BS in Behavioral Health Science - Infancy and Early Childhood Studies

Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Infancy and Early Childhood Studies

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Behavioral Health Early Childhood Studies and Infancy Degree

Grand Canyon University's Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Infancy and Early Childhood Studies program provides students with an introductive study on the development and behavior of infants and young children. Students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to work with young children and advocate the importance of the family structure and other caregiving systems.

In the behavioral health science program for infancy and early childhood studies, students take courses on behavioral science and health, counseling, human development, abnormal psychology, family dynamics, infancy and early childhood development and more, in addition to a capstone project.

Why Earn Your Behavioral Health Early Childhood Degree at GCU?

GCU’s early childhood studies degree program addresses the university’s five critical competencies, including: effective communication, critical thinking, Christian worldview, leadership and global awareness, perspective and ethics. This program also upholds six academic domains:

Domain 1: Concepts of Behavioral Health
Analyze various concepts of behavioral health, such as the history and current trends, theories, approaches and techniques, along with research and best practices.

Domain 2: Behavioral Health Skills
Analyze  key behavioral health skills, such as the DSM manual and ICD codes, emerging brain technology, clinical and documentation skills, along with ethics and specific laws and rules. Discuss the role of assessment, diagnosis and treatment for clients and analyze the scope of practice for behavioral health paraprofessionals and technicians.

Domain 3: Cultural Competency
Discuss how culture, diversity and social justice impact the behavioral health field. Define the role of religion and spirituality in providing behavioral health services and examine the values and belief systems of behavioral health disorders among cultures.

Domain 4: Behavioral Health Information Technology
Evaluate the use of diverse technology for behavioral health, such as electronic medical and health records, record keeping and other related software. Analyze the importance of privacy, security and confidentiality with patient records.

Domain 5: Professional Network
Examine the importance of a professional network in the field of behavioral health, such as roles and expectations, internal and external multidisciplinary teams, along with local and national service entities. Discuss the role of managed care and integrated health system.

Domain 6: Infancy and Early Childhood Studies
Identify various concepts of early childhood behavioral health and development, different assessment and treatment approaches and the DC: 0-5 disorders affecting young children. Describe how culture and environment, early risk and protective factors and the caregiving system contribute to the development and well-being of young children.

Behavioral Health Early Childhood Careers

Graduates of the early childhood studies and infancy program can pursue a career in behavioral health, health services management, human services, government and law enforcement. Additionally, this curriculum offers a strong foundation for students who want to pursue a master’s degree in mental and behavioral health, criminal justice, clinical or forensic psychology or human services.

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Total Credits: 120
Online: 7 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
Online: $485 per credit [More Info]

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
56 credits
Open Elective Credits:
24-30 credits
Total 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-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.

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 a comprehensive overview of the cognitive, physical, and socioemotional developmental stages and sensitive periods of early human development. The course addresses the critical influence the care-getting environment has on brain development and how relationships change the structure of the brain both positively and negatively. The stages of human attachment and a brief overview of styles of attachment as they relate to development throughout the lifespan are also reviewed. Additionally, the course addresses the effects of prenatal maternal care, environment, and premature birth on developmental stages. Students understand how culture and socioeconomic status affects development.

Course Description

This course provides an overview of a variety of assessments commonly used to diagnose disorders in early childhood. Students learn the importance of ongoing assessment, assessment in a variety of settings, and the importance of the caregiver-child relationship in assessment. Students are provided an overview of common disorders found in early childhood, and how the DC: 0-5 is used to accurately identify early childhood disorders. Students understand the role of cultural and familial influence on assessment and diagnosis. Prerequisite: BHS-480.

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.

Program Locations

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.

GCU Evening Student

Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* 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.

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