Jun 17, 2024  
Graduate Studies Catalog 2021-2022 
Graduate Studies Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Applied Behavior Analysis, MS

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Practice parameters for individuals with Autism have changed over the decades (www.bacb.com). The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI; www.abainternational.org) sets the standards for accreditation of Master’s and Doctoral Programs in Behavior Analysis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), National Institutes of Mental Health (www.nimh.gov), and many other organizations (e.g., Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, APBA; www.apba.com) agree on the science and associated practice for therapy delivery for those affected by Autism. There are many variables that affected the current educational and experience standards necessary to practice (and hence demand for education and training at the Master’s level), including the rapid development of the scientific literature underlying practice, increased educational and experiential demands for client care, national and international concerns about the quality of care and client safety, massive shortages of therapists at the Master’s level who may supervise front-line staff, and increasing educational and experience requirements for certification. The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Master’s degree will be housed in the Department of Counseling and Human Services. The Master’s Program will be offered for those individuals with a baccalaureate degree in Behavior Analysis, Psychology, Counseling and Human Services, Education, or a related field who aspire to gain education and experience in Behavior Analysis and the requirements for certification. Seven of the courses are required for the Post-certificate for Advanced Graduate Study in Applied Behavior Analysis (currently going through the FSCC process for the revision of that program). Six additional courses specific to the Master’s program will complete the 42-hour Master’s Degree and are included for approval in this document. The 42-credit program can be completed in 2 years but may be extended to 3 years for part-time students. Students will take 30 credits of didactic coursework, 6 credits of Thesis OR Capstone, and 6 credits of fieldwork. Additional elective options will be developed in the future. The program will be primarily designed to be deployed in a hybrid model (e.g., synchronous and asynchronous experiences in each didactic course). The principal advantage of the hybrid model is the ease with which it may be converted to alternative deployment strategies (e.g., synchronous education can be delivered either on-campus, in the classroom, or online).


The applicant for admissions to The ABA Master’s of Science program must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, and provide the Office of Admissions with evidence of satisfactory undergraduate preparation. The ordinary standard for admission is an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00 on a grading scale of 4.00. Students falling below this level may submit other evidence of their ability to successfully complete a graduate program. Admission requirements include official transcripts, professional letters of recommendation, a statement of intention, and a required interview with program faculty. Further details are available in the University of Scranton Graduate Studies Catalog. Typically, new students start coursework in the Fall semester. The priority application deadline for all graduate Counseling programs, including the Master’s in ABA, is November 15th. The regular application deadline is March 1st for admission into the following Fall term. Applications received after the March 1st deadline may be considered at the Program Director’s discretion. Program directors review applications and pay particular attention to each applicant’s ability to address program specific professional goals and professional identity in the statement of intentions. Group (and/or individual) interviews with program faculty prior to acceptance are required. All interviews are scheduled by program faculty shortly after the application deadline. All ABA Master’s of Science applicants must complete the specially developed recommendation forms for the program and respond to additional program specific essays in order to finalize their admissions packets. Applicants will be referred to specific program admissions policies for more specific admissions process information.

Applicants are likely to have completed courses in the following areas at the undergraduate level: psychology, sociology, social work, education, counseling, and related areas. Students without those or similar educational background coursework can still be considered for admission, consistent with the certification policies published by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB™). It is expected that  applicants demonstrate some competency in computer literacy (e-mail, Internet, word processing). The admissions process is highly competitive and faculty will select applicants best qualified for the program requested. Students will meet with their advisors prior to beginning the program and set up their first semester schedules. The faculty will review each student’s professional and academic performance on a regular basis. Suggestions for continued student growth and plans for remediation will be presented and discussed with students by their Program Directors.

Satisfactory progress in both professional and academic performance (See Fitness for Profession in the Department of Counseling and Human Services manual) is required for continuation in the program.

The admission standards and policies of the University of Scranton and the Department of Counseling and Human Services are free of any limitation, specification, or discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability, except as provided by law. Applications for admission from members of groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the ABA profession are encouraged and welcomed. Applicants who do not meet all of the criteria for regular admission, but show reasonable promise for success in graduate studies, may be accepted on a probationary basis. Recommendation for Probationary Admission must include a prescription for nine hours of specific course work (three graduate courses) that the student must complete within the first twelve hours of graduate study. Applicants who do not have the necessary undergraduate preparation in the discipline area requested but have demonstrated academic achievement indicative of successful graduate study may be considered for Provisional Admission or Provisional Acceptance. The applicant may gain Provisional Admission with the provision that s/he complete a specific prescription of  undergraduate course work in conjunction with his /her graduate studies. Provisional Acceptance carries the provision that the applicant complete a specific prescription of undergraduate course work, with a GPA of at least 3.0 in these studies, prior to undertaking graduate course work. For more detailed admissions information and admission status categories consult the University’s Graduate Studies Catalog.

Students enrolled in the ABA Master’s Program will take both 500-and 600-level courses. Students will most often take 600-level and 500-level courses concurrently and will take 600-level courses prior to taking some of the 500-level courses. This is a consequence of the MS curriculum overlapping with the curriculum of the post-Master’s Certificate. The courses in the Post-Master’s Certificate have been assigned course numbers at the 600-level by the Registrar, since the certificate students have already earned a master’s degree. The seven courses in the post-Master’s Certificate contain foundational content in ABA that the MS students must master in their first few classes. The proposed MS in ABA has some additional coursework and fieldwork unique to the MS program. Because the MS students do not have a prior master’s degree, those courses have been assigned 500-level numbers by the Registrar. Students will enroll in ABA 580 for all six (6) semesters, and ABA 580 will be the first 500-level course for all students. ABA 580 is the Supervised Fieldwork course, and will be taken for variable credit throughout the students’ enrollment. ABA 580 will provide the academic link to the actual supervised fieldwork experience hours that are required by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB™). The proposed ABA Master’s program includes ABA 580 as a course that matches the BACB™’s standards for the required supervised fieldwork experience hours . Specifically, students will begin accruing supervised experience hours immediately upon the beginning of their time enrolled in the proposed ABA Master’s program; this arrangement for supervised experience accrual is both acceptable and encouraged by the BACB™. Below is the text gleaned from the BACB™ newsletter, which documented the changes effective for all applicants on or after January 1, 2023 (https://www.bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/2022-BCBA-Fieldwork-Standards_200501.pdf):

Onset of Fieldwork.

Trainees may not start accumulating fieldwork hours until they have:

• Started qualifying coursework for BCBA certification (they may begin accruing hours after attending the first class meeting); and

• Secured a qualified supervisor (see Supervisor Qualifications above).


Total Credits in ABA Master’s program: 42 credits

Course Course Title Credits
ABA 605   Philosophical Underpinnings of Applied Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 600   Concepts and Principles in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 640   Measurement and Experimental Design in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 610   Ethics in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 615   Behavior Assessment in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 625   Behavior-Change Procedures in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 635   Personnel Supervision and Management Interventions 3
ABA 545   Basic Behavior Analysis 3
Electives (2 courses, 6  credits)    
ABA 572   Clinical Behavior Analysis in Children and Adolescents 3
ABA 573   Introduction to Behavioral Pediatrics in Primary Care 3
Other Courses with Approval of Program Director    
ABA 599   or Thesis variable
ABA 590   Capstone variable
ABA 580   Supervised Fieldwork variable
Total Credits in Program 42 credits

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