Applied Behavior Analysis, M.S.


Field Education Policy and Procedures Manual

Saint Louis University's M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis involves the application of behavioral principles to produce socially significant changes in behavior.  

ABA approaches may involve services for a full spectrum of mental health disorders, especially developmental disorders. Other areas of practice include work with communities and organizations. Practitioners use direct assessments, research evidence and single-subject research designs to inform and evaluate interventions designed. The diversity of training provides graduates with opportunities for broad clinical application (e.g. sports, organizational behavior management, etc.).

Curriculum Overview

SLU's applied behavior analysis curriculum includes seven three-credit courses, four credits of thesis, and five two or three-credit practicum courses. Students must complete 1,500 hours of field practicum under the supervision of a board-certified behavior analyst. This program is offered in full-time and part-time formats.

The program requires 39 credits, as follows:

  • Principles and Concepts in Behavior Analysis
  • Measurement and Experimental Design
  • Behavioral Assessment
  • Behavior Change and Process
  • Behavior Change and Ethics
  • Supervision and Organizational Behavior Management
  • Philosophy of Behavioral Science
  • Practicum with corresponding Integrative Seminars and Advanced Clinical Research Seminars
  • Thesis Research

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

The SLU ABA program meets all required elements for persons seeking BCBA certification, including degree, coursework and field experience.

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

SLU's applied behavior analysis program offers students a practice-integrated education. Students are transformed into knowledgeable and ethical scientist-practitioners prepared for a range of clinical and management careers across the health, education and social services sectors. Those seeking BACB certification through SLU’s practicum must complete a total of 1,500 of ABA field practicum/semester under the supervision of a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). An integrated seminar occurs once monthly for one credit and all are required to attend.

Careers

After graduation, applied behavior analysis students are eligible to sit for the examination to become a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA). Alumni from this program have gone on to provide behavioral health services to a range of individuals including children and adults with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. They've also gone on to lead state education initiatives and advocacy projects.

ABA approaches may involve services for a full spectrum of mental health disorders, especially developmental disorders. Among many others, areas of practice also include health, sports, and fitness, organizational behavior management, and gerontology. Practitioners use direct assessments, research evidence and single-subject research designs to inform and evaluate interventions designed.

Admission Requirements

Successful applicants should possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00.

It is recommended that students have taken prior coursework in applied behavior analysis or have independently studied ABA texts.

Application Requirements

  • Application form and fee $65
  • Transcript(s)
  • Two letters of recommendation (one academic, one professional)
    • One academic letter of recommendation from a professor who has evaluated your academic performance in the classroom
    • One professional letter of recommendation from a supervisor who has evaluated your work in the field or related volunteer experience
    • If you have been out of school five or more years, you may submit two professional letters.  
    • If you are entering the program directly from an undergraduate program, you may submit two academic letters.
  • Résumé
  • Interview (May be requested)
  • Professional Statement

Requirements for International Students

ABA requires a TOEFEL score of 92 or higher.

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Application Deadlines

All applicants who apply by the priority deadline of March 1 are reviewed for merit-based scholarships. Applications will continue to be accepted and reviewed for admissions until August 1. To be considered for a graduate assistantship, students must fill out the GA application found under scholarships and financial aid by March 1.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The admissions committee considers several factors to determine a candidate's eligibility:

  • Strength of the undergraduate program
  • Application information
  • Professional statement
  • Work experience
  • Any graduate degrees earned
  • Motivation, leadership and service
  • The undergraduate GPA is weighted with other criteria in the admissions process. 
  • Clinical experience in behavior analysis

Financial Aid

We recognize that when choosing to continue your education, cost can be a concern. To help ease that decision, we have identified the following financial aid resources.

FAFSA and Other Resources

All incoming students should complete the application for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A step-by-step guide to submitting your FAFSA is available online. Saint Louis University Student Financial Services provides a Graduate Financial Aid Handbook that outlines the process of financing your graduate education.

The following links to resources in Saint Louis University Student Financial Services may also be helpful:

Scholarships

New and continuing students are eligible for merit-based scholarships. Prospective students will be automatically screened for scholarship eligibility. No additional application is required; awards are based on information provided in the admission application.

Please note that the terms of the scholarship are subject to change if the student petitions for a degree transfer or fails to remain in good academic standing.

Fellowships

The Doerr Fellowship for Equity and Inclusion is a full-tuition fellowship funded by the School of Social Work for new and continuing students. A separate application is required with a deadline of March 1 (https:// forms.gle/1gCurwpo2JvaVySMA/). This fellowship requires that recipients serve as members of the School of Social Work's Equity and Inclusion Committee. Recipients will also be expected to actively participate in the diversity, equity and inclusion activities sponsored throughout the year by the Doerr Center.

Newly accepted master's or doctoral students and students in the first year of a program are eligible to apply for a University-wide Diversity, Dissertation or Presidential fellowship. You must first submit the full application minus the nomination letter to the School of Social Work by Jan. 2 to be considered for nomination. Find more details on application components here. Completed applications including all application components minus the nomination letter  should be submitted as a PDF to kristi.richter@slu.edu.

Graduate Assistantships

By filling out a graduate assistantship application, you will automatically be considered for a full or partial graduate assistantship with the School of Social Work. Assistantships are appointed for one year. Students must reapply to be considered for a second year and there are no guarantees that recipients will receive subsequent/continuing assistantships.

