Applied Behavior Analysis

Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (This program is currently inactive)
Established in 2009 as the first graduate program in Applied Behavior Analysis in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis degree program is a leader in advancing the natural science of behavior and its application in the region.

Mission Statement
The Program prepares students to meet the behavioral challenges and needs of the community by delivering a comprehensive curriculum in the conceptual foundation, methodologies, and technologies that inform a natural science of behavior. Through this training, students learn to apply strategies and tactics grounded in the principles of the science to a variety of behaviors and contexts. The Program’s mission is to produce effective, ethical, and compassionate behavior analysts committed to using the science of behavior to better lives.

Value Statement
The following 6 guidelines embody the values and related behaviors the Program promotes to its students and faculty.

  1. Be excellent, diligent, and inquisitive in your studies.
  2. Be involved, curious, and enthusiastic about your education.
  3. Be respectful, cooperative, and helpful towards your colleagues.
  4. Be responsible, tenacious, and creative when applying your science.
  5. Be sincere, empathic, and patient with your clients.
  6. Be honest, reliable, and ethical in all your interactions.

The Program offers comprehensive face-to-face training extending across the conceptual, experimental, and applied domains that inform a natural science of behavior. Moreover, as a Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)® Approved Course Sequence (ACS) and pre-approved Intensive Practicum site, the Program is able to provide its students with the opportunities to fulfill both the coursework and experiential requirements needed to sit for their Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)® examination upon graduating.

Spalding University partners with local organizations to provide diverse practical training opportunities for students enrolled in the Program. Historically, practical training has occurred with individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, and other developmental disabilities ranging in age from 5-70+ years, in locations such as schools, intensive care facilities, hospitals, and homes. To best prepare students for a variety of professional positions, practical training focuses on working individually with clients and training others, such as parents and staff, to implement behavior acquisition and reduction protocols. Students receive individual and group supervision each week from Board Certified Behavior Analysts. Group supervision focuses on data presentations, analysis, and discussions to help strengthen professional behaviors.

The Program is based on a cohort model and uses a traditional semester-based schedule. Each August a group of 20 or fewer students is admitted into the Program and completes a prescribed sequence of courses across 4 intensive consecutive semesters (i.e., Fall, Spring, Summer, Fall). During each semester students are enrolled in 2 didactic courses and 1 practicum course. Additionally, in their final semester students are enrolled in a comprehensive examination course designed to assess their competency with previous content and prepare them for their certification examinations following graduation. Below is the tentative schedule subject to change.

Semester 1 (Fall)

  • ABA 620: Principles of Behavior (3 credits)
  • ABA 621: Origins & Philosophy of Behavior Analysis (3 credits)
  • ABA 622: Practicum I (4 credits)

Semester 2 (Spring)

  • ABA 624: Experimental Design, Measurement, and Evaluation (3 credits)
  • ABA 625: Practicum II (4 credits)
  • ABA 626: Applied Behavior Analysis I (3 credits)

Semester 3 (Summer)

  • ABA 623: Professional and Ethical Issues in Behavior Analysis (3 credits)
  • ABA 627: Applied Behavior Analysis II (3 credits)
  • ABA 628: Practicum III (4 credits)

Semester 4 (Fall)

  • ABA 629: Behavior Analysis and Learning (3 credits)
  • ABA 630: Verbal Behavior (3 credits)
  • ABA 631: Practicum IV (4 credits)
  • ABA 632: Comprehensive Examination (3 credits)

Admission Requirements
The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis Program admits one cohort of students each August. More information about admission into the Program, including relevant forms and deadlines, can be found at: The following items are required of all applicants applying to the Program.

  1. Completed ABA Graduate application form and a $30 nonrefundable application fee made payable to Spalding University.
  2. Official transcript from EACH college or university attended to be sent directly to the ABA Graduate office (no minimum GPA required). “Issued to Student” transcripts are not accepted.
  3. Brief autobiographical statement in introductory letter form (2 to 3 pages, typed, double-spaced), which provides relevant personal and professional experiences in relation to professional goals, and include why the field of ABA has been chosen.
  4. One professional academic writing sample which may be a portion of a thesis, senior paper, research report, or term paper.
  5. Submit three recommendation forms with letters of recommendation from professional or academic sources familiar with your background and experiences in relation to your application to the ABA program. Forms are available from the ABA office and ABA website.
  6. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Millers Analogy Test (MAT) score (no minimum score required).
  7. Prior to final acceptance, students considered for admission in the ABA program will be contacted to complete a background check and meet additional program requirements.

In rare cases, with the approval of the Program Director, students may also begin matriculation to Spalding University on a non-admitted basis for six (6) credit hours of study. In the event that an application packet is incomplete and does not allow review for potential admission to program, and/or some portions of the application materials provide cause for concern, program faculty may recommend the taking of two specified courses within the program with a minimum stipulated Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 to determine a future program admissions decision.

Official transcripts of all colleges and universities previously attended should be sent directly from the college or university to the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis Program at Spalding University. All applicants must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Official transcripts are those sent directly to Spalding University from the issuing institution. Any transcript marked "issued to student" or any transcript that is hand delivered by the student applicant is not considered an official transcript.

All applicants are required to take either the General Aptitude Section of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Millers Analogy Test (MAT), and must instruct the Educational Testing Service to forward those scores to the M.S. in Applied Behavior Program at Spalding University. Spalding University’s Institution Code is: R1552

ESL Students
All applicants for whom English is a second language (ESL), are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test for Spoken English (TSE). The scores must be sent directly to the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis Program at Spalding University.

Commitment to Diversity
Spalding University is an equal-opportunity educational institution. The University does not discriminate against otherwise qualified individuals on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or disability. The Program welcomes all qualified applicants.

Applicant Interviews
Selected applicants will be required to interview with program faculty prior to any admission decision. In this case, program faculty will make contact to schedule an interview time. Information regarding the interview process will be provided at the time of invitation. During the interview applicants may be asked to produce an on-site writing sample.

Ethical and Professional Standards
All students matriculating in the Program are obligated to follow the policies and guidelines regarding academic and professional integrity found in the Spalding University Catalog. Moreover, students are required to learn and operate within the confines established by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) Guidelines for Responsible Conduct. In accordance with these policies and guidelines, the Program reserves the right to initiate disciplinary action, including dismissal from the Program, for any student found exhibiting behaviors considered unethical, inappropriate, dishonest, or unprofessional.

Required Grade Standing
All program students are required to adhere to the general Spalding University requirements in the area of grade standing. Additionally, any student who receives a "C" in any program course will be placed on academic probation. Students who earn five credits or more in a graduate program of study at the grade of "C" will be automatically dismissed from their program and the University, as will students who earn one grade of "F" in any one course.

Program Sheet
Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis