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Applied Behavior Analysis: M.S. & M.A.*

Offering Arkansas’ first Master of Science and Master of Arts* degree programs in applied behavior analysis (ABA), Ouachita is helping lead the way in addressing the critical shortage of Board Certified Behavior Analysts® (BCBAs®) in the nation. At Ouachita, you can prepare in 22 months for a career in the rapidly growing field of ABA, where you’ll use the science of learning and behavior to design, evaluate and implement therapies that improve individuals’ lives. Whether you’re interested in research, teaching, earning a doctorate or becoming a practitioner, Ouachita’s low-residency programs offer you two pathways to pursuing a life of meaningful, impactful work in ABA.

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*Pending VCS and HLC approvals.

Autism Therapy

Behavioral Gerontology

Mental and Behavioral Health Therapy

Organizational Behavior Management

School-Based Behavioral Intervention Support

Special Education

Substance Abuse Treatment

Special Topics in ABA, including behavioral economics and contingency management

Subspecialties of ABA: relational frame theory (RFT) & acceptance and commitment theory (ACT)

Applied Experience in ABA, offering ACT training

Behavioral Assessment

Behavior-Change Procedures

Ethical & Professional Issues in ABA

Supervision, Training & Performance Management

  • No particular undergraduate degree is required for this program. Common areas of study for BCBAs include psychology, education or speech pathology.

VCS LogoOuachita offers Master of Science and Master of Arts degrees in applied behavior analysis as a low-residency program that includes one on-campus intensive with the remainder of the curriculum delivered online. The application opens on Jan. 1, 2023, and will close on May 1, 2023, for enrollment starting in August 2023. 
 
 
 
 
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Arkansas’ only M.S. and M.A.* in ABA

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Completed Online

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Clinical Partners in the U.S. & Canada

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Semester Program

Degree Options:

choose your path

Ouachita's M.S. in ABA degree program combines coursework with 1,500 concentrated supervised fieldwork hours accrued with one of Ouachita’s 18 clinical partners across the U.S. and Canada to provide graduates with a strong foundation in understanding theoretical concepts and using them to affect positive change in the lives of their clients. Students admitted to the program must secure a fieldwork site no later than July 1 in order to complete enrollment, and they will choose a thesis or capstone project by the end of their second semester. The M.S. degree program is a great fit for students working in the field who want to be eligible to take the BCBA® exam right after graduation in preparation for a career in clinical practice, research or academia.

If you prefer to pursue practical experience at your own pace and on your own schedule, the M.A.* in ABA program at Ouachita has no requirement or commitment to accrue fieldwork hours. There is no thesis or capstone project required for the M.A.*; however, students must complete an applied research project during their final two semesters. The M.A.* degree program is an ideal option for those who work in settings that use ABA outside of autism/intellectual and developmental disabilities (AU/IDD) such as schools, nursing homes, psychiatric units, foster care, group homes or substance abuse treatment facilities. It is also a good option for those who plan to stay in professional practice once they become BCBA®s but do not wish to pursue a Ph.D. or conduct research.

In their words

learn more about our program & how ABA is making a difference

"As the first Master of Science and Master of Arts* degrees in ABA in the state of Arkansas, and one of few faith-based institutions to offer master’s degrees in ABA, Ouachita is proud to provide a high-quality, comprehensive degree program in an effort to address the shortage of BCBA®s in the state and around the country, and to train the next generation of compassionate, quality-driven scientist-practitioners who will be committed to the field and to serving their communities."

Julyse headshotJulyse A. Migan-Gandonou Horr, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA
Director, Applied Behavior Analysis Program

Student and senior adult

Rigorous, Christ-centered approach

Ouachita offers a unique opportunity – outstanding career preparation at a university committed to fostering a love of God and a love of learning. As one of the few faith-based institutions in the country to offer graduate programs in ABA, your faculty at Ouachita will be committed to both your success in the classroom and your spiritual growth. You’ll emerge a highly-skilled, compassionate practitioner prepared for a life of meaningful work.

ABA students

Prepare for BCBA® certification

As a Ouachita ABA student, you’ll be prepared for a successful transition from graduate to Board Certified Behavior Analyst® once you’ve taken and passed the BCBA® exam. You’ll follow our Association for Behavior Analysis International’s (ABAI) Verified Course Sequence (VCS) and meet 6th edition coursework and content area requirements established by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®(BACB®). And test prep is embedded in the curriculum.

Student working on computer

ONLINE FLEXIBILITY, PERSONAL CONNECTIONS

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 making face-to-face connections with other students in your cohort. Your classmates will be a source of support and inspiration throughout your journey. Plus the clinical work completed in the M.S. program is a great launching point for your future helping clients who have a variety of needs.

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LEARN FROM OUTSTANDING PRACTITIONERS

expert faculty members as mentors

Every ABA student is assigned an advisor who is a core faculty member in the department. All our faculty – core and adjunct – are highly-skilled, qualified, caring and engaged BCBA®s and BCBA-D®s with more than 40 years of combined ABA experience. All core faculty members continue to practice, representing areas of expertise including treatment of autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities; assessment and treatment of severe and challenging behavioral disorders; experimental analysis of behavior; personnel supervision and training; parent training; substance abuse/addiction counseling; behavioral economics (delay discounting, effort discounting, impulsivity, etc.); relational frame theory (RFT); acceptance commitment training (ACTr); law enforcement training; ABA in foster care; and more.

