ABA Program Summary and Application

Applied Behavior Analysis Developmental Disabilities logoThe Department of Psychology at Auburn University offers a non-thesis program in Applied Behavior Analysis in Developmental Disabilities. Graduates in this program will earn a Master of Science degree. The full-time program requires three consecutive semesters (12 months) of coursework and intensive practicum training.

Behavior analysis is a science concerned with the behavior of human and non-human organisms that attempts to understand, explain, describe and predict behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis grew out of this science in the 1960s as an effort to apply this growing understanding of behavioral processes to the improvement of individual and social conditions. This science-based technology is now well developed, and applications in the area of developmental disabilities have been especially well established for many years. There has long been a high level of demand for individuals with expertise in this field.

Students are trained to provide therapeutic to individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders, addressing the goals of mastering new skills and reducing behavior problems. Degree requirements focus on integrating foundational and specialized coursework with supervised practical experience.

Course Requirements. Students complete classroom coursework totaling 24 semester hours, with formal practicum training adding 18 additional credit hours. Required courses are listed below.

PSYC 7220 - Behavioral Principles
PSYC 8550 - Applied Behavior Analysis
PSYC 8570 - Applied Behavior Analysis 2
PSYC 7240 - Methods for Studying Individual Behavior
PSYC 6620 - Behavioral Pharmacology
PSYC 7310 - Autism and Intellectual Disabilities
PSYC 8540 - Behaviorism
PSYC 7260 - Ethical & Professional Issues in Behavior Analysis
PSYC 7910 - Practicum in Applied Psychology (I and II)
PSYC 7980 - Applied Behavior Analysis Capstone Project

Faculty and Professional Staff. A number of faculty in the Department of Psychology are involved in teaching required courses. The following faculty teach behavior analysis courses or conduct practicum training.

In addition, two faculty members are employed as full-time practicum coordinators in the program.

  • Scott Sparrow, M.S., BCBA
  • Tyler Godsy, M.S.

Practicum training. This program requires students to complete an intensive practicum that offers formal training in varied service delivery settings involving individuals with developmental disabilities. The practicum component involves 20 hours per week of on site training during all three semesters. Practicum settings include an early intervention preschool for children with autism spectrum disorders; parent and in-home training for foster, adoptive, and birth families; and a school-based treatment facility for children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. In addition, practicum training involves a weekly two-hour practicum class, small group supervisory sessions, and individual supervisory meetings. Students receive mastery-based training on a comprehensive set of practical skills and must complete an empirical capstone project. More about course work and practicum training.

Certification. This program is designed so that graduates meet both coursework and experience requirements specified by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board®, Inc. (BACB®) for qualifying to take the certification examination to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts. The BACB® has approved both program coursework and experience training as meeting its current requirements. More about Certification.

Admission Requirements. Applicant's bachelor's degree may be in any field. Applicants with grade point averages of at least 3.0 and Graduate Record Examination scores of at least 145 for Quantitative and 150 for Verbal will be given priority. In addition, applicants should be able to identify behaviorally oriented course work and practical experience with individuals with disabilities.

Admission. The application deadline is February 1. Applications to the Graduate School and the Department of Psychology and complete application instructions are available via the link at the end of this paragraph. Students will be admitted starting only in the fall term. Shortly after the application deadline, a select group of applicants will be invited to an on-campus interview.  More about Admission.

Financial Support. Each year there are a number of Agency Fellowships available to qualified students. These fellowships are sponsored by public and private human service agencies in Alabama. The fellowships take the form of one quarter-time assistantships that pay a monthly stipend as well as both in- and out-of-state tuition. Students accepting these fellowships agree to work for the sponsoring agency for one year immediately following graduation. The fellowships are not awarded until late in the summer prior to the beginning of the academic year, and assignments to agencies are not determined until an agency interview process is completed late in the Fall term.

Auburn University. Located deep in the rolling hills of East Alabama, Auburn University is one of the South's premier land grant institutions. Auburn is the largest university in Alabama, with an enrollment of approximately 25,000. Students come from all 50 states and nearly 100 foreign countries.

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Last Updated: August 06, 2014