Behavioral Sciences

Mission Statement

Our mission is to create lifelong learners utilizing the scientist-practitioner model. Students gain competence in accessing, evaluating, and integrating sources of knowledge within their field. Graduates of our program will understand the scientific foundations of their discipline and the core knowledge/concepts in the field.

Programs in the division provide opportunities for professional development, service to the community, and practicum experiences in preparation for graduate study and/or work in a variety of fields. Graduates will be able to apply such knowledge and skills in a manner consistent with an understanding of professional standards of ethical behavior. They will be prepared to interact effectively with others, and resolve issues that face us as a society, a nation and a world.



Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior, so an understanding of the field can be applied to a broad range of career fields.  Once you’ve learned to explain thought, emotion and behavior, you’ll be able to provide valuable insights for the benefit of your employer.  Or, you’ll be poised to continue your education in fields such as social work, clinical counseling, law, business, medicine and many more.  

Gerontology: Aging & Older Adulthood

As the global population grows older, there is an acute need for trained professionals who can work in numerous fields related to gerontology such as health care, social services, and long-term care. That’s where you come in if you choose to join our program!  WOU’s program is nationally recognized, and graduates often have jobs lined up before they leave campus.  If you enjoy working with and supporting older adults and their families, consider the field of gerontology.

Occupational Therapy

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program at WOU is the first public doctoral-level occupational therapy (OT) program in Oregon and is designed to prepare students to balance the art and science of OT practice as entry-level therapists. Occupational therapists work with individuals, groups, and organizations to promote health and wellness across the age span so that everyone can strive to live life to the fullest.  Occupational therapy practitioners use occupations (meaningful activities) to support individuals in doing the things they want to do, need to do, and are expected to do in daily life.

Organizational Leadership

Today, companies are looking for effective leadership at all levels – from identifying and onboarding younger leaders faster to ensuring that senior leaders remain relevant and engaged. In every sector, industry, or setting, employers are looking for leaders that have highly desired leadership competencies including collaboration/team building, global cultural agility, driving creativity and innovation, and influence and inspiration. You can build those competencies with the Organizational Leadership program at WOU. In addition to the master’s program, WOU offers three Leadership Certificate options that can be completed individually or as part of the MA in Organizational Leadership.

Hands-On Learning Opportunities


Gain Real-World Experience

Behavioral Sciences students have a number of opportunities to engage in  practicum experiences. Students who complete practicums are more likely to develop workplace skills, network with professionals, and secure jobs after graduation.


Teaching  and Research Assistantships

Work side-by-side with faculty by becoming a teaching assistant or by joining them in a research project as a research assistant.


Dig Deeper

Have a meaningful impact and engage with members of the community by participating in one of several mentoring opportunities Behavioral Sciences has available.


Ethan McMahan

Division Chair, Behavioral Sciences

“Welcome to the Behavioral Sciences Division! We offer a number of different programs in Psychology, Gerontology, Occupational Therapy, and Organizational Leadership. These programs include majors, minors, certificates, and graduate training, and all are focused on helping students obtain their academic goals. We also offer courses in different modalities, including online, in-person, and hybrid options, thus allowing you to complete our programs in a manner that best fits your life and schedule. Please take a look at the descriptions of our programs on this website for more information. And, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with additional questions!”

Additional Questions?

We are glad to help!

Please contact the Behavioral Sciences Office.


Phone: 503-838-8344


Online Office hours: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm, Monday - Friday