Master’s Degree in Behavioral Psychology – Everything You Need to Know


A Master’s degree in Behavioral Psychology is a graduate-level program that typically takes around 2 years to complete and provides students with an in-depth understanding of human behavior, particularly the underlying psychological factors that contribute to behavior. It typically covers areas such as social psychology, abnormal psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and research methods.

Students in this program learn how to apply the principles of behavioral psychology to real-world situations, such as addressing mental health disorders, addiction, and social issues. They also gain experience in conducting research, analyzing data, and interpreting findings related to human behavior.

A Master’s degree in Behavioral Psychology can prepare students for a variety of careers, including licensed mental health counselorlicensed professional counseloraddiction counselorlicensed clinical social worker and ABA therapist. It can also serve as a stepping stone to a doctoral degree in psychology or related fields.

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What’s Covered in a Master’s in Behavioral Psychology?

“A Master’s in Behavioral Psychology is a highly respected degree that opens doors to a range of exciting and meaningful careers. It provides students with a deep understanding of human behavior, and equips them with the skills to analyze and address complex social issues. Whether you’re interested in counseling, research, or organizational development, a Master’s in Behavioral Psychology can help you achieve your goals and make a positive impact on the world.”
Dr. Christina Frederick-Recascino, Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Georgia Southern University

A Master’s degree in Behavioral Psychology typically covers a range of human behavior topics including:

  • Developmental Psychology: psychological and social changes that occur across the lifespan, from infancy to old age.
  • Abnormal Psychology: the symptoms, causes, and treatments of mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia.
  • Social Psychology: the ways in which social factors influence human behavior, such as conformity, obedience, and group dynamics.
  • Cognitive Psychology: the processes underlying perception, attention, memory, and thinking.
  • Behavioral Analysis: the principles of behaviorism, such as reinforcement, punishment, and extinction, and their application in behavior modification.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis: the principles and techniques used to change behavior in individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, and other behavioral disorders.
  • Research Methods: research methodologies used in behavioral psychology, such as experimental designs, survey research, and qualitative methods.
  • Ethics and Professional Issues: ethical principles and professional standards for psychologists, including issues related to confidentiality, informed consent, and diversity.

Here is a sample curriculum for a Master’s in Behavioral Psychology:

Semester 1:

  • Research Methods in Behavioral Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Analysis
  • Developmental Psychology

Semester 2:

  • Social Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Advanced Research Methods in Behavioral Psychology
  • Elective course (e.g. Applied Behavior Analysis, Health Psychology, Diversity and Multiculturalism)

Semester 3:

  • Ethics and Professional Issues in Psychology
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Elective course (e.g. Organizational Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Clinical Assessment)

Semester 4:

  • Thesis or Capstone Project (under faculty supervision)

Entry Requirements for a Behavioral Psychology Master’s

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Applicants are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, preferably in psychology or a related field.
  • GPA: Most programs require a GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Applicants are typically required to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation from professors or professionals who can attest to their academic ability and potential for graduate-level study.
  • Personal Statement: Applicants are typically required to submit a personal statement outlining their academic and professional background, their reasons for pursuing a Master’s degree in Behavioral Psychology, and their career goals.
  • Relevant Experience: Some programs may require applicants to have relevant experience in psychology, research, or a related field. This could include work experience, internships, or volunteer work.

How Much Does a Master’s in Behavioral Psychology Cost?

The cost of a Master’s degree in Behavioral Psychology will vary depending on; the institution, location, mode of study (online or on-campus), and program length. On average, a Master’s degree in Behavioral Psychology can cost between $20,000 to $60,000 per year for full-time study, with public universities generally being less expensive than private institutions.

How Much Can You Earn with a Master’s Degree in Behavioral Psychology?

The earning potential with a Master’s degree in Behavioral Psychology can vary depending on several factors, such as the specific career path chosen, level of experience, geographic location, and industry.

Here are some examples of the earning potential for some jobs if you stay within the mental health industry:

  1. Addiction Counselor: $47,660 per year
  2. ABA Therapist: $44,900 per year
  3. Mental Health Therapist: $50,090 per year
  4. Licensed Mental Health Counselor: $50,470 per year
  5. Licensed Professional Counselor: $50,790 per year
  6. Licensed Clinical Social Worker: $60,370 per year