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Graduate Catalog 2016/2017

Applied Behavior Analysis (APP)

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Master of Science (M.S.)
CIP Code: 42.9999
College of Behavioral and Community Sciences (BC)
Total Minimum Program Hours Required (Post Bachelor's Degree): 44

Contact Information:
College of Behavioral and Community Sciences
Child and Family Studies Department (CFS)
13301 Bruce B. Downs Blvd MHC2113A
Tampa FL  33612

Program Director or Coordinator:
Raymond Miltenberger
Phone: 813-974-5079


Faculty Search: Behavioral and Community Sciences Faculty List

Program Information

The master's degree program in applied behavior analysis (ABA) is designed to meet growing needs in Florida and nationally for practitioners who can work effectively in the fields of developmental disabilities, autism, education, child protective services, child behavior disorders, rehabilitation, mental health, and business and technology. ABA provides an approach for developing, implementing, and evaluating practical strategies to produce changes in socially significant behaviors of individuals in the context of community settings. Three important features characterize the scientific basis upon which ABA is built: a) it focuses upon objectively measurable behavior of individuals; b) it studies environmental influences upon the targeted behaviors; and c) it places a premium upon single-subject research designs to analyze the effects of different environmental variables.

The 44-credit-hour master's degree in ABA is in the department of Child and Family Studies in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences. Students demonstrate knowledge of behavioral principles and procedures in courses that constitute a core curriculum, demonstrate applied behavior analysis skills through supervised practicum experiences, and complete a data based thesis. The master's degree program is designed to prepare students to meet the standards to be Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). It will prepare them for employment in a variety of fields where there are growing demands for competent professionals with expertise in applied behavior analysis.

The systematic analysis and application of behavioral principles is an extensive repertoire of professional behaviors. In the USF ABA program, these skills are acquired as students move through the sequenced curriculum of coursework and practicum experiences. The curriculum requires application of behavior analytic principles, with direct supervision by faculty and BCBA supervisors. Students participate in practicum training in community agencies under the supervision of BCBAs. In addition to the 10-25 hours of behavior analysis practice they complete in their practicum sites each week, students also participate in practicum seminars each semester. In these seminars, the Practicum Coordinator discusses important practice issues and facilitates student discussion of their applied work. The supervision of the students’ research theses rests in the hands of designated core faculty members (i.e., “major professors”). Major Professors serve as mentors for the students by closely supervising their research and their progress through the program. Therefore, as students are mentored by their major professors during the program, a meaningful major professor-student relationship is essential.

Accreditation Information:

Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools.


Admissions Information

Admission Deadlines

There is an established University deadline for the submission of admission application materials. Programs may have earlier deadlines than the University deadline. The deadlines reflected below are the earliest of the two deadlines. Graduate Programs may continue to accept and process applications after the published deadline if space exists within the program. Check with the Program for availability.

Application Deadline (domestic application)

Fall: February 15
Spring: ---
Summer: ---

International Students

Foreign applicants who are outside the U.S. are required to apply for a visa. Depending on the country of origin, this may take a few months. So the deadlines for these international applicants may be earlier than the Program deadline and these applicants must apply prior to both deadlines. They are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible. Foreign applicants who are in the U.S. and are currently on a visa may use the domestic application deadline dates. In addition to meeting the published application deadline for the Program of interest, all immigration documents should be submitted as soon as possible, but must be on file at USF no later than the following processing deadlines:

Fall: January 15
Spring: ---
Summer: ---

Admission Requirements

You must comply with general University policies and meet general University Admission requirements in addition to those listed below.

Must meet University requirements (see Graduate Admissions) as well as requirements listed below.

Program Admission Requirements

  • Three letters of reference from professors and/or employers who know the applicant well
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae
  • One-page narrative describing the applicants experiences, training, and interest in Applied Behavior Analysis and in the Master's Program in Applied Behavior Analysis at USF.
  • GRE Scores on the general subtests

Specific Procedures
The primary assumption underlying admission to the M.A. program is that every student accepted is capable (a) of successfully completing his or her respective program and (b) of performing competently in the field as an Applied Behavior Analyst. Applicants are selected based on their potential to benefit from the program and their potential to contribute both to the Program and the field of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Within the admissions process, a culturally diverse student body is actively recruited, and applicants of academic and professional promise are not systematically excluded on the basis of race, ethnic origin, gender, age, religion, lifestyle, sexual orientation, or physical handicap. The admissions process is selective, but flexible--all pertinent data submitted for consideration will be evaluated as an entire package. The evaluation process, however, does involve both academic and interpersonal considerations. The profession of Applied Behavior Analysis requires that the practitioner possess personal characteristics as well as academic and technical competencies, and the admissions process attempts to evaluate both these areas.

