Career Opportunities

The department prepares students for careers in their specialties, as well as for graduate school and professional training. Careers include work in such fields and settings as early childhood education; early childhood intervention programs; community programs for children, youth, and adults with developmental disabilities; programs for individuals with physical disabilities; delinquency, juvenile justice, and law enforcement; public health and health care; community-based and nongovernmental organizations; and behavioral consulting, management, human services, and business. Students enter graduate and professional schools in such areas as applied behavior analysis, applied developmental psychology, behavior analysis, clinical and counseling psychology, community development, gerontology, law, medicine, organizational behavior management, public health, social welfare, and special education.

Behavior Analysis Certification

The department offers a program of study that qualifies students to become Board Certified Assistant Behavior AnalystsTM. Students must pass ABSC 100, ABSC 304, and ABSC 308; obtain requisite supervised or mentored experience; complete the major; complete the KU degree; and pass a national examination. The Behavior Analysis Certification Board®has pre-approved ABSC 100, ABSC 304, and ABSC 308 for admission to the national examination. Students should meet with a BACB® advisor early in the junior year.

Preparation and Advising

To graduate with the major in 4 years, prospective majors should enroll in Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science (ABSC 100 or ABSC 101) and Principles and Procedures of Behavior Modification and Therapy (ABSC 304) during the first 2 years. The content of these 2 courses will give students a basic understanding of the field of Applied Behavioral Science and help students decide whether they would like to apply to be admitted to the major. By the end of the second year, they should have consulted with a faculty advisor about degree requirements, specialty areas, and career opportunities. By the end of the third year, they should have taken the prerequisite courses for the fourth-year practicum. This information may also be found in the department’s Undergraduate Handbook. By the beginning of the junior year, majors should complete the College’s Major Declaration form. They should list either ABSCA-BA or ABSCA-BGS as the major code for a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of General Studies degree, respectively.

Preparation and Advising

To graduate with the major in 4 years, prospective majors should enroll in Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science (ABSC 100 or ABSC 101) and Principles and Procedures of Behavior Modification and Therapy (ABSC 304) during the first 2 years. The content of these 2 courses will give students a basic understanding of the field of Applied Behavioral Science and help students decide whether they would like to apply to be admitted to the major. By the end of the second year, they should have consulted with a faculty advisor about degree requirements, specialty areas, and career opportunities. By the end of the third year, they should have taken the prerequisite courses for the fourth-year practicum. This information may also be found in the department’s Undergraduate Handbook. By the beginning of the junior year, majors should complete the College’s Major Declaration form. They should list either ABSCA-BA or ABSCA-BGS as the major code for a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of General Studies degree, respectively.

Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.

Requirements for the B.A. or B.G.S. Major

A student must complete ABSC 100/101 with a C or better to enroll in ABSC 304. A student must complete ABSC 100/101 and ABSC 304 with a C or better in both to enroll in ABSC 308 and ABSC 509.

All majors must complete the introductory and core course work as well choose from 1 of the following specialty area options.

Applied Behavioral Sciences Introductory Knowledge (0)
Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science (3)
ABSC 100Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science3
or ABSC 101 Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science, Honors
Applied Behavioral Sciences Core Knowledge and Skills (10)
Majors must complete a course in each of the following areas:
Principles and Procedures of Behavior Modification and Therapy. Satisfied by the following:
ABSC 304The Principles and Procedures of Behavior Modification and Therapy3
Research Methods and Application. Satisfied by the following:
ABSC 308Research Methods and Application4
Contemporary Behavioral Science: Historical, Conceptual & Comparative Foundation. Satisfied by the following:
ABSC 509Contemporary Behavioral Science: Historical, Conceptual, and Comparative Foundations3

Early Childhood Education & Intervention Specialty

This option is for students interested in understanding typical and atypical child development and learning to promote healthy development in young children (ages 0-6 years). Students who choose this option are required to participate in practica in classrooms that serve toddlers and preschool children. Faculty: Professors Claudia Dozier (practicum supervisor), Pam Neidert (practicum supervisor), Lynn Marotz, and Jan Sheldon.

