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Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s Degree (M.A.)

Why Pursue a Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis?

The Department of Psychology offers a 48-credit Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis to individuals who work, or aspire to work, in a number of different settings such as schools, including regular and special education classrooms, business and industry, healthcare, and other community based settings.

Throughout these diverse settings, behavior analysts consult with a wide variety of medical professionals, therapists, educators, families, as well as provide direct services to children and adults diagnosed with mental illness, traumatic brain injury, developmental disabilities and Autism. The graduate program will prepare students to conduct descriptive and systematic behavioral assessments and to provide behavior analytic interpretations of the results.

Students will learn to design and supervise behavior analytic interventions in a range of cases, and will have the knowledge and skills to perform an appropriate evaluation of treatment. The graduate may teach and supervise others (e.g., students working towards certification) in carrying out ethical and effective behavior analytic interventions based on published research.

Behavior analysts usually work as part of a team of professionals. They may work as consultants to agencies such as child welfare organizations and residential treatment programs. They also are employed by centers for development, rehabilitation, and education.

Applications for Fall 2017 are still being accepted and reviewed. Students may apply online. Please call the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education with any questions at 413-572-8020.

Requirements for a Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Policies

The M.A. program must be completed within seven years of the first course counted toward the degree. Since courses are offered in a sequence rather than each semester, planning with advisors is imperative. Upon acceptance into the program, the student is assigned an advisor who will assist in planning a program to fit individual needs. There will be continual evaluation during the course of study with students apprised of their progress. A favorable evaluation is necessary for continuation in the program. The granting of the degree is based on professional competence, completion of the program of study, and satisfactory performance in a comprehensive exam or professional portfolio.

To accommodate students who work and/or have other substantial demands placed upon their time, courses are offered during the evenings and/or late afternoon. Important exceptions to this schedule are the Pre-practicum, Practicum and Internship experiences. While some placements permit flexible scheduling, many place restrictions on scheduling. Since these experiences are an essential component of counselor training, students must plan for the flexibility that will allow them to complete these requirements.

    Dispositional Assessment

    Candidates will be subject to an ongoing dispositional assessment coordinated by the faculty advisor in collaboration with cooperating course instructors, faculty supervisors, and site supervisors. In order for a candidate to advance academically from semester-to-semester, advance to a Field Placement or graduate with an M.A. Counseling degree, they must hold no unresolved "0" or "-1" scores in their dispositional record.

    Any candidate who fails to achieve and maintain a satisfactory level on the Dispositional Assessment will be subject to review by the Graduate Committee in Counseling who may determine that the candidate can proceed without intervention or may work with the candidate (or provide a designated faculty member to work with the candidate) on a remedial plan. The Graduate Committee in Counseling may also decide the candidate is not eligible to proceed academically or proceed to Field Placement. If a candidate's assessment displays "0" or "-1" scores, the Graduate Committee in Counseling may remove them from a Field Placement.

      Admission Requirements

      Admissions requirements for MA programs in Counseling, including Applied Behavior Analysis, Mental Health and School Guidance Counseling are:

      1. A Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
      2. Applicants with a firm foundation in psychology, education, or related field are highly preferred. [Note - an applicant with a degree in an unrelated field may enhance their application through the successful completion of undergraduate course(s) in Statistics, Child or Adolescent Development, Personality, Abnormal Psychology, Counseling, and/or Behavior Modification, as appropriate to the targeted degree program.]
      3. A 3.0 overall undergraduate GPA.
      4. Applicants must submit the Graduate Admissions application specifying either Applied Behavior Analysis, Mental Health Counseling, Forensic Mental Health Counseling School Adjustment Counseling, OR School Guidance Counseling AND whether they would like to attend full-time or part-time.
      5. Applicants must submit three letters of reference, including at least one academic reference.
      6. Applicants must submit a personal statement that describes (1) reason for interest in the field, (2) assessment of personal strengths and limitations, and (3) goals of graduate study.
      7. Applicants must submit a professional vitae or resume, including information on prior and/or current volunteer and /or employment positions. Applicants to the ABA program should indicate whether or not BCBA supervision is available in their current employment setting.
      8. Applicants selected for interviews must attend a formal interview with members of the graduate admissions committee.
      9. Applicants applying to the School Guidance Counseling program or School Adjustment Counseling (Non-licensure) must submit passing scores in Communication and Literacy Skills portions of the Massachusetts Educators Certification Tests (MTEL).
      10. Applicants may  transfer in up to 6 graduate credits toward their degree program. These transferred courses may not count toward BACB-approved core courses in the ABA program.
      11. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) are required to be taken within the past five years for Applied Behavior Analysis and Mental Health Counseling programs only.
      12. In extraordinary circumstances, one or more of the above requirements may be waived by the graduate admissions committee.

      The closing date for receipt of all admissions materials in February 1st.

      Notice of acceptance will occur on or about April 15th for study beginning the following September.

      Due to the competitive natures of these programs, we require a nonrefundable program deposit of $150.00 within 10 days of acceptance. This deposit is used to ensure your space in the program. The deposit is applied to your first registration as a matriculated student in the Fall semester immediately following your acceptance. If we do not hear from you within 10 days, we will assume you have selected an alternative direction, and we will close your matriculation.

        Applied Behavior Analysis - 48 Credits


          Required Courses - 30 Credits


          • PSYC 0633 - Behavioral Consultation
          • PSYC 0643 - Ethics for Behavior Analysis
          • PSYC 0646 - Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis
          • PSYC 0647 - Autism and Developmental Disability
          • PSYC 0648 - Behavior Analysis Applications: Ethics, Assessment, and Intervention Decisions
          • PSYC 0649 - Behavioral Interventions
          • PSYC 0651 - Single Subject Research Methodology & Design
          • PSYC 0660 - Theoretical Foundations of Behavior Analysis
          • PSYC 0662 - Clinical Behavior Analysis
          • PSYC 0664 - Experimental Analysis of Behavior

          Elective Courses - 6 Credits


          • PSYC 0554 - Psychology: Special Topics
          • PSYC 0606 - Organizational Behavior Management
          • PSYC 0642 - Behavioral Pharmacology
          • PSYC 0671 - Thesis I: Applied Behavior Analysis
          • PSYC 0672 - Thesis II: Applied Behavior Analysis

          Practicum Series - 12 Credits


          • PSYC 0693 - Practicum I: Applied Behavior Analysis
          • PSYC 0694 - Practicum II: Applied Behavior Analysis
          • PSYC 0695 - Practicum III: Applied Behavior Analysis
          • PSYC 0696 - Practicum IV: Applied Behavior Analysis

          Prerequisite, Concentration or Other Requirements:

          PSYC 0646 is prerequisite to the following courses: PSYC 0647, PSYC 0648, PSYC 0649, PSYC 0651.

          Students complete PSYC 0693, PSYC 0694, PSYC 0695PSYC 0696 in succession over 4 academic terms, excluding summer months.

          Students electing the Thesis Option must complete PSYC 0671 - Thesis I: Applied Behavior Analysis prior to PSYC 0672 - Thesis II: Applied Behavior Analysis.