Psychology—Behavior Analysis

Program details

Credits required: 36

Location Format   
Auburn Hills Hybrid
Clinton Township Hybrid

Industry highlights

94.8 percent of BCBA certified survey respondents are working full time or part-time by choice. Only 3 percent can’t find as much work as they’d like.APBA 2009 Professional Employment Survey Results

Master of arts (MA)

A quality degree should be much more than just a piece of paper.

Recent legislation in the state of Michigan has mandated that insurance companies cover behavior analytic services for children with autism. However, only Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) providers are allowed to bill for these services. WMU is expanding this top-notch graduate degree to the MetroDetroit area to meet this growing demand for certified professionals. WMU’s hybrid course format will meet the needs of individuals working full time who want to earn this certification.

The behavior analysis master’s degree at Western Michigan University is nationally known as an exceptional program for individuals working with people with autism and other developmental disabilities. The program is designed to produce qualified, engaged professionals to move forward the fields of autism therapy and research.

The Department of Psychology, in WMU’s College of Arts and Sciences, has earned an international reputation for its scientifically rigorous perspective on psychology and its dedication to applying the science of human behavior to problems of social significance.

Practical experience

The behavior analysis program at WMU offers a unique combination of on-site BCBA and faculty-supervised field experience, still relatively uncommon in the field. Students face rigorous preparation with a goal of preparing independent, ethical, and effective practitioners. They find practical educational opportunities in the areas of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, educational sites, and staff training and supervision. All MetroDetroit students travel to WMU’s main campus in Kalamazoo for a week-long experience each summer (first year students attend the second full week of June and second year students attend the first full week of June). This required week-long experience allows for extended contact with faculty, exposure to different applications of behavior analysis, and opportunities to develop components of capstone requirement for the program, the mentored Master’s Project .

Who should apply?

The behavior analysis program is ideal for those who want to become more effective in educating or treating individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. Academically rigorous, the program attracts students who are passionate about behavior analysis and deeply enjoy the challenge of building practice repertoires reflecting the best available science and applied technologies of the discipline. In addition, the curriculum is a verified course sequence by the BACB, which is required for students who wish to become board certified.

As of January 2016, applicants for the BCBA exam must have earned a master's degree in psychology, education or behavior analysis. This is reflective of requirements changes in the BCBA certification process.

Key program dates for spring 2019 cohort

The next MetroDetroit cohort will begin January 2019. Applications are considered for the spring semester only. The application deadline for this cohort is September 15, 2018. Please note the GRE scores are required for admittance to the program.

  • Sept. 15, 2018: Application deadline (including GRE score)
  • Sept. 29, 2018: Face-to-face interviews for select candidates in MetroDetroit
  • Jan. 7, 2019: First class begins
  • Summer 2019: Week-long practicum in Kalamazoo

Career opportunities

Graduates of the behavior analysis program are suited to a variety of careers serving children with autism and individuals with developmental disabilities. Demand is great for behavioral specialists and behavioral analysts who attain BCBA certification.

Verified course sequence

Behavior analyst certification board, verified course sequence, VCS with experience.

The curriculum of this master’s degree is a verified course sequence by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, which is critical to the application process for the BCBA exam.

Employer tuition reimbursement

If your employer has a tuition reimbursement program, find out about WMU’s deferment program for employer paid tuition.

"Best bang for the buck"

Washington Monthly placed WMU on a list of national universities that offer "the best bang for the buck." WMU came in at No. 50 based on the economic value students receive per dollar.

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