Western Connecticut State University has earned recognition in two surveys for offering one of the nation’s best master’s degree programs in applied behavior analysis, a rapidly growing field where the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment to grow by one-third nationwide by 2020.
The 2017 survey conducted by the Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide ranked WCSU at No. 5 among all higher education institutions nationwide offering an online master’s degree in the field. The ABA Programs Guide profile of WCSU noted that the university’s fully online instructional program prepares students “to effectively quantify and measure behavior in order to make effective changes that will improve overall behavior of an individual, group or organization. The program utilizes advanced virtual technology to make online learning highly interactive.”
The WCSU Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis, housed in the Education and Educational Psychology Department, is achieved through completion of a rigorous curriculum of nine courses for a total of 30 credit hours. The M.S. program includes 19 credits of core coursework designed to qualify graduates to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Examination sponsored by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Dr. Janet Burke, coordinator of the WCSU graduate program in applied behavior analysis, observed that the M.S. program also features a required course in Assistive Technology for Applied Behavior Analysis, an area of study with important applications in the profession that sets Western apart from other programs in its field.
The ABA Programs Guide survey criteria for online master’s program rankings included affordability in tuition costs, a low student-faculty ratio and availability of a program concentration, as well as verification that the university offers the approved course sequence to sit for the BCBA exam. The Programs Guide noted that Board Certified Behavior Analysts are in especially high demand from employers specializing in work with individuals with autism and developmental disabilities, as well as for a diverse range of positions in areas ranging from treatment planning and therapy to school psychology and employee training in the health care, educational and social service sectors.
A separate national survey published this spring by the online college ratings service Universities.com placed WCSU among the 15 best colleges offering applied behavior analysis degrees in the United States. The survey introduction noted that rankings were based on institutional and other public data on degree programs, supplemented by student and graduate interviews and editorial review.
The mission statement for Western’s M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis program establishes the goal “to provide high-quality behavior analytic instruction to practitioners, offering courses with advanced online technology in an academic environment dedicated to education and research.” Specific learning objectives seek to prepare students to measure and interpret behavior, design and implement assessment procedures, and use data collection and analysis as a basis for maintaining or modifying behavior.
In addition to the M.S. program, the WCSU Education and Educational Psychology Department offers an online Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate option. This option features a five-course, 19-credit curriculum qualifying candidates who have completed an accredited graduate degree to take the BCBA certification exam, and a four-course, 16-credit curriculum qualifying candidates who have completed an accredited bachelor’s degree to take the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) certification exam. Both certificate programs are approved by the BACB.
A comprehensive description of the WCSU applied behavior analysis program is available online at www.wcsu.edu/education/bacb.asp.
For information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.