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Updated July 6, 2020

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PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis with Specialization in Autism Intervention

  • Credits:
    48
    9 terms (full-time)
  • Degree:
    PhD

Program Description

The PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis with Specialization in Autism Intervention will prepare students to serve in leadership positions in private companies and public entities that provide ABA services to underserved populations. Coursework is designed to further develop students’ clinical skills and enhance their ability to conduct, evaluate, analyze, and apply research findings in their clinical settings.
 
The curriculum will have two primary points of emphasis. First, clinical leadership training will be designed to prepare students for leadership roles within human service organizations and within the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. The second focus involves advanced research and dissemination of applied behavior analysis. Additional coursework will ensure that students develop the supervisory and management skills necessary to succeed in high-level leadership positions. The proposed ABA doctoral program will be a three-year, 48-credit course of study that will include summer residencies during the first two years. The program will follow a distance-learning model during all other semesters. An applied dissertation will also be required.

Students are expected to enroll in 5-9 total credits per (fall and spring) term during the first two years of the program. During the third year, students are expected to enroll in the Dissertation Research course. In all subsequent semesters and until completion of all degree requirements, students enroll in a Dissertation Continuation course.

Learning Outcomes of the PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis at Cambridge College 

In the ABA Doctoral Program at Cambridge College, students will:

  • Analyze published research across a range of behavior analytic content, including evaluating the experimental methods used and interpreting the results
  • Synthesize published research on a particular topic and consider gaps in the research to develop research questions for their applied work and to articulate the impacts of these gaps on service delivery
  • Formulate systematic research studies using valid experimental designs to enable them to qualify for full membership in the ABAI and to present findings at regional and national ABA conferences
  • Develop experimental methods to address the research question in their applied dissertations
  • Evaluate published research addressing skill development and behavior reduction procedures for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and synthesize that research to create a taxonomy of empirically supported treatment procedures.
  • Create assessment procedures for evaluating treatments, conduct assessments, analyze the outcomes of those assessments, and synthesize the results of assessments to develop function-based treatment plans and instructional programs
  • Propose and adapt empirically supported staff training models and systems
  • Design and conduct trainings in advanced ABA content across a range of audiences (students, parents, stakeholders, etc.)
Upon graduation, eligible graduates may seek the BCBA-D designation from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Curriculum

This program combines summer residencies at Cambridge College’s Boston campus during the first two years with a distance learning model during the non-residency semesters.

Term 1 - Summer
Introduction to Doctoral Studies
PAB 700 1 credit(s)

This course presents the scope and sequence of the doctoral program and orients students to program expectations and focus.

Advanced Single Subject Research Designs in ABA
PAB 705 3 credit(s)

This course will feature a review of quantitative skills and methods required to produce scientific research. Single-subject design formats often used in behavior analytic research will be reviewed in detail. Single-subject designs will be compared and contrasted with group designs and issues of generality will be explored. Areas of study will include variables, reliability and validity, arranging experimental comparisons, interpreting experiments, analyzing behavioral data, and behavioral variability. The goals of the course are to provide students with the analytic tools necessary to become effective, critical consumers of research, as well as to produce their own research and supervise the research of other practitioners.

Communication and Dissemination of Advanced Principles of Behavior
PAB 710 3 credit(s)

This course will review a wide range of seminal literature on the application of principles of behavior. Students will demonstrate competency in describing concepts and principles of behavior analysis using technical terminology. Students will develop teaching programs using these principles and concepts, and present instruction in a variety of contexts and to a range of audiences. The ability to translate principles into practice and to disseminate the principles effectively will be core expectations of this course.

Term 2 - Fall
Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI)
PAB 715 3 credit(s)

Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) has been demonstrated to be the most efficacious treatment for young children with autism. The depth and breadth of the current EIBI literature is reviewed and analyzed. Variables that influence effectiveness of treatment will be reviewed including age, duration, intensity, and supervision of treatment. Methodological issues (e.g., outcome measures, experimental designs, etc.) will be assessed. Limitations to the existing research and areas for future research are also considered. Studies that examine non-behavioral and eclectic models will also be contrasted with behavioral approaches.

Topics in Advanced Research
PAB 720 3 credit(s)

Students will read and evaluate and critique key published studies that use a wide range of single-subject and group experimental designs. The focus will be on ensuring that students are fluent with seminal studies and their relation to current effective treatments and gaps in existing literature. As will most courses in this program, a direct relation between this research and the key topics of EIBI and severe challenging behavior will be made.

Term 3 - Spring
Evaluation and Treatment of Severe Behavior Disorders
PAB 725 3 credit(s)

In this course, students will learn about many of the advanced behavioral change systems and procedures that have been successfully used to treat severe and challenging problem behaviors. Assessment procedures will be reviewed with an emphasis on the use of assessment data to develop instructional procedures and strategies for reducing problematic behavior. There will be an emphasis on the application of procedures in complex environments (e.g., home, public schools, specialized schools, etc.) for individuals exhibiting severe problem behaviors.

Ethics in Applied Behavior Analysis
PAB 730 3 credit(s)

This course discusses ethics from two varying perspectives. First, the ethical challenges associated with Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention and the prevalence of non-empirically validated treatment interventions for individuals with ASD. Secondly, from the perspective of treating individuals with severe behavioral challenges, the use of aversives, physical, mechanical and chemical restraints will be discussed and debated.

Term 4 - Summer
Experimental Analysis of Behavior I
PAB 735 3 credit(s)

This course will focus on the experimental analysis of behavior with particular emphasis on the study of human behavior. Students will demonstrate a thorough understanding of basic principles of behavior (reinforcement, schedules of reinforcement, punishment, extinction, classical conditioning,) and how these principles were derived from basic research.