Required Specialty Area Core Knowledge and Skills (6)
Satisfied by the following:
ABSC 160Introduction to Child Behavior and Development (Students may substitute PYSC 333 Child Psychology for ABSC 160. The credit hours for PYSC 333, however, do not count toward the 33 required ABSC major hours or toward the 15 required junior/senior ABSC hours.)3
ABSC 444Curriculum Development for Young Children3
Specialty Area Electives (8)
Satisfied by completing any junior/senior-level ABSC courses except those already required as introductory, core knowledge, and required specialty courses, which include ABSC 304, ABSC 308, ABSC 444, ABSC 509. Additionally, practicum courses (ABSC 675-ABSC 699) do not count toward specialty area elective hours. Please see specialty area advisors for recommendations. (at least 8 hours)8
Practicum 1 (6-10)
Two semesters are required. The courses are offered for 5 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters, and for 3 hours during the summer session. Students must select at least one of the courses listed below. For their other required semester, students may also select from ABSC 679 or ABSC 680 (in addition to those listed below)6-10
Practicum in Infant-Toddler Care and Early Intervention I (for students new to the Toddler Care Practicum)
Practicum in Infant-Toddler Care and Early Intervention II (for students who completed ABSC 675)
Practicum in Preschool Education and Intervention I (for students new to the Preschool Education Practicum)
Practicum in Preschool Education and Intervention II (for students who completed ABSC 677)
BCABA Certification Examination Eligibility (0)
Satisfied by selecting one of the following additional practicum courses (not previously taken). By completing three consecutive semesters of ABSC practicum courses, a student is eligible to sit for BCABA Certification Examination. The additional credit hours do not count toward the ABSC major hour requirements.
Practicum in Infant-Toddler Care and Early Intervention I
Practicum in Infant-Toddler Care and Early Intervention II
Practicum in Preschool Education and Intervention I
Practicum in Preschool Education and Intervention II
Practicum in Behavior Analysis Research in Early Childhood Education
Practicum in Advanced Laboratory in the Development of Behavioral Treatments for Children with Autsm
 

Early Childhood Autism Intervention Specialty

This option is for students interested in conducting intervention procedures to address language and social skill deficits of children with autism in home and school settings. Students who choose this option are required to take a preparatory course and practica focusing on children with autism. Faculty: Professors Claudia Dozier (practicum supervisor), Pam Neidert (practicum supervisor), Florence D. DiGennaro Reed, Jan Sheldon, Jim Sherman (practicum supervisor).

Required Specialty Area Core Knowledge and Skills (9)
Satisfied by the following:
ABSC 160Introduction to Child Behavior and Development (Students may substitute PYSC 333 Child Psychology for ABSC 160. The credit hours for PYSC 333, however, do not count toward the 33 required ABSC major hours or toward the 15 required junior/senior ABSC hours.)3
ABSC 350The Behavioral Treatment of Children with Autism3
ABSC 444Curriculum Development for Young Children3
Specialty Area Electives (5)
Satisfied by completing any junior/senior-level courses, except those already required as introductory, core knowledge, and required specialty area courses (which include ABSC 304, ABSC 308, ABSC 350, ABSC 444, and ABSC 509. Additionally, practicum courses (ABSC 675-ABSC 699) do not count toward specialty area elective hours. Please see specialty area advisors for recommendations. (at least 5 hours)5
Practicum 1 (6)
Two semesters are required. The courses are offered for 5 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters, and for 3 hours during the summer session. Note: ABSC 350 must be taken prior to, or concurrently with, enrollment in the above practicum courses.
ABSC 680Practicum in Advanced Laboratory in the Development of Behavioral Treatments for Children with Autsm3
Select one of the following:3
Practicum in Infant-Toddler Care and Early Intervention I
Practicum in Infant-Toddler Care and Early Intervention II
Practicum in Preschool Education and Intervention I
Practicum in Preschool Education and Intervention II
Practicum in Behavior Analysis Research in Early Childhood Education
Practicum in Advanced Laboratory in the Development of Behavioral Treatments for Children with Autsm
BCABA Certification Examination Eligibility (0)
Satisfied by selecting one of the following additional practicum courses (not previously taken). By completing three consecutive semesters of ABSC practicum courses, a student is eligible to sit for BCABA Certification Examination. The additional credit hours do not count toward the ABSC major hour requirements.
Practicum in Infant-Toddler Care and Early Intervention I
Practicum in Infant-Toddler Care and Early Intervention II
Practicum in Preschool Education and Intervention I
Practicum in Preschool Education and Intervention II
Practicum in Behavior Analysis Research in Early Childhood Education
Practicum in Advanced Laboratory in the Development of Behavioral Treatments for Children with Autsm
 

ABSC Early Childhood Research Specialty

This option is for students interested in gaining research experience in early childhood possibly as preparation for graduate school or employment in educational and clinical research centers. Students who choose this option will enroll in research-oriented practica. Interested students would consult with Professor Claudia Dozier. Faculty: Professors Claudia Dozier (practicum supervisor), Pam Neidert (practicum supervisor).

Required Specialty Area Core Knowledge and Skills (3)
Satisfied by the following:
ABSC 160Introduction to Child Behavior and Development (Students may substitute PYSC 333 Child Psychology for ABSC 160. The credit hours for PYSC 333, however, do not count toward the 33 required ABSC major hours or toward the 15 required junior/senior ABSC hours.)3
Specialty Area Electives (11)
Satisfied by completing 11 hours of any junior/senior-level courses approved by the advisor. The following are recommended:11
The Behavioral Treatment of Children with Autism
Curriculum Development for Young Children
Children and Media
Health, Safety, and Nutrition in Early Childhood Development
Issues in Parenting
Developmental Psychopathology
Applied Developmental Psychology
Practicum I in Behavior Analysis: _____
Practicum (6)
Two semesters are required. The courses are offered for 3-5 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters, and for 3 hours during the summer session. Note: ABSC 308 must be taken prior to, or concurrently with, enrollment in the above practicum courses.
ABSC 679Practicum in Behavior Analysis Research in Early Childhood Education (Students must complete at least 1 semester)3
For the students' other required semester, students may select from the following:3
Practicum in Infant-Toddler Care and Early Intervention I
Practicum in Infant-Toddler Care and Early Intervention II
Practicum in Preschool Education and Intervention I
Practicum in Preschool Education and Intervention II
Practicum in Behavior Analysis Research in Early Childhood Education (No more than 6 hours may count toward the ABSC major hours.)
Practicum in Advanced Laboratory in the Development of Behavioral Treatments for Children with Autsm
BCABA Certification Examination Eligibility (0)
Satisfied by selecting one of the following additional practicum courses (not previously taken). By completing three consecutive semesters of ABSC practicum courses, a student is eligible to sit for BCABA Certification Examination. The additional credit hours do not count toward the ABSC major hour requirements.
Practicum in Infant-Toddler Care and Early Intervention I
Practicum in Infant-Toddler Care and Early Intervention II
Practicum in Preschool Education and Intervention I
Practicum in Preschool Education and Intervention II
Practicum in Behavior Analysis Research in Early Childhood Education
Practicum in Advanced Laboratory in the Development of Behavioral Treatments for Children with Autsm
 

Youth Development & Juvenile Justice Specialty

This specialty area is for students who want to work with children and adolescents who may be involved formally or informally with the juvenile justice system. It includes courses addressing issues such as juvenile law, developing relationships, counseling and problem-solving, behavioral contracting, and other techniques used when working with school-aged children and adolescents. The course sequence culminates in a yearlong practicum during which students work with children and adolescents in the Truancy Prevention and Diversion Program. The practicum is in collaboration with the school district, Social and Rehabilitation Services, the district attorney's office, and the juvenile court.

Graduates with this specialty are excellent candidates for positions as probation officers, counselors in mental health programs, intake and assessment officers, truancy prevention specialists, and treatment personnel in intervention and treatment programs for children and adolescents. Many students also pursue graduate study in social welfare, law, counseling, and psychology. Faculty: Professors Yo Jackson, Jan Sheldon (practicum supervisor), Ric Steele, and Eric Vernberg.

Required Specialty Area Core Courses (6)
Satisfied by the following. Students should plan their program with a department advisor.
ABSC 410Behavioral Approaches in Working with Adolescents (ABSC 410 must be taken prior to enrolling in the practicum. It is offered only in the spring semester.)3
ABSC 560The Juvenile Justice System: A Behavioral and Legal Perspective3
Specialty Area Electives (9)
Select 9 hours of the following. Note: Although ABSC 160 is not required for this specialty area, it is a required prerequisite for some of the specialty area electives.9
Building Healthy Communities
Drugs, Addiction, and Behavior
Children and Media
Organizational Behavior Management
Issues in Parenting
Developmental Psychopathology
Behavioral Community Psychology
Applied Developmental Psychology
Psychology of Adolescence
Practicum (10)10
This practicum requires a two-semester commitment (enrollment in ABSC 694), beginning in the fall semester and continuing in the spring semester. Space may be limited and enrollment may depend on the date of indication of interest and performance in ABSC 410.
Practicum in Juvenile Problems
 

Adults with Disabilities Specialty

This specialty area is for students interested in working with people with developmental disabilities and in the development of supportive teaching programs in the community for people with developmental disabilities. The courses teach observing and defining behavior, increasing appropriate and decreasing inappropriate behavior, developing relationships, counseling, legal and ethical issues, and experimental design. The course sequence culminates in practicum work in a community-based residential service agency or day treatment program for adults with developmental disabilities.

Graduates of this specialty are excellent candidates for positions in residential treatment programs, community human service agencies, and vocational and pre-vocational teaching programs for people with disabilities. Many students also pursue graduate studies in applied behavioral analysis, special education, and psychology. Faculty: Professors Jan Sheldon and Jim Sherman (practicum supervisor).

Required Specialty Area Course (3)
Satisfied by the following:
ABSC 350The Behavioral Treatment of Children with Autism3
Specialty Area Electives (11)
Satisfied by completing 11 hours of any junior/senior-level courses to meet the 33 hour major requirement. The following are recommended:11
Behavioral Approaches in Working with Adolescents
Independent Living and People with Disabilities
Developmental Psychopathology
The Juvenile Justice System: A Behavioral and Legal Perspective
Applied Developmental Psychology
Applied Behavior Analysis
Practicum (11)
Satisfied by completing of any ABSC courses, except those already required as introductory, core knowledge, and required specialty area courses, including ABSC 100, ABSC 304, ABSC 308, ABSC 350, ABSC 509. Additionally, at least 9 hours of coursework must be at the junior/senior level. Practicum courses (ABSC 675 -ABSC 699) do not count toward specialty area elective hours. Please see specialty area advisors for more specific recommendations.11
 

Community Health & Development Specialty

This specialty area is for students interested in building healthy and well-functioning communities. They may do so through public service (e.g., AmeriCorps, Peace Corps) or in a career following graduate study in an appropriate field such as public health, public policy, law, rehabilitation, psychology, social welfare, or medicine. It provides opportunities to better understand and make a difference with important community problems and goals (e.g., substance abuse, violence, education, child and youth development, independent living of people with disabilities, well-being of older adults).

Course work and practicum experiences focus on (a) intervention methods used to address community problems and goals (e.g., strategic planning, intervention, advocacy) and (b) research methods used to study the effects of community initiatives for health and development (e.g., community assessment, evaluation). The course sequence culminates in a 2-semester practicum arranged with faculty members and representatives of community organizations or governmental agencies (e.g., in public health, child advocacy, independent living, youth development, community development). Faculty: Professors Jomella Watson-Thompson (practicum supervisor), Stephen Fawcett (practicum supervisor), and Glen White (practicum supervisor).

