What is Behavioral Health Science?
Behavioral health science is the study of human behavior and interaction. Specifically, the GCU Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science (BHS) program includes the study of the approaches, techniques, current trends, history, research and best practices in behavioral health.
Students who pursue an education in behavioral health science can prepare for careers that center on helping clients improve their quality of life. Graduates of the BHS degree at GCU may go on to help people with: addiction and substance abuse disorders, family dynamics and trauma.
What You'll Learn With a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Degree
Students enrolled in this bachelor’s in behavioral science program will receive a general and broad perspective on specific areas in the behavioral health field. The goal of the coursework is to help students study human behavior within a Christian values-oriented environment, so that they may emphasize compassion and ethics in their own practice. This behavioral health degree does not lead to licensure, but may meet requirements for more advanced degree programs in healthcare fields.
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences at GCU designed this BS in Behavioral Health Sciences around the following core competencies:
- Concepts of Behavioral Health
Students learn to analyze behavioral health concepts such as history, current trends, theories, approaches, research and best practices.
- Behavioral Health Skills
Using tools such as the DSM manual and ICD codes, along with emerging brain technology, students understand the scope of practice, including assessment, diagnosis and treatment for clients. Clinical and documentation skills, and laws and rules are also a focus.
- Cultural Competency
The impact of culture, diversity and social justice on the behavioral health field helps students better understand future clients and patients.
- Behavioral Health Information Technology
Students understand and use diverse technology for behavioral health, such as electronic medical and health records and record keeping. The importance of privacy, security and confidentiality with patient records is emphasized.
- Professional Network
Students understand the importance of a professional network in the behavioral health field. This ensures they will be active in their professional communities.
Earn Your BS in Behavioral Health Degree Online
With a Bachelor of Science degree in behavioral health, GCU students can go on to improve the quality of life for others who need help. What’s more is that this degree can be earned online. By taking classes for your behavioral health degree online, you can continue to work and make college fit around your schedule.
As you pursue a behavioral health degree online, you’ll learn counseling theories, treatments for addiction and substance abuse disorders and gain a broad understanding of group dynamics and processes. As you move through the online program, you will take courses in human development, abnormal psychology and probability and statistics.
A capstone project completes the program. This course requires you to prepare a proposal for a community-based behavioral health organization on your area of focus.
Course topics of this behavioral health degree program include:
- Ethics of BHS
- Cultural and social diversity
- Research and information literacy
- Introduction to family dynamics
- Understanding trauma
What Can You Do With a Bachelor’s in BHS Degree?
Upon completion of this bachelor’s degree in behavioral health science, students may find work in the areas of counseling, behavioral health and health services management. Graduates are able to seek work as a behavioral health technician, specialist or paraprofessional, as well as:
- Mental health service technician
- Social and community service manager
- Case managers
These jobs may be found in government, private and public entities. Additionally, this BS in BHS degree helps students prepare for master’s degree programs in areas such as clinical psychology, counseling, criminal justice and human sciences.
If your dream is to make a difference in people’s lives, it’s time to think about a behavioral health science career. Learn more about the BS in Behavioral Health Science degree program at GCU.
General Education Requirements
General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.
Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.
- UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
- UNV-103, University Success: 4
- UNV-303, University Success: 4
- UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.
- UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
- ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
- ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.
- CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
- CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.
- MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
- MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
- PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
- BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, crosscultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.
- HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
Program Core Courses
This course provides foundational knowledge regarding addiction and substance use disorders. Topics studied include biopsychosocial dynamics; stages, processes, and impact of addiction and substance use; and the role of the addiction professional in prevention, intervention, relapse prevention, and aftercare. In addition, the course provides overviews of the substance abuse counselor's code of ethics, HIPAA, and legal issues involved in counseling.
This course provides foundational knowledge in theoretical approaches to counseling. Theoretical models studied include psychodynamic, existential, Gestalt, person-centered, cognitive and behavioral therapy, family systems, and narrative- and solution-focused therapies.
This course provides a broad understanding of group development stages, group dynamics, group counseling theories, and ethical standards pertaining to group work. In addition, this course explores theoretical approaches to group work. The course also addresses the growth and development of group members.
This writing-intensive course provides a broad understanding of ethics, legal standards, and responsibilities in behavioral health. Students explore basic ethical concepts, legislation, and current trends in behavioral health ethics. This course pays special attention to technology and its effects on lawmaking and ethics in behavioral health. Important goals of this course are to help students develop a comprehensive understanding of the history and current application of ethics in the behavioral health field.
This course provides a comprehensive foundation through exploring the content areas of cultural diversity, social justice, and religious and spiritual values. Examination of these areas strives to offer an overarching framework to guide students and gain perspectives for working with multicultural populations in the behavioral health field. This course assists students with developing knowledge and application of cultural diversity, cultural competency, and the importance of self-awareness, social justice, and advocacy. In addition, this course provides students a blended approach of the beliefs and values associated with religion and spirituality as a component of cultural competency.
This course provides an understanding of the nature and needs of individuals across the life-span development. This course covers physical, cognitive, and socioemotional development across various points in human development. Additionally, students learn about the influence of spiritual and moral beliefs throughout the life span.
This course is a study of elementary theories of probability, distribution, and testing of statistical hypotheses. Practical experience is provided in the application of statistical methods. Prerequisite: MAT-134, MAT-144 or MAT-154.
This is a writing intensive foundation course in the science of abnormal behavior that offers students the opportunity to study the origin and development of abnormal patterns and disorders. This course is designed to assist students in recognizing and understanding mental illness through increased awareness of emotional, functional, and physiological factors influencing mental health. Specific topics include symptoms, diagnoses, etiology, epidemiology, and treatment of various psychological disorders and syndromes.
This course provides a comprehensive understanding of the various documentation styles used in the behavioral health field. Students critically examine evidence-based research in the field of behavioral health. The course offers an introduction to conducting applied clinical research.
This course introduces the historical and theoretical perspectives of family dynamics and systems. Topics include roles, communication styles, boundaries, generational patterns, cultural influences, and couples and parenting dynamics. Skills and modalities relevant to working with families in the behavioral health field are explored.
This course offers an overview of various types of trauma, and effects of traumatic experiences within the physical, emotional, sociological, cognitive, and spiritual domains of a human being. It studies the dynamics of trauma throughout the human life-span development. It offers a brief overview of trauma, informed care assessment and treatment, and ethics associated with working with trauma victims.
The capstone project is a culmination of the learning experiences while a student is within the behavioral health science program at Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Students prepare a written proposal for a community-based behavioral health organization related to the student’s specific area of focus. The proposal includes the name, geographical location, identified service gap, target populations, types of service/treatments, potential challenges, ethical considerations, and supervision/oversight considerations. The professional capstone project proposal needs to reflect synthesis and integration of course content. This capstone course needs to be completed at the end of program. Prerequisite: BHS-350.