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Online Behavior Analysis Graduate Program                                        

     The Department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas announces an online graduate-level program course sequence in Behavior Analysis that meets the BACB’s coursework eligibility requirements.   

     The KU Department of Applied Behavioral Science is one of the top 10 behavior analytic graduate programs based on research rankings (see Dixon, Reed, Smith, Belisle, & Jackson, 2015) and second-most research-productivity in applied behavior analysis (see Wilder, Lipschultz, Kelley, Rey, & Enderli, 2015). KU ABS pioneered translating basic behavioral research into evidence-based practices and, in the process, founded the field’s leading journal, the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

The Online Program

     The Department will offer six graduate-level courses that, when successfully passed by the student, will fulfill the educational requirements to sit for the BACB certification examination. Each course earns three (3) graduate credits and meets the required 45 contact hours established by the BACB. The six courses are:

ABSC 770. Within Subjects Research Methodology and Direct Observation

ABSC 771. Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science

ABSC 850. Principles of Behavior Analysis

ABSC 851. Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Applied Behavioral Science

ABSC 852. Behavior Analysis in Developmental Disabilities

ABSC 853. Functional Behavioral Assessment

 (Course descriptions can be found in Appendix A of this document. An example of a program schedule can be found in Appendix B)

    The courses involve the philosophy, science, and practice of behavior analysis. Students will have in-depth study of the principles of behavior and how those principles relate to the analysis of human behavior in different contexts, such as health, education, developmental disabilities, business, and all areas of human endeavors.

How the Online Program Is Offered

     The program can be completed in one calendar year, taking two courses per semester.

     The courses are all online. They incorporate both synchronous and asynchronous delivery. Students can complete much of the coursework at their own pace – quizzes, readings, viewing recorded lectures, and discussing course content with fellow students whenever and wherever they want. Students will also be required to be in a virtual classroom (joining via Internet from their homes or other off-campus locations) for the course once weekly. These weekly meetings provide lively and real-time discussions of course material and develop important teacher-student connections throughout the program. Generally, each semester is broken into 8 weeks or "units" of study. The professors have live classroom discussions with the students during the weekly class meetings. For each unit of material, students read the readings, listen/watch the vodcasts, participate in the online forums; participate in the weekly class meeting with the professor; and take online tests. There are some variations across the classes, but these components are fundamental to all. 


     To sit for the BACB certification examination, applicants must fulfill specific educational and supervisory requirements. The KU online program fulfills the educational requirements. Students will be responsible for arranging their supervision, with advice and support from KU faculty. During the program, KU faculty will intermittently meet with the students to review their supervision progress.

Program Eligibility

     The online BACB-approved course sequence is open to individuals who meet one of these two requirements:

  1. Have a Master’s degree (or higher) in an area of psychology (such as applied behavior analysis, child development, school psychology, etc.) or education (such as regular or special education); or
  2. Are enrolled in a Master’s or doctoral degree program in any of these areas;

A GPA of 3.0 or higher in the graduate program is preferred.

     Current KU graduate students will need instructor permission to enroll in courses.

     Applicants not currently enrolled in a KU degree program must submit the following:

  1. an official transcript from both the undergraduate and graduate institutions attended;
  2. personal statement describing their interest in the program; and
  3. two letters of reference.

     Applicants must submit their materials through our online application. Once at that page, applicants should select “Non-Degree Seeking” (under the “Application Intention” on page 1 of the application. On that page, select “Applied Behavioral Science – Non-Degree-Online,” and then complete the form.


     The graduate school tuition rate for this coming academic year is $667 per credit hour; thus, $2001 per 3-credit course.

More Information

     For more information, contact: Thomas Zane, Ph.D., BCBA, Director of Online Behavior Analysis Programs, email: tzane@ku.edu. Phone: 978.778.4888.

Appendix A – Course Descriptions

The required courses are:

ABSC 770. Within Subjects Research Methodology and Direct Observation. A graduate level introduction to the logic of experimentation, direct observation strategies, and research conducted using individual (e.g., single subject) and time series experimental designs.

ABSC 771. Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science. This introductory course promotes knowledge and skill in analyzing behavioral problems across a range of societal issues. Special consideration is given to designing interventions, implementing, managing, and supervising applied projects. Topics include the identification and selection of problems and target populations, analysis of problems and goals, designing measurement systems, developing interventions, and disseminating products from applied behavioral research.

ABSC 850. Principles of Behavior Analysis. An advanced graduate course on the basic principles of behavior, and related procedures for producing behavioral change, with both human and nonhuman subjects. The principles and procedures are presented as fundamental elements of behavior change.

ABSC 851. Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Applied Behavioral Science. The course covers ethical and legal issues in (a) the responsible conduct of basic, applied, and intervention research (e.g., informed consent and assent with typical and atypical populations; inclusion of underrepresented groups; bias, fraud, and plagiarism in data collection and reporting; conflict of interest; reporting misconduct; authorship) and (b) professional issues in teaching, research, and service (e.g., written and presented scientific communication; grant preparation; the journal review process; cultural competence; teaching; vita preparation). The course will also include instruction in the preparation of editorial reviews for manuscripts submitted for publication to in peer-reviewed journals, in partial fulfillment of the department's doctoral requirement for preparing editorial reviews.

ABSC 852. Behavior Analysis in Developmental Disabilities. A graduate seminar that includes an overview of the behavioral characteristics of various developmental disabilities and examination of empirically-supported behavioral approaches to the study and treatment of developmental disabilities. Topics will include classification and etiology, motivation, methods for developing appropriate skills, assessment and treatment of behavior disorders, staff training, and legal and ethical issues related to treatment.

ABSC 853. Functional Behavioral Assessment. The strategies, tactics, and ethics of functional assessment are presented in the larger context of behavioral assessment (e.g., nomothetic and idiographic approaches). Research articles relevant to indirect, descriptive, and experimental functional assessment approaches and assessment-based interventions are carefully reviewed to determine the appropriate conditions for each type of assessment and intervention.

Appendix B – Example of a program schedule by semester

KU Online ABA Program Example schedule




ABSC 850, Principles of 

     Behavior Analysis

ABSC 851, Ethical, Legal,

     and Professional Issues

     in Applied Behavioral 

    Science. 3 Hours

ABSC 770, Within 

     Subjects Research

     Methodology and Direct 


ABSC 771, Introduction to

      Applied Behavioral 


ABSC 852, Behavior 

     Analysis in 



ABSC 853, Functional 



ABS Undergraduate Recognition Ceremony

To rsvp for the ABS undergraduate recognition ceremony, please click here.
You MUST fill out this form in order to receive a personalized certificate from the department.

For your name to appear in the program, you must respond by Monday, May 1st at 8:00 a.m.

The ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 13th at 9:00 a.m. in the Kansas Union Ballroom.
It is intended for Fall 2016 graduates and candidates for Spring 2017 and Summer 2017 graduation.

Upcoming Events:
Questions about the Graduate Program?

If you have questions about our graduate program, please contact Dr. Edward Morris, Director of Graduate Studies, at ekm@ku.edu

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