University

Our graduates have been accepted into the following institutions and programs:

  • University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (master’s degree in speech-language pathology)
  • Baylor University (educational specialist in school psychology)
  • Clemson University (PhD/healthcare genetics; Master of Education programs in mental health and school counseling; Master of Science in applied health and research evaluation)
  • Regent University (master’s degree in mental health counseling)
  • American University (PhD in clinical psychology)
  • University of Buffalo (master’s degree in industrial engineering/psychology)
  • University of Florida (master’s degree in in gerontology with a specialization in geropsychology)
  • Palo Alto University (PhD in clinical psychology)
  • Spalding University (PsyD in clinical psychology)
  • Fuller Theological Seminary (PhD in clinical psychology)
  • George Washington University (master’s degree in education and human development)

Georgia State University (master’s degree in speech-language pathology)

  • Adler University (master’s degree in mental health counseling; PsyD in clinical psychology)
  • Appalachian State University (master’s degree in speech-language pathology)
  • Argosy University (master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling)
  • Assumption College (master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling)
  • Denver Theological Seminary (master’s degree in mental health counseling)
  • East Carolina University (master’s degree in speech-language pathology)
  • Florida Atlantic University (master’s degree in speech-language pathology)
  • Grace Seminary (master’s degree in mental health counseling)
  • Kaplan University (master’s degree in public administration)
  • Marquette University (master’s degree in mental health counseling)
  • Medical University of South Carolina (master’s degree in health administration)
  • Midwestern University (PsyD in clinical psychology)
  • Nova Southeastern University (PsyD in clinical psychology)
  • Pace University (master’s degree in mental health counseling)
  • University of Georgia (master’s degree in mental health counseling)
  • University of Kansas City, Missouri (master’s degree in higher ed administration and Master of Social Work)
  • University of South Carolina (Master of Social Work; master’s degree in speech-language pathology; master’s degree in counselor education)
  • University of Texas, Dallas (master’s degree in speech-language pathology)
  • Winthrop University (Master of Social Work)


Alumni who do not attend graduate school have obtained positions and employment in fields including:

  • Working with children with autism
  • Case management
  • Working with adults with developmental disabilities
  • Early Intervention Specialist
  • Early Childhood Interventionist
  • Chaplain in the Army
  • Researcher/Lab Coordinator – Medical University of South Carolina