Dissertation Proposal Seminar I
PAB 785 3 credit(s)

Over 3 semesters, students will select a dissertation topic, conduct a literature review, submit a research prospectus, and submit a dissertation proposal.

The Application of Behavior Analysis Across the Life Span (3 credits): This course is designed to have candidates investigate and evaluate the breadth of application of ABA across the life span of the two target areas (Severe behavior disorders and EIBI). Underserved populations and challenges unique to each stage of human development will be discussed in the context of the literature in these areas, as well as the key gaps in the existing literature.

Term 5 - Fall
Organizational Behavior Management
PAB 745 3 credit(s)

This course will focus on the application of OBM principles as they relate to leading and managing a medium to large human service agency. Students will participate in projects related to the development implementation and ongoing monitoring of Operations and Clinical systems in actual human service agencies.

Experimental Analysis of Behavior II
PAB 780 3 credit(s)

Students will do an in-depth review, evaluation and critique of basic experimental (animal) research that relates to the two core areas of EIBI and severe challenging behavior. The ability to relate experimental research to the applied research and identify discrepancies, gaps and conceptual lineage of the studies underlying principles will be a key evaluation component for this course.

Dissertation Proposal Seminar II
PAB 786 3 credit(s)

Over 3 semesters, students will select a dissertation topic, conduct a literature review, submit a research prospectus, and submit a dissertation proposal.

The Application of Behavior Analysis Across the Life Span (3 credits): This course is designed to have candidates investigate and evaluate the breadth of application of ABA across the life span of the two target areas (Severe behavior disorders and EIBI). Underserved populations and challenges unique to each stage of human development will be discussed in the context of the literature in these areas, as well as the key gaps in the existing literature.

Term 6 - Spring
The Application of Behavior Analysis Across the Life Span
PAB 794 3 credit(s)

This course is designed to have candidates investigate and evaluate the breadth of application of ABA across the life span of the two target areas (Severe behavior disorders and EIBI). Underserved populations and challenges unique to each stage of human development will be discussed in the context of the literature in these areas, as well as the key gaps in the existing literature.

Behavior Analytic Perspective on Child Development
PAB 740 3 credit(s)

This course requires students to conduct an in-depth review of the theoretical basis of traditional theories of typical and atypical child development and from a behavior analytic perspective. Students will compare and contrast the behavior analytic perspective to traditional psychological and psychodynamic models of language, psycho-social skill development. Early language development models are analyzed and critiqued, using the above perspectives and in relation to typical the achievement of developmental milestones. Behavior analytic topics that will be studied in depth will include; 1) understanding the development of stimulus control and basic learning behavior in early development, 2) the establishment of functional, language and communication skills and 3) behavioral research on teaching complex social behavior.

Dissertation Proposal Seminar III
PAB 787 3 credit(s)

Over 3 semesters, students will select a dissertation topic, conduct a literature review, submit a research prospectus, and submit a dissertation proposal.

The Application of Behavior Analysis Across the Life Span (3 credits): This course is designed to have candidates investigate and evaluate the breadth of application of ABA across the life span of the two target areas (Severe behavior disorders and EIBI). Underserved populations and challenges unique to each stage of human development will be discussed in the context of the literature in these areas, as well as the key gaps in the existing literature.

Term 7 - Summer
Dissertation Research
PAB 795 3 credit(s)

Students will conduct applied research and write their dissertations under the supervision of their dissertation committee. (This 3-credit course is taken in the seventh term of the program.)

Term 8 - Fall
Dissertation Research (1 credit)
PAB 788 1 credit(s)

Students will conduct applied research and write their dissertations under the supervision of their dissertation committee. (This 1-credit course is taken in the eighth term of the program.)

Term 9 - Fall
Dissertation Completion & Defense
PAB 789 1 credit(s)

Students will submit and defend their dissertations.

Admissions

  • Admission Test:

    No standardized graduate school tests required for admission into non-licensure programs.

  • Admissions Office:
    1-800-829-4723
  • Application Form:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

Program Requirements

Candidates for this program require:

  • BCBA Certification
  • Interview with Program Chair and faculty
  • School of Education Requirements

Health Requirements for Massachusetts Students

The Massachusetts Health Department and Cambridge College require the following of students in Massachusetts:

Immunizations – All students in Massachusetts are required to get certain immunizations before you can register for your first term. See form

Health Insurance – In Massachusetts, undergraduate students taking nine or more credits/term and graduate students taking six or more credits/term must enroll in the College’s health insurance plan. Students who have insurance with comparable coverage may request a waiver. See information and enroll or waive.

 

School Requirements

See Admissions Requirements for School of Education

International Students 

International students are accepted at Massachusetts location only, and need to provide supplemental documentation:

  • Official demonstration of English language proficiency
  • Supplemental documentation for issuance of I-20
  • International transcripts, evaluated by an accepted evaluation service

Transfer Credit

Graduate program applicants, please complete the transfer credit request form if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer. Learn more.

Undergraduate program applicants, once you are accepted, your official transcripts are evaluated for transfer credit.

 

Tuition

  • Credits:
    48
  • Cost per credit hour:
    $995
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)
  • Health Insurance Fee:
    $3,415 - Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.

Note: Rates are as of July 2020, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students, unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

Grants, Scholarships and Loans

Cambridge College welcomes the opportunity to support your efforts to pay for college.  Federal, state and local resources in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study, including Cambridge College Scholarships, are available to help defray the cost of tuition. Learn more

Getting Your Company to Help

Many companies have tuition assistance programs, designed to help their employees with their professional development. Learn more

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