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An Applied Behavior Analysis Student poses Applied Behavior Analysis

Online Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis Degree Program

  • Online
  • Part-Time
  • 28 Months Part-Time

Providing a solid foundation in the philosophy, science, and application of behavior analysis, The Chicago School’s M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis Online Program prepares students for a rewarding career in the rapidly growing field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Guided by practitioner faculty, students gain experience and exposure in a wide variety of ABA applications and specialties, including: […]

Providing a solid foundation in the philosophy, science, and application of behavior analysis, The Chicago School’s M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis Online Program prepares students for a rewarding career in the rapidly growing field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Guided by practitioner faculty, students gain experience and exposure in a wide variety of ABA applications and specialties, including:

  • Instructional design
  • Precision teaching
  • Verbal behavior

Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Online Degree Program graduates serve many different populations including children, adults, and seniors and may work in residential, school, and community-based settings. Individuals served may have no diagnoses (e.g., school children in a regular education class or teachers seeking to be more effective) or may have diagnoses such as autism, behavioral difficulties, developmental disabilities, mental illness, and a variety of geriatric conditions. The thesis option, the Advanced Research Project, is targeted for individuals who are interested in conducting research or continuing on to doctoral studies.

This program meets the educational requirements for students who wish to pursue a career as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). In addition to their educational requirements, graduates of this program will need to pass an exam and complete the application process to become certified.

M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis Online Program: Student Experience

Through the convenience of The Chicago School’s online programs, your life remains intact. Our online Global Student Dashboard is where you will find all of the components to successfully complete your program. There, you’ll find your coursework and assignments, interact with fellow students, and are ask questions from your instructor.

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The Chicago School is not currently accepting applications for the online M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis program from individuals who live in or who intend to complete their practicum or internship at a site located in these states: Delaware, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Washington.

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Advanced Intervention: Behavioral

This course is designed to introduce clinical behavior analysis, particularly for adults. It provides an overview of contemporary behavioral models and therapy techniques. It presents major behavioral modalities and their theoretical and research foundations. The emphasis is on the further development of a broad range of behavioral assessment, intervention, and conceptualization skills. A major focus is the proficiency in two full regimens of contemporary, empirically supported, manualized behavior therapy.

Science and Human Behavior

This course is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the application of behavior analysis to individual and social problems, with an emphasis on the philosophical bases of behavior analysis. Students read Skinner’s seminal text, Science and Human Behavior, in which he describes behavioral and cultural analyses, as well as critiques and related articles. The major objective of the class includes understanding and critiquing Skinner’s approach to the study and control of individual and group behavior. Topics include discussing individual behavior that seems difficult to study with a behavior-analytic approach (e.g., private events) as well as control of group behavior and the problems associated with such control. Students will be able to discuss the pros and cons of Skinner’s perspective, identify the aspects of his beliefs with which they agree or disagree, and explain their own perspectives.

Diversity in Clinical Practice

This course will encourage students to think critically about diverse peoples, as well as to examine their own thoughts about cultural groups different than their own. The course will examine cultural diversity using a radical behaviorist/cultural-materialist perspective. Students will use this approach to try to understand how racism, sexism, ageism, discrimination based on disability, sexual preference, religion, and behavioral/psychiatric problems could have developed/evolved, as well as to become aware of their own biases and how they may have evolved. The goals of this class are to demonstrate that such biases exist in everyone and to teach students to identify and judge their own biases so that they do not interfere with effective treatment of individuals.

The Master of Science (M.S.) Applied Behavior Analysis Online Program is aligned with degree, coursework, and supervised experience requirements for eligibility to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB). Applicants for BCBA® certification must meet additional requirements established by BACB® including application, examination, and background check.

There may be state professional licensure requirements to practice applied behavior analysis. A state’s licensure board determines the specific requirements for candidates seeking professional licensure and those requirements are subject to change. The following is professional licensure information as of 3/1/2017:

  • Graduation from the M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis Program in conjunction with BCBA® certification aligns with degree and certification requirements for professional licensure in Maryland and Virginia.
  • A professional license is not required to practice behavior analysis in California, Illinois, or Washington D.C.

It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements for any state not listed above. The M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis Online Degree Program may meet some or all of the requirements of states not listed, but additional state-specific approvals or coursework and/or practicum hours may be required beyond the program’s graduation requirements. Some state licensing requirements include the following: completion of a master’s degree, post-graduate field work, certification as a board certified behavior analyst, examination, and application for license.

Due to recent and ongoing changes in state professional licensure of applied behavior analysis practitioners, students should contact the state board directly to verify information regarding professional licensure. To assist with this research, the Association of Professional Behavior Analysists (APBA) publishes information regarding state licensure:

Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Behavior Analysis Online Degree program students are also required to complete a thesis (Advanced Research Project) or a non-thesis option known as the Advanced Applied Project. The thesis must be a data-based empirical evaluation, but does not necessarily need to mark an original contribution to the published literature (it may be a replication and extension). The primary function of the master’s thesis is to demonstrate that students are actively learning to function as scientist-practitioners who are continually engaged in making data-based assessment and treatment decisions. The applied project is a demonstration that the student can assess and treat a client effectively and ethically from start to finish. The applied project process is as stringent as the thesis option and demonstrates similar skills as the thesis option but focuses on application rather than research. The course sequence facilitates student completion of theses and applied projects with a carefully designed course sequence that has the necessary steps toward thesis and project completion embedded into the required coursework. Any student considering going on to a Ph.D. program should choose the thesis option.

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Admissions Operations
c/o The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
350 N. Orleans St. STE 1050
Chicago, IL 60654-1822

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Master of Science (M.S.) Applied Behavior Analysis Online Degree program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Students applying to the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis program must submit the following:

  • Application
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Essay – Please answer the following questions within two double-spaced pages:
    • How will your personal and professional accomplishments, academic background, and experience contribute to your success in this program?
    • How will the successful completion of this program support your professional career goals?
  • Official College/University Transcripts
    • Students must submit official transcripts from all schools where degrees have been earned. The Chicago School requires that all schools be regionally accredited higher education institutions. Official transcripts may be sent directly from the institution or with your application for admission as long as they are official, sealed, and signed across the envelope flap when they arrive.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
    • Appropriate recommendations are from professors and/or supervisors from significant work or volunteer experiences, who can appraise your academic or professional performance.

International Application Requirements

The Chicago School is dedicated to keep our professional degree programs accessible to anyone regardless of financial status. In addition to the scholarships that may be available, our Financial Aid department will help provide you with information to determine what financial arrangements are right for you.

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