M.Ed. in Special Education with a Concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Applied Behavior Analysis

The University of Louisville's M.Ed. in Special Education with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Applied Behavior Analysis degree program prepares students to meet the behavioral challenges and needs of the community by delivering a comprehensive curriculum in the philosophical, experimental, and applied domains that inform a natural science of behavior. Through this training, students learn to apply strategies and tactics grounded in the principles of the science to a variety of behaviors and contexts. Specific focus is placed on the assessment and treatment of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The Program’s mission is to produce behavior analysts knowledgeable of their science, effective in their practice, and ethical in their interactions committed to using the science of behavior to better lives.

The Program accomplishes this mission using a 5-semester cohort model. Each cohort is comprised of no more than 20 students admitted each fall. Courses are offered both online and face-to-face and are scheduled in the evenings after 5:00pm. All students adhere to a set schedule of coursework and are expected to commit to the Program fully while enrolled. The Program’s faculty are comprised of instructors, researchers, and practitioners with a wealth of experience in the science and practice of behavior analysis. The Program is rigorous and demands excellence from its students and strives to deliver the same.

Students enrolled in our 39-credit hour program are given the opportunity to earn the degree, coursework, and experience standards required to sit for their Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification examinations after graduation. Additionally, graduates from the Program also are provided with the opportunity to meet all of the requirements necessary to become licensed as a behavior analyst in the state of Kentucky.

Below is a video about some of the great work being done at one of the program's primary practicum sites, the University of Louisville Autism Center. The parent interviewee agreed to share her experiences with applied behavior analysis therapy by her child's former case manager, Dr. Erick Dubuque, after services with the UofL Autism Center were terminated.

Value Statement

The following six guidelines embody the values and related behaviors the Program promotes to its students and faculty.

  1. Be excellent, diligent, and inquisitive in your studies.
  2. Be involved, curious, and enthusiastic about your education.
  3. Be respectful, cooperative, and helpful towards your colleagues.
  4. Be responsible, tenacious, and creative when applying your science.
  5. Be sincere, empathic, and patient with your clients.
  6. Be honest, reliable, and ethical in all your interactions.

The UofL Special Education Department offers a variety of program options to students interested in pursuing their Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential. Individuals interested in becoming BCBA certified, must first meet certain degree, coursework, and experience requirements to qualify to sit for their certification exams. More information about these requirements can be found on the BACB website. Below is a comparison table that shows how the different program options help students fulfill these three requirements for BCBA certification.

Degree / CertificateDegreeCourseworkExperienceContact Person
M.Ed. in Special Education with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Applied Behavior AnalysisYesYesYesDr. Erick Dubuque
M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership with a concentration in Autism Spectrum DisorderYesYesNoDr. Monica Delano
Online Graduate Certificate in Autism and Applied Behavior AnalysisNoYesNoDr. Monica Delano

M.Ed. in Special Education with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Applied Behavior Analysis

If you are interested in becoming certified as a BCBA and pursuing a career as a behavior analyst then our M.Ed. in Special Education with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Applied Behavior Analysis program may be the right fit for you. This 5-semester non-thesis program will provide you with the opportunity to meet all of the degree, coursework, and experience requirements necessary to sit for your BCBA certification examination immediately after graduating. Students enrolled in our program are allowed to accumulate their experience hours under the BACB’s Intensive Practicum experience category. This means you are able to accumulate your supervised experience hours in half of the time. For qualified students, the program allows paid employees to accumulate supervised experience hours under the Intensive Practicum experience category while working at one of our practicum community sites. This arrangement is dependent upon Program Director and site approval. For more information about this program please contact the Program Director, Dr. Erick Dubuque.

M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder

If you are a teacher interested in increasing your Rank and becoming certified as a BCBA then our M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder program may be the right fit for you. This program will allow you to meet your Rank requirements and complete the degree and coursework requirements necessary to sit for your BCBA certification examination. Students enrolled in this program will need to make their own arrangements to accumulate their supervised experience hours needed for the BCBA credential outside the university setting. Please contact the Program Director, Dr. Monica Delano, for more information.

Graduate Certificate in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis

If you are interested in becoming certified as a BCBA, already have a degree acceptable by the BACB, and plan to accumulate your supervised experience hours outside the university setting, then our Online Graduate Certificate in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis program may be the right fit for you. This fully online program will allow you to meet the coursework requirements necessary to sit for your BCBA certification. For more information about this program please contact the Program Director, Dr. Monica Delano.

Curriculum

Students admitted into the program adhere to a set schedule of didactic and practicum coursework that extends across 5 consecutive semesters. Students can choose to enroll in the courses online or face-to-face. Didactic coursework takes place in the evening after 5:00pm. Practical training occurs throughout the week during daytime hours. With the permission of the Program Director and the approved community site, qualified students may be allowed to accumulate experience hours under the Intensive Practicum experience category at their places of employment. Detailed requirements for completing this degree are provided in the Graduate Catalog.

