Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis - Springfield



The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (MSABA) program provides training in the preferred method for assessment and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), which includes autism, Asperger's syndrome and other unspecified pervasive developmental disorders.


The MSABA is a flexible degree program at Forest Institute. It is offered during the evenings in two locations to support the schedule of working professionals.


The curriculum requires the completion of 48 hours of course work, practicum and a thesis. Upon graduation, students in the MSABA are prepared to pursue a doctoral degree or enter the mental health field. Graduates of Forest's programs in ABA are eligible to take the exam from the Behavior Analysts Certification Board® to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts®, which is recognized nationwide.


The faculty, staff and administration of the program are focused on students and strive to provide the best possible student service and instruction. Instructors in the program are professionals in the mental health field who bring their everyday hands-on experience and expertise to the classroom.

How to Apply Online

Degree benefits

The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (MSABA) program can fit into almost any schedule and is designed for both working professionals and full-time students. Those who choose the master's program take one or two evening classes, depending on the session, every eight weeks. With continuous enrollment, students can complete the program's required 48 credits, practicum and thesis in five semesters, including one summer session.


Forest also offers a certificate program in Applied Behavior Analysis for those who have already earned a master's degree in field related to ABA, such as psychology or education. This program provides the coursework that is necessary to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Students in the certificate program have the option of participating in practicum.

What can I do with the MSABA?

The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the U.S. is estimated at 1 in 88 children, and relatively few people become behavior analysts each year. This means mental health professionals trained in ABA are in very high demand nationally.

With ABA certification, graduates can fulfill a variety of needs:

  • Building the skills and achievements of children in school settings;
  • Enhancing the development, abilities and choices of children and adults with different kinds of disabilities;
  • And augmenting the performance and satisfaction of employees in organizations and businesses.

Learn more about Applied Behavior Analysis by visiting one of the links below:

Behavior Analyst Certification Board

Association of Professional Behavior Analysts

Association for Behavior Analysis International

Missouri Association of Applied Behavior Analysis

APA Division 25 - Behavior Analysis


Competencies and Curriculum

Program Goals and Objectives

Graduates of the Applied Behavior Analysis program will demonstrate the requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes in the following competency areas:

  1. Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis
    1. Philosophical assumptions of behavior analysis (Including, but not limited to, the lawfulness of behavior, environmental explanations of behavior, selectionism, determinism, empiricism, parsimony, and pragmatism)
    2. Types and domains of behavior analysis (Radical vs. methodological behaviorism, the conceptual analysis of behavior, the experimental analysis of behavior, applied behavior analysis, and behavioral technologies)
    3. Behavior principles and paradigms (Including, but not limited to, behavior, response, and response class; stimulus and stimulus class; stimulus control and stimulus equivalence; motivating operations; functional relations; stimulus and response generalization; stimulus and response discrimination; behavioral contrast; behavioral momentum; the matching law; and respondent and operant conditioning).
    4. Verbal operants (Echoics, mands, tacts, and intraverbals)
    5. Contingency-shaped vs. rule-governed behavior


  1. Single-Subject Design Methodology and the Measurement and Interpretation of Research Data
    1. Experimental evaluation procedures (Manipulation of independent variables using withdrawal designs, reversal designs, alternating treatment designs, changing criterion designs, multiple baseline designs, multiple probe designs, and combinations of these; component and parametric analyses)
    2. Measurement procedures based on the dimensions of behavior (Repeatability, temporal extent, and temporal locus)
    3. Continuous vs. discontinuous measurement procedures
    4. Observation and recording procedures
    5. Graphs that effectively communicate quantitative relations (Including, but not limited to, equal-interval graphs, cumulative records, and standard celeration charts; evaluating temporal relations between variables; and changes in level, trend, and variability of responding)

  1. Problem Identification and Behavior Assessment
    1. Descriptive and indirect assessment (Including, but not limited to, interviews, rating scales, and checklists)
    2. Functional analysis
    3. Preference and reinforcer assessments

 

  1. Selecting and Conducting Behavior Interventions
    1. Intervention strategies and target outcomes (Selected and identified based on behavioral cusps, task analysis, client characteristics and preferences, context, assessment results, social validity, and best available scientific evidence)
    2. Intervention outcomes stated in observable and measurable terms
    3. Recommendations for behavior change (Taking into account practical and ethical considerations as well as whether alternative behaviors will need to be established or increased)
    4. Programing for stimulus and response generalization, maintenance of behavior change, and generative learning

