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, psychology, sociology, or disability studies, as well as graduate professional preparation in behavioral medicine, social work, occupational therapy, public health, nursing, special education, rehabilitation counseling, speech-language pathology, and medicine.

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 public health), 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.

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


All students entering as freshmen in Fall 2018 and after will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through co-curricular 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, and some elements of the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, co-curricular experiences.

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 12 credits of D grade will be counted toward graduation.
  • For external transfer credit, a minimum grade of C is required.


Required Coursework

  • one Sargent freshman experience seminar: SAR HP 150**
  • two courses in writing: First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., CAS WR 120) and Writing, Research, and Inquiry (e.g., CAS WR 150/151/152)
  • three courses in biological sciences: CAS BI 105*, BI 210, BI 211
  • seven Sargent courses: SAR HP 151**, HP 225 (Critical Inquiry), HP 252***, HP 320, HP 353, HP 412 (or PS 371), HP 500
  • seven courses in behavioral sciences: CAS PS 101*, SO 100, PS 332, and four others
  • one course in statistics: CAS MA 113*, MA 213, or PS 211
  • one course in health promotion: SAR HP 305
  • one 4-credit practicum/internship and seminar (applied community setting and/or faculty-mentored research): SAR HP 405 (this course is for seniors only)
  • 12 credits in specialty area (courses will be identified with the advisor during junior year)
  • Additional credits distributed among BU Hub areas and your other interests. Electives can be used to complete a minor and/or explore related areas. Two credits of PDP may also be counted toward the degree. 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.

*CAS BI 105 is waived if students receive AP credit for biology; CAS MA 113 is waived if students receive AP credit in statistics; CAS PS 101 is waived if students receive AP credit for psychology.
**SAR HP 150 & 151 are not required for students enrolling in Sargent College after freshman year.
***Students must take either SAR HP 252 or CAS PS 241. Some graduate programs may specifically require PS 241.

MET courses may count toward your degree requirements, but must be approved by your advisor.

Minors and study abroad programs are strongly encouraged.

Suggested Course Sequence

Freshman Year

Semester I

  • CAS BI 105 Biology I
  • CAS MA 113 or MA 213 Statistics (or CAS PS 211)
  • CAS PS 101 General Psychology
  • First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 120)
  • SAR HP 150 Freshman Experience (0 cr)

Semester II

  • CAS BI 210 Human Anatomy
  • Writing, Research, and Inquiry (e.g., WR 150/151/152)
  • SAR HP 151 Introduction to Health Professions (2 cr)**
  • BU Hub requirements outside the major or general elective

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

Sophomore Year

Semester I

  • CAS BI 211 Human Physiology
  • CAS PH 150 or PH 251 Ethics course
  • SAR HP 225 Critical Inquiry for Behavior & Health (2 cr)
  • SAR HP 412 Abnormal Behavior in Rehabilitation
  • Behavioral sciences course, BU Hub requirements outside the major, or general elective

Semester II

  • SAR HP 252 Health & Disability Across the Lifespan***
  • CAS SO 100 Principles of Sociology
  • Behavioral sciences course
  • BU Hub requirements outside the major or general elective

***SAR HP 252 or CAS PS 241 Developmental Psychology. If students are planning to apply to graduate school, it is recommended that they take CAS PS 241, as a course in Psychology will be the preferred option for many graduate programs. Otherwise, SAR HP 252 is recommended because it has a more applied focus.

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

Junior Year

Semester I

  • SAR HP 305 Foundations of Health Promotions (2 cr)
  • SAR HP 353 Organization and Delivery of Health Care in the US
  • Behavioral sciences courses, BU Hub requirements outside the major, or specialty electives

Semester II

  • SAR HP 320 Health Conditions Across the Lifespan
  • CAS PS 332 Behavioral Medicine
  • SAR HP 500 Helping Skills
  • Behavioral sciences course, BU Hub requirements outside the major, or specialty electives
Senior Year
  • SAR HP 405 Practicum and Seminar in Behavior & Health
  • Additional courses related to specialty

Specialty area: By the end of junior year, each student will identify an individual specialty area of focus related to his/her interests and anticipated career path. Specialty focus and courses are identified in consultation with the advisor to provide a strong foundation for this future path. The specialty requires completion of SAR HP 405 Practicum and Seminar in Behavior & Health plus three additional related courses.

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.

Further information is available here.