University of North Texas: Master of Science in Behaviour Analysis

Article excerpt

In 1989, the University of North Texas was authorized by the Texas Coordinating Board of Higher Education to offer a master of science degree in behavior analysis. In 1990, the degree program appeared for the first time in the UNT Graduate Catalog. Due to the wide variety of career applications within behavior analysis, the program was designed to produce behavior analysts who could rise to whatever circumstance, opportunity, or challenge they faced--specifically, to perform at a high professional level in any of a variety of employment settings and/or to enter into doctoral programs with a thorough background in behavior analysis. In the paragraphs below, we briefly describe the curriculum, the enrollment history, the faculty, student involvement, and the current status of the program in the context of the department. Perhaps of greatest importance to most readers is "what do UNT graduates do after receiving their master's degrees?" Because our graduates can best answer that question, we asked a few of them, who represent the broad spectrum of activities and positions that characterize UNT graduates. Their answers are in the text boxes in the margins of this paper.

Behavior analysis covers a large body of knowledge and a broad range of activities. The UNT program is fortunate in having an entire curriculum devoted to behavior analysis, as well as a faculty willing to accomplish the program's goal of preparing its students for interesting, remunerative, and fulfilling lifelong careers in behavior analysis. Toward that end, the program includes in-depth coursework in the principles, methods, techniques, theory, and philosophy of behavior analysis and it provides supervised experience in several areas of application and research.

Students choose one of two concentrations: the applied concentration is for students who plan to seek employment upon obtaining the Master's Degree and the General/Research concentration is for students who plan to pursue a doctorate upon completion of the master's degree. The concentrations share 7 core courses that cover behavioral principles, surveys of experimental analysis and applied behavior analysis literatures, research methods, theory and philosophy, and quantitative methods. Students in the applied concentration go on to take three required courses in applications and have several additional applied electives to choose from, including a 2-course sequence in OBM and a 3course sequence in autism. General/research students take one required course beyond the core, one or two semesters of research problems, and one or two electives. Electives in both concentrations may be behavior analysis courses or courses in other departments. Computer science, business administration, psychology and biology courses, as well as seminar courses in behavior analysis have been chosen as electives. Applied students have a total of 3 faculty- supervised practica in at least two different applied fields and an internship that is faculty-approved and supervised by behavior analysts in the field. All students complete a data -based thesis, usually experimental in nature. The course requirements and course descriptions may be found on the department web page at www.scs.unt.edu/depts/behv

UNT's master's degree program was the first graduate program to be accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis (1993) and the first to be re-accredited (1998). Four of its faculty members are board certified behavior analysts (BCBA). Graduates of the master's program applied concentration will have met the eligibility requirements published by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board for taking the national examination.

Enrollment History

Prior to approval of the master's degree program, four graduate courses in behavior analysis had been offered each year between 1984 and 1989. Several students were enrolled during that period in an interdisciplinary master's degree program offered by the Graduate School. …