Behavior Analysis

Behavior analysis is a field of experimental psychology focused on the environmental influences on behavior. This program covers the science of behavior analysis and its application through coursework in conceptual foundations, basic principles, research methods, applied behavior analysis, ethics and professional issues, and an advanced elective course. Students may select either an emphasis in basic or applied research and shall receive field and/or laboratory experience commensurate with their emphasis. Students will complete a capstone project that involves either an empirical research thesis or a demonstration of the student’s competence at delivering behavior-analytic services. Recent projects have included the study of choice behavior in pigeons, the treatment of problem behavior, and teaching self-help skills to children with developmental disabilities.

The Behavior Analysis Certification Board, Inc® has approved our course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination® to become BCBA’s (nationally) and licensed behavior analysts (in Wisconsin). We currently have the only BACB approved course sequence as part of a Master’s Degree program in the state of Wisconsin. The BACB® also requires applicants to complete supervised practicum experience. The faculty at UWM has developed relationships with local providers to assist students in completing their practicum hours.

Because of budget limitations, we do not offer teaching assistantships or other assistantships to students in the master’s program in behavior analysis. But, with generous support from benefactors, we offer stipend/fellowship support for students entering this program as well as support for research projects.

Coursework and Model Course Plan

Coursework includes at least 31 credits, distributed as follows (see Table for example):

Requirements

Core
  • Psych 502 - Applied Behavior Analysis*
  • Psych 714 - Conditioning and Learning*
  • Psych 725 - Ethical and Professional Conduct for Behavior Analysts*
  • Psych 724 - Proseminar in Behavior Analysis
  • Psych 736*, Psych 914, Psych 915, or Psych 919
Research Methods
  • Psych 510 - Advanced Psychological Statistics
  • Psych 610 - Experimental Design
  • Psych 620 - Single-Subject Research Methods*
Master's Research or Final Project
  • Psych 790 - Master's Research

* Indicates courses included as part of our BACB® Approved Course Sequence

Fall Spring
Year 1 Conditioning and Learning (714) Applied Behavior Analysis (502)
Advanced Psychological Statistics (510) Experimental Design (610)
Single Subject Research Methods (620) Ethical and Professional Conduct for Behavior Analysts (725)
Year 2
Proseminar in Behavior Analysis (724) Advanced BA elective (736, 914, 915, or 919)
Masters’ Thesis (790) Masters’ Thesis (790)

Thesis and Defense, Time Limits

The student, under the direction of his or her major professor, must develop an empirical thesis or empirical project, which the student must defend in an oral examination. Students focusing on basic studies complete a thesis. Depending on the recommendation of their advisers, students focusing on applied studies complete either a thesis or a project that demonstrates their competence at delivering services.

Support for Studies in Behavior Analysis

John and Lynn Schiek Stipends and Research Awards.

John and Lynn Schiek, alumni of our department, generously provide stipends to support students entering the experimental psychology programs in behavior analysis. Two students admitted to the doctoral program are eligible for $5,000 stipends (in addition to departmental teaching assistantships); two students admitted to the terminal master’s program are eligible for $2,500 stipends. Besides underwriting stipends, John and Lynn Schiek support research projects in behavior analysis. Each award is about $1,000.

Corrine Russell Donley Fellowship in Applied Behavior Analysis

Corrine Russell Donley, Ed.D., Columbia University Teachers College, has established an endowment that provides a $1000 fellowship for students seeking to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts® or Board Certified Associate Behavior Analysts®. Dr. Donley was responsible for the early childhood program for children with disabilities at UW-Oshkosh and is a behavior analytic consultant in NE Wisconsin. Although the fellowship is open to all students seeking to become applied behavior analysts, special consideration is given applicants who will serve the people of NE Wisconsin, particularly the people of Fond du Lac, Outagamie, and Winnebago counties.

Core Faculty

Questions about the behavior analysis program may be directed to Jeff Tiger (tiger@uwm.edu).