The easily recognized behavioral sciences are sociology, psychology, and social-psychology. However, that list of disciplines must also include economics, anthropology, political science, law, and biology insofar as it deals with animal and human behavior.
Organization development is considered an applied behavioral science in that it focuses on understanding and managing organizational change in daily work. Applications may be derived from any of the above social sciences to understand, engage with, and change human behavior.
The LIOS graduate program which began in 1973 was the first degree in the Applied Behavioral Sciences. Students came to that program from many occupations and/or with aspirations to go in many different directions. They were dentists, a psychiatrist, mental health counselors, clergy and others from religious orders, etc. They came as students to enhance their work. Graduates went on to be professors, authors of books, key leaders in organizations such as software, manufacturing, telecom, directors of nonprofits, consultants, etc.
The emphasis in an Applied Behavioral Sciences degree is the application to many situations of life including personal growth, organizational and community life, social justice, mental health, and all spheres of life. Students learn about group processes and change which are invaluable whether working on interpersonal relationships, utilizing conflict, or in leading a group attempting social change.
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