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Best Online Behavioral Science Programs in 2023

Best Online Behavioral Science Programs in 2023

Are you curious about why people act in certain ways? You may be interested in behavioral sciences. Explore top-ranking online behavioral science degree programs, plus get an inside look at program costs, requirements, and career opportunities you could land with your degree in behavioral sciences.

Perhaps you’ve always felt a desire to help people make better decisions to benefit their health, happiness, and communities. Maybe you work in marketing and want to expand your career opportunities with a deeper understanding of consumer psychology. You might be a parent who’s seen the impacts of parental leave policies and wants to design interventions that can generate better experiences for both organizations and new parents.

Whatever has led you to your interest in human behavior, pursuing a behavioral science degree online can help you build a meaningful career that makes a lasting difference in people’s lives.

This article will guide you through accredited online programs that can provide you with a personalized education experience matched to your life, needs, and career goals. Whether you’re juggling a full-time job or family responsibilities, there are online programs to fit your needs. By the end of this article, you’ll have everything you need to choose the program that’s right for you.

Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Behavioral Science for 2024

We have ranked the top schools below. Our Rankings Data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES.) Click the About the Ranking link below for more information about our methodology.


    Base Methodology for OnlineColleges.me’s 2024 Online College Rankings

    1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
    1. Assign Weightings

    After creating the list of eligible schools, OnlineColleges.me data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

    Online Program Availability

    • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. Because exact numbers change often and can be difficult to verify, we use a range-based scoring system: 0-5 online programs = 1 star; 6-10 = 2 stars; 11-15 = 3 stars; 16-20 = 4 stars; 21+ = 5 stars. In our design, laptop icons = stars.
    • For degree-specific pages, ex: Psychology degrees, we list the current number of online programs available at that school for that degree type, as self-reported by the schools.


    • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
    • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

    Support Services

    • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
    • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    About Our Data

    OnlineColleges.me’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: January of 2024

  • Dobbs Ferry, NY
    Private not-for-profit $$$

    Interested in approaching behavioral analysis from two disciplines? Consider the program at Mercy. This four-year degree explores behavior through classes in psychology and sociology. Students also select a concentration in gerontology, community health, or health services management. No matter which specialization a student chooses, all coursework can be completed online. For added flexibility, the school offers evening or weekend classes and internships aligned with student interests.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Science, Behavioral Science

    • Credits: 120
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $892 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • New Orleans, LA
    Private not-for-profit $$

    The bachelor’s at Holy Cross is one of the most comprehensive applied behavioral science degrees in the country. Students take courses in a range of subjects, including crisis intervention, human growth and development, abnormal psychology, and advanced interviewing. While most courses are rooted in psychology, students also take some classes in criminal justice. The school offers online professional development resources, which help students navigate post-grad work options or how to apply to graduate school.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Science, Applied Behavioral Sciences

    • Credits: 120
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $585 per credit
    • Mode: Online or hybrid
    • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

Bachelor’s Program Spotlights: Behavioral Science Degrees Online

While many online bachelor’s degree programs may look good on paper, they can have vast differences in the quality of their courses, value, and student support. 

The first step to choosing the high-quality program to suit your needs and career goals is to ensure it’s an accredited program. To achieve regional accreditation, a program needs to have met a very specific set of standards in content and quality.

Aside from accreditation, programs will vary in their philosophies, goals, faculty, intended outcomes, and courses. For many online behavioral science degree programs, these goals will often include interdisciplinary study to apply your understanding of human behavior to fields such as marketing, addiction recovery, public administration, and more. You should be able to find program goals and outcomes listed on the university websites, and the three programs below are an excellent place to start.

Bellevue University

A core aspect of Bellevue University’s behavioral science degree online program is its emphasis on practical experience from day one. With a spectrum of courses covering human behavior across individual, family, and cultural differences, Bellevue provides guided opportunities to begin building your portfolio to share with future potential employers. When you graduate, Bellevue’s online program will have prepared you with the skills needed to build a thriving career in settings like corporate leadership, human resources, social services, behavioral health, clinical counseling, and more.

  • Cost of program: $449/credit
  • Location: 100% Online or On Campus (Omaha, NE)
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Lewis-Clark State College

Intended to be completed as an associate degree or as a minor in a bachelor’s program, Lewis-Clark’s behavioral science online program was created to provide students with the first-hand field experience and learning necessary to thrive in their chosen field. If you choose behavioral science as a minor, you can choose a major that complements your studies, such as social work, social sciences, or psychology. As with other behavioral science programs, Lewis-Clark’s online program takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining the study of human behavior with other fields.

