Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis Curriculum & Course Descriptions
ABA 601 Concepts and Principles I: Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis* (3 credits)
This course is the first course in a series of two courses (ABA 601 and ABA 602) and is designed to introduce students to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In this course, students will be given an overview of the assumptions, characteristics, and goals of applied behavior analysis. Students will learn the basic concepts and principles of behavior analysis as related to behaviors of social importance; therefore, the primary readings, lectures, and assignments of this course will focus on the applied literature in behavior analysis. Students begin to learn how to apply behavior-analytic procedures to change behavior and improve conditions for individuals in need and learn to articulate the science of learning and behavior in both scientific and layman terms.
ABA 602 Concepts and Principles II: An Experimental Analysis of Behavior* (3 credits)
In Concepts and Principles 1, students explored the basic concepts and principles as related to behaviors of social significance. In Concepts and Principles 2, students examine the basic literature to learn the origin of the concepts and principles of behavior analysis and hence develop a more thorough understanding of the fundamental building blocks of behavior analysis. Students primarily review basic experimental studies, but are required to apply the concepts and principles examined in the basic literature to applied problems.
ABA 604 Treatment Evaluation* (3 credits)
In this course, students are introduced to the methods needed to evaluate the effectiveness of a variety of interventions. Students learn to develop reliable procedures for measuring behavior using both continuous and discontinuous measurement systems, effective methods to display data, and develop skills to analyze the visual representation of behavior change in a variety of graphic displays. This course places a particular emphasis on the use of single-subject designs, which include the reversal, alternating treatment/multi-element, multiple baseline, changing criterion, and concurrent chains arrangement. By the end of this course, students will be able to select an appropriate measurement system, calculate reliability measures, identify the most appropriate experimental design(s), and determine whether functional control was achieved.
ABA 606 Behavior Assessment* (3 credits)
This course is designed to teach students the major concepts, methods, and ethical issues related to behavioral assessment. Students are taught to select and operationally define target behaviors for change, identify methods to assess behavior using behavioral assessments (e.g., indirect assessments, descriptive assessments, functional analyses, skill assessments), and align assessment outcomes with appropriate strategies that are designed to address areas of weakness while utilizing best practices in the field of applied behavior analysis. Considerations for designing function-based interventions and preparing for undesired side-effects are also discussed.
ABA 608 Behavior Intervention* (3 credits)
This course is designed to prepare students to identify, implement, and maintain effective behavioral interventions in applied settings. Students are taught to design evidence-based intervention strategies that reduce inappropriate behaviors and increase an individual’s performance both academically and socially. Emphasis is placed on approaches that facilitate maintenance and generalization across settings. Students are also taught to design a comprehensive plan to train and supervise the implementation of behavioral interventions.
ABA 610 Ethical Practice in Applied Behavior Analysis* (3 credits)
In this course, students are presented with a focused review of the ethical, legal, and professional issues related to the field of applied behavior analysis. Students thoroughly examine the ethical principles adopted by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) to guide professional practice. Students will critically evaluate ethical scenarios and identify acceptable action given a particular situation.
ABA 612 Verbal Behavior (3 credits)
In this course, students develop a thorough understanding of Skinner’s approach to verbal behavior and contrast Skinner’s approach with more traditional approaches. The primary readings are from Verbal Behavior written by B. F. Skinner; however, students also critically review commentaries on Skinner’s approach and recent research in verbal behavior.
ABA 614 Radical Behaviorism (3 credits)
Students are taught to differentiate between methodological behaviorism, teleological behaviorism, and radical behaviorism. The primary focus of this course is radical behaviorism and topics include determinism, private events, problem-solving, rule-governed behavior, and culture and society. Students apply the philosophy of radical behaviorism to a variety of complex and socially important behavior. The readings primarily include Skinner’s articles on radical behaviorism, commentaries on Skinner’s approach, and Skinner’s response to commentaries.
Practicum (9 credits)
All students will complete three semesters of practicum to obtain hands-on experience implementing applied behavior analysis. In practicum, students work in a supervised clinical setting for at least 20 hours per week, in which the implementation of behavior-analytic principles are evidenced. Students attend weekly on-campus group supervision meetings as well as receive at least one hour of individual supervision per week at their practicum site. Students are supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst®.
Thesis (6 credits)
The thesis is typically completed across three semesters and requires students to examine, conduct research, analyze, and share results in the form of a written thesis and presentation. Students work closely with their advisor during individual and group meetings. In the first and second semester of thesis, students will identify their research question, select committee members, conduct a literature review, write the introduction, identify the methodology to scientifically answer their research question, and obtain thesis committee and institutional review board (IRB) approval. In the end of the second semester or beginning of the third semester of thesis, students will carry out their study, finalize the manuscript, and present their findings to their committee members.
*The Behavior Analyst Certification Board® has approved the above course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Certification Examination®. Applicants will have to meet additional requirements to qualify.
ABA 521 Autism Spectrum Disorders and Related Disabilities (3 credits)
This course is designed to provide an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and related disabilities and examines empirical literature regarding treatments in both home and community. Students learn about the prevalence of ASD and related disabilities as well as diagnosis, ￼ assessment, and empirically-validated treatments. Students are taught to identify skill deficits and behavioral challenges often exhibited by individuals diagnosed with ASD and related disabilities and understand the difficulties when programming treatments in the community and home. The course also presents non-empirically validated treatments as well as the ethical implications associated with selecting treatments for individuals diagnosed with ASD or related disabilities.
ABA 523 Child Behavior Management (3 credits)
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of and competencies with evidence-based practices for promoting desirable behavior in young children. This course presents interventions for common behavioral challenges associated with young children including aggression, tantrums, self-injury, noncompliance, toileting, sleep problems, avoiding community dangers (e.g., guns, abduction), and communication deficits. Students are introduced to the assessment of challenging behavior and methods to prevent problem behavior with young children. Emphasis is placed on challenging behavior in the school, home, and community.
Other possible electives
- Designing Effective Classrooms (3 credits)
- Seminar in Severe Problem Behavior (3 credits)
- Current Topics in Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)
- Organizational Behavior Management (3 credits)
- Applications of ABA in Health and Fitness (3 credits)