 

  1. Behavior Change Considerations, Procedures, and Fundamental Elements
    1. Reinforcement, punishment, and extinction (Including, but not limited to, schedules, parameters, and potential undesirable effects)
    2. Elements of behavior change (Including, but not limited to, prompting, shaping, and chaining; discrete trials vs. free operant arrangements)
    3. Specific behavior change procedures (Including, but not limited to, antecedent interventions, discrimination training, instructions and rules, contingency contracting, individual and group contingencies, stimulus equivalence, high and low probability request sequences, the Premack principle, pairing procedures, errorless learning, and matching to sample)
    4. Communication training (Echoic stimulus control and mand, tact, intraverbal, and listening training)
    5. Behavior change systems (Including, but not limited to, self-management strategies, token economies, precision teaching, personalized system of instruction, incidental teaching, functional communication training, and augmentative communication systems)

 

  1. Systems Support
    1. Collaboration with others providing services and/or support
    2. Establishing support in natural settings
    3. Competency-based training and effective supervision (Including identifying the contingencies governing the behavior of the implementers)
    4. Monitoring and documentation of interventions (Including program effectiveness and procedural integrity)
    5. Terminating services appropriately

 

  1. Ethical and Professional Conduct in Applied Behavior Analysis
    1. Reliance on scientifically and professionally derived knowledge (In human service provision and scholarly or professional endeavors)
    2. Use of language that is fully understandable to service recipients (Including assessment, evaluation, treatment, counseling, supervision, teaching, consultation, research, or other behavior analytic services to individuals, groups, or organizations)
    3. Working within the boundaries of one’s competence and maintaining competence (In service provision, teaching, and research)
    4. Selection and implementation of behavioral assessments and interventions
    5. Informed consent and confidentiality


Curriculum

The MSABA requires completion of the following 48 credit hours:

 

MSABA Curriculum Sequence SPRINGFIELD

Year

Fall

Spring

Summer (1 session)

1

ABA 5512:

Foundations of ABA

6

ABA 5013: Ethical, Legal, & Professional Issues in ABA

3

ABA 5713: Practicum

 

1

ABA 510: Measurement & Interpretation of Data

3

ABA 5093: Behavior Assessment

3

ABA 542: Verbal Behavior*

3

1

AIMACL 5940: Lifespan Development

3

ABA 590: Behavior Change and Support

3

Thesis

1

 

 

12

 

9

 

7

2

ABA 591: Behavioral Consultation

3

ABA 543: Seminar in ABA*

3

 

 

2

MACL 525: Human Diversity

3

ABA 592: Behavior Theory & Philosophy

3

 

 

2

Thesis

1

Thesis

1

 

 

2

ABA 5723: Practicum

3

ABA 5733: Practicum

3

 

 

 

 

10

 

10

 


Overall Credits (48)

22


19


7

*Elective Courses

Transfer Credit Limit: 15 credits, no practicum transfer


MSABA Curriculum Sequence St Louis

Year

Session

Fall

Spring

Summer (1 session)

1

A

ABA 551:

Foundations of ABA I

3

ABA 5013: Ethical, Legal, & Professional Issues in ABA

3

 

 

1

A

MACL 525: Human Diversity

 

ABA 5093: Behavior Assessment

3

ABA 5713: Practicum (STL)

3

1

B

ABA 510: Measurement & Interpretation of Data

3

MACL 5940: Lifespan Development

3

ABA 542: Verbal Behavior*

3

1

B

ABA 552: Foundations of ABA II

3

ABA 590: Behavior Change and Support

3

Thesis

1

 

 

 

12

 

12

 

7

2

A

ABA 591: Behavioral Consultation

3

ABA 543: Seminar in ABA*

3

 

 

2

B




ABA 592: Behavior Theory & Philosophy

3

 

 

2

A & B

Thesis

1

Thesis

1

 

 

2

A & B

ABA 5723: Practicum

3

ABA 5733: Practicum

3

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

10

 


Overall Credits (48)

19


22


7

 

*Elective Courses

Transfer Credit Limit: 15 credits, no practicum transfer