Social and Behavioral Sciences


Welcome to the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana

Xavier’s Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences (DSBS) joins five departments into a dynamic and innovative center for the study of people as social beings- their communication, organization, development, identification, and struggles. Coming from Psychology, Political Science, Sociology, Mass Communication and Communication Studies, DSBS disciplines employ distinct methods and theories to study the lived, imagined, differentiated, emotional, behavioral, historical, and segmented forms and contexts of human social behavior. Students choosing a DSBS major tend to enjoy working with some combination of people, data, and ideas, and they enjoy learning beyond the confines of books and classrooms.

The Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences contributes to Xavier’s mission through longstanding, shared commitments and approaches to teaching social and behavioral sciences. Despite distinct disciplinary approaches, several core values are shared: commitment to social justice, student success, community engagement, and hands-on learning. With small classes, flexible majors, and a multitude of classroom formats, students are trained in intimate, hands-on settings that open the world and leave the traditional classroom behind.

The Division’s abiding commitments to social justice, student success, community engagement, and hands-on learning are the foundation for Xavier’s tradition of excellence in social and behavioral research and instruction. All twenty full-time faculty members hold doctorate degrees, and collectively, they hold five Norman C. Francis Faculty Excellence Awards, and seven endowed professorships. They have authored dozens of books and scores of articles. They compete successfully for grants from major scientific communities such as NSF and NIH. They hold leadership positions in professional organizations and serve as advisors to social service and civic agencies in New Orleans. The departments also send inordinate numbers of students into graduate and professional school each year. DSBS alumni are elected leaders, local TV personalities, professors, lawyers, psychologists, teachers, social workers, and civic leaders.

Tuition Assistance

Each year, the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences and its affiliated departments award tuition assistance to students majoring in one of the DSBS Disciplines: Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, Mass Communication, and Communication Studies. These Academic Grants are awarded based on students’ demonstration of both academic merit and financial need.

Undergraduate Research

Engaging students as researchers is a hallmark of a Xavier DSBS education.

DSBS professors are committed to developing scholars and leaders through undergraduate research. Research gives DSBS graduates a competitive edge in applying to and succeeding in graduate school. It shows employers that students have valuable critical thinking, collaboration, and writing skills. Finally, undergraduate research distinguishes students as thinkers and leaders in their chosen field, ready to take on the social, intellectual, and technological puzzles of their generation.

In specialized classes with only ten to fifteen students, our majors learn to conduct research in their respective disciplines. Students may then use this foundation to work with a faculty mentor to develop their own research, to collaborate with other students and faculty, or to work as paid undergraduate researchers. In addition to opportunities to collaborate with faculty at Xavier, such as through the McNair and BUILD programs, students may participate in summer research programs at other universities through the MARC and RISE programs, or even internationally through the Tulane-Xavier MHIRT program.

Numerous programs and offices support undergraduate researchers at Xavier, and DSBS faculty are at the forefront of these initiatives. In the last decade, DSBS faculty has secured more than $3 million in funds to support undergraduate researchers."

DSBS Internships & Practicums

Engaging New Orleans as a Living Laboratory

Xavier students majoring in the Social and Behavioral Sciences benefit from the dynamic, “living laboratory” New Orleans offers. While the experiences vary by major, internships or clinical experiences that place students throughout New Orleans are integral to DSBS students’ academic and professional development. These experiences are instrumental for:

  • Defining post-Xavier career and graduate school plans
  • Learning how to behave and to interact effectively in a professional setting
  • Networking with professionals in students’ areas of interest
  • Applying knowledge from an academic discipline to its “real world” implementation
  • translating the skills and knowledge of a major to professional contexts to identify and secure a desirable professional position"

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Social and Behavioral Sciences