Admission to the program is based on past academic work; coursework in ABA, a CV outlining relevant work, volunteer, and extracurricular experience in applied behavior analysis; letters of recommendation; and a statement of ABA interests, and professional goals. Students may apply, after conferral or anticipated conferral of their Bachelor's degree. Applications should be submitted by February 15 to be considered for application in the following fall term. Late applications will be considered if space in the program is available.

For further Admissions Information, please visit Graduate Admissions.

A decision about each applicant's candidacy is made by the Program Director based on the strength of the applicants record and his/her:

  • Academic record and experiences as an undergraduate
  • Career goals and their compatibility with those of the program
  • Potential for successful completion of the program
  • Sensitivity to the needs of potential client populations
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication skills, both oral and written
NOTE: The Program Director reserves the right to contact all references identified by the candidate.

Admissions Status: Apply


Program Degree Requirements

Total Minimum Program Hours: 44 hours

This is a cohort model program with students completing Program in a face-to-face format on-campus. All courses must be earned with a grade of “B-“ or better.

Core requirement 24 hours
EDF 6215 (3) ABA Basic Principles
EDF 6217 (3) Behavior Theory
EDG 6931 (3) Observational Methods and Functional Assessment
EDG 6931 (3) Ethics in ABA
MHS 6100 (3) ABA in Complex Community Environments
PSY 6217 (3) Single-Subject Design
MHS 6xxx (3) Exp. Analysis of Behavior
MHS 6xxx (3) Behavior Analysis and Developmental Disabilities

Comprehensive Exam
The student’s thesis proposal will constitute the comprehensive exam.

Thesis and Practicum 20 hours (Offered face-to-face)
Practicum Seminar (10 hours)
MHS 6940 (2-4) Practicum in Behavior Analysis in Community Settings

Thesis (10 hours)
MHS 6971 (2-6) Thesis in Applied Behavior Analysis

Course Sequence
Below is the program of study for the Applied Behavior Analysis program.

Fall semesteryear 1
EDF 6215 (3) ABA Basic Principles
EDG 6931 (3) Observational Methods and Functional Assessment
PSY 6217 (3) Single-Subject Design
MHS 6940 (2) ABA Practicum

Spring semesteryear 1
EDF 6217 (3) Behavior Theory
EDG 6931 (3) Ethics in ABA
MHS 6100 (3) ABA in Complex Community Environments
MHS 6940 (2) ABA Practicum

Summeryear 1
MHS 6940 (2) ABA Practicum
MHS 6971 (2) Thesis

Fall semesteryear 2
MHS 6xxx(3) Exp. Analysis of Behavior
MHS 6xxx (3) Behavior Analysis and Developmental Disabilities
MHS 6940 (2) ABA Practicum
MHS 6971 (4) Thesis

Spring semesteryear 2
MHS 6940 (2) ABA Practicum
MHS 6971 (4) Thesis

College Degree Requirements

Refer to the College Section of theGraduate Catalog for College requirements and information.


USF Degree Requirements

See USF Degree Requirements —


Financial Assistance

Financial Aid

Fellowships & Scholarships

Graduate Assistantships


Registration Process

First, contact your graduate program advisor for guidance courses to register for. Obtain any electronic course permit if necessary. Register for the new student orientation online at Then go to the link to OASIS, USF's on-line registration system to register for your classes. Follow the directions given on-line.

To access online course materials, students must have a USF NetID (e-mail account). Please visit: to obtain your NetID.

New students, including those studying online, may obtain a USFCard. Please visit: to obtain your USFCard.

Tuition and fees: Fees are determined by the level of the course. Please visit Cash Accounting, Controller's Office, for information on tuition and fees.


Graduate Course Information

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