Applied Behavior Analysis

Pankhuri Singhal, S’17, a senior and behavioral neuroscience major, was the student speaker at the 2017 undergraduate commencement ceremony. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an approach to identifying and studying the interpersonal and environmental influences on behavior to help provide techniques for constructive changes and performance improvement. Behavior Analysts collect and analyze data in order to produce evidence-supported behavior-analytic treatment plans. ABA is an often used therapy to help children on the autism spectrum.

For more information, please see the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)® website, and the psychology department’s ABA advisor, Prof. William Sharp.

Certifying Board

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board® Inc. (BACB®) is the non-profit organization internationally recognized as the certification body for Applied Behavior Analysts.

The board provides several levels of certification for Behavior Analysts. Academic paths to two of the levels, the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) and the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), are available at Northeastern University.

ABA at Northeastern

The courses leading to the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) are available as part of the Bachelor of Science curriculum of the Psychology Department in the College of Science. Further, courses leading to the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), are available through the Master of Science curriculum of the Applied Psychology Department in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. Of special note is the PlusOne program, an accelerated Master’s, developed through the cooperation of both departments. The undergraduate courses and the graduate program are completely separate and independent. Students may choose to do either or both. Undergraduate courses may not be applied to graduate requirements.

Bachelor of Science and BCaBA Courses

“Welcome to the Department of Psychology website. I am Professor William Sharp. I am both an assistant teaching professor and clinician in private practice. I can help you with any questions you have about the ABA program.”

The Northeastern University Department of Psychology offers four courses, which, along with supervised experience, qualify students to sit for the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) exam. These courses fit entirely within our BS in Psychology undergraduate curriculum (they are psychology courses) and can be completed as part of your regular degree.

Master of Science and BCBA PlusOne Program

“Welcome, I’m Prof. Laura Dudley. I am the director of the ABA graduate program and can help you with any questions you have with the MS in BCBA PlusOne Program. I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. My research interests include experimental functional analysis, parent and staff training, social skills, and  curriculum and program development.”

An accelerated Master’s degree is offered by the Department of Psychology in the College of Science and the Department of Applied Psychology in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. The advantage is accomplished by allowing four graduate courses to count as part of the undergraduate Psychology BS requirements.