Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis

Master of Science
Main Campus - Melbourne, Orlando - Psychology
Major Code: 8147 Degree Awarded: Master of Science
Age Restriction: N Admission Status: graduate
Delivery Mode/s: classroom, off-site Location/s: main campus, Orlando
Admission Materials: 3 letters of recommendation, résumé, objectives, GRE

Program Chair
David A. Wilder, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the applied research branch of the behavioral sciences. It includes the design, implementation and evaluation of environmental modifications to produce changes in behavior that are socially significant. ABA includes the use of direct observation, measurement and functional analysis of the relations between environment and behavior. Based on the findings of descriptive and functional analyses, ABA uses antecedents and consequences to produce practical change. ABA is based on sound scientific principles and has a solid research foundation that proves its effectiveness. ABA is based on the belief that an individual's behavior is determined by past and current environmental events in conjunction with organic variables such as genetics. Thus, it focuses on explaining behavior in terms of external events (that can be manipulated) rather than internal constructs (that are beyond our control).

Admission Requirements

An applicant should hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education in which they should have maintained a grade point average of 3.0 (B) or higher. An applicant should submit an application form, the provided supplemental form and the graduate application fee. Applicants should submit a statement of career objectives, résumé, three letters of recommendation and Graduate Record Examination General Test scores. In addition, official transcripts must be submitted of all undergraduate and graduate courses attempted. All applications should be submitted by February 15, but will be accepted throughout the year. Pre-admission visits to the campus and conferences with faculty and students are strongly encouraged. At the discretion of the admissions committee, any student who is admitted but has not completed one of these courses (basic principles of learning (or conditioning), basic principles of behavior or an introductory course in behavior analysis), may be required to complete the prerequisite before they are able to register for ABA core courses. The prerequisite course is in addition to the credits required for a degree.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 44 semester credit hours is required. Requirements include completing the behavior analysis core curriculum (22 credit hours), a course covering biological foundations of behavior and pharmacology (3 credit hours), and intensive practical training (9 credit hours). Furthermore, students will be required to complete a capstone project and five credit hours of pre-approved electives. However, students are encouraged to substitute a thesis preparation course, a minimum of six credit hours of thesis and a one-credit pre-approved elective in lieu of the capstone option, but must have the support of a behavior analysis faculty member who will chair the committee. In addition all students must pass a final program examination that consists of a multiple-choice examination simulating the Behavior Analyst Certification Board certification examination at the behavior analyst (BCBA) level and covers material from all required behavior analysis courses. The final program examination is administered toward the end of the student's second spring semester. All courses for a letter grade must be passed with a grade of B or better.

Core Courses (22 credit hours)
  • BEH 5100 Concepts, Principles and Characteristics of Behavior Analysis
    Credit Hours: 3
    Covers basic concepts and principles derived from the experimental analysis of behavior, and their relation to applied behavior analysis and its basic assumptions and characteristics.
  • BEH 5101 Behavioral and Functional Assessment
    Credit Hours: 3
    Covers descriptive assessment and functional analysis, incorporating behavioral measurement, data display and date interpretation. Also covers selection and definition of target behavior and outcomes.
  • BEH 5102 Experimental Evaluation of Interventions
    Credit Hours: 3
    Covers within-subject experimental methods, incorporating behavioral measurement, data display and data interpretation. Also covers program monitoring and evaluation, an overview of traditional statistical between-subjects research methods, and ethical issues in ABA research and evaluation.
  • BEH 5103 Behavior Change Procedures and Systems Support
    Credit Hours: 3
    Covers behavior change procedures, generality of behavior change, transfer of technology and systems support.
  • BEH 5104 Ethical and Legal Considerations for Behavior Analysis
    Credit Hours: 1
    Covers the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's guidelines for responsible conduct for behavior analysts, position papers of various professional organizations related to ethical issues in ABA, and other ethical and legal considerations for the practice of behavior analysis.
  • BEH 5105 Radical Behaviorism
    Credit Hours: 3
    Covers B.F. Skinner's seminal articles on radical behaviorism, along with other notable commentaries and Skinner's response. Includes determinism, private events, verbal behavior, contingency-shaped vs rule-governed behavior, and a radical behaviorist perspective on culture and society.
  • BEH 5303 Experimental Analysis of Behavior
    Credit Hours: 3
    Provides an advanced overview of the fundamentals of behavior from the perspective of operant conditioning. Includes the principles and procedures used within the field of behavior analysis. Requires research and written reports and evaluations.
    Enrollment in behavior analysis degree program or instructor approval
  • BEH 5400 Introduction to Organizational Behavior Management
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes performance and cause analysis, and intervention selection, design and implementation. Also includes evaluation of past and current research on improving workplace productivity, quality, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and safety. Addresses how performance management uses behavior principles as applied in business and industry.
Additional Core Courses (5 credit hours)
  • BEH 5106 Biological Basis of Behavior: Behavioral Pharmacology
    Credit Hours: 3
    Examines the biological basis of behavior and introduces the scientific study of drugs and their effects on behavior. Emphasizes the neurological basis of psychotropic medications (loci of drugs in the central nervous system) and behavioral pharmacology (behavioral effects of drugs in the central nervous system).
  • BEH 5201 Ethical and Professional Standards in Applied Behavior Analysis
    Credit Hours: 1
    Includes defining acceptable treatment environments, rights to effective treatment and education, balancing the rights to habilitation and personal liberties, least restrictive alternatives, punishment and aversive control, emergency interventions and other ethical issues related to persons with disabilities and clinical populations.
  • BEH 5202 Ethics in Behavior Analytic Research
    Credit Hours: 1
    Prepares students in the behavioral sciences to identify and surmount current and emerging ethical issues when planning, conducting and disseminating research.
Practical Training
  • BEH 5251 Intensive Practical Training in Behavior Analysis
    Credit Hours: 3
    Provides students with hands-on experience in applied behavior analysis (assessment and/or intervention) in a practical setting. Requires regular meetings and work at an approved practicum site.
    Enrollment in master's program or program chair approval
Research and Capstone/Thesis (8 credit hours) (Choose one)
  • BEH 5290 Capstone Project in Applied Behavior Analysis
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes conducting an applied project, the quality of which is judged acceptable by a faculty supervisor.
    Considered a full-load course.
  • BEH 5999 Thesis
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes preparation and submission of a research thesis, the quality of which is judged acceptable by the ABA program chair, the college and graduate programs director.
    Considered a full-load if registered for at least three credits
  • Approved Elective* Credit Hours: 1
Select one course:
  • BEH 5900 Thesis Preparation
    Credit Hours: 1
    Includes guided review of research literature and/or pilot work relevant to the thesis topic.
  • Approved Electives Credit Hours: 5*
Total Credits Required: 44