2013-14 Catalogs

MS in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis

The Master of Science in Educational Psychology with a concentration in applied behavior analysis (MSEPABA) prepares master's-level clinicians with the education and training to sit for the examination to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). The program's goals are:

  • to provide a consistent and coherent program of study in educational psychology founded on specific conceptual frameworks (outlined below),
  • to teach and demonstrate best practices in behavior analysis in all program courses and activities, and
  • to prepare students for the practice of behavior analysis in Maine and elsewhere.

The MSEPABA objectives pull together the mission and goals by providing courses and practical strategies for implementing best practices in behavior analysis by using empirically validated assessment, intervention, and consultation methods.

The M.S. in Educational Psychology program prepares students to meet competencies set forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Upon completion of the program, graduates have earned the academic requirements in the preparation for the practice of behavior analysis. The program is designed to meet the academic requirements necessary for the following credentials: Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

Based on the models and professional standards found in the program philosophy, students in the M.S. program receive training in the following areas: functional behavior assessment (e.g., indirect, direct, and analogue), clinical interviews, interventions, consultation, positive behavioral supports, social psychology, applied research and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions, and single case experimental design.

In addition to the academic requirements, BACB requires a 1,500-hour supervised work experience; this work experience must occur in a behavior analytic environment under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. The supervised work is intended to provide students or graduates with experience utilizing the knowledge and skills gained during and concurrent with coursework. The supervised work is conducted under the direct supervision of a BCBA and may or may not involve direct supervision by University faculty. The supervised work experience is arranged by the student independent of the University or educational psychology program, by the student and may occur concurrent with or upon completion of the coursework.

Consistent with BACB Guidelines for Responsible Conduct For Behavior Analysts (August 2010), graduates of the program are encouraged to maintain a rigorous course of professional development throughout their careers and are bound to limit their practice to competencies and populations in which they are trained.

Graduates who are interested in further development in behavior analysis or as an educational or school psychology practitioner are encouraged to pursue doctoral training. Doctoral training typically prepares practitioners in advanced skills practice (e.g., neuro-psychological assessment, behavioral assessment, counseling, applied behavior analysis, applied research, supervision) with specific populations (e.g., emotional disability, developmental disabilities, autism, learning disability).

Program Requirements (36 credits)

EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques (Must be taken within first year)
SED 540 Learners Who are Exceptional in General Education
SPY 601 Behavioral Principles of Learning
SPY 602 Clinical Research Methods
SPY 604 Functional Behavioral Assessment
SPY 605 Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis
SPY 606 Behavior Therapy
SPY 607 Consultation in School Psychology
SPY 608 Professional Ethics in behavior Analysis
SPY 671 Physical Bases of Behavior 
SPY 673 Social Foundations of Behavior
SPY 675 Indirect Behavioral Assessment

For course descriptions, please click here: http://usm.maine.edu/sehd

Minimum Requirements: Applicant must have a bachelor's degree U.S. institution of higher learning accredited at the time the credits were earned by a regional and/or national accrediting body and recognized as accredited by the U.S. Department of Education, and have earned a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in a baccalaureate degree program; Applicants who do not have a 2.5 overall GPA can enclose a letter asking for special consideration, in which they provide evidence of an ability to complete graduate studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who fail to meet eligibility requirements may be automatically denied.. Exceptions to this policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are up to the discretion of the admitting program.

Successful candidates will be selected on the basis of overall quality of all required application components (GPA, test score, recommendations, and personal narrative).

Application Deadline

Rolling with priority deadlines for fall by May 1, spring by October 1, and summer by March 15.

  • Candidates should submit all application materials to the USM Office of Graduate Admissions, P.O. Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104-9300 by the application deadline.
Application must include:
  • A submitted online graduate admission application;
  • The application fee of $65.00;
  • Two sets of official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, including USM;
  • Three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's ability to study at the graduate level. Recommendations are easily submitted using our online application form. You will need to provide the name and email address for each of your recommenders during the application process. Once you submit your application, an email will be automatically generated to your recommenders directing them to fill out the electronic letter of recommendation;
  • Essay (see below);
  • Certification of finances (international students only);
  • Submission of test score (see below);
  • Submission of official TOEFL or IELTS scores (if English is not first language); and
  • Current resume.
Special Essay Question

In addition to the general admission requirements of the University, applicants to the Educational Psychology master's program must provide a narrative essay that answers this question:

"Why do you seek training in applied behavior analysis?"

This narrative is evaluated in terms of clarity of expression, grammatical construction, and other facets of English composition, as well as the quality of information given about the following: how the study of behavior analysis aligns with your professional goals and your understanding of and commitment to the field of applied behavior analysis.

Testing Requirements

Applicants to the education psychology program must take the MAT or GRE. One of the tests must be taken within five years of application. For those taking the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) you must have earned a score of 390 or above. For the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) those applicants who took the exam before September 1, 2011 must have earned a score of 900 or above on the combined verbal and quantitative scores. For applicants who took the GRE exam on or after 1 September 2011, the minimum combined score is 290.  Applicants with a prior graduate degree do not have to submit MAT or GRE scores (Note that this exception is not applicable to admission to the Psy.D. program). For applicants who are English language learners, a minimum score of 550 on the on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), 79 or higher on the internet-based TOEFL test, or 213 on the computer-based test, or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher for students whose native language is not English.

Applicants who did not who do not meet the above minimum score requirements can enclose a letter asking for special consideration, in which they provide evidence of an ability to complete graduate studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who fail to meet eligibility requirements may be automatically denied.

Transfer Credit

Students admitted to the Master of Science in Educational Psychology program can request permission to transfer up to six graduate credits toward the M.S. in Educational Psychology. In order for credits to be eligible for transfer, they must meet the following criteria:

The credits must have been earned as part of a graduate course (e.g., 500 level or higher) offered at a U.S. institution of higher learning accredited at the time the credits were earned by a regional and/or national accrediting body and recognized as accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.

The credits must have been earned for a course which is equivalent in content covered and skills developed to one required in the student's USM program of study.

The earned grade for the course must be a B or higher (GPA equivalent of 3.0).

The credits must have been earned within 3 years from the date when transfer credit is requested.

The credits must not have been applied to any previously earned degree.

For students seeking certification for BCBA, any applicable course(s) must be transferred from a program that is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Transferred credits will be noted on the student's USM transcript and counted toward the student's degree or certificate program of study. To request transfer of credit(s), a student must submit the course syllabus and official transcript(s) showing the course grade(s) for the course(s) already taken to the Educational and School Psychology Program Coordinator. The coordinator will refer the request to the program faculty with expertise in the content area to determine if the credit transfer is approved. Once approved, the program will notify the USM Registrar to enter the official transfer onto the student's record.