Behavior Analysis and Therapy

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Graduate programs

Master of Science, Behavior Analysis and Therapy

Michael Clayton, Program Director
Hill Hall, Room 404;
Phone 417-836-3783

The Master of Science degree in Behavior Analysis and Therapy is a joint effort between the School of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences and the School of Special Education, Leadership and Professional Studies. The coursework consists of 27 credit hours of classroom work and 6 credit hours of practicum work. Also, students will complete an empirically-based 6 credit thesis project as a culminating experience. Successful completion of the program will result in having met the course sequence and supervised practicum criteria to set for the national certification examination and become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. A unique feature of the program is the specialized training opportunities for those who will be working within school settings. Students who complete this program will be trained to be experts in applied behavior Analysis so to (1) employ research based instructional strategies for special populations (specifically students with Autism Spectrum Disorders) in clinical, school and home based settings and (2) to become competent scientist-practitioners and researchers in experimental and applied behavioral science.

Admission to our Master's program is very competitive. Hence, the application deadline is February 15th. All application materials, including recommendation letters, should be submitted by February 15th.

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission into the Behavior Analysis and Therapy program students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Completion of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited undergraduate university.
  2. Three (3) letters of recommendation.
  3. Statement of interest in the program.
  4. Maintained a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 in undergraduate and graduate work and a 3.25 in major field.
  5. Applicants with a Psychology major must have maintained a 3.25 in all psychology coursework and completed at least 20 semester hours or 30 quarter hours of psychology, including coursework in statistics and research methods.
  6. Applicants with an Education major with an emphasis in Special Education must have maintained a 3.25 GPA in the professional education courses and the certificate subject area of Special Education.
  7. All applications to the graduate program will be required to complete a Family Care Safety Registry background check. If you are a Missouri resident and have not completed the Family Care and Safety Registry (FCSR) form, please do so now.

Accelerated Master’s degree option

Before enrolling in a course to be counted as both undergraduate and graduate credit and to count a course toward the Master’s degree, an undergraduate student must be accepted into the accelerated program and receive prior approval from the graduate program advisor, the School Director of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, and the Dean of the Graduate College. Enrollment in these courses must be done by using a mixed credit form. Acceptance into the program and all approvals must be completed prior to the end of the Change of Schedule Period for the courses. See the Graduate College for further information.

Accelerated Option Admission Requirements

  1. Junior standing, with an overall GPA of 3.25 or better.
  2. Three (3) letters of recommendation.
  3. Statement of interest in the program.
  4. Acceptance of the applicant by the graduate faculty under the accelerated masters option.

Accelerated Option Mixed Credit Options

If accepted to the accelerated program, up to 12 hours of course work may apply to both the undergraduate and graduate degrees, including, but not limited to:

  • PSY 614. Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis
  • PSY 747. Single Subject Research Design in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • PSY 757. Observational Methods & Functional Assessment
  • PSY 761. Ethical and Professional Issues
  • PSY 777. Conceptual Foundations of Applied Behavioral Science

Degree requirements - 42 hours total

Required Courses (total of 36 hours)

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
PSY 602 Learning Theories 3 hrs
PSY 614 Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis 3 hrs
SPE 626
PSY 757

Applied Behavior Analysis for Developmental Disabilities & Autism in Applied Settings
Observational Methods & Functional Assessment

3 hrs
PSY 747 Single Subject Research Design in Applied Behavior Analysis 3 hrs
PSY 761 Ethical and Professional Issues 3 hrs
PSY 770 Behavioral Systems Analysis 3 hrs
PSY 777 Conceptual Foundations of Applied Behavioral Science 3 hrs
PSY 797
SPE 710

Directed Research
Problems in Special Education

3 hrs
PSY 796
SPE 791

Clinical Practicum for Individuals with Autism and Challenging Behavior

6 hrs

PSY 799 OR SPE 799


PSY 798




6 hrs
Elective Courses: select two of the following courses (6 hrs)
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
SPE 618 Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis and Interventions for Teachers in Applied Settings 3 hrs
SPE 626 Applied Behavior Analysis for Developmental Disabilities and Autism in Applied Settings 3 hrs
SPE 627 Research-Based Strategies for Individuals with ASD 3 hrs
PSY 629 Psychological Tests and Measurements 3 hrs
PSY 695 Specialized Topics in Psychology 3 hrs
PSY 745 Statistics and Research Design 3 hrs
PSY 767 Behavior Disorders of Childhood 3 hrs
SPE 780 Impact of Contemporary Issues & Diversity in Special Education 3 hrs
Thesis and Non-Thesis Options

Students in the Thesis Option track will complete three (3) hours for Directed Research (PSY 797) and six (6) hours of Thesis (PSY 799).

Students in the Non-Thesis Option will complete three (3) hours of Directed Research (PSY 797), six (6) hours of Internship (PSY 798). The Internship will allow the student to write and implement a comprehensive behavior plan using the scholarly product from PSY 797 and PSY 798.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Students who decide to pursue Board Certified supervised practicums should consult early (the first semester) with their respective Psychology or Special Education advisor to arrange opportunities and to apply for Board Certified supervised practicum placement. Students who are interested in obtaining certification must ensure that the practicum courses meet the Behavior Analyst Certification Board requirements (e.g., supervision by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, allocation of hours to a variety of professional activities, record keeping, etc.). It is possible that students who are destined for a PhD in Behavior Analysis would not choose to seek Board Certified supervised practicums, but rather they would focus on basic and/or applied research practicums.