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.

Now taking applications! Application deadline April 13, 2020.

*Ouachita Baptist University is not responsible for ensuring that our M.S. degree in ABA meets state licensure requirements. Each student is responsible for determining the requirements to practice ABA in the state in which they wish to practice. This program is pending accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Career Options

Autism Therapy

Developmental Preschools

Special Education

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Hospice Care

Featured Courses

Training, Supervision, and Consultation

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues

Research Methods

Undergrad Reqs

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

Degree Details

This low-residency degree program includes one on-campus intensive with the remainder of the curriculum delivered online, carefully paired with clinical experience in the field.

Coming soon: Detailed degree requirements PDF with all courses included in the program, an Association for Behavior Analysis International verified course sequence.

Only M.S. in ABA in Arkansas

Job Postings in Arkansas for ABA Therapists

Month Program

On-Campus Intensive (One Week)



“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. BarnesPh.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.


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.

Ouachita student group to host Autism Awareness Walk on April 13

One of Ouachita Baptist University’s student organizations, Chi Mu women’s social club, will host its first Autism Awareness Walk on Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arkadelphia High School football stadium in honor of Autism Awareness Month. The walk will raise money for the Arkansas Autism Foundation. Devon Carlson and Terri Roberts, representatives from the Arkansas Awareness Foundation, will be guest speakers to teach...

Ouachita continues to grow residential enrollment, with largest campus community since 2012

The 2019 fall semester marks the third consecutive year of growth in residential undergraduate enrollment at Ouachita Baptist University increasing from 1,492 to 1,506 since last fall. Fueled by growth in new students, Ouachita also recorded its largest residential enrollment since 2012. Ouachita’s three years of successive growth, including this year’s 1% increase, is noteworthy given the 9% decrease in the number of students enrolled in all...


Ouachita is a place of community and relationship. By coming to campus for a five-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 five 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.

 Dates: May 13-17, 2020

 Additional details coming soon!


Pruet School of Christian 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 Graduate & Professional Studies at Ouachita? Want more information? Shoot us a message!

410 Ouachita St.
Arkadelphia, AR 71998
1.800.DIAL.OBU • 870.245.5000