  • Cost of program: $378/credit for 1-9 credits/semester, $3,694 total for 10-11 credits/semester, $3,694 total for Idaho residents or $10,693 total for non-residents taking 12-19 credits
  • Location: 100% Online or On Campus (Lewiston, ID)
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Wilmington University

Wilmington University’s online behavioral science degree program is designed to cultivate problem solvers and leaders across nearly every industry. Your education will cover a wide array of topics, beginning with an in-depth understanding of human behavior through the lens of cultural anthropology, philosophy, sociology, and psychology. You’ll also have the opportunity to gain practical experience in applying your knowledge of behavioral psychology to current local and global issues.

  • Cost of program: $409/credit
  • Location: 100% Online or at multiple Mid-Atlantic locations
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Classes for Your Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science Online

Each program will vary somewhat in its course offerings, so it’s important to look through the specializations and curriculum each program offers to ensure you’re selecting the course that will best serve you in your desired career path. For instance, you might prefer a program that offers interdisciplinary studies in economics and marketing or one that offers courses covering addiction treatment and recovery counseling.

Here are five courses you’re likely to find in a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science online.

  • Human Growth and Development

    Understanding how the human mind grows and develops is fundamental for a career in behavioral sciences. In this course, you’ll learn about the cognitive needs of humans throughout all stages of life and how humans adapt when those needs are not met. Specific areas of focus may include how the mind learns, resiliency, neurobiological behavior, and the sorts of events that may lead to developmental crises, like trauma, disability, psychopathology, and more.

  • Inferential Statistics

    You’ll likely find a research and statistics course as a core part of most behavioral science degree programs. This course is designed to set you up for success when reading and analyzing scientific research. It also provides you with the skills necessary to conduct your own research should you want to in the future. In this course, you’ll learn to apply the scientific method for assembling and interpreting data in settings such as education, healthcare, communication, natural sciences, manufacturing, and more.

  • Cultural Anthropology

    Cultural anthropology refers to the study of human cultures and society throughout history. In this way, cultural anthropology can provide understanding and context for the similarities and differences between societies, cultures, ethnicities, and races. This understanding is essential when seeking to implement behavior sciences across industries, as it can help you account for unique perspectives and develop more effective strategies or policies.

  • Abnormal Psychology

    In abnormal psychology, you’ll explore the root causes, manifestations, impacts, and management of behavior and psychology considered dysregulated or abnormal. You’ll explore major disorders, such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and more, as defined and categorized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. You’ll also learn practical techniques and tools to work with and treat the symptoms of these mental disorders.

  • Counseling Theories

    Understanding how to communicate with different people from unique backgrounds and address issues is a vital skill, whether you find yourself working in counseling, policy change, improving organizational outcomes, or elsewhere. In counseling theories, you’ll learn both traditional theories (including the humanistic approach, psychodynamic approach, and cognitive behavioral approach) and more specialized techniques like motivational interviewing and mindfulness that may be helpful for recovery from substance abuse, trauma, and more.

Job Outlook: Careers and Salaries with an Online Behavioral Science Degree

A bachelor’s degree in behavioral science can set you apart as a candidate and set you up for success in a variety of fields, from healthcare to public policy to marketing, counseling, and more. Below are three popular career pathways that a behavioral science degree online program can qualify you for.

  • Substance Abuse Counselor — $44-72k/year

    If you feel passionate about helping people gain the tools to live healthier and happier lives free from substance dependency, a career as a substance abuse counselor might be right for you. In this career, you’ll employ your deep understanding of what motivates people, addiction psychology, and behavior change to help people succeed on their sobriety journey. You’ll be responsible for assessing new client’s history of trauma, mental health, and addiction. You’ll also take the lead on designing treatment plans, providing individual counseling, teaching effective techniques to help your clients maintain their sobriety, and leading group therapy sessions.

  • Public Health Educator — $40-70k/year

    Public health educators combine their deep knowledge of the driving forces behind human behavior, expertise in ongoing health issues, and understanding of the key components of human health to create compelling educational programs, policies, campaigns, and more to stimulate individual and community change. As a public health educator, you may work as a freelance consultant or be hired by an organization. Your responsibilities may include assessing community or organizational health needs, evaluating current program effectiveness, drafting educational programs, hosting workshops, creating educational materials, writing new policies, staying updated with evolving health topics, and more.

  • Consumer Behavior Analyst — $50-80k/year

    Does the idea of analyzing people’s purchasing behavior to help businesses and organizations enhance their marketing and sales strategies excite you? If so, you might enjoy a career as a consumer behavior analyst. In this career, you’ll leverage your understanding of motivation and decision-making to inform and enhance marketing, sales, and product development strategies. Your daily responsibilities may include collecting and analyzing consumer data from surveys, focus groups, and sales, conducting independent market research, creating consumer profiles and personalized marketing strategies for different audiences, writing reports that highlight your findings and how to implement them for results, and more.

