2020-21 Catalogs

BA in Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) major is an interdisciplinary program providing perspectives and critical analyses from Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology to prepare students for the complexity of diverse local communities and the global world we live in. The major provides an excellent  foundation for careers in social services, mental health, public health and public safety, law and public policy.  Designed to enhance understanding of the psychosocial and cultural influences shaping individual lives and social institutions, the curriculum interweaves interdisciplinary courses in liberal arts with foundational SBS courses and an extensive array of electives, including professional applications. With numerous community partners in the local area, SBS embraces community engagement as a high-impact practice that fosters involvement in civic life and ethical citizenship.

The major provides tremendous flexibility to students who wish to design their own focal area, while also offering an array of predesigned pathways of specialization: Counseling, Public Health, and Regulatory Ethics. In all of these areas, exploring the intersections of individual, social, and cultural influences deepens understanding and professional competencies. Students may also choose to integrate the SBS major with related minors or certificates, such as Leadership and Organizational Studies, Gerontology, or certification as a Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician /Community (MHRT/C).

A critical component of the SBS degree program is the internship (LAC 447). With the assistance of their faculty advisor and the Internship Coordinator, students identify an organization that will enable them to evaluate potential career opportunities and develop workplace skills. A junior or senior status for internship is recommended.

The general SBS degree is available fully online. The certificates, concentrations and minors are not available fully online, although some of the required courses may be offered in online format. For more information contact Admissions at admitusm@maine.edu or visit the Office of Admissions.

Accelerated Pathways to Graduate Programs

The SBS major provides accelerated pathways to graduate programs at USM, including Counseling, Social Work, Occupational Therapy, Law, and Leadership Studies. Please contact your faculty advisor or access the Accelerated Pathways webpage for more information.

SBS Faculty

Chair - Mary Anne Peabody Ed.D.

Faculty - Rose Cleary, Ph.D.; Christy Hammer, Ph.D.; Mark Silber, Ph.D.; Jason White, Ed.D.

Part-Time Faculty: John Brautigam, J.D.; Susan Coan, MA; Deborah Como-Kepler, Psy.D; Jennifer Gunderman-King, MPH; Nancy Hathaway, M.Ed.; Ross Hickey, J.D.; Scott Hutcherson, LCPC; Stacey Jenkins, LCPC; Brenda Joly, Ph.D., MPH; Barbara Loux, LCSW; Joshua Mangin, M.S.; Kayla Musielak-Hanold, Ph.D.; Susan Rottman, Ph.D., Julianne Siegfriedt, M.A.; Michell Vazquez Jacobus, M.S.W, J.D.; Robert Williams, Ph.D.


Requirements for the major may be met through coursework, prior learning assessments sponsored by USM, or in rare cases through waivers (worked out with advisors in conjunction with course instructors).  No more than two courses from outside the major may be used toward completion of the requirements for the major without permission of the faculty advisor.

SBS Prerequisite Courses are expected to be taken before 300-level courses:

     SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology
     PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology
     ANT 101 Anthropology: The Cultural View

SBS Required Courses:

     SBS 210 Me in 3D: Introduction to Social and Behavioral Sciences
     LOS 120 Statistics for Informed Decision Making
     HRD/SBS 200 Multicultural Human Development
     SBS 300 Deviance and Social Control
     LOS/SBS 329 Research Methods
     SBS 370 Toward a Global Ethics (writing instruction)
     SBS 430 Applied Social and Public Policy
     LAC 447 Internship

SBS Electives:

Students complete at least six upper division (300-level or above) electives in SBS. They may select a concentration to structure their choice of electives. For a complete list of SBS courses, please see the SBS Course Descriptions.

USM Core Requirements and General Electives:

In addition to completing course requirements for the major, baccalaureate degree students must meet the proficiency and residency requirements of the University of Southern Maine, and complete the core curriculum and additional courses to accrue a minimum of 120 credit hours of coursework. See the USM core requirements for more information.

Because of its interdisciplinary nature, the SBS degree has extensive overlap with the USM core, providing a highly efficient pathway to degree completion and additional freedom in selecting courses to reach the 120 credit hour minimum. The following SBS required courses also fulfill USM core curriculum requirements (note that this is not a complete list of courses that fulfill USM core requirements):

  • ANT 101 Anthropology: The Cultural View
    • meets either the Diversity (DIV) or the International (INT) core requirement
  • SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology
    • meets the Socio-Cultural Analysis (SCA) requirement
  • LOS 120 Statistics for Informed Decision-Making
    • meets the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) requirement
  • SBS 300 Deviance and Social Control
    • meets the Diversity (DIV) requirement
  • SBS 370 Toward a Global Ethics
    • meets both the Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility, and Citizenship (EISRC) and the International (INT) requirement
  • SBS 430 Applied Social and Public Policy
    • meets the Capstone (CAP) requirement
  • Several SBS courses meet the Engaged Learning (EL) requirement.

Additional courses towards the required minimum of 120 credits may be chosen from any other courses within or outside of the major (general electives) based on student interests, career plans, and prior transfer credits. In some cases, this may entail pursuit of a minor or certificate. Students should consult with their advisors on these choices.

Concentrations, Minors, and Certificates 

In addition to the general SBS degree, SBS offers two concentrations for SBS majors

  • Counseling (adult and/or child-youth focus)
  • Public Health

SBS offers two minors available to students in any USM major:

  • Public Health
  • Regulatory Ethics

SBS offers two certificates available to anyone, not limited to SBS or USM majors:

  • The Undergraduate Certificate in Public Health
  • The Undergraduate Certificate in Regulatory Ethics

SBS students may qualify and apply for state-level credentials:

  • Maine MHRT/C certification issued by the Muskie School’s Center for Learning
  • Maine CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor) examination
  • LSX (Licensed Social Worker - Conditional)

For more information, see your advisors or visit the SBS website.

Before taking 300-level courses in this major, we recommend that students have completed a 100-level college writing course with a grade of at least C.

To avoid slowing student progress toward their degree, SBS courses have very few formal prerequisites. However, the recommended progression is as follows (with general electives filling out semesters as needed):

  1. College Writing, EYE, SBS Prerequisites, LOS 120, and SBS/HRD 200
  2. USM core courses, SBS 210, SBS 300, LOS/SBS 329, and SBS electives
  3. USM core courses, SBS 370, SBS electives
  4. SBS 430 (Capstone), LAC 447 (Internship), SBS electives