Saint Louis University

Applied Behavior Analysis

Find information about the Master of Science and Post-Master's Certificate programs

Dr. Michael Vaughn teaches a class at SLU's School of Social Work  

OPEN HOUSE - Sept 14
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314-977-2722


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CURRENT STUDENTS

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an exciting field of study and practice, involving the application of behavioral principles to produce socially significant changes in behavior.

 Practitioners use direct assessments, research evidence and single-subject research designs to inform and evaluate interventions designed to increase behavior, such as social skills, or decrease behavior, such as smoking.

Client populations served include children, adolescents, adults and older adults. ABA approaches may involve services for a full spectrum of mental health disorders, especially pervasive developmental disorders. Other areas of practice include work with communities and organizations. 

On this page you will find information on admissions requirements, how to apply, and funding opportunities, or you can download the fact sheet.

Why choose SLU?

http://www.bacb.com/index.php?page=53

  • Our graduates pass the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification at a rater higher than the national average 
  • As the only ABA program part of a School of Social Work, there are many opportunities for cross-disciplinary research and networking
  • SLU is the first in the nation to offer a Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in ABA

Faculty and Research

Our faculty are international experts with a wide range of research interests, including:

  • Assessment and treatment of problem behavior exhibited by individuals with intellectual disabilities
  • Assessment and treatment of disordered gambling
  • Complex human behavior
  • Translational research in behavior analysis
  • Poverty

MS in ABA - an individualized program

The curriculum includes eight 3-credit hour courses and three practica. Students must complete 1,000 hours of field practicum under the supervision of a board certified behavior analyst and defend a thesis. We offer this program in full-time and part-time format. This program is also offered with a specialization in gerontology, which includes one additional 3-credit hour course and requires that two of the practica focus on older adults. Students can complete the MS in a minimum of 6 semesters, but the total time to complete the degree is based on the individual's length of thesis process.

Post-Master's Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis

This Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis is for students who have a master's degree conferred in behavior analysis, education, or psychology, or (b) conferred in a degree program in which the candidate completed a BACB approved course sequence from an accredited college or university, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. It includes seven 3-credit hour courses and an optional nine hours of supervised field education. Students must start the program in the fall semester with two courses for two semesters and one course in the final semester. Variable Course Delivery Formats
Students have the option to take the course sequence in a traditional face-to-face classroom format or in an online format. Online material will be presented through a combination of video lectures, student discussion boards, virtual class discussions, and study-guide materials to assist with preparing answers for course exams.

Optional Field Practica
Persons seeking BACB certification must complete an applied behavior analysis field practicum under the supervision of a BACB (Behavior Analyst Certification Board) Board Certified Behavior Analyst BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst).

ABA Post-Master's Certificate students have the option to take 1,000 hours through 9 credit hours of supervised field practicum as part of the university certificate program, or locate and do their field practicum independent of a college or university. If they choose the former option, they can begin their practicum as early as the fall semester or after they complete all course work. Students in practicum will also register for the Integrative Seminar for each of the practica.

Admissions Requirements

For the MS in ABA *Starts in the fall
To be considered for graduate assistantships and scholarships, you must submit your application by the priority deadline.
Priority deadline: March 1  
Final deadline: August 1 

  • Bachelor's from an accredited college/university
  • 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA
  • 24 credit hours in the liberal arts. These should reflect a range of courses in the social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences, history, English, literature, philosophy, theology and fine arts.
  • You may be asked to undergo a criminal background check or drug screening to secure placements at certain practicum sites.
  • All full-time graduate and professional students must have basic health insurance coverage.

For the Post-Master's Certificate in ABA *Starts in the fall
To be considered for graduate assistantships and scholarships, you must submit your application by the priority deadline.
Priority deadline: March 1
Final deadline: August 1

  • Master's degree in behavior analysis, education, or psychology OR conferred in a degree program in which the candidate completed a BACB-approved course sequence from an accredited college or university
  • 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA
  • You may be asked to undergo a criminal background check or drug screening to secure placements at certain practicum sites.
  • All full-time graduate and professional students must have basic health insurance coverage.

Application

Additional factors considered in determining an applicant's eligibility include academic achievement, strength of the undergraduate program attended, work experience, previous graduate degrees, motivation, leadership and service.

Apply for the MS in ABA and the Post-Master's Certificate in ABA through the online SLU Graduate Admission application.

For all ABA programs, you must submit: 

  1. Resume 
  2. Professional statement (see below**)
  3. Three (confidential) letters of recommendation: 2 academic and 1 professional
  4. Official transcripts 
  5. Interview required 

**Professional statement for the MS in ABA application:

The professional statement informs the Student Affairs Committee of the applicant's background and professional goals. This is also as an indicator of the applicant's writing ability and helps the Student Affairs Committee acquire a broader understanding of the applicant. The content and the quality of the composition will be used to judge the applicant's preparedness for graduate school. The statement should be three typed pages and double spaced. Following review of admission materials, an on-site writing sample may be required.

These questions are guidelines in preparing the professional statement:

  1. Describe your strengths and areas for growth.
  2. What is your understanding of Applied Behavior Analysis?
  3. What knowledge, values, and skills do you now possess that are critical to Applied Behavior Analytic practice?
  4. What contact have you had with people in the Applied Behavior Analysis field?
  5. What are your future aspirations in professional Applied Behavior Analysis practice?
  6. A core value of Saint Louis University, as a Jesuit institution, is social justice. Describe a social justice issue that is important to you and what you, as an Applied Behavior Analyst professional, would do to make a difference.
  7. What are your experiences interacting with diverse populations? (Diverse populations include groups distinguished by, for instance, age, race, gender, sexual orientation, class, religion, ethnicity and disability.)

Funding

New and continuing students are eligible for partial tuition-remission merit-based scholarships ranging from $500-$10,000. Applicants who do not initially meet the scholarship criteria or who have applied for a scholarship and were not awarded a scholarship may re-apply during their first semester. Applicants who do not meet the merit criteria are encouraged to explore opportunities available through the Office of Financial Aid. Applicants who apply by the priority deadline can also apply for graduate assistantships.

Contact Us:

Kristi Richter
Director of Graduate Admissions
314-977-2752  

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