M.A. in Human Services Psychology: Applied Behavior Analysis

Behavior analysis is the science of the causes of behavior. In applied behavior analysis, this science is applied to significant problems of human behavior, typically at the level of the individual rather than of the group. The scope of behavior analysis is wide-ranging, including work in developmental disabilities, in behavioral medicine, education, and organizations, to mention just a few applications. Mastery of applied behavior analysis calls for competence in basic psychology, in the detailed knowledge base of behavior analysis, in measurement techniques for evaluating existing behavior and for designing treatment programs for individuals and in the various skills essential to delivering services and maintaining their effectiveness.

Applied behavior analysis requires accountability in its service delivery. The UMBC M.A. track is responsive to the increasing call for such services and fills a gap in the availability of such programs in the mid-Atlantic region. The UMBC Department of Psychology together with the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s (KKI) Department of Behavioral Psychology are uniquely suited to support a rigorous program in applied behavior analysis.

The track is accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International Accreditation Board and offers a Behavior Analyst Certification Board Verified Course Sequence, so that students who have completed our M.A. degree are qualified and well prepared to sit for the BCBA certification examination.

Application Requirements:

The dimensions considered by the Application Committee include:

(a) GPA reflected on unofficial transcripts,

(b) Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV),

(c) Three letters of recommendation (preferably including academic as well as work-related references),

(d) A Statement of Purpose, and

(e) Other optional information (e.g., writing sample).

The resume or CV should reflect relevant coursework and work experience for a Master’s in behavior analysis. The statement of purpose should not exceed two pages and it should highlight the student’s qualifications and experiences, motivation for graduate school, and career goals. This preparation guide should be helpful in developing the statement of purpose. Applicants may choose to include a writing sample; relevant examples include a research article summary, a research article such as an Honors thesis, or a literature review.

The GRE General Test is not required and will not be considered as part of anyone’s application to the ABA M.A. program. There is no mechanism allowing an applicant to provide these scores as they will not be accepted in the application process.

Interviews for practicum placements may be conducted virtually if applicants cannot visit UMBC, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Shafer Center, or Verbal Beginnings facilities. The decisions of the committee take into account the applicant pool in combination with an applicant’s fit to available faculty members.

The application deadline is January 1.


A Region of Opportunity

Just 15 minutes away from downtown Baltimore and 30 minutes from the Washington beltway, UMBC offers easy access to the region’s resources by car or by public transportation.

Students find it easy to access classes, obtain practical experience and participate in opportunities at other schools in the University System of Maryland. Nearby national research centers, libraries and museums are also a resource for scholarly activity.