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

Hello! We recently held an open house to describe and detail our M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis. The program director, Dr. John Borrero, gave a brief presentation, which was followed by a lively Q&A. In case you or any future behavior analysts you know missed it, here is a link to a recording of that event:


Click here to see the slides from the above presentation. Click here to see a poster with details regarding this program.

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 of Behavior Analysis, International 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 grades (GPA), three letters of recommendation (preferably including academic as well as work-related references), work experience related to applied behavior analysis, self-statements (including the applicant’s stated reasons for an interest in applied behavior analysis at UMBC, in response to items on the supplemental application) and other information presented by the applicant in the application or during interviews. 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 may be conducted virtually if applicants cannot visit UMBC or the KKI facilities. The decisions of the committee also take into account the applicant pool in combination with an applicant’s fit to available faculty members.

Applicants with questions about the academic and clinical aspects of the ABA M.A. program should begin by sending an email message to the Director. Potential applicants should provide some information both about their educational background (an attached unofficial copy of the applicant’s transcript can be helpful) and about the nature of their interest in a career in applied behavior analysis (including relevant work experience). Inquiries should also include phone contact information (numbers and best times to call) in case a discussion is more appropriate than an email response.

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.