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MS in Psychology, Behavior Analysis

Southeast Georgia’s ONLY psychology master’s program in behavior analysis!

Are you interested in why people behave the way they do?

As a behavior analyst, you’ll help children, adults, families and businesses diagnose behavioral issues and guide them to improve. More than that, you’ll join a rapidly growing and rewarding career path. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, behavior analysis positions will grow by 23% — almost four times the national average — between now and 2030.

And the demand for behavior analysts is highest in five states — California, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, and Georgia.

Are you ready to join them?

Behavior Analysis Fast Facts

Degree: Master of Science in Psychology, concentration in Behavior Analysis

Format: In Person on the Armstrong campus

Credit Hours: 31 Hours

Completion Time: Five semesters (Fall admission only)

Admission Deadline: Feb 15, 2022

Our MS in Psychology, Behavior Analysis Degree

Georgia Southern University’s psychology master’s degree with a concentration in behavior analysis is a 31-hour program on the Armstrong Campus in historic Savannah, Georgia — the hostess city of the South.

VCS program verified course sequences ABAI Association for behavior analysis international

Our behavior analysis master’s program will give you a deep understanding of the basic, applied and philosophical roots of behavior analysis. Instead of focusing on one area, our master’s degree offers core training in behavior analysis and offers students the opportunity to take additional coursework in specific applications of the science.

You can also take additional elective courses in…

  • Independent Research – make yourself more marketable for doctoral-level training in behavior analysis.
  • Supervised Practicum – get valuable practicum hours toward your professional certification in behavior analysis.

Psychology Master’s Program Courses in Behavior Analysis

In the behavior analysis master’s degree program at Georgia Southern, students get a broad range of study across the philosophical and applied aspects of behavioral psychology. 

  • Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis.
    The first course in the behavior analysis masters’ sequence. This course introduces students to the foundational concepts and principles of behavior analysis as they apply to both human and non-human organisms.
  • Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis LAB.
    The laboratory course associated with PSYC 6400. This course extends the concepts and principles learned during the lecture, and allows students to apply and observe these concepts and principles with non-human organisms.
  • Behaviorism as a Philosophy of Science.
    This course will build on the students’ conceptual understanding of behavior analysis, and will introduce the philosophical underpinning of behavior analysis. While a variety of philosophical viewpoints will be shared, emphasis will be placed on Skinner’s philosophy of radical behaviorism.
  • Seminar in Behavior Analysis Research.
    This class will focus on the advanced applications and study of behavior analysis to a variety of areas. The topics and themes of the course will rotate based on faculty expertise.
  • Ethics for the Behavior Analyst.
    This class introduces students to ethical principles in the field of behavior analysis, as well as the compliance disciplinary systems involved in the professional practice of behavior analysis.
  • Assessment and Treatment of Challenging Behavior.
    This course involves a variety of methods for assessing the variables responsible for and maintaining disruptive behaviors. Students will learn the wide range of assessment techniques including direct, indirect, and experimental functional behavior assessment. Students will learn and appropriately select a variety of methods for decreasing challenging behaviors, while building socially valid alternative behaviors.
  • Establishing and Strengthening Behavior.
    This course will teach students how to assess current levels of a variety of social, academic, and functional skills for learners of all kinds. Based on assessment results, students will learn to select and apply a variety of techniques to establish and strengthen new behaviors.
  • Measurement in Behavior Analysis.
    This course focuses on precisely defining, measuring, and graphing behavioral data. Students will learn how to quantify behaviors and behavioral changes in a variety of methods, with an emphasis on a natural science approach to measuring behaviors.
  • Research Methods in Applied Behavior Analysis.
    This course builds on the material covered in PSYC 6410 and introduces research methods commonly used in behavior analysis research and practice. Students will learn how to conduct behavioral research using inductive and deductive research methods. A strong emphasis is placed on single-case design research methodologies.
  • Instructional Design.
    This course introduces students to instructional design principles. Students will learn how to analyze instructional content, select appropriate teaching, practice, and testing stimuli, as well as sequence their instruction in a way to promote generativity.
  • Designing, Implementing, and Supervising Behavioral Programs.
    This course will combine the information learned in previous courses. Students will learn how to write behavioral programs, train staff to implement the programs, as well as methods for ethical and kind supervision.
  • Independent Research in Behavior Analysis.
    This course allows students the opportunity to engage in and conduct behavior analytic research. Instructor approval is required for this course.
  • Practicum in Behavior Analysis.
    This course provides students with the opportunity to engage in the applied practice of behavior analysis under the supervision of trained behavior analysts. Instructor approval is required for this course. Graduate students will learn how to apply behavior analytic principles to a variety of situations and populations. Students will get explicit practice and feedback on implementing and supervising behavioral programs.
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Sea Turtle Project – Applied animal behavior analysis

What Can You Do With a Master’s in Psychology, Behavior Analysis?

According to the Behavioral Analyst Certification Board, certified behavior analysts have a base salary of $75,000 per year. And from 2010 to 2020, demand for certified behavior analysts grew by 4,000%! 

$75,000

base salary

Behavior Analysis Areas of Practice

  • Education and schooling
  • Assessment and treatment of severe destructive behavior
  • Analysis of industrial/organizational systems and processes
  • Animal training and welfare
  • Early-intensive behavioral interventions
  • Instructional design and curriculum development

Job titles include:

  • Behavior Analyst
  • ABA/Behavioral Assistant
  • Behavior Interventionist 
  • BCBA Clinical Supervisor
  • Behavior Clinician 

Behavior analysts work in:

  • Hospitals
  • Schools 
  • Nonprofits
  • Mental Health Centers 
  • Government Agencies

 Career environments include:

  • School settings working on academic and social behavior
  • Assessment and treatment of problem behavior
  • Consultants in industrial/organization settings
  • Applied animal behavior analysis
  • Residential settings for individuals with disabilities
  • Clinic-based settings for students with and without disabilities
  • Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) for students with autism
  • Instructional design and curriculum development

Admissions Requirements

New students in the MS in Psychology, Behavior Analysis are admitted to the program in the Fall semester only. The program is limited to 15 new students.

To apply, each applicant must have:

  • Completed requirements for the bachelor’s degree in a college accredited by the proper regional accrediting associations.
  • Taken Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Special Education, Introduction to Behavior Analysis, or a course in a similar discipline.
  • A 3.0 (4.0 scale) cumulative grade point average or higher on undergraduate work.
  • Minimum Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores of 147 on the Verbal section and 146 on the Quantitative section for applicants who took the exam after July 31, 2011.

Each applicant must submit:

  • A personal statement that includes a description of career goals, reasons for applying for graduate study at Georgia Southern University, a list of academic achievements, non-academic achievements, relevant work experience, a self-evaluation of maturity level and character. We strongly encourage students to obtain applied clinical or research experience as an undergraduate.
  • Recommendations from three individuals who can speak of the applicant’s undergraduate academic performance, potential for graduate study, and maturity level and character. At least one letter must be from a faculty member.

Behavior Analysis Degree Program Assessment

At the end of their program, students will take an exit exam that is an independently created mock-BCBA exam. The specific exam has its own metrics to account for student pass rates for the actual BCBA exam. The mock exam assesses areas including their scientific knowledge, decision-making skills, ethical awareness, clinical skills, as well as cultural competence in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Gain Practical and Research Experience

Georgia Southern University stands as a proud educational partner of the Early Learning Academy. The Early Learning Academy is a laboratory school designed to foster educational and emotional development for children ranging from toddlers (13 months) through pre-kindergarten (48-60 months). The Early Learning Academy provides a superior learning environment for all children. 

The pre-school provides individualized supports for every child through low student to teacher ratios, enhanced classroom staff training and their play-based curriculum. The pre-school serves students with and without autism, to create an inclusive classroom. Additionally, the Early Learning Academy’s autism program provides 1:1 applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy to students under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Wertalik, psychology faculty and a board-certified behavior analyst.

The Early Learning Academy functions as a practicum site for our behavior analysis students, as well as a research site focused on evidence-based techniques for learners of all kinds. For more information about the Early Learning Academy please visit their website EarlyAcademy.org or email Dr. Wertalik at jwertalik@georgiasouthern.edu.

Have Questions? Contact Us!

Dr. Andrew Bulla
Program Director
Science Center, 201
Savannah, GA 31419
Phone: 912-344-2803
Email: abulla@georgiasouthern.edu

Last updated: 5/2/2022