How Much Do Online Behavioral Science Programs Cost?

A guide exploring online behavioral science degree programs wouldn’t be complete without discussing average costs. Costs will vary depending on the school, but you shouldn’t take the price per credit as a direct representation of the program’s quality. There are high-quality programs at a wide range of prices. Below you’ll find the cost per credit and total credits required for degree completion for five universities with behavioral science bachelor’s degree online programs.

SchoolCost Per CreditNumber of Credits
Campbell University$45062
Purdue Global$371180
Central Methodist University$307 (in-state), $333 (out-of-state)120
Grand Canyon University$485120
Liberty University$455/credit (part-time, <12 credits) $390/credit (full-time, >12 credits)120

What Should I Look for in an Online Behavioral Science Degree Program?

Many degree programs contain similar core classes, so how can you make the best choice for your career goals? Below are five key factors to consider when choosing the best online bachelor’s degree program for your needs.

  • Cost

    A simple factor to consider at the beginning of your online degree program search is cost. If you have a tight budget, don’t worry — high-quality programs come in all ranges of costs, and there’s sure to be one to fit your financial needs. Many programs also offer financial aid and can guide you through the process of applying for scholarships.

  • Program Quality

    When it comes to program quality, it can be helpful to look up reviews from current students. Additionally, look to see if the program mentions any statistics about job placement following graduation. You may also want to explore the ability to specialize within your degree program to help you further personalize your education experience to match your career goals.

  • Faculty Expertise

    If the program you’re considering doesn’t include the faculty who’ll be guiding the classes, reach out to see if the school can provide you with more information. You can get a better sense of the program’s quality by exploring the credentials of the instructors you’ll be learning from.

  • Accreditation Status

    This is one of the most important factors to consider in selecting your degree program. If a university is accredited, it means a third-party certifying institution assesses the college to ensure it meets a specific set of standards for quality and effectiveness. Learn more about which accreditation institutes you should be on the lookout for.

  • Format

    Some programs are 100% online, while others may be almost entirely online, with some in-person classes required or 100% in person. Do your research and get in touch with administrators if necessary to confirm the program’s format and ensure it fits your lifestyle before you invest.

Questions to Ask About Behavioral Science Degree Programs Online

Here are six of the most pressing questions according to our readers. We hope they help answer your own curiosities as you search for the behavioral science degree online program that’s right for you.

  • Are online bachelor’s degree programs in behavioral science fully online?

    Plenty of online behavioral science bachelor’s degree programs are 100% online and available to you based on your schedule and lifestyle. However, there are also hybrid programs requiring online and in-person classes. The programs discussed above can be completed 100% from the comfort of your home.

  • What does the admissions process look like for this degree?

    The admissions process will look different depending on the program. Some programs have an application fee, while others don’t. Most schools will ask you to fill out your prior education experience and financial aid information if needed. Many programs don’t require the SAT, ACT, or standard common application. Instead, universities emphasize your high school transcript and educational history.

  • How long does it take to complete a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science online?

    Online programs are often self-paced, so how long it takes depends on how many courses you’re able to take at once. Some programs may be accelerated, allowing you to complete them in as little as eight weeks. However, you’re more likely to find bachelor’s programs estimated to take about four to five years. If you’re attending part time, it will take longer

  • What academic and career support services are available to online students earning their bachelor’s degree in behavioral science?

    For many online programs, students attending from home can email and engage with the faculty the same as if they were attending in person. You’ll also likely be given an academic advisor to help you strategize about your courses to ensure you’re taking the classes you need to prepare you for the career you want. Depending on the program, you may also have access to career counseling, online library and resource centers, internship and job placement support, and more.

  • What are some of the technical requirements of earning an online degree in behavioral science?

    You may be surprised to find you already have much of the technology you’re likely to need to complete your online behavioral science bachelor’s degree. You’ll need a laptop or computer and a reliable internet connection to access classes, download course materials, submit homework assignments, and more. Depending on the program, you may be able to rent a laptop from the university. Just be sure to get a charger while you’re at it. 

    Learn more about the tech that will help you on your higher education journey.

  • Can I work while pursuing an online behavioral science degree?

    Online bachelor’s degree programs are designed to fit into your life and schedule. Most programs offer part-time course loads, enabling you to study and complete your degree while working. Whether you have responsibilities at home or in your current occupation, online degrees give you the flexibility to work at your own pace and learn as fits with your schedule.

Other Degree Options in Psychology

If you are still unsure which path in computer science you want to take, look at these other bachelor’s degree options: