M.A. in Applied Behavioral Science Degree Requirements
The online 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 online master’s program follows a junior-colleague model. Students work closely with their advisors 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 advisor, but may work with other faculty members or have co-advisors. If a student’s or advisor’s interests change, students are free to change advisors.
The online M.A. degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours: 18 hours in 6 content areas (required courses), 3 hours in a practicum, and research and elective courses. Students also must conduct, write up, and orally defend an empirically based thesis. The following 6 courses are required:
- ABSC 850 Principles of Behavior Analysis (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).
- ABSC 851 Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Applied Behavioral Science (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).
- ABSC 854 Experimental Analysis of Behavior (3). the basic principles of operant and respondent conditioning in the context of basic non-human and human subjects research.
- ABSC 770 Within Subjects Research Methodology and Direct Observation (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.
- ABSC 771 Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science (3). The characteristics of applied behavioral research (assessment, analysis, intervention, evaluation), intervention research (clinical, community), applied procedures and programs, social validity, and ethical issues.
- ABSC 772 Conceptual Foundations of Behavior Analysis (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).
- ABSC 871 or ABSC 872 Research or Intervention Practicum (3). A supervised practicum course in either basic or applied research or behavioral interventions.
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. Completing this requirement necessitates traveling to the Lawrence campus and presenting in person.