Required Specialty Area Course (6)
Satisfied by the following:
ABSC 150Community Leadership3
or ABSC 151 Community Leadership, Honors
ABSC 310Building Healthy Communities3
or ABSC 311 Building Healthy Communities, Honors
Specialty Area Electives (8)
Satisfied by completing any junior/senior-level ABSC courses, except those already required as introductory, core knowledge, and required specialty courses (including ABSC 304, ABSC 308, ABSC 310/311, ABSC 509. Additionally, practicum courses (ABSC 675-ABSC 699) do not count as specialty area electives. Please see specialty area advisors for recommendations. (at least 8 hours)8
Practicum (6)
Two semesters of practicum (ABSC 690/ABSC 691) are required (3 hours in both fall and spring semesters). Note: ABSC 310/ABSC 311 must be taken prior to, or concurrently with, enrollment in the above practicum courses.3
ABSC 690Practicum in Community Health and Development3
or ABSC 691 Practicum in Community Health and Development, Honors
 

Basic Research

Students pursuing the basic research option learn about behavioral processes and research methods, and acquire skills in the experimental analysis of behavior. Students completing this option complete a 2-semester hands-on practicum in which they assist in the conduct of research on human or nonhuman behavioral processes. Students are involved in all aspects of the research endeavor, from conceptualization of problems to data collection, analysis, and presentation. Students pursuing this option are required to complete an introductory course in statistics. Faculty: Professors Derek Reed (practicum supervisor), Florence D. DiGennaro Reed (practicum supervisor), and Edward K. Morris (practicum supervisor).

Specialty Area Electives (11)
Satisfied by completing any junior/senior-level ABSC courses, except those already required as introductory and core knowledge courses (ABSC 304, ABSC 308, ABSC 509). Additionally, practicum courses (ABSC 675-ABSC 699) do not count toward specialty area elective hours. Please see a specialty area advisor for recommendations.11
Statistics in Psychological Research (3)
PSYC 210Statistics in Psychological Research3
or PSYC 211 Statistics in Psychological Research, Honors
Practicum (6)
Two semesters of practicum (ABSC 692) are required. Practicum courses are offered for 3-6 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters, and 3 hours during the summer session. However, no more than 6 hours total apply to the major. The prerequisite is the permission of the supervisor, as space permits.3
ABSC 692Practicum in Basic Research3
 

Conceptual Foundations

Students pursuing the conceptual foundations option learn about contemporary conceptual issues in behavior analysis, its history and philosophy, and its relations with the behavioral, social, and cognitive sciences in general. As a result, they acquire skills in critical thinking about behavior and the behavior of scientists. Students who complete this option complete a 2-semester practicum in which they read and research a relevant literature and write a paper that advances their understanding of the field. Faculty: Professors Derek Reed (practicum supervisor), Florence D. DiGennaro Reed (practicum supervisor), and Edward K. Morris (practicum supervisor).

Required Specialty Area Course (3)
ABSC 800Conceptual Foundations of Behavior Analysis3
Specialty Area Electives (8)
Satisfied by completing any junior/senior-level ABSC courses, except those already required as introductory and core knowledge courses (including ABSC 304, ABSC 308, ABSC 509, ABSC 798). Additionally, practicum courses (ABSC 675-ABSC 699) do not count toward specialty area elective hours. Please see a specialty area advisor for more specific recommendations. (at least 8 hours)8
Practicum (6-10)6-10
Satisfied by the following:
Practicum in Historical and Conceptual Foundations (Practicum courses are offered for 3-6 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters, and 3 hours during the summer session. No more than 6 hours total apply to the major.)
 

