Applied Behavior Analysis: M.S.
Ouachita is pleased to offer the first full master’s degree in applied behavior analysis
in the state of Arkansas, seeking to address the critical shortage of trained Board
Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) in the nation. As a successful therapy option
to treat autism, Alzheimer’s and dementia in addition to common behavioral problems,
applied behavior analysis focuses on applying key principles to improve the learning
and lives of students, the elderly and other at-risk populations. Ouachita’s low-residency
program combines online and in-person instruction, carefully and efficiently aligning
field experience with course curriculum to allow students to complete the program
in just 15 months.
*We are in the process of determining licensing requirements in other states.
The priority application deadline is January 15. Applicants who are currently working in a location where there is a BCBA who could serve as their supervisor may be considered for admission after the January 15 deadline. Please contact Cris McGough at firstname.lastname@example.org to determine if this category applies to you.
Autism TherapyDevelopmental PreschoolsSpecial EducationSkilled Nursing FacilitiesHospice Care
Training, Supervision, and ConsultationIntellectual and Developmental DisabilitiesLegal, Ethical and Professional IssuesResearch Methods
No particular undergraduate degree is required for this program. Common areas of study for BCBAs include psychology, education or speech pathology.
Only M.S. in ABA in Arkansas
Job Postings in Arkansas for ABA Therapists
On-Campus Intensive (One Week)
In their words
learn more about our program & how ABA is making a difference
“Applied behavior analysis is the application of scientific principles of behavior like positive reinforcement to build useful skills and reduce problematic behaviors in a wide variety of settings. As the first Master of Science degree in ABA in Arkansas, Ouachita’s program will meet deeply-felt needs in our state and nation. We are proud to provide a program that prepares professionals for lives of meaningful work in a format that creates synergy between course and field work for deep and effective learning.”
Sheila K. Barnes, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA
Director, Applied Behavior Analysis Program
MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN SOCIETY AND MEET THE NEEDS OF INDIVIDUALS
One in 59 children in the nation is diagnosed with autism each year (CDC 2019), and the state’s senior population will increase an estimated 72% from 2000-2030. Therapists trained in applied behavior analysis are at the forefront of improving quality of life for these currently underserved populations and their families.
FIELD EXPERIENCE ALIGNED WITH COURSEWORK FOR DEEPER KNOWLEDGE
Ouachita’s innovative approach to ABA training pairs the knowledge learned in class to the practical work done in the field with clinical partners in real time. This allows students to apply theoretical concepts immediately, improving learning outcomes, and allows them to complete the program in just 15 months, 3 months shorter than typical ABA programs.
ONLINE FLEXIBILITY TO ADVANCE YOUR CAREER AND EDUCATION AT ONCE
Ouachita’s low-residency program allows you to complete the degree almost completely online so you can continue or begin your career from your own community while also making face-to-face connections with other students in your cohort. Plus the clinical work completed in the program is a great launching point for your future as an ABA therapist.
LEARN FROM OUTSTANDING PRACTITIONERS
Meet Dr. Sheila Barnes:
In addition to learning from carefully vetted clinical partners in the field, you’ll study under the instruction of Dr. Sheila Barnes, program director. Dr. Barnes not only has the highest credentials offered in the field but also has extensive professional experience. She is a doctoral level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) and completed her doctorate in educational psychology. She has earned two master’s degrees – one in special education and one in counseling psychology. Dr. Barnes has extensive experience working directly with infants and young children with autism or other disabilities and has worked in a variety of settings, such as home-based infant intervention, public school early childhood special education, a residential treatment center for adjudicated youth and others. As a former president of ArkABA, Dr. Barnes led efforts to expand Medicaid coverage for BCBA therapy in Arkansas. She is highly regarded throughout the state and region for her expertise in ABA.
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- May Term boot camp and online follow up – one course (3 hours.)
- Summer – One 8-week term including one 3-hour course and one 3-hour intensive practicum (6 hours.)
- Fall – Two 8-week online classes and a 16-week practicum (9 hours.)
- Spring - Two 8-week online classes and a 16-week practicum (9 hours.)
- Summer – One 8-week term including two 3-hour courses and one 3-hour intensive practicum (6 hours.)
Tuition and fees are determined by the Board of Trustees and updated annually. For current financial aid and cost information, visit our graduate and professional studies financial aid and cost information page.
Ouachita Baptist University General Graduate Admissions Requirements:
- Conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution
- 2.5 minimum GPA on a 4.0 scale (individual programs will delineate more specifics)
- Completed application, which includes a personal statement
- Three references
- Minimum English proficiency requirements for international students are as follows:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL):
At least 79 on the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT)
At least 550 on the paper-based TOEFL
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS):
At least a 6.5 on the IELTS exam
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL):
Admissions Requirements for the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis:
- Meet general university graduate admissions requirements
- A minimum GPA of 3.000 on a 4.000 scale*
*Conditional admission is considered for applicants who meet all other admissions requirements and have a GPA below 3.000, but not lower than 2.500.
*Applications are evaluated based on the following criteria: Personal Statement: Writing; Personal Statement: Goals/Program Fit; GPA; Letters of Reference; Related Experience; and Persistence/Motivation.
*A GRE score is not required for admission to the ABA program.
Applications are open annually from September 1 through January 15. Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. Notifications begin the first week of November and then occur once a month until the final round of notifications in early February. Each new cohort begins in May.
Clinical placement is not required for acceptance, but is required for enrollment in the program. We will work with accepted students to find clinical placement but it might require relocation to an available clinical placement site. Clinical placement requires significant time commitment of at least 20 hours per week. See the Behavior Analysis Certification Board guidelines for additional information about the expectations of supervision. If you cannot devote this time to the program and your placement, you will not be able to complete the program requirements.
At this time, we are not approved by SEVIS to accept international students. However, we plan to apply and be approved to issue I-20s to international students at some time in the future.
The State of Arkansas and Ouachita Baptist University requires students to show proof of immunity for MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella). Ouachita Baptist University must receive an immunization record that includes the MMR vaccinations. For more information please click here.
Graduate and Professional Studies at Ouachita seek to be a source of ongoing intellectual and spiritual growth for those pursuing lifelong learning or career advancement. Ouachita fosters community through relationships with classmates and professors in all learning environments. Through innovative modalities, fields and approaches, these programs combine the very best of Ouachita’s more than 130 years of Christ-centered learning with meeting the ongoing and changing needs of the work force.
GET IN TOUCH
Have a question about Ouachita? Want more information? Shoot our Graduate and Professional Studies team a message!