BS in Behavior & Health

The Behavior & Health major is a bachelor of science degree program offered through the Department of Occupational Therapy at Sargent College. The program prepares students for entry-level positions working with people in hospitals and community-based health care facilities, education, and social and human service organizations. With appropriate selection of elective courses, students are well positioned to pursue graduate studies in related fields such as anthropology, sociology, or disability studies, as well as graduate professional preparation in behavioral medicine, social work, occupational therapy, public health, special education, rehabilitation counseling, speech-language pathology, and law.

Coursework includes the Sargent core curriculum courses and courses designed to provide a foundation in the biological and psychosocial sciences. Students define a specific focus for their studies by their senior year that includes courses that represent critical content in that area, a practicum/internship experience, and a senior seminar taken in conjunction with the practicum. This focus may include a related minor (e.g., deaf studies or women’s studies), be tied to a specific professional career goal, or may represent a core area of interest that the student proposes to study in more depth. Students in this major are eligible to apply for the Sargent College Thesis for Distinction.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 128 credits is required for graduation. Students must maintain a GPA of 2.0 and successfully complete all of the required courses (or transfer equivalents). Students may repeat a course only once to meet this requirement. A course will not be accepted for external transfer credit if the grade is lower than a C.

For more information, please contact BU Undergraduate Admissions or an Academic Counselor in the BU Sargent College Academic Services Center ( or 617-353-2713).


Required coursework:

  • two courses in writing: WR 100 and 150
  • three courses in biological sciences: BI 105*, 106, 211
  • seven SAR courses: HP 151**, HP 225 (Critical Inquiry), HP 252, HP 320, HP 353, HP 412 (or PS 371), HP 500
  • seven courses in behavioral sciences: PS 101*, SO 100, PS 241, PS 332, and three others
  • one course in statistics: MA 113*, MA 213, or PS 211
  • two humanities: one course in philosophy (PH 150 or PH 251), the other in any area of humanities
  • one course in health promotion/education: SED HE 221
  • one 4-credit practicum/internship and seminar (applied community setting and/or faculty-mentored research): HP 405
  • 32 credits in general elective courses, 12 credits in specialty area, and 20 credits distributed among other areas depending on interest. Electives can be used to complete a minor, fulfill the specialization requirement, and/or explore other related areas. Those in the following areas are especially relevant: anthropology, foreign language, philosophy, psychology, education, religion, sociology, criminal justice, any Sargent area of study, and public health. In their senior year, students may also be eligible to take related courses in medical anthropology or behavioral medicine offered by the Graduate Medical Sciences program. The Behavior & Health program offers one general elective: SAR HP 220 Occupation and Health.

*BI 105 is waived if students receive AP credit for biology; MA 113 is waived if students receive AP credit in statistics; PS 101 is waived if students receive AP credit for psychology.
**HP 151 is not required for students enrolling in Sargent College after freshman year.

Minors and study abroad programs are strongly encouraged.

Suggested Course Sequence

Freshman Year

Semester I

  • CAS BI 105 Biology I
  • CAS PS 101 General Psychology
  • CAS SO 100 Principles of Sociology
  • CAS WR 100 Writing Seminar
  • SAR HP 150 Freshman Experience Seminar (0 cr)

Semester II

  • CAS BI 106 Human Anatomy
  • CAS PS 241 Developmental Psychology
  • CAS WR 150 Writing & Research Seminar
  • SAR HP 151 Introduction to the Health and Rehabilitation Professions (2 cr)**

**HP 151 is not required for students enrolling in Sargent College after freshman year.

Sophomore Year

Semester I

  • CAS BI 211 Human Physiology
  • SAR HP 225 Critical Inquiry for Behavior & Health (2 cr)
  • SAR HP 252 Health & Disability Across the Lifespan
  • SAR HP 412 Abnormal Behavior in Rehabilitation
  • Behavioral sciences course or general elective

Semester II

  • CAS MA 113 or MA 213 Statistics (or CAS PS 211)
  • CAS PS 332 Behavioral Medicine
  • SAR HP 500 Helping Skills
  • Behavioral sciences course or general elective

Behavior & Health students may take SAR HP 220 Occupation and Health as a general elective.

Junior Year

Semester I

  • SED HE 221 Health Education (2 cr)
  • Behavioral sciences courses or general electives

Semester II

  • SAR HP 320 Health Conditions Across the Lifespan
  • SAR HP 353 U.S. Health Care System
  • CAS PH 150 or PH 251 Ethics course
  • Behavioral sciences course or general elective
Senior Year
  • SAR HP 405 Practicum and Seminar in Behavior & Health
  • Three additional courses related to specialty

Specialty area: Each student will identify an individual specialty area of focus related to his/her interests and anticipated career track (examples below). The specialty requires completion of SAR HP 405 Practicum and Seminar in Behavior & Health plus three additional related courses (may be counted as electives).

Examples of areas and relevant courses. The specialty focus and relevant courses are developed individually in consultation with the student’s advisor.

Specialty area: Children and Families

  • CAS PS 370 Psychology of the Family
  • CAS AN 290 Children & Culture
  • SED SE 533 Families of Children with Special Needs
  • SED SE 650 Children at Risk
  • Practicum in a program serving children and/or families

Specialty area: Community Action

  • CAS SO 207 Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
  • SED HE 522 Community Health
  • CAS AN 382 Wealth, Poverty, and Culture
  • CAS PS 472 Family Violence: Theories and Research
  • Practicum in a community services program

Specialty area: Behavioral Health

  • CAS SO 334 Sociology of Mental Illness
  • CAS PS 333 Drugs & Behavior
  • SPH PH 510 Introduction to Public Health
  • MET SO 302 Women and Health in the Twenty-First Century
  • Practicum in a community health center

Courses taken at CGS that satisfy Behavior & Health curriculum requirements are:

  • NS 201 completes the CAS BI 105 requirement
  • RH 101/102 completes the writing requirement
  • HU 201/202 completes the humanities requirement
  • SS 101 or SS 104 will complete the CAS SO 100 Principles of Sociology requirement (other courses fulfill general electives)