Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Masters Degree Program

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The Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program meets the growing need for practitioners who are knowledgeable about the principles of behavior and skilled in the development, implementation, and evaluation of behavioral interventions.

Upon completion of the program requirements, students will meet the minimum coursework and fieldwork standards set forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board  (BACB) to take the exam to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Contingent on passing the BCBA exam, students will also meet the requirements to become a Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst (LABA) in Massachusetts.

Careers for Applied Behavior Analysts

Most Applied Behavior Analysts have found professional opportunities in the field of educating and treating people with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Other Applied Behavior Analysts have found their skills to be useful and relevant in fields, such as:

  • Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), or what is more commonly known as Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Regular and Special Education (Preschool, Elementary, Secondary, High School and Graduate School)
  • Mental Health
  • Sports Psychology
  • Behavioral Health, Behavioral Medicine, Behavioral Pharmacology
  • Community Research and Applications

Rooted in the science of behavior, Applied Behavior Analysis can have useful applications in a diverse range of fields of interest beyond those listed above. For more information on areas in which ABA is being used, take a look at the Special Interest Groups of the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

In addition to working as a practitioner, many BCBAs find themselves in demand to provide supervision for other students entering the field and who are seeking to become certified and licensed in ABA. Further, many BCBAs may formally become Continuing Education Providers with the BACB, allowing them to conduct presentations and workshops in their areas of expertise for other BCBAs and LABAs.

ABA Masters Program Design

The ABA Masters program is designed for current or prospective practitioners in education, mental health, clinical, and other human-service settings (e.g., school- and community/home-based settings, in- and out-patient hospital and clinics).

The coursework will provide students with a foundation in the philosophy of behaviorism, the principles of learning theory, and behavior-analytic research methods. Over the course of the year (or two years part-time), students will also be exposed to current and best practices in behavioral assessment, intervention, and evaluation.

Consistent with the experiential model of the William James College, students will complete a practicum during each of their first two semesters and an internship during each of their final summer sessions. This direct, hands-on experience in applied behavior analytic settings will provide students with the link between coursework and real-world applications.

The coursework schedule  has taken into account the work-schedules of potential students and all courses will be scheduled in the early evenings.

Ronald Lee, Director of the Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis Program, describes how the program helps fulfill the need for skilled behavior analysts to deliver therapies for people with autism and developmental disabilities.

Goals for ABA Masters Program Graduates

A rigorous course sequence has been developed to surpass the minimum requirements set forth by the BACB. Our goals for graduates of the MA in ABA program are to:

  1. Be knowledgeable and fluent in the principles of behavior analysis to the extent that graduates will be well-prepared for the national certification examination to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
  2. Be skilled in the implementation of behavioral techniques such that our graduates will be qualified in the assessment, intervention, evaluation, and follow-up in the treatment of behavioral excesses and deficits.
  3. Be sensitive to the needs, rights, and preferences of clients, consumers, families, communities and other important stakeholders in the behavior-change process so that effective and meaningful behavior-change is achieved in the least restrictive and most acceptable manner.
  4. Be aware of the role of the behavior analyst in multidisciplinary settings so that they can support therapeutic goals while also advocating for the rights of clients and consumers to access evidence-based approaches and techniques.

The William James College community is an engaging, interactive, intellectually stimulating, and mutually supportive environment.  Our knowledgeable ABA faculty support a model that seeks to promote student success in this program so that graduates become effective professionals.  Our goals as instructors and advisors to our students are to:

  1. Be available for meetings, discussions, consultation, and other advice regarding how to succeed in a class and program-at-large.
  2. Be responsive to the queries of our students so that concerns can be addressed in a timely manner.
  3. 3.  Be fair in the development and assignment of tasks and in the evaluation process for students.
  4. Be aware of every student’s individual needs and help identify plans of action to assist each student in maximizing their chances of success.

Please contact us if you have any questions about the program or a career as an applied behavior analyst.

Dr. Lee Addresses ABA Misconceptions

Kids holding Puzzle pieces with the letters ABA

BCBA Teacher with Student