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Top Behavioral Sciences Schools

Top Behavioral Sciences SchoolsCourses in behavioral science are geared toward people with an interest in the inner workings of the mind and the study of human consciousness. Behavioral science education can include sociology, psychology, pastoral and spiritual counseling, human development and other subjects.

The National Science Foundation's Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences awarded grants in 2012 to top behavioral science colleges including the following:

1.  Arizona State University
2.  Ohio State University
3.  New York University
4.  Ohio University


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To study human relationships, students turn to training in behavioral sciences. Some individuals gain their first exposure to psychology or sociology in general education classes, while others major in counseling or human development with the goal of becoming human services professionals. Degree options range from associate to doctoral programs. Below are examples of some of the different types of behavioral science courses available.

Consciousness Studies

Consciousness studies typically offer an interdisciplinary approach designed to explore the human mind as it relates to medicine, psychotherapy and culture. For students seeking a broader understanding of society, the curriculum often encompasses comparative religion, psychology, mysticism and cosmology, or humanities such as literature and philosophy. For those with a scientific focus, possible coursework includes neurobiology, cognitive science, quantum physics and related disciplines.


Counseling studies aim to prepare professionals to assist others in achieving emotional and mental health. Coursework could cover group therapy, marital and relationship therapy, family counseling, child therapy, addiction therapies, rehabilitation therapies and more. Some natural healing programs offer a holistic approach to counseling. Graduate study programs may span topics like human development, multicultural perspectives or psychopathology.

Human Development

Courses in development investigate the changes that occur as humans age. Sometimes called developmental psychology, this field often focuses on these life stages: child and adolescent, pre-teen and teen, adult and senior. Classes can include physiology, sociology, biology, speech, nutrition, geriatric studies and other related topics, including criminal justice.

Pastoral Counseling

Training in pastoral counseling is typically related to seminary or ministry studies. By combining behavioral sciences with a spiritual approach, programs help prepare students to serve as pastoral counselors. Students are taught to consider psychological as well as spiritual aspects of the patient's mental and emotional wellbeing. Pastoral counseling courses are not necessarily based on Christianity; programs may promote an interfaith environment to help students find their own emotional, mental and spiritual balance.


The different concentrations for psychology studies include behavior modification, developmental studies, personality disorders, and organizational or industrial psychology. Students may focus on psychology as it relates to areas like business management, school counseling, corrections, social services or rehabilitation. Clinical psychology courses can help prepare students to work with clients, but psychologists must pursue advanced studies and obtain a license in order to practice professionally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (, 2012).


The study of sociology is concerned with the ways humans interact in various settings. Students can concentrate on interpersonal relationships in the context of race, gender, family, business, education, politics, culture and so forth. The evolving curriculum could focus on analytical and critical thinking or the impact of online social networking. Social sciences research positions typically require graduate level studies and knowledge of statistical processes, the BLS reports (, 2012).

Spiritual Counseling

Spiritual counseling courses are similar to pastoral counseling studies in that they concentrate on the healing powers of a higher consciousness, but with special attention to metaphysical influences. Coursework could examine mysticism, intuition, states of consciousness, creativity and contemplation. Students in spiritual counseling courses may explore the possibilities of energy healing, chakra balancing, meditation and prayer, and other approaches to alternative healing.

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Select a program of interest above and start searching for programs in the behavioral sciences. Contact several schools so you can compare courses and degree programs, and find the right school for you. Schools should be accredited by accrediting organizations that are approved by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), or both.



Bureau of Labor Statistics (Psychologists)

Bureau of Labor Statistics (Sociologists)

Naropa University

National Institutes of Health: Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

National Science Foundation: Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences

University of Arizona: Center for Consciousness Studies