View Faculty

program details

M.S. in ABA
Total Hours = 36

YEAR ONE
 
 
ABA 6143, Concepts & Principles of ABA
Fall Term
3 hours
ABA 6153, Research Methods in ABA
Fall Term
3 hours
ABA 6161, Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork I
Fall Term
1 hour
ABA 6243, Behavioral Assessment
Spring Term
3 hours
ABA 6253, Behavior-Change Procedures I
Spring Term
3 hours
ABA 6261, Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork II
Spring Term
1 hour
ABA 6343, Ethical & Professional Issues in ABA
Summer Term
3 hours
ABA 6353, Supervision, Training & Performance Management
Summer Term
3 hours
ABA 6361, Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork III
Summer Term
1 hour
YEAR TWO
 
 
ABA 6443, Behavior-Change Procedures II
Fall Term
3 hours
ABA 6453, Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Fall Term
3 hours
ABA 6482, ABA Thesis/Capstone I
Fall Term
2 hours
ABA 6542, Special Topics in ABA
Spring Term
2 hours
ABA 6563, Advanced Concepts & Principles of ABA
Spring Term 3 hours
ABA 6582, ABA Thesis/Capstone II
Spring Term 2 hours

 

M.A. in ABA
Total Hours = 36

YEAR ONE
 
 
ABA 6143, Concepts & Principles of ABA
Fall Term
3 hours
ABA 6153, Research Methods in ABA
Fall Term
3 hours
ABA 6171, Applied Experience in ABA I
Fall Term
1 hour
ABA 6243, Behavioral Assessment
Spring Term
3 hours
ABA 6253, Behavior-Change Procedures I
Spring Term
3 hours
ABA 6271, Applied Experience in ABA II
Spring Term
1 hour
ABA 6343, Ethical & Professional Issues in ABA
Summer Term
3 hours
ABA 6353, Supervision, Training & Performance Management
Summer Term
3 hours
ABA 6371, Applied Experience in ABA III
Summer Term
1 hour
YEAR TWO
 
 
ABA 6443, Behavior-Change Procedures II
Fall Term
3 hours
ABA 6453, Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Fall Term
3 hours
ABA 6491, Applied Research Project I
Fall Term
1 hour
ABA 6554, Subspecialties of ABA
Spring Term
2 hours
ABA 6563, Advanced Concepts & Principles of ABA
Spring Term 3 hours
ABA 6591, Applied Research Project II
Spring Term 1 hour

 

Ouachita is a place of community and relationship. By coming to campus for a three-day intensive, you will connect with your classmates, professors and your future alma mater. This will enrich your academic experience as you complete the program remotely through online courses. After three days, you will have a jump start on the rest of your degree. And, research indicates that online students who engage with their campuses have much higher success rates.

Save the Date: August 2023

Tuition per graduate credit hour: $750
Estimated total tuition and fees for full 36-hour program: $27,525

Ouachita 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

Admissions Requirements for the M.S. or M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis:

  • Meet general university graduate admissions requirements
  • A minimum GPA of 3.000 on a 4.000 scale*
  • Brief interview with ABA fieldwork coordinator

*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.

While fieldwork placement is not required for admission, it is required for enrollment in the Master of Science degree program. Fieldwork placement requires a significant time commitment of at least 25 hours per week. A Ouachita Memorandum of Understanding/Supervision Agreement must be received by April 15. This letter must state that the clinical partner agrees to provide fieldwork experience (including restricted and unrestricted supervision). While Ouachita will assist with this process, the student is expected to take the lead in finding an appropriate placement. In some cases fieldwork placement may require relocation to an available fieldwork placement site.  

See the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's BCBA Fieldwork Requirements for additional information about the expectations for fieldwork. If you cannot devote this time to the program and your placement, you will not be able to complete the program requirements for the Master’s of Science degree in applied behavior analysis.


Current clinical partners:

If you’re interested in applying to graduate programs but you’re not a U.S. citizen, contact your graduate admissions counselor, Angie Schleiff (schleiffa@obu.edu), before submitting an application. Due to visa requirements, requests from non-U.S. citizens are handled on a case-by-case basis and take extra time. Please inquire early in the process.

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.

  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of – and develop competence in – the historical, theoretical and philosophical foundations of behaviorism, as well as the conceptual analysis of behavior, with particular emphasis on radical behaviorism.
  2. Students will demonstrate knowledge of – and develop competence in – the concepts and principles of applied and experimental behavior analysis.
  3. Students will demonstrate knowledge of – and develop competence in – behavioral measurement, data collection systems, graphical representation and visual analysis of behavioral data, and experimental design with particular emphasis on single subject research designs.
  4. Students will demonstrate knowledge of – and develop competence in – ethical and professional issues as they pertain to behavior analytic research and practice.
  5. Students will demonstrate knowledge of – and develop competence in – behavioral assessments and selection of assessment-derived behavioral interventions, particularly as they pertain to behavior reduction and behavioral acquisition.
  6. Students will demonstrate knowledge of – and develop competence in – the application of principles of behavior as behavior-change procedures, with particular emphasis on the implementation of behavioral interventions to increase and decrease behavior of social significance.
  7. Students will demonstrate knowledge of – and competence in – behavior analytic personnel supervision, training, consultation and performance management.
  8. Students will demonstrate competence in behavior analytic clinical skills with particular emphasis on professional practice and service delivery model across a variety of populations and settings, including and beyond Autism and Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities.
  9. Students will demonstrate competence in conducting applied behavior analytic research.
  10. Students will demonstrate knowledge of – and develop competence in – one or more specialized areas of behavior analysis.
 

Graduate professional studies

GRADUATE & PROFESSIONAL STUDIES

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!

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