College of Arts and Sciences

Applied Behavior Analysis

The College of Arts and Sciences offers a Master of Science degree and a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis.  The master's degree program prepares individuals for careers working with children and adults with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities, treating challenging behavior in various populations and settings, and developing interventions and recommendations to increase adaptive behavior and address skill deficits.


Program Options

Master of Science (M.S.) with a major in Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Behavioral Analysis 4+1 Pathway

Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate

Department Web Site


Program Overview

Applied Behavior Analysis is a branch of behaviorism in which the principles of behavior are applied to the social issues to systematically change and improve behavior.  This program will prepare individuals to:

  • Enter careers working with children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities
  • Treat challenging behavior in various populations and settings
  • Work with others to increase compliance with treatment strategies and recommendations
  • Teach target audience new skills, promote positive behavior; and assess behavioral conditions

Master of Science Degree Requirements

Completion of the ABA program requires a total of 45 credit hours. Students accepted into and enrolled in the program will register for nine credit hours each semester, which includes both coursework and practicum hours. The program will span five semesters (fall, spring, summer, fall, spring).

Students will be required to take 18 hours of the core courses, in addition to 12 hours of elective coursework related to developmental disabilities.

Students possessing a Master's degree in Psychology or Education can be considered for the Certification Only Program. This program comprises of 21 credit hours with students completing nine credit hours a semester. The Certification Only Program can be completed over 3 semesters (fall, spring, summer).

Course Credits
Core Courses 24
ABA 246 - Ethics and Professional Issues 3
ABA 251 - Theoretical Foundations 3
ABA 255 - Applied Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 262 - Principles of Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 263 - Research Methods in Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 264 - Behavioral Assessment 3
ABA 265 - Behavioral Interventions 3
ABA 272 - Supervision and Performance 3
Electives - Select 6 credits from the following 12
ABA 248 - Psychology of Developmental Disabilities 3
ABA 267 - Evidence-Based Teaching 3
ABA 268 - Verbal Behavior 3
ABA 290 - Special Topics in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
SPED 220 - Introduction to Special Education 3
SPED 222 - Characteristics of Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities 3
SPED 225 - Introduction to Behavioral Disorders and Learning Disabilties 3
SPED 272 - Schools, Families, Communities, and Disabilities 3
SPED 276 - Coordination of Cooperative Occupational Programs 3
Practicum 15
ABA 292 - Supervised Practicum in ABA 6
ABA 293 - Advanced Supervised Practicum 6
ABA 294 - Advanced Practicum and Capstone 3

Applied Behavioral Analysis 4+1 Pathway

Drake students can earn an undergraduate degree and a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis in five years in the 4+1 Program. Students interested in becoming Board Certified Behavior Analysts have the option to apply to the Master’s program in Applied Behavior Analysis early in their studies at Drake University.  Students are eligible for the program with majors from any college/school

Students should discuss the 4+1 Pathway with their undergraduate academic advisor.  Advisors will assist students to ensure that undergraduate degree requirements are met. 4+1 applicants should submit their application to the Master’s program in Applied Behavior Analysis during the Fall semester of their Junior year.  All 4+1 students apply to the Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s program using the normal application process and should submit a letter from the undergraduate advisor confirming that the student has met the prerequisites for the program (i.e., coursework, Junior standing, GPA of at least 3.0). 4+1 applicants do not have to take the Drake writing exam or GRE but they will be required to complete an application online. Interested students are also encouraged to contact the Director of the Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s Program Dr. Maria Valdovinos (maria.valdovinos@drake.edu or 515-271-2847) to further discuss the application and admission process.

Drake students accepted into the Master’s program will begin coursework in the Master’s program beginning fall of their Senior year. Six credit hours of ABA coursework will be completed in the Fall semester and an additional six credit hours of ABA coursework will be completed in student’s final Spring semester. All graduate level coursework completed during the student’s senior year will count towards the student’s upper level credits requirement and their total undergraduate hours, in addition to their graduate program requirements.

Course Credits
Prerequisites  
PSY 001 – Introduction to Psychology 4
PSY 060 – Principles of Behavior 3

PSY 162 – Applied Behavior Analysis, or

SPED 153 – Applied Behavior Analysis & PBS

3
Program Requirements 24
ABA 246 - Ethics and Professional Issues 3
ABA 251 - Theoretical Foundations 3
ABA 255 - Applied Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 262 - Principles of Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 263 - Research Methods in Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 264 - Behavioral Assessment 3
ABA 265 - Behavioral Interventions 3
ABA 272 - Supervision and Performance 3
Electives - Select 6 credits from the following 12
ABA 248 - Psychology of Developmental Disabilities 3
ABA 267 - Evidence-Based Teaching 3
ABA 268 - Verbal Behavior 3
ABA 290 - Special Topics in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
SPED 220 - Introduction to Special Education 3
SPED 222 - Characteristics of Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities 3
SPED 225 - Introduction to Behavioral Disorders and Learning Disabilties 3
SPED 272 - Schools, Families, Communities, and Disabilities 3
SPED 276 - Coordination of Cooperative Occupational Programs 3
Practicum 15
ABA 292 - Supervised Practicum in ABA 6
ABA 293 - Advanced Supervised Practicum 6
ABA 294 - Advanced Practicum and Capstone 3
Drake Curriculum Undergraduate requirements (AOIs, Honors, Bulldog Foundations, Upper level credits) Varies
Undergraduate Major requirements Varies

Certificate Requirements

Students possessing a Master's degree in Psychology or Education can be considered for the Certification Only Program. This program comprises of 27 credit hours with students completing 9 credit hours a semester.  The Certification Only Program will be completed over 3 semesters (fall, spring, summer).  

Course Credits
Core Courses 18
ABA 246 - Ethics and Professional Issues 3
ABA 251 - Theoretical Foundations 3
ABA 262 - Principles of Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 263 - Research Methods in Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 264 - Behavioral Assessment 3
ABA 265 - Behavioral Interventions 3
Practicum - Take three credits per semester 9
ABA 292 - Supervised Practicum in ABA 3

Admission

Admittance to the ABA graduate program requires successful completion of a bachelor's degree, with a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA.  Individuals that do not meet the GPA requirement should visit the ABA application web page for more information. 

Students possessing a Master's degree in Psychology or Education can be considered for the Certification Only Program.

Applications are reviewed on an on-going basis; please have all materials submitted 8 weeks prior to the beginning of the intended start-term.

For more information, visit the ABA application web page.


Financial Assistance

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) currently has funds available to support Iowa residents who are attending school to become board certified behavioral analysts. The actual number of awards and award amounts will vary depending on the number of applicants, the estimated future tuition, and fee costs for awarded applicants.

Visit http://idph.iowa.gov/policy-and-workforce-services/rural-health-primary-care/bcba for more details on the IDPH grant program.

The information in this catalog does not constitute a contract between the university and the student. The university reserves the right to make changes in curricula, admission policies and processes, tuition and financial aid, academic standards and guidelines, student services and any other regulations or policies set forth in this catalog without giving prior notice.