Organizational Behavior Management Research & Practice

This specialty area is for students interested in studying the application of behavioral principles to people and groups in business, industry, government, and human service settings. This specialty area includes courses in behavior analysis, research methods, and organizational behavior management with a focus on its three sub-disciplines including performance management, systems analysis, and behavior-based safety. The program culminates in practica that provide students with direct experiences improving employee behavior, work safety, or organizational systems within businesses in the community. Students completing this program will gain knowledge and experience in the areas of behavior analysis, management, staff training, and systems-level interventions. Careers: This area is relevant for students interested in behavioral consulting, management, human services, and business.

Introductory Course (3)
ABSC 100Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science3
or ABSC 101 Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science, Honors
Core Courses (10)
ABSC 304The Principles and Procedures of Behavior Modification and Therapy3
ABSC 308Research Methods and Application4
ABSC 509Contemporary Behavioral Science: Historical, Conceptual, and Comparative Foundations3
Required Area Electives (6)
ABSC 150Community Leadership3
ABSC 470Organizational Behavior Management3
Specialty Area Electives (8)
Satisfied by completing any junior-senior level ABSC courses, except those already required as introductory, core knowledge, and required specialty area courses (including ABSC 304, ABSC 308, ABSC 470, ABSC 509). Additionally, practicum courses (ABSC 675-ABSC 699) do not count toward specialty area elective hours. Please see specialty area advisors for recommendations.8
Practicum (6-10)6-10
This practicum requires a 2-semester commitment (enrollment in ABSC 682), beginning in the fall semester and continuing in the spring semester. Space may be limited and enrollment may depend on the date of indication of interest. No more than 6 hours of practicum apply to the major.
Organizational Behavior Management Practicum
 

BCABA Certification Examination Eligibility (optional)

By completing three consecutive semesters of ABSC practicum courses, a student is eligible to sit for BCABA Certification Examination. The additional credit hours do not count toward the ABSC major hour requirements.

Applied Behavioral Science Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 33 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major.

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 12 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Double Majors

The department encourages double majors and minors in other departments. Double majors are especially appropriate for students planning to attend graduate school or enter professional programs (e.g., psychology, law, medicine). Any of the College’s other majors may be appropriate, but among the more common are psychology, human biology, sociology, political science, and speech-language-hearing.

Sample 4-year plans for the BA degree in Applied Behavioral Science with the following concentrations can be found here: Adults with Disabilities, Basic Research, Community Health & Development, Conceptual Foundations, Early Childhood Autism Intervention, Early Childhood Education & Intervention, Early Childhood Research, Youth Development & Juvenile Justice, Organizational Behavior Management & Research Practice, or by using the left-side navigation.

Sample 4-year plans for the BGS degree in Applied Behavioral Science can by found by using the left-side navigation.

Departmental Honors

The department’s honors program is suited for undergraduates planning to attend graduate school. Students are expected to enroll in two semesters of ABSC 599 for a total of 4 to 8 credit hours. The course combines small-group discussions on advanced topics in applied behavioral science, along with honors thesis supervision of a project of the student’s design. Honors students are invited to attend the ABS graduate proseminar or department colloquium series. Students should meet with the department’s honors advisor by the middle of the junior year to identify a faculty member with whom to complete the project. Prerequisite: Completion of at least 60 hours in the College with a grade-point average of 3.25 and an average of 3.5 in the department.

Study Abroad

The department offers students opportunities to obtain international experience in a program offered jointly with the Office of Study Abroad (ABSC 279, ABSC 479) and research experience with faculty members who teach research courses or a research practicum:

ABSC 499Directed Research in: _____1-3
ABSC 599Honors and Thesis in Applied Behavioral Science1-5
ABSC 679Practicum in Behavior Analysis Research in Early Childhood Education1-6
ABSC 692Practicum in Basic Research3
ABSC 693Practicum in Historical and Conceptual Foundations3-6
ABSC 698Special Research Practicum in: _____3-6
ABSC 699Special Research Practicum in, Honors: _____3-6

Research experience is recommended for students planning to attend graduate school. The department also offers some courses that include a service-learning component. Many of these programs, research experiences, and service-learning courses meet university requirements in these areas.