Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science: Adolescence and Childhood Disorders Emphasis

Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Childhood and Adolescence Disorders

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Make an Impact on Families With Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health

The Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Childhood and Adolescence Disorders gives you the opportunity to gain comprehensive knowledge of childhood and adolescent development and behavior, and in particular, a thorough understanding of childhood and adolescent disorders.

Within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, you will explore the biological, emotional and environmental aspects that impact adolescent and childhood development, as well as theories related to physical and behavioral health. The behavioral science classes address the assessment, diagnosis, intervention and best practices for the behavioral health treatment of both children and adolescents. This bachelor’s degree does not lead to licensure.

GCU’s childhood and adolescent disorders emphasis is offered online or through evening classes, allowing you to complete your degree on a more flexible schedule. Throughout this bachelor’s program, you will be able to connect with knowledgeable faculty in the behavioral health field and network with peers in the program. You will also have access to online learning resources, including student service counselors and the GCU library.

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Take Behavioral Science Classes With a Childhood and Adolescence Disorders Emphasis

As a student, you will have the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the following core competencies in child and adolescent mental health:

  • Theoretical approaches to counseling
  • Addiction and substance use disorders
  • Ethics, legal standards and responsibilities in working with minors
  • Cultural diversity, social justice and spiritual values
  • Dynamics of trauma
  • Factors influencing mental health
  • Behavioral health treatments
  • Report writing and documentation

The program concludes with a capstone project designed to be a culmination of your learning experiences. You will develop a proposal focusing on your area of specialty for a community-based behavioral health organization.

Career Paths for Graduates With an Emphasis in Childhood and Adolescent Disorders

As a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science, you can use your skills in child and adolescent mental health to pursue career opportunities in fields such as government, social service and behavioral health. Some positions that are related to this degree include:

  • Mental health service technician
  • Psychiatric aide
  • Correctional treatment specialist
  • Social or human service assistant

This bachelor’s program also lays the foundation for pursuing a graduate degree in child and adolescent behavioral health, counseling, criminal justice, clinical or forensic psychology or human services. You may also choose to pursue career advancement toward clinical psychology, licensed therapy or professional counseling.

BS in Behavioral Health Science: Adolescence and Childhood Disorders Emphasis FAQs

Learn more about the behavioral health science degree at GCU by reading our answers to these frequently asked questions.

There is some overlap in the behavioral science classes and psychology courses. However, the bachelor’s in behavioral science focuses more on the study of broader influences on human behavior and mental health. Whereas psychology studies human behavior from an individual perspective. Although there are key differences between behavioral science and psychology, each requires a desire for understanding and interpreting human behavior.

If you want to work with children and adolescents who are experiencing behavioral or mental health challenges, earning a bachelor’s in behavioral science offers the foundational skills to help get started in this career path. By studying mental health disorders, you may also choose to further your education with a graduate degree in counseling, social work, psychology or another relevant field.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common adolescent and childhood mental disorders include:1,2

  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety
  • Behavior disorders, such as conduct disorder (CD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Depression

If you have empathy for the challenges faced by children and adolescents and want to use your skills to help them address behavioral and mental health disorders, complete the form on this page to get started.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, March 8). Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health. Retrieved June 21, 2023.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, May 5). Children’s Mental Health Orders. Retrieved June 21, 2023.

Total Credits: 120
Online: 7 weeks
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Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
Online: $485 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
56 credits
Open Elective Credits:
24-30 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

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.

Course Options

  • 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.

Course Options

  • 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.

Course Options

  • 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.

Course Options

  • 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, cross-cultural 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.

Course Options

  • HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

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.

Course Description

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.

Course Description

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.

Course Description

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.

Course Description

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.

Course Description

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.

Course Description

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.

Course Description

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.

Course Description

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.

Course Description

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.

Course Description

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.

Course Description

This course provides students with an understanding of the biological, emotional, and environmental aspects that impact childhood and adolescent development. The course addresses assessment, diagnosis, and intervention as it relates to childhood and adolescent disorders. Students examine the classification and epidemiology of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, conduct problems, ADD/ADHD, language and learning, intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and other childhood- and adolescence-related disorders according to the DSM. Prerequisite: BHS-420.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of the components and theories related to childhood and adolescent physical and behavioral health. Also covered are the modalities that can be utilized to promote best practice approaches in behavioral health treatment of both children and adolescents. Students gain the necessary knowledge to advance in the Childhood and Adolescence Disorders emphasis program. Prerequisite: BHS-420.

Course Description

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.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.