Study How Behavioral Health Issues Can Contribute to Substance Use Disorders
Grand Canyon University's Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Substance Use Disorders introduces you to behavioral health, substance abuse and addiction. In the U.S., half of all people ages 12 and older have used illicit substances at least once in their lifetime, and over 25% of them have a substance use disorder.1 Substance abuse counseling services are intended to help these individuals recover from substance use.
This program’s curriculum can offer a strong foundation for those who want to go on to pursue a master’s degree in counseling, mental health, criminal justice, clinical or forensic psychology or social work.
Benefits of GCU's Substance Use Disorders Emphasis
The substance abuse courses are designed to emphasize GCU’s five critical competencies: effective communication, innovative thinking, Christian worldview, transformative leadership and global contribution. Additionally, this emphasis in substance use disorders covers these core domains:
- Concepts of behavioral health
- Behavioral health skills
- Cultural competency
- Behavioral health information technology
- Professional network
This bachelor’s program teaches you about the foundations of substance abuse and its effects on individuals and communities. You will have the opportunity to practice rapport-building and interviewing skills, identify various assessment tools and implement documentation strategies for treatment plans. You will also examine ethical codes and organizational policies.
Behavioral Health Science and Substance Use Course Topics
As a BS in Behavioral Health Science student specializing in substance use disorders, you will be exposed to a broad range of content areas, including:
- Behavioral health, with an emphasis on the ethics, legal standards and responsibilities in the field
- Counseling theories and techniques
- Substance abuse disorders, including prevention, intervention and relapse prevention
- The biopsychosocial dynamics and impact of addiction and substance abuse
- Working with multicultural populations
- Human development across the lifespan, including physical, cognitive and socioemotional development
- The relationship between spirituality and addiction development and treatment
- Report writing and researching in behavioral health
- Understanding trauma, abuse, domestic violence and family dynamics within the context of the behavioral health field
This program also includes a capstone project that is a culmination of the program’s curricular focus, in which you will prepare a written proposal community-based behavioral health organization.
Career Paths for Graduates With a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
Throughout the substance abuse courses in this program, you will be taught the skills that can help make a positive impact on the lives of others in the community you serve. With a firm foundation of behavioral health science and substance use disorder competencies, graduates may set themselves up to pursue a career as a:
- Behavioral health technician, specialist or paraprofessional
- Psychiatric or mental health technician
- Social or community service manager
- Case manager
A professional who understands how to address substance use may find work across a variety of settings and specializations. These may include:
- Behavioral health
- Health services management
- Health services agencies
- Governmental agencies
- Private and public entities
In addition, you may decide to further your education and expand your career opportunities by pursuing a graduate-level degree that leads to licensure as a mental health or substance abuse counselor, or as a clinical psychologist. Licensure requirements vary by state and occupation.
Earn Your Behavioral Health Science Degree From an Institutionally Accredited University
Working with individuals who are struggling with substance use disorders is a significant responsibility. It’s important to ensure that the school and program you choose for your substance abuse courses offer quality education that can allow you to prepare to enter the field ready to make a positive difference. GCU is pleased to have institutional accreditation. Our accreditation is a reflection of the priority we place on the quality of education.
BS in Behavioral Health Science: Substance Use Disorders Emphasis FAQs
Before making any decisions regarding your future career path and higher education, it’s recommended that you take some time to research your options. The following FAQs and answers can help you get started.
Prepare to make a positive impact in the lives of those struggling with substance abuse disorders. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about GCU’s behavioral health science learning community online or on campus.
1 National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. (n.d.). Drug abuse statistics. National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. Retrieved Oct. 3, 2023.
2 American Psychiatric Association. (2020, December). What is a substance use disorder? American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved Oct. 3, 2023.
3 Indeed. (2022, June 2024). What does a behavioral scientist do? Role and job duties. Indeed. Retrieved Oct. 3, 2023.
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, 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.
- HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
* 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.