Dec 04, 2023  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social and Behavioral Sciences, B.A.

The Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) major is an interdisciplinary program providing perspectives and critical analyses primarily from the disciplines of Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology, together with other supporting disciplines in an effort 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, 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 a balance of foundational theoretical and professional applied SBS courses and an extensive array of electives. With numerous community partners, SBS embraces community engagement as a high-impact practice that fosters involvement in civic life and ethical citizenship and strongly integrates learning and work experiences.

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

The SBS major provides tremendous flexibility to students who wish to design their own focal area, while also offering three predesigned pathways of specialization: Counseling, Public Health, and Regulatory Ethics. In each of these areas, intersections across 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).

The general SBS degree is available fully online. The certificates, concentrations and minors are not available fully online, although some of the required courses in the certificates, concentrations or minors may be offered in online format. For more information contact Admissions at 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, Special education, and Leadership Studies. Please contact your faculty advisor or access the Accelerated Pathways webpage for more information.

SBS Faculty

Interim Chair - Blake Whitaker, Ph.D.

Faculty - Lance Gibbs, Ph.D., Mary Anne Peabody, Ed.D., Mark Silber, Ph.D.; Jason White, Ed.D.

Part-Time Faculty: John Brautigam, J.D.; Irina Grigoryeva, Jd.D.; Jennifer Gunderman-King, MPH; Sheilan Hamasoor, J.D. cadidate; Nancy Hathaway, M.Ed.; Ross Hickey, J.D.; Mary Kozicki LaaFontaine; Stacey Jenkins, LCPC; Brenda Joly, Ph.D., MPH; Barbara Loux, LCSW; Kayla Musielak-Hanold, Ph.D.; Susan Rottman, Ph.D.; Robert Bruce Thompson, Ph.D.; Michelle Vazquez Jacobus, M.S.W, J.D.

Program Requirements

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. Effective catalog year 2021-22, all SBS prerequisites, required, and elective courses must be completed with a grade of at least C -.

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

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, 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):

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.

Recommended Course Sequence

The recommended 4 year progression is as follows (with general electives filling out semesters as needed): While this is a four year progression, we understand many students will take longer and many students transfer in with several pre-requisites or foundational courses already met.

  1. Foundational: Writing, Reading, and Inquiry 1, SBS Prerequisites (PSY 100 ; SOC 100 ; ANT 101 ), LOS 120 SBS 200 /HRD 200 ; and SBS 210 - Introduction to SBS   
  2. USM core courses, SBS 300 , LOS 329 /SBS 329 , and SBS electives
  3. USM core courses, SBS 370  (WRI3), SBS electives
  4. SBS 430  (Capstone), SBS 447  (Internship), SBS electives

USM Core Requirements

The USM Core Curriculum is a coherent, integrative, and rigorous liberal education that enables our graduates to be world-minded, intentional, life-long learners and captures your general education degree requirements. 

Please Note: Core requirements may be part of your major and/or minor, and Core may have been fulfilled with transfer credit. Please consult your MaineStreet Degree Progress Report (DPR) and review your degree progress with your Advisor.  For additional information, access the USM Core webpage.