The focus of the Applied Behavioral Science (ABS) track in Criminal Justice and Social Problems is both academic and practical. The program develops students' reasoning and methodological skills and knowledge of recent scholarship in deviance, criminology and criminal justice. It does so not with a purely speculative goal, but rather to give students the ability to investigate real world problems in the fields of criminal justice in order to develop applicable solutions to them.

The program is thus useful to those who work or intend to work in police, probation, judicial, prison and related fields and who desire to enhance their research skills and understanding of complex issues in their chosen profession. The program also can serve as a rigorous introduction to graduate education for those wishing later to pursue doctoral degrees in criminology, criminal justice, sociology and related fields.