Fall (Semester 1)
EDSP 644: Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)
EDSP 570: Autism: Introduction and Understanding (3 credits)
EDSP 653: Practicum in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)

Spring (Semester 2)
EDSP 669: Single Subject Research Designs (3 credits)
EDSP 671: Autism: Strategies and Techniques (3 credits)
EDSP 653: Practicum in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)

Summer (Semester 3)
EDSP 650: Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)
EDSP 653: Practicum in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)

Fall (Semester 4)
EDSP 546: Behavior Analytic Approach to Communication (3 credits)
EDSP 654: Radical Behaviorism (3 credits)
EDSP 653: Practicum in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)

Spring (Semester 5)
EDSP 673: Research Seminar in Autism Spectrum Disorder (3 credits)
EDSP 651: Professional and Ethical Practice of Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)

*The program schedule is subject to change.

Admission to this program does not require teacher certification or a specific undergraduate degree.

Priority application deadline: June 15th for Fall admission.
The program does not consider applicants for the spring semester. The program does not consider applicants for the spring semester. Please contact the Director of Graduate Student Services for the College of Education and Human Development, Betty Hampton, at betty.hampton @ louisville.edu if you wish to apply after the priority application deadline for the fall semester.

Apply Now

The Program is interested in admitting hardworking students committed to learning the science and practice of behavior analysis. Students are expected to commit to the program full-time. The steps involved in the application process are outlined below:

  1. Complete the online graduate application for admission.
  2. Submit official transcripts to: School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies | University of Louisville | Louisville, KY 40292. Electronic transcripts should be sent to: gradadm@louisville.edu
    • Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or better and (if applicable) a graduate GPA of 3.0 or better.
    • Applicants who have attended a college or university outside the United States are also required to submit an evaluation of their transcript through World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE).
      Please note that transcript evaluations can sometimes take several weeks.
  3. Submit GRE scores using the code 1838.
  4. Upload a personal statement to your on-line graduate application.
    • The personal statement is the applicant's opportunity to demonstrate his/her writing ability as well as provide a personal introduction to the admissions screening committee.
    • The personal statement should be no more than 500 words, and should be double spaced and word-processed. Applicants are encouraged to proofread their writing, and to submit the best work possible.
  5. Request two professional references. Applicants should indicate the e-mail addresses of two professional references in the appropriate section of the on-line Graduate application. Recommendation letter requests are automatically sent to the recommenders upon submission of the on-line application. (Applicants may check their application account to send reminders and check the status of their recommendation requests.) Adequate time should be given to recommenders to respond to the request by the application deadline!
  6. Upload your signed Acceptable Use of Technology and Code of Ethics statement to your on-line graduate application.
  7. Applicants whose first language in not English, and who did not earn a degree from an accredited institution in the U.S., must provide evidence of their English proficiency as part of the application process. For more information about the TOEFL, please visit www.ets.org. Test scores are valid for two calendar years.

If you have questions about applying to the program, please contact the Program's Director, Dr. Erick Dubuque, via email at erick.dubuque@louisville.edu

The Program's faculty are comprised of instructors, researchers, and practitioners with a wealth of experience in the science and practice of behavior analysis.

Erick Dubuque, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA
Erick Dubuque is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Special Education at the University of Louisville. Dr. Dubuque. Prior to his work at the University of Louisville, Dr. Dubuque served as an Assistant Professor and Program Director for Spalding University's M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis Program and as the Accreditation Administrator for the Association for Behavior Analysis International's (ABAI) Accreditation Board. Dr. Dubuque is a former U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer (Kenya) and is a former President of the Kentucky Association for Behavior Analysis. As an active member of the behavior analytic community, Dr. Dubuque is a member of the Kentucky Applied Behavior Analyst Licensing Board and serves as the Director of the University of Louisville M.Ed. in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Applied Behavior Analysis Program. He is past Academic Coordinator for the Jordan University of Science and Technology Master's Degree Program in Applied Behavior Health Analysis, the first graduate degree program in behavior analysis founded in the Middle East. Dr. Dubuque's scholarly interests extend across the philosophical, experimental, applied, and professional domains in behavior science. A general theme across all of his interests is the understanding of technology and complex human behaviors, especially as they relate to the topics of education and social justice. Dr. Dubuque is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctor (BCBA-D) and Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA) in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Monica Delano, Ph.D.
Monica Delano, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Louisville's College of Education and Human Development. She holds a master's degree in Special Education from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a doctorate in Special Education from the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on academic and social supports for individuals with autism. Her work has appeared in outlets such as the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Delano serves as a member of the editorial board of Research and Practice in Severe Disabilities. She serves as Program Director of the M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder serves as Coordinator of the Master's degree programs in moderate and severe disabilities.

Terry Scott, Ph.D.
Terrance M. Scott is a Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville. Having received his Ph.D. in Special Education at the University of Oregon in 1994 (with an emphasis on emotional and behaviors) he has previously been a faculty member at the Universities of Kentucky, Florida, and Oregon. He has over 80 publications on a variety of issues in the areas of behavioral disorders and behavioral support systems and has conducted over 900 presentations and training activities throughout the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway. Dr. Scott has successfully competed for more than $13 million in external grant funding. In 2004 he received the Distinguished Early Career Award from the Research Division of the International Council for Exceptional Children and in 2012 he received the Outstanding National Leadership Award from the Council for Children with Behavior Disorders and was elected President of this organization in 2013. As a former counselor and teacher of students with seriously challenging behaviors, his research interests focus on school-wide prevention systems, the role of instructional variables in managing student behavior, functional behavior assessment/intervention, and scientific research in education.

