Social & Behavioral Science

Students that pursue social and behavioral sciences study the individual's relationship to the communities they belong to. In this role, they focus on identifying high-risk behaviors or trends in a specific population and propose solutions to improve overall public health levels in their communities. Behavioral and social scientists working in the public health sector typically take courses with topics on mental health, social research, and how to promote healthy lifestyles.



  • I enjoy helping people learn, grow, or heal.

  • I like to teach, counsel, train, etc.

  • I am interested in understanding the world we live in.

  • I enjoy learning about different cultures.

  • I am interested in learning about human habits, actions, and intentions.

  • I like identifying ways to help people with illnesses or emotional challenges.

Kids in Art Class
Interpreting BEHAVIOR
Living Room Sketch
Image by Christian Joudrey

Explore the Different Possibilities

Check out the specific concentrations within this interest cluster, with information regarding specific careers, as well as potential majors to pursue in college!

Neuroscience & Psychology

Students in neuroscience investigate the biological mechanisms that underlie behavior as well as how brains process information. They study the nervous system at every level: from the macroscopic (behavior and cognition) to the microscopic (cells and molecules).

Potential Majors

Studies of Human Society + Culture

For students interested in understanding society’s institutions- their structures, theoretical foundations, evolution, and interrelationships- and how they affect and are affected by human behavior. Potential careers include: ​Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, Women's Studies, Ethnic Studies

Potential Majors

Behavioral Analysis

For those who seek to understand the biological, pharmacological, and experiential factors that influence the behavior of individuals. Potential careers include: FBI Profiler, Social Work, Sociological or Psychological Researcher

Potential Majors

Social + Emotional Wellness

For those who seek to understand and employ the skills of coping with stress, remaining aware of one’s own and others’ feelings, providing empathy for others. Potential careers include: ​Clinical or Counseling Psychology, Mental Health Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling

Potential Majors




Connect with Alumni or a Senior Mentor

Check out how our alumni students and current seniors are pursuing this pathway! Learn about what it takes. To learn more about an alumni's journey, check out their roadmap.

Vanessa Sermeno
Class of 2015
Masters Student in Counseling
Psychology, CSU Long Beach
Kiyana Abouzar
Class of 2017
Graduate student at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Marriage & Family Therapy, CSUN
Alana Pasion
Class of 2013
Speech Language Pathologist at All About Kids
Speech-Language Pathology at Columbia University, Communication Sciences & Disorders at St. Johns University
Erin Ramos
Class of 2017
High School Paraeducator in Santa Cruz
Psychology, UCSC
Alexes Ciardi
Class of 2014
Mental Health Therapist in Homeless Services
Social Work at Fordham University, Sociology at Brandman University
Brenden Suwan
Class of 2020
Undergraduate student
Mental Health & Wellness, UC Irvine



Choosing the Right Courses

Provided here are the COC classes that are recommended for your pathway. You are not required to take all them, so you should talk to your counselor to clarify which classes are right for you. Explore the different possibilities below!

CHEM 151

Preparatory General Chemistry

A preparatory course for Chemistry 201. Provides basic foundation in problem solving, atomic theory, stoichiometry, nomenclature, states of matter and solution chemistry.



General Biology

Explores the nature of science, including cell structure and processes, energetics in living systems, heredity, development, evolution, diversity, and environmental relationships.


CAWT 140

Survey of Microsoft Office Programs

Examines operating systems, Microsoft Office, word processing, spreadsheet analysis, database management, presentation software, and the application of information technologies to organizational settings.


GEOL 103


Presents the origins, evolution, diversity, anatomy, physiology, ecology, habitat, behaviors, extinction, and paleontology of the dinosaurs in the Mesozoic Era.


GEOL 101

Physical Geology

Explores the basic features of the exterior and interior of the earth's crust, the materials of which those features are composed, and the geologic processes which produced them. Field trips may be required.


COMS 190


Preparation and training for advanced level public speaking, including the college competitive speech team and college sponsored speech and forensics activities, tournaments, festivals, and civic organizations. Studies include argumentation, public address speaking, and oral interpretation of literature. Involves research, writing, and one-on-one direction. Requires participation at an interscholastic competition or in a community speakers' bureau.


COMS 150

Oral Interpretation

Introduces theoretical approaches to interpret literature and prepares students to apply these in the performance of that literature.


COMS 120

Small Group Communication

Applies principles of communication in a variety of group contexts. Examines the theory, application, and evaluation of group communication processes, including problem solving, conflict management, decision making, and leadership.


COMS 105

Fundamentals of Public Speaking

Examines the principles and practices of public speaking, communication theory, and techniques for public speaking. Includes speech organization, development, research, audience analysis, reasoning, and presentation skills for the development of informative and persuasive speeches.



Introduction to Archaeology

Examines archaeology and human prehistory from an interdisciplinary perspective, including methods for excavation, dating, interpretation, and conservation of items of material culture. Topics include past social systems, the process of cultural change throughout human history, and the relevance of archaeological studies to contemporary social issues.



Cultural Anthropology

Presents the nature of humankind, culture, and society, including the concepts and theories used for their analysis and understanding. Prehistory and cultural growth, social organization, family systems, politics and economics, war, religion, values, culture shock, and applied anthropology are examined.



Physical Anthropology

Focuses on the evolution of the human species and nonhuman primates primarily from the biological perspective. Topics include human heredity and population genetics, primate behavior and conservation, the human fossil record, and modern human variation.



Be prepared to spend time reading and studying.

Do not waste your time on upper division COC math classes that you do not need.​ Take COC classes in Psychology, Sociology, or Anthropology.

If you can, talk to Mr. Malkowski about becoming an SEL mentor!

Before you decide to become a behavioral science major, it's crucial to gain an understanding of the industry as a whole. One of the ways you can do this is to by exploring the many associations and organizations that supply continuing education and support in this field. Here are a few of the options:

  • Society for Human Resource Management

  • International Society for Performance Improvement

  • Behavioral Science & Policy Association

  • American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences 

  • Association for Contextual Behavioral Science

Four-Year Ed Plans

Provided here are ed plans for you to take AOC & COC coursework for specific concentrations within this pathway. 

Keep in mind that these ed-plans are subject to change based on your individual needs and preferences.

AA Degrees

The ed-plans above will allow you to earn an Associate Degree in Anthropology, Communication Studies, Psychology, or Sociology. All of the ed-plans above will allow you to complete your IGETC and to transfer several General Ed college credits.