Behavioral Sciences is an interdisciplinary program encompassing the disciplines of anthropology, psychology, and sociology.

These disciplinary perspectives offer different but complementary views of people. In order to understand, predict, or influence human behavior, we need some comprehension of how humans develop, the problems they confront, the organization or structure in which they function, and how and why these go awry.

For additional information on the degree program in Behavioral Sciences, contact:

Ivy Forsythe-Brown, PhD
4028A CB
(313) 583-6335
ivyfb@umich.edu

More about Behavioral Sciences

The faculty for the interdisciplinary degree program in Behavioral Sciences is composed of all the faculty members in the Department of Behavioral Sciences, which includes professors from  the fields of AnthropologyPsychology, and Sociology.

The major in Behavioral Sciences encourages specific vocational tracks shaped to the student’s career goals. Faculty members in Behavioral Sciences are available to advise the student on careers and appropriate course selection.

Degree Requirements

The major in Behavioral Sciences is an interdisciplinary program encompassing the disciplines of anthropology, psychology, and sociology. It is designed as a general preparation for a career in human services such as social work, counseling, criminology, or prevention/treatment programs in mental health.

The idea for combining the three fields is based on the belief that it is important for an individual who plans to work with people to understand human beings as individuals (psychologically) who function in groups (social psychologically) within a social context (sociologically) which varies across cultures (anthropologically).

It is also critical to have some exposure to the methods employed by behavioral scientists and some actual experience in the working world of the human services.

The Behavioral Sciences major requires the student to take three introductory-level behavioral sciences courses: Anthropology 101, Psychology 101, and Sociology 200 or 201. A minimum of 30 upper-division (300 and above) credits in the Behavioral Sciences, including at least two courses in psychology, two in sociology, and one in anthropology, is required, as is six credit hours of upper-level coursework in cognate areas outside of the behavioral sciences.

Learn more about CASL Degree Requirements.

    1. Develop a knowledge base of human behavior
      • Be able to view and understand human behavior from multiple perspectives.
      • Be able to use the language of the disciplines that comprise the major.
         
    2. Develop critical thinking skills
      • Use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems related to human behavior, from the three perspectives of psychology, study of the individual; sociology, study of groups; anthropology, study of culture.
         
    3. Foster integrative thinking across the three disciplines of psychology, sociology, and anthropology
      • Think holistically and comparatively to understand human behavior from multiple perspectives.
         
    4. Apply research methods and skills to problems in the study of human behavior
      • Understand and apply basic research methods and communication, writing, and research skills.
      • Understand research design, data analysis, and interpretation in psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
         
    5. Value cultural and economic diversity
      • Recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of socio-cultural, economic, and international diversity as well as variation across space and time.
         
    6. Personal Development
      • Adhere to ethical standards of practice.
      • Develop insight into own and others’ behavior.
      • Apply effective strategies for self-management and self-improvement.
         
    7. Application
      • Understand and apply the principles of psychology, sociology, and anthropology to social and organizational issues.
      • Emerge from the major with realistic ideas about how to implement the knowledge, skills, and values of the study of the behavioral sciences in occupational pursuits.
      • Strengthen interpersonal helping and communication skills such as attending, listening, empathizing, and supporting.

Internship, Co-op, and Research Opportunities

An internship is required for students majoring in Behavioral Sciences; the major enables students to tailor their coursework to particular vocations and career goals, and internships in Psychology and Criminal Justice/Social Work are available. Students may also pursue cooperative educational opportunities, which provide paid career-related work experiences. Click here for information about CASL Co-ops.

  • Juniors and seniors can obtain practical experience working under supervision in a setting relevant to psychology. Internship students will spend 6 or 12 hours per week at their field placement and will attend a weekly seminar on campus. Students may register for Psych 485 (Field Work: Psychology Internship) for three or six credits.

    Application should be made to Dr. Roger Loeb, 313-593-5195.

    Psychology Internship Application  [PDF]

  • The Internship provides supervised field experience in a variety of occupational agencies focusing on social work and/or criminal justice.  Students are placed in sites appropriate to their occupational goals.  Each intern spends a total of 80 hours on site and attends a weekly seminar.  Students may elect to take this course for 3-6 credits.

    If interested, please complete the application and return to Professor David Lilley in 4012 CB.

    Criminal Justice Internship Application  [PDF]

     

  • Opportunities for students to conduct independent research under the direction of a faculty member are available in AnthropologyPsychology, and Sociology. Consult with a faculty member.

    Behavioral Sciences students frequently present the results of their research at undergraduate research conferences like Meeting of Minds and the Michigan Undergraduate Research Forum, and even at professional meetings.

Student Clubs & Organizations

Anthropology students may also be interested in other clubs and organizations in Behavioral Sciences, throughout CASL, and across campus.