Master of Arts in Behavior Analysis

The Master of Arts in behavior analysis in the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University prepares students for doctoral study work or for work at the M.A. level with individuals and organizations in developmental disabilities, mental illness, substance abuse, community mental health, education, government, business and industry.

A minimum of 36 hours is required, and a minimum grade of B is required in all coursework in the program.

Undergraduate preparation

An undergraduate major in psychology is preferred; a minimum of 18 hours in psychology is required for admission. These hours must include:

  • An introductory course in statistics. The equivalent course at WMU is PSY 3000.
  • A minimum of eight hours in both experimental and applied behavior analysis, including laboratory and field experience. Courses at WMU that satisfy this requirement include PSY 3300, PSY 3570, PSY 3600, PSY 3770 and PSY 4600.

If your academic background does not contain preparatory experiences you will be required to remediate program deficits through completion of PSY 5100 and additional course work. Specific courses will be determined in conference with your advisor. Generally, such remedial work will be in addition to the minimum of 36 hours for the completion of the Master of Arts degree.

Requirements

Area I: Principles of Learning and Motivation (three credit hours)

  • PSY 6100–Conditioning and Learning

Area II: Theoretical Issues in Behavior Analysis (three credit hours)

  • PSY 6760–Skinner's Behaviorism

Area III: Professional Issues (three credit hours)

  • PSY 6050–Professional and Ethical Issues in Psychology

Area IV: Behavioral Approaches to Individual and Systems Management (three credit hours)

  • PSY 6090–Advanced Seminar in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • PSY 6510–Behavioral Systems Analysis
  • PSY 6570–Autism: Etiology, Assessment and Behavioral Treatment
  • PSY 6650–Behavioral Approaches to Treatment
  • PSY 6680–Analysis and Treatment of Developmental Disabilities

Area V: Cognates (zero to three credit hours)

The course must be relevant to the your career goals as a behavior analyst and approved by your advisor prior to enrolling in that course. This can be a course from outside the Department of Psychology.

Area VI: Research Methods (three credit hours)

  • PSY 6080–Research Methods in Applied Behavior Analysis

Area VII: Master's Thesis or Project (six credit hours)

You may select to do either a traditional master's thesis or an approved master's project. You will develop, implement and conduct research or a project in behavior analysis.

  • Thesis—You will effectively communicate the data and its interpretation of the data in a written document of publishable quality and will defend the research design and the interpretation of the data to a thesis committee.
  • Project—You will present a summary of the activities and results in writing and orally, at the discretion of your committee.

In addition, take:

  • PSY 7000–Master's Thesis
  • PSY 7050–Master's Project

Area VIII: Behavior Analysis: Theory and Application (six to 15 credit hours)

Behavior analysis

  • PSY 5170–Psychology in the Schools
  • PSY 5260–Human Drug Use and Abuse
  • PSY 5490–Instructional Design
  • PSY 5600–Behavioral Medicine
  • PSY 5970 and PSY 6970–Advanced Behavior Seminars
  • PSY 5950–History of Psychology
  • PSY 6090–Advanced Seminar in Behavior Analysis
  • PSY 6110–Experimental Analysis of Behavior
  • PSY 6120–Advanced Physiological Psychology
  • PSY 6130–Behavioral Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • PSY 6140–Motivation and Emotion
  • PSY 6340–Experimental Design and Analysis
  • PSY 6350–Correlation and Regression Analysis
  • PSY 6570–Autism: Etiology, Assessment, and Behavioral Treatment
  • PSY 6680–Analysis & Treatment of Developmental Disabilities
  • PSY 6700–Basic Behavioral Processes & Their Applications
  • PSY 6710–Higher-order Behavioral Processes and Their Applications
  • PSY 6740–Verbal Behavior
  • PSY 6750–Behavioral Approaches to Language Assessment and Treatment
  • PSY 6880–Advanced Behavioral Assessment
  • PSY 6920–Grant Writing in the Behavioral Sciences

Industrial/organizational

  • PSY 6440–Personnel Training and Development
  • PSY 6450–Psychology of Work
  • PSY 6510–Behavioral Systems Analysis
  • PSY 6520–Systems Analysis Practicum

Clinical

  • PSY 6580–Cognitive Processes
  • PSY 6630–Marital Therapy
  • PSY 6640–Behavior Therapy
  • PSY 6650–Behavioral Approaches to Treatment
  • PSY 6660–Family Therapy
  • PSY 6690–Child Behavior Therapy
  • PSY 6860–Behavior Assessment

Area IX: Professional Experience (zero to nine credit hours)

The practicum must be relevant to your career goals as a behavior analyst and approved by your advisor prior to enrolling in the practicum.

  • PSY 5990–Practicum in Psychology

Students seeking a BCBA must complete:

  • PSY 6050–Professional and Ethical Issues in Psychology
  • PSY 6080–Current Research in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • PSY 6100–Conditioning and Learning
  • PSY 6510–Behavioral Systems Analysis
  • PSY 6570–Autism: Etiology, Assessment and Behavioral Treatment
  • PSY 6680–Analysis and Treatment of Developmental Disabilities

And one of the following courses:

  • PSY 5170–Psychology in the Schools
  • PSY 6090–Advanced Seminar in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • PSY 6440–Personnel Training and Development
  • PSY 6450–Psychology of Work
  • PSY 6650–Behavioral Approaches to Treatment
  • PSY 6740–Verbal Behavior
  • PSY 6750–Behavioral Approaches to Language Assessment and Treatment

These are the courses in our Approved Course Sequence that meets the 4th Edition Task List requirements for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. If you do not complete them or if you substitute courses for these in your curriculum, you may not be approved by the board to sit for the exam. Completion of these courses and the required supervised field experience is needed to qualified to sit for the exam. This does not guarantee that you will be certified, only that you will be able to sit for the exam.