Bachelor of Science in Applied Behavioral Sciences (ABS)


The Applied Behavioral Sciences major is an interdisciplinary social science program that equips graduates with a unique knowledge of relationships, ethics, and conflict resolution to provide a framework for effectively serving diverse populations of people. Professions that find this degree useful are first responders, security personnel, parole officers and guards as well as well as human services professionals working with children, families, and the aged.


The mission of the Bachelor of Science in Applied Behavioral Sciences program is to prepare students with an interdisciplinary educational foundation for entry-level employment and/or advancement in positions that address the human condition. These include areas such as social services, sociology, social work, or psychology oriented professions. Further, the Bachelor of Science in Applied Behavioral Sciences will provide a solid foundation for students wishing to pursue graduate work in any of the behavioral sciences of psychology, sociology or social work. Inherent within this mission is a commitment to the development of an ethical professional who is dedicated to understanding and improving the social conditions of human interaction among diverse populations; and to promoting the Sisters of Mercy values of mercy, service, justice and hospitality.


  • Offered in traditional and non-traditional formats for both first year, full time students and working adults
  • Prepares students for success in both public and private social services roles working with diverse populations of people
  • Provides a solid academic foundation for students interested in pursuing graduate study in the social sciences or health care

To request more information about the Applied Behavioral Sciences major offered part-time through the Expressway Accelerated Degrees Program, inquire here.

For more information about the Applied Behavioral Sciences major offered in a full-time format, inquire here.

What can I do with a degree in Applied Behavioral Sciences?

  • Enter the expanding social service workforce of public and private agencies including law enforcement

  • Take advantage of opportunities that exist in a variety of human service areas, including community outreach, nursing homes, mental health, addictions, aging, children and families, veterans, and individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities

  • Build upon the solid academic foundation provided by the ABS program to pursue graduate study in counseling, psychology, and social work

  • Succeed in a wide range of challenging careers spanning the federal, state, local, and private sectors including work with profit and non-profit agencies

Admissions Requirements

Students must meet Misericordia University’s admissions requirements of a minimum high school grade point average of 2.5 and a minimum SAT requirement of 850 (combined Math and Critical Reading) if taken prior to March 5, 2016, or a combined 930 if taken after March 5, 2016. In lieu of the SAT, the ACT results may be presented with a minimum required composite score of 18.

Program Goals

  1. To ground students in the theories, concepts, knowledge, and skills in the applied behavioral sciences which are essential in the understanding and analysis of the interconnectedness of human behavior and the environment,
  2. To foster students' ability to integrate institutional and professional ideals which facilitate students' ability to understand and respect complexities of human interaction among diverse populations and the impact of the cultural environment of family, workplace, and community.
  3. To prepare students for graduate studies and continue to foster commitment to life-long learning which includes but is not limited to use of advanced technology in the pursuit of professional and personal growth.
  4. To foster professional and personal growth through understanding and addressing ethical and value issues that both conflict and coincide with their own belief systems and that of others.
  5. To challenge students to become self-aware through reflective thinking and constructive analysis in an effort to problem solve and improve the quality of life of vulnerable populations.
  6. To encourage students to creatively contribute to their communities the understanding of the values of mercy, service, justice and hospitality.

Student Learning Objectives

  1. Apply critical thinking and analytical skills in their professional practice.
  2. Articulate the importance of the positive value of human diversity and knowledge of special populations who are at-risk of, and/or victims of prejudice and discrimination resulting in oppression.
  3. Illustrate through written and oral presentation a theoretical and applied understanding of the major functions involved in interactions between individuals, families, groups, and their environment.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to use current technology in the processes of researching, problem-solving, and applying issues in the behavioral sciences.
  5. Organize and communicate a functional understanding of professional ethics grounded in area of concentration.
  6. Use communication skills differently, with consumer populations, peers, communities, professionals of other disciplines, and members of the behavioral sciences communities.
  7. Demonstrate the use of professional self, including the ability to write clearly, understand verbal and nonverbal communication, accept constructive criticism, and employ various mechanisms to develop self-awareness.
  8. Adapt a global perspective in the evaluation of the community of human needs and the different ways in which these needs are addressed.
  9. Demonstrate proficiency in computer applications required in this globally interconnected world.
  10. Analyze and assess the impact of policy, programs, and services on vulnerable populations.
  11. Use and evaluate a global perspective in articulating the intersection of human needs with the environment and social structures as well as the way needs are expressed and addressed.
  12. Appraise evidence-based theoretical frameworks employed to define interactions among individuals, between individuals and social systems, between individuals and their environment, and the global impact.
  13. Assess and analyze the biological, psychological and social factors that influence human behavior and development through the life cycle as evidenced by written and oral presentations.

Applied Behavioral Sciences Curriculum

A personalized education plan template (PDF) is also available for students to track and plan their course work.

Each student pursuing the Bachelor of Science in Applied Behavioral Sciences will be required to complete a portfolio of work with reflections to demonstrate adequate to excellent achievement of student learning. Download the Portfolio Guide (PDF).


For full-time admissions inquiries, contact our Admissions Department at, for questions about the part-time accelerated option, contact Adult Admissions at, or contact Dr. Margaret A. Rapp, MSW, Ph.D., LSW, ACSW, Chair of the Social Work Department, at or (570) 674-6260.

powered by finalsite