Frequently Asked Questions

I am interested in a clinical psychology masters degree.  Is this program right for me?

Although the MA program in Applied Behavior Analysis at UMBC trains students to practice ABA, it is NOT a clinical or counseling psychology program and does not prepare students for careers in those fields.

Can I take courses to qualify me for the BCBA exam without being in the master’s program?

We offer a BACB-approved Applied Behavior Analysis MA sequence, but do not offer individual ABA courses to those who are not degree candidates in our program.

Are research or teaching assistantships, or other forms of UMBC financial support, available for students in the program?

The department very rarely provides teaching assistantships to individuals in the master’s program as assistantships are usually reserved for doctoral student support.  On the other hand, a large proportion of our master’s students ultimately support themselves as full-time employees of the Kennedy Krieger Institute or other regional organizations.

Most of our students are able to complete their ABA MA degree within two years while working full time and also taking a full course load of 3 courses (9 credits) per semester. We work with all students to try to secure internships while they are enrolled in our program. Students have historically worked in a number of different settings, including inpatient and outpatient treatment for children with developmental disabilities, and special education.  If you have a background in autism or developmental disabilities and wish to be considered for such a position, please contact us about it as you begin to apply to UMBC.

What are your GRE and GPA requirements?

We do not have specific cut-off criteria; however, we prefer a GPA above 3.0 and GRE scores in Quantitative and Verbal above the 50th percentile. We do not require the GRE Psychology subject test.

When and where are classes taught?

All classes are taught in the late afternoons on weekdays. All classes meet once a week starting between 4:30-5:30 pm, and last 2.5 hours.  Many classes are taught at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, which is located in East Baltimore.

Can I transfer credits?

We would need to see a copy of your full transcript and the syllabus for each of the courses you would like to be considered. Also, our course requirements are a sequence, and if your courses included some but not all of the content in some of our courses, you would have to take ours in order to manage the prerequisites.

Our requirements include 12 courses. Of these, 5 are ABA courses (one of which is an ABA elective), 3 are departmental requirements (one of which is a general elective), and 4 are our practicum and intervention sequences.

Will I have the opportunity to conduct research while in the program?

The UMBC ABA MA track primarily prepares students who are looking to practice behavior analysis and obtain BCBA certification.  Our students are typically involved in research in connection with their intervention requirement, which serves in place of a master’s thesis. There is the opportunity to conduct an intervention that contributes in a novel way to the research literature on a given topic. In fact, past students have presented their interventions at behavior analytic conferences as well as published their interventions in leading behavioral journals.  Finally, you may work with a faculty member on a research project independent of your intervention.

Can I/Do I have to come for an interview?

Interviews in person are not a part of the selection process. For students who express a strong desire to visit, we decide interviews on a case-by-case basis every year. We schedule all interviews in the same week so you have to make sure you are available that week if you want to visit.

What are your international student policies?

Given that we do not typically offer graduate assistantships to our masters students (the UMBC psychology department only offers graduate assistantships to doctoral students), there are limited options for financial assistance. Most of our students work full time while enrolled, which is not an option for international students on a student visa.

If admitted into your MA program at UMBC, is employment at the Kennedy Krieger Institute or another organization something I can depend on.

It should be clear that although we share in teaching and administration of the program, UMBC and Kennedy Krieger are independent entities.  Admission into the program and employment at Kennedy Krieger or other regional organizations must be sought separately, although you can contact one set of faculty through contact with the other set.  Still, employment at Kennedy Krieger or other regional organizations is no guarantee of admission into UMBC and admission at UMBC is no guarantee of employment at Kennedy Krieger or other regional organizations.

What are the requirements to qualify for in-state tuition.

See: http://www.umbc.edu/gradschool/funding/tuition_fees.html

What does it mean that the program is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board?

The course work in our program is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board such that completion of the program fulfills the coursework requirement to sit for the BCBA exam. Note, however, that completion of the UMBC ABA Masters program does not automatically qualify for the certification exam with respect to the experience requirements. Although you are required to obtain practical experience in the program, it is not technically enough hours to qualify you for the exam. The minimum is 750 and we currently do not offer more than 600 experience hours, unless the student wishes to take extra course work.  If you already have appropriate, supervised experience hours, then this may not be an issue for you.

What if I do not have a background in Psychology?

We have periodically admitted students who do not have a background in psychology. It helps if you have had some ABA course work or work experience related to ABA.  If this is the case for you, you should make this clear in your letter of application.  That is, you should clearly state that although your degree is not in the psychology or ABA, you have taken course work related to ABA.  Furthermore, you should demonstrate that you have a good understanding of what behavior analysis is as well as demonstrate that you understand the fundamental concepts and principles of behavior analysis.

What do graduates with an ABA MA degree end up doing after they graduate?

Many accept positions working in school districts, private schools, consulting companies, and other organizations that provide behavioral services to children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.  This is where the greatest current demand is for individuals trained in Applied Behavior Analysis.  A large number have continued on to Ph.D. programs in behavior analysis or psychology.