Full graduate assistantships are University-funded assistantships (UFA) awarded by the School of Social  Work. They are assigned and funded for two semesters, a duration of nine months, 20 hours per week, working with designated faculty. Most full assistantships are assigned to help faculty with research (GRA) and a small number may be assigned to assist with administrative work (GA), or faculty teaching (GTA).

The full graduate assistant works with one or two faculty members, depending on faculty needs. Time is divided between both faculty mentors if the student is assigned two. Students who receive a fully-funded UFA in one year may not receive a UFA in subsequent years, although they remain eligible for partial assistantships throughout their pursuit of a graduate degree in the School of Social Work.

Partial graduate assistantships are funded and awarded by the School of Social Work. They are assigned and funded for two semesters, a duration of nine months, 8-16 hours per week, working with assigned faculty. Partial assistantships may be assigned to assist with administrative work (GA), research (GRA), or faculty teaching (GTA). Depending on the hours assigned, tuition benefits will differ; health insurance and stipends are not awarded with partial assistantships.

Other Funding for Current Students

 
Current students may be eligible for conference/training funding, graduate assistantships and scholarships. 

Accreditation 

  1. Graduates will be able to assess relevant behavior analysis literature/scholarly contributions.
  2. Graduates will be able to apply behavioral theories, practices, policies or research methodologies.
  3. Graduates will be able to apply knowledge from applied behavior analysis to address problems in broader contexts.
  4. Graduates will be able to articulate applied behavior analysis explanations/arguments to a disciplinary/professional audience in both written and oral formats.
  5. Graduates will be able to evidence scholarly/professional integrity (ethics) in behavior analysis.
ABA 5746Principles & Concepts in Behavior Analysis3
ABA 5774Measurement & Experimental Design3
ABA 5826Practicum I2
ABA 5820ABA Integrative Seminar I1
ABA 5747Behavioral Assessment3
ABA 5748Behavior Change and Process3
ABA 5827Practicum II2
ABA 5830ABA Integrative Seminar II1
ABA 5749Behavior Change and Ethics3
ABA 5001Supervision and Organizational Behavior Management3
ABA 5828Practicum III2
ABA 5840ABA Integrative Seminar III1
ABA 5002Philosophy of Behavioral Science3
ABA 5115Advanced Clinical Research and Practice Seminar IV1
ABA 5116Practicum IV2
ABA 5117Advanced Clinical Research Competency Seminar V1
ABA 5118Practicum V1
ABA 5990Thesis Research4
Total Credits39

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester.  Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Standard Track (full-time student)

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
Critical course:  ABA 5746 Principles & Concepts in Behavior Analysis 3
Critical course:  ABA 5774 Measurement & Experimental Design 3
Critical course:  ABA 5826 Practicum I 2
Critical course:  ABA 5820 ABA Integrative Seminar I 1
 Credits9
Spring
Critical course:  ABA 5747 Behavioral Assessment 3
Critical course:  ABA 5748 Behavior Change and Process 3
Critical course:  ABA 5827 Practicum II 2
Critical course:  ABA 5830 ABA Integrative Seminar II 1
 Credits9
Summer
Critical course:  ABA 5749 Behavior Change and Ethics 3
Critical course:  ABA 5001 Supervision and Organizational Behavior Management 3
Critical course:  ABA 5828 Practicum III 2
Critical course:  ABA 5840 ABA Integrative Seminar III 1
 Credits9
Year Two
Fall
Critical course:  ABA 5002 Philosophy of Behavioral Science 3
Critical course:  ABA 5116 Practicum IV 2
Critical course:  ABA 5115 Advanced Clinical Research and Practice Seminar IV 1
 Credits6
Spring
Critical course:  ABA 5118 Practicum V 1
Critical course:  ABA 5117 Advanced Clinical Research Competency Seminar V 1
Critical course:  ABA 5990 Thesis Research 4
 Credits6
 Total Credits39

Standard Track (part-time student)

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
Critical course:  ABA 5746 Principles & Concepts in Behavior Analysis 3
Critical course:  ABA 5774 Measurement & Experimental Design 3
 Credits6
Spring
Critical course:  ABA 5747 Behavioral Assessment 3
Critical course:  ABA 5748 Behavior Change and Process 3
 Credits6
Summer
Critical course:  ABA 5749 Behavior Change and Ethics 3
Critical course:  ABA 5001 Supervision and Organizational Behavior Management 3
 Credits6
Year Two
Fall
Critical course:  ABA 5002 Philosophy of Behavioral Science 3
Critical course:  ABA 5826 Practicum I 2
Critical course:  ABA 5820 ABA Integrative Seminar I 1
 Credits6
Spring
Critical course:  ABA 5827 Practicum II 2
Critical course:  ABA 5830 ABA Integrative Seminar II 1
 Credits3
Summer
Critical course:  ABA 5828 Practicum III 2
Critical course:  ABA 5840 ABA Integrative Seminar III 1
 Credits3
Year Three
Fall
Critical course:  ABA 5116 Practicum IV 2
Critical course:  ABA 5115 Advanced Clinical Research and Practice Seminar IV 1
 Credits3
Spring
Critical course:  ABA 5118 Practicum V 1
Critical course:  ABA 5117 Advanced Clinical Research Competency Seminar V 1
Critical course:  ABA 5990 Thesis Research 4
 Credits6
 Total Credits39

Apply for Admission

For admission questions contact:

Social Work School Graduate Admissions Office
socialwork@slu.edu
314-977-2752

For program questions contact:

Natalie Parks, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA
Director of the Applied Behavior Analysis Program
Associate Clinical Professor
natalie.parks@slu.edu
314-977-2733