What is the job outlook for a career as a behavior analyst?

The job outlook for behavior analysts is fantastic. There is a large demand for behavior analysts and too few of us to fill the need. All of our past graduates have accepted employment offers in the field while still enrolled in the program. For more information, please see a recent Workforce-Demand Report published by the BACB.

What is the annual average salary for a behavior analyst?

Behavior analysts make very competitive salaries. According to Payscale.com and Indeed.com, the annual average salary for a master's level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is between $58,000 and $68,000.

Do I need a specific undergraduate degree to apply to the Program?

No, the training offered in the program is self-contained and does not require a specific bachelors degree. However, experience working or being around developmentally disabled populations is recommended prior to starting as the vast majority of behavior analysts work with these populations after graduating.

How long is the program?

Our non-thesis program is 21-months long and runs across 5-consecutive semesters, including summer. During the first four semesters, students are required to take two didactic and one practicum course during the Fall and Spring semesters. During the summer semester, students are required to take one didactic and one practicum course. During the final semester, students are required to take 2 didactic courses and no practicum.

How much does it cost to complete the program?

The University's tuition rates can be found at the Office of Admissions website. Historically, the university has been able to offer graduate assistantships to some students enrolled in the program.

Are students satisfied with the program?

The program is well-respected and received by our students. On our last exit survey, the program scored a 5 out of 5 average rating from graduating students evaluating the program's overall quality.

When should I apply?

The program admits a cohort of 20 students or less every Fall. Priority applications are due June 15th, although late applications may be accepted.

Am I allowed to accumulate my supervised experience hours with my employer?

Possibly, if your employer is a community practicum partner and you have permission from both the Program Director and the community site, you may be allowed to accumulate supervised experience hours at your place of employment. Students accumulating hours within our practicum system do so under the BACB's Intensive Practicum experience category. This means accumulated hours are worth twice as much as hours earned under the BACB's Supervised Independent Fieldwork experience category. Please visit the BACB website for more information about the BACB experience standards.

Am I allowed to work full-time while enrolled in the program?

Full-time employment is permissible for students accumulating their supervised experience hours at an approved community site as long as they are maintaining their grades. Students accumulating their supervised experience hours in other locations should not plan on working full-time, although part-time work may be acceptable as long as it does not interfere with their grades.

Can I schedule a meeting to discuss the program?

Yes, we would love to speak with you further about the program and more generally about a career in behavior analysis. During our meeting, we can discuss your career goals and determine whether the program is a good fit. If you wish to setup a face-to-face or phone meeting please contact the Program Director, Erick Dubuque, at erick.dubuque@louisville.edu. When you reach out, please include some dates and times you are potentially available to meet.

Financial Aid

In addition to the financial aid opportunities offered by the University, the College of Education & Human Development also has information about financial aid.

Other financial aid opportunities available include graduate assistantships and other employment opportunities.

Supervising and Resource Teachers

In recognition of valuable service to the preparation of teachers and the need for all teachers to have continual professional growth, a supervising teacher or a resource teacher for teacher interns may, with prior approval of the course-offering institution, take a maximum of six (6) credit hours per term at any public postsecondary institution and pay no tuition. The postsecondary institution shall waive the tuition up to a maximum of six (6) credit hours.

To apply, you must complete the Tuition Waiver Certification for Supervising and Resource Teachers Application [PDF]. It should be completed by the supervising teacher, certified by their principal, and returned to our office. Return the form to the Student Financial Aid Office at U of L, attention: Wesley Partin.

Eligibility: 6 credit hours of tuition benefits for each semester served as a full responsibility supervising or resource teacher, or 3 credit hours of tuition benefits for each semester served as a shared supervising or resource teacher. Students may exercise the tuition waiver option up to twelve months following the assignment. Tuition benefits are paid directly to the University of Louisville.

Practica

The Program's structured practical training system offers students the opportunity to practice the skills learned in the classroom across a variety of populations and settings. Students dedicate around 15 hours per week to their practicum coursework across four of their five consecutive semesters. Students are assigned to community sites where they gain a wealth of experience working with a variety of populations in schools, clinics, and hospitals alongside talented BCBA professionals. The program is proud to have partnerships with the following community providers.

With the permission of the Program Director and the approved community site, qualified students may be allowed to accumulate experience hours under the Intensive Practicum experience category at their places of employment.

A recent program graduate from the University of Louisville's Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis Program, Emma Brink, M.Ed., BCBA, describes the importance of her work as a behavior analyst. After graduating from the program, Emma was hired by Clinical Behavior Analysis, a program practicum site and a local multi-speciality group offering quality behavior analysis and therapy services in the community.