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Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science

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M.A. in Applied Behavioral Science Degree Requirements

The master’s program trains highly competent scientist-practitioners in applied behavioral science. It requires course work on the basic principles and conceptual foundations of behavioral science and its research methods but emphasizes course work and training in applied and intervention research (e.g., assessment, analysis, intervention, evaluation). Its objective is to advance empirically based solutions to problems of individual and societal importance, both local and global.

The master’s program follows a junior-colleague model. Students work closely with their advisers and join them in many aspects of professional development. This includes designing and conducting research, preparing manuscripts for presentation and publication, presenting and publishing those manuscripts, and engaging in all facets of the responsible conduct of research. Students typically work with one adviser, but may work with other faculty members or have co-advisers. If a student’s or adviser’s interests change, students are free to change advisers.

Course Requirements

The M.A. degree requires 30 credit hours: 15 hours in 5 content areas, 3 hours in a practicum, and research and elective courses. Students also must conduct, write up, and orally defend an empirically based thesis. Course work is required in each of the following areas:

  1. Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues (3). Instruction in ethical principles in the conduct of research (e.g., informed consent, data analysis), legal issues in professional conduct (e.g., plagiarism, copyright), and professional skills (e.g., journal reviewing, professional communication).
  2. Principles of Behavior I (3). The science of behavior (e.g., observation, experimentation), laboratory methods, basic behavioral principles (e.g., reinforcement, stimulus control), and their applications (e.g., early childhood, disabilities).
  3. Research Methods I (3). Strategies and tactics of scientific research (e.g., objectivity, empiricism), the logic of experimentation (e.g., validity, reliability), measurement and direct observation, and experimental designs for single-subject and time-series analyses.
  4. Conceptual Foundations I (3). The history and philosophy of behavioral science, contemporary advances in basic research for application, the analysis of everyday behavior (e.g., cognition, emotion), and current issues in the discipline and the profession (e.g., relations between basic and applied research).
  5. Applied Behavior Analysis I (3). The characteristics of applied behavioral research (assessment, analysis, intervention, evaluation), intervention research (clinical, community), applied procedures and programs, social validity, and ethical issues.
  6. Research or Intervention Practicum (3). A supervised practicum course in
    (a) basic or applied research or
    (b) behavioral interventions.

This course work also satisfy 6 of the course requirements and the thesis requirement in the doctoral program.

Professional Seminar I Requirement

Master’s students are required to present the results of their research at a department professional seminar meeting. The presentation is comparable to what would be presented at a professional conference. Students answer questions from their peers and the faculty in attendance.

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