Bachelor of Science in Behavior & Health

The Behavior & Health major is offered through the Department of Occupational Therapy at Boston University Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences. The interdisciplinary program prepares students for entry-level positions working in a variety of healthcare settings, educational programs, and social and human service organizations. Students are well prepared to pursue graduate professional education in medicine, physician assistance, nursing, social work, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, public health, behavioral medicine, special education, and psychological counseling, as well as graduate studies in a variety of different fields. Graduates of the program have been accepted into top graduate schools in occupational therapy, public health, medical studies, nursing, and related fields.

Students will integrate concepts from social and biological sciences, learning essential skills such as critical thinking, research, communication, and cultural humility. In consultation with their advisor, students define a specific focus for their studies (specialty electives) by their junior year. This focus may include a related minor (deaf studies, public health, psychology, special education, etc.), be tied to a specific professional career goal (research, fulfilling graduate school requirements, etc.), or represent a core area of interest that the student proposes to study in more depth (addiction, family & children, etc.). The program culminates in a practicum wherein students gain hands-on experience in an area of healthcare of their choosing.

Students are encouraged to study abroad and complete an international internship during this experience. Students in the Behavior & Health major are also eligible to apply for the accelerated five-year Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Health (BS/MPH), offered in conjunction with Boston University School of Public Health. Students in this major are eligible to apply for the Sargent College Senior Thesis for Distinction.

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


The mission of the Behavior & Health degree program is to prepare students to support the health and well-being of individuals and communities in a range of roles or through graduate studies in health, rehabilitation, and social and human services. The program provides a strong foundation in the behavioral and health sciences and flexibility to explore specialized interests with tailored learning opportunities.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Integrate and apply concepts from different fields of study to health and well-being.
  • Demonstrate cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills that support effective and sensitive interaction in a variety of cultures, populations, and contexts.
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and ethically use scientific information or credible evidence to make informed decisions.
  • Be proficient in all forms of communication (oral, visual, electronic, and media) with diverse stakeholders and audiences.
  • Be proficient in identifying the key biological, psychosocial, and environmental factors of health and well-being.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Behavior & Health will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Quantitative Reasoning, Communication, Scientific and Social Inquiry, Digital Media Expression, and elements of the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses or a cocurricular experience.

Degree Requirements

  • A minimum of 128 credits is required for graduation.
  • A minimum GPA of 2.0 must be maintained.
  • Students must successfully complete (minimum grade of D) all of the required courses listed below. If a grade of F or W is received, students may repeat the course only once to meet the requirement.
  • No more than 16 credits of D grade will be counted toward graduation.
  • For external transfer credit, a minimum grade of C is required.


  • One Sargent first-year experience seminar: SAR HP 150*
  • Three courses in biological sciences: CAS BI 105, BI 210, BI 211**
  • Eight Sargent courses: SAR HP 151*, HP 250, HP 252, HP 306, HP 321, HP 353, HP 412, HP 500
  • 24 credits in behavioral sciences: CAS PS 101, SO 100, and four electives (16 credits) in psychology, anthropology, and/or sociology
  • One course in statistics: CAS MA 113, MA 115, MA 213, or PS 211
  • One course in medical ethics: CAS PH 251
  • One 4-credit practicum/internship and seminar: SAR HP 405 (this course is for seniors only)
  • 20 credits in specialty area (courses will be identified with the advisor during junior year)
  • 32 additional credits distributed among BU Hub areas and your other interests. Electives can be used to complete a minor and/or explore related areas.
  • Behavior & Health program offers one general elective: SAR HP 220 Occupation and Health

*HP 150 and 151 are not required for students enrolling in Sargent after the freshman year.

**For the Pre-Med track: BI 107 required; BI 108 replaces BI 105; BI 315 replaces BI 211

Sample Curriculum

First Year
  • SAR HP 150*
  • CAS BI 105 Biology I or BI 107 (for Pre-Med/PA/RN ONLY)
  • CAS MA 113, MA 115, or MA 213 Statistics (or CAS PS 211)
  • CAS PS 101 General Psychology
  • CAS BI 210 Human Anatomy
  • CAS CH 101 General Chemistry (for Pre-Med/PA/RN ONLY)
  • Writing, Research, and Inquiry (e.g., CAS WR 151 or 153)
  • SAR HP 151 Introduction to Health Professions (2 cr)*
  • BU Hub requirements or general elective

*HP 150 and 151 are not required for students enrolling in Sargent College after the first year.

Sophomore Year
  • CAS BI 211 Human Physiology or CAS BI 315 Systems Physiology (for Pre-Med/PA/RN only)
  • CAS PH 251 Medical Ethics
  • SAR HP 250 Critical Inquiry for Behavior & Health (4 cr)
  • SAR HP 412 Abnormal Behavior in Rehabilitation
  • SAR HP 252 Health & Disability Across the Lifespan
  • CAS SO 100 Principles of Sociology
  • Behavioral sciences course
  • Behavioral sciences course, BU Hub requirements outside the major, or general elective

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

Junior Year
  • SAR HP 306 Foundations of Health Promotions
  • SAR HP 353 Organization and Delivery of Health Care in the US
  • SAR HP 321 Health Conditions Across the Lifespan (2 cr)
  • Behavioral sciences courses, BU Hub requirements outside the major, or specialty electives
Senior Year
  • SAR HP 405 Practicum and Seminar in Behavior & Health
  • SAR HP 500 Helping Skills
  • Specialty electives

Specialty area: By the end of junior year, each student will identify an individual specialty area of focus related to their interests and anticipated career path. Examples of specialty areas include Premed, Predental, Nursing, OT, Child Life Specialist, Addiction, Social Work, Counseling/Psychology, Law, and more.

Honors Requirements

Behavior & Health students are eligible to participate in the Sargent College Senior Thesis for Distinction. This experience offers a thorough understanding of the research enterprise. The thesis will develop your technical writing and oral presentation skills through interactions in the laboratory, writing a final report on your project, and summarizing your research in a final poster presentation to students and faculty. And it will help prepare you for graduate school, where the dedication, creativity, and independence honed during your thesis experience will be invaluable. Successful completion of the thesis will result in the designation of “graduation with distinction” appearing on the student’s diploma and transcript.