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Master's Degree in Human Behavior

You can enroll in a master's degree program in human behavior to learn how to assess and treat common behavioral issues and concerns at schools, workplaces or treatment facilities. With your master's degree, you can work as a behavioral specialist or consultant. Find out more about the curriculum and online availability of these programs, as well as career and salary info.

What Types of Human Behavior Programs Are Available?

You can earn either a Master of Arts or a Master of Science in Human Behavior or Behavioral Analysis. Some programs allow you to choose between a research and an applied track in human behavior. The research track prepares you to advance to a doctoral degree program after graduation, while the applied track helps you enter work in behavioral analysis and consulting upon receiving your master's degree. The applied human behavior track will show you how to use common behavioral patterns and principles to increase employee productivity in the workplace, improve student performance in school and modify potentially self-destructive behaviors.

Degree TracksResearch (to prepare for further study) or applied (for immediate entry into a career)
Course TopicsAddictions and treatment, social justice, diversity issues, organizational behavior, human behavior research techniques
Online OptionsFully online master's programs are available
Career OptionsApplied behavioral specialist, behavioral services consultant, management consultant
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 14% growth (for all management analysts)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is the Coursework Like?

Human behavior classes often borrow from many disciplines, including behavioral science, sociology, anthropology, gender studies and ethics. You usually must conduct research on complex behavioral theories, such as addiction, and then apply them to real-life situations like alcoholic support groups and programs. Courses usually pay particular attention to developmental disorders like autism and learning disabilities. Common human behavior class topics include those listed below:

  • Issues of diversity
  • Human behavior research techniques
  • Social justice
  • Organizational behavior
  • Human conflict and resolution
  • Addictions and treatment
  • Human sexuality and behavior

Can I Enroll in an Online Human Behavior Program?

You can enroll in an online master's degree program in human behavior or behavioral analysis. You usually can complete all projects and tests entirely online. Master's degree programs often require that you perform a good deal of writing; assignments often consist of essays, journal entries and research papers.

To properly participate in an online program, you usually need to install an updated antivirus program as well as Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash Player. Many programs also require that you have a sound card, speakers and a microphone to communicate with instructors and other students.

What Jobs Will I Qualify For?

After completing a master's degree program in human behavior, you can work as a behavioral specialist for schools, universities, government departments or businesses. PayScale.com reported in 2019 that applied behavioral specialists earned a median salary of about $42,914.

You also can become a behavioral services consultant. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), consulting positions typically require applicants to hold at least a bachelor's degree and have strong communication and writing skills (www.bls.gov). The BLS also stated that graduates can become certified management consultants with the Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc. The certification process requires that you hold consulting experience, complete an interview and pass multiple examinations. According to PayScale.com, management consultants made a median yearly wage of approximately $86,543

as of 2019.