Catalogue 2017 - 2018

Doctoral Program in Behavior Analysis

General Information

Developed in response to the increasing demand for scientists and practitioners of evidence-based methods for the education and treatment of individuals with autism and related disabilities, the Ph.D. program in Behavior Analysis at Western New England University will give you the skills to fill this void and become a leader in the field. Through a combination of coursework and supervised practical and research experiences, the aim of the Department of Psychology is to train researchers and scientist-practitioners in the discovery, translation, and application of knowledge toward solving human behavior problems of societal importance (e.g., autism and related disabilities). All classroom course work is done at the New England Center for Children.

Program Goals and Objectives

The program will allow students to successfully embark on academic and research careers, as well as careers in the delivery of behavior analysis services. Thus, the primary objectives of our program, which elucidate the core knowledge areas and skills all students are expected to know or be able to do prior to graduating, are:

  1. To understand the assumptions, goals, and characteristics of behavior analysis
  2. To understand the history of the field of behavior analysis and its relation to psychology and science in general
  3. To understand the basic principles of learning and the past and current theoretical models which describe and attempt to explain behavior-environment relations
  4. To be able to describe and apply effective behavior-analytic procedures for promoting behavior change
  5. To be able to describe and apply single-subject and more traditional group designs
  6. To be able to determine the influence of relevant independent variables or interventions
  7. To be able to describe, depict, and analyze behavioral data and understand the current quantitative models which describe and attempt to explain behavior-environment relations
  8. To be able to describe, distinguish, and apply evidence-based practices for a social problem (e.g., problems associated with autism and related developmental disabilities)
  9. To understand a professional culture outside of behavior analysis that is united to better understand and improve conditions relevant to a particular social problem
  10. To be able to identify, review, critically analyze, and contribute to the behavioral science and psychological literature
  11. To be able to articulate and work within the ethical standards of the Behavior Analysis Certification Board and the American Psychological Association
  12. To be able to effectively participate in professional behavioral science activities such as presenting, publishing, and reviewing original research
  13. To be able to design and implement effective instruction at the college level

Program Structure

All students are assigned primary and secondary advisors upon admission to the program. The doctoral program operates according to a junior colleague model. In this model, the student and advisor share equal responsibility in planning for the student’s academic success and ensuring that the student is making timely progress toward the degree requirements. Thus, advisors assist students as they select required and elective courses, develop their research projects, and prepare for Ph.D. requirements (e.g., assist in selecting a review paper topic). Advisors and students also work collaboratively on the students’ professional development. Specifically, advisors assist students in clarifying their goals and attaining substantive experience in teaching (e.g., identifying opportunities and mentoring), research (e.g., ensuring that the student is presenting posters, oral presentations, and is publishing their data where appropriate), and service (e.g., committee work at the local or national level, serving as a reviewer for a journal).

Students are expected to complete 54 credit hours with at least 27 of those hours being seminars (the remaining 27 may be dissertation credit, behavior analysis practica, and additional elective seminars). Courses will be offered in three of the four 11-week terms scheduled by the Western New England University Graduate Program (fall, winter, and spring terms).

Students are expected to enroll in 7 total credits in three of the four terms in each of the initial two years of the program. Students are expected to enroll in a total of 4 credits in three of the four terms in the third year of the program. Students not finished with the program by the end of the third year register for 1 credit of dissertation continuance in up to three terms of their fourth year and all subsequent years until completion of all degree requirements. The program must be completed within seven years.

Degree Requirements

Core courses (15 hours)

PSY 610Professional Issues, Ethics, and Research Design

3 cr.

PSY 620Experimental Analysis of Behavior

3 cr.

PSY 630Descriptive and Inferential Statistics

3 cr.

PSY 640Quantitative Analysis of Behavior

3 cr.

PSY 650The Philosophy of Behaviorism

3 cr.

Total Credit Hours:15

Concentration courses (12-21 hours)

PSY 705Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention

3 cr.

PSY 720Assessment of Severe Behavior Disorders

3 cr.

PSY 735Organizational Behavior Management

3 cr.

PSY 740Developmental Psychology

3 cr.

PSY 750Advanced Verbal Behavior

3 cr.

PSY 770Teaching in the College Environment

3 cr.

PSY 790Special Topics in Behavior Analysis

3 cr.

Total Credit Hours:12-21

Behavior Analysis Practica (9 hours)

PSY 801-809Behavior Analysis Practica

1 cr.

Total Credit Hours:9

Dissertation Research (9-18 hours)

PSY 851-856Dissertation Research

3 cr.

PSY 857Dissertation Research Continuance

1 cr.

Total Credit Hours:9-18