MS Degree in ABA - FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

We've answered your most frequently asked questions below. If you still have questions, send us an email.
What are the prerequisites for applying to the ABA program at UNO/UNMC?  

All Graduate College and UNO Psychology Departmental admission requirements are prerequisite for admission to the MS in Psychology with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis Training Program. A minimum of 15 undergraduate semester hours or the equivalent of psychology courses including basic statistics and an upper level laboratory course emphasizing the experimental method, data collection, statistical analysis, and report writing are required. For example, classes offered at UNO that would fulfill this requirement include laboratory research in Cognitive Psychology (PSYC-4074), Sensation and Perception (PSYC-4214), Behavioral Neuroscience (PSYC-4234), Animal Behavior (PSYC- 4280) and Learning (PSYC- 4024).

The Departmental Application Form requires a statement of purpose and an indication of the program and, where appropriate, the area of concentration (i.e., ABA) within the program to which the applicant is applying.

The following information is required for every individual applying to the ABA program:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (requirement waived for those applying for admission starting Fall 2021)
  • Undergraduate and Graduate (if applicable) grade point average (GPA)
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Senior authored writing sample
  • Vitae (Resume’)
  • Transcripts
  • UNO application form
What GPA/GRE scores do I need?  

Due to issues as a result of the pandemic, we are waiving the GRE requirement for applications this year for those applying for admission starting Fall 2021. If you have already taken the GRE, you may submit your scores if you wish, but they are not required.

What kind of jobs should I be working at as an undergrad to get relevant experience?  

Any position in the mental health or behavior analyst field will be beneficial. Some positions that previous students have held include:

  • Behavioral therapist for a child with autism
  • Residential treatment center employee
  • Hospital employee (working with children or on the psychology floor)
  • Daycare or respite care worker
  • Summer camp counselor
  • Volunteer for organizations such as Special Olympics, etc.
When do I apply?  

Completed applications for the ABA MS program are due January 10.

Should I apply at UNO or UNMC?  

You may apply for the program at UNO or UNMC. The admissions committee and the admissions requirements are the same across the two campuses. Faculty advisement is not dictated by campus enrollment, such that a faculty member at UNMC can serve as advisor for a UNO enrolled student and a UNO faculty member can serve as advisor for a UNMC student. There may be differences in the financial aid package offered between the two campuses. If you are unsure, you may apply to both campuses, list both campuses on your FAFSA application and then choose which campus to enroll in if admitted to the program.

Where can I learn more about Applied Behavior Analysis and/or BCBA?  

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) information is available here.

Additionally, prospective students may visit the website of the Association for Behavior Analysis International which is our professional organization.

Anyone interested in learning more about UNO's ABA program is encouraged to visit the Psychology Department in the Arts & Sciences Hall at UNO or the Psychology Department at MMI.

Please email Mark D. Shriver, PhD, BCBA-D or call 402-559-6087 for more information or to schedule a meeting.

Additional information about ABA in Nebraska can be found at Nebraska Association for Behavior Analysis.

 

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How long will it take to complete the program at UNO/UNMC?  

The MS in Applied Behavior Analysis program requires a total of 51-54 credit hours, typically requiring two years full time course load (3 classes per semester and practicum).

Are courses online?  

Many, but not yet all of our courses are online. All online courses do require a synchronous meeting, typically weekly, which students will join via Zoom video. All courses, including online courses, follow a semester schedule sequence. Online courses are not offered asynchronously.

What experience do I gain in the practicum at UNO/UNMC?  

Students will gain applied experience through the completion of 750 to 1500 hours of supervised practicum. There are essentially three practice tracks:

  • Intensive Clinical Services (Severe Behavior, Early Intervention, Pediatric Feeding, Autism Care for Toddlers clinic);
  • Clinical Outpatient Behavioral Health (integrated behavioral health in primary care, behavioral health outpatient clinic, community agencies, home-based services); and
  • School-based Services (ABA for students with high-intensity needs, school-based mental health, behavior consultation).

Practicum will be assigned and coordinated between you and your advisor and the Practicum course instructor. Your major practicum rotation will likely be the one most associated with your faculty advisor. You will have one major practicum rotation throughout the two years and an expectation for at least one minor rotation in another practice area or track sometime during your program. Students are typically working in practicum placements 15-25 hours week. All practicum experiences are supervised by a clinician who is a BCBA.

How many semester hours does a full time graduate student in the ABA program take?  

Full time for a graduate student is nine hours (three classes) per semester. Most semesters will be 12 hours. Nine or twelve credit hours may sound easy but keep in mind that graduate classes are designed to be more intensive than undergraduate classes.

How many hours should I work while in the program full time?  

It is recommended that you work no more than 20 hours per week during any semester in your graduate school career. There are some opportunities for Teaching Assistantships (TA) for graduate students. If a TA position is not available, a part-time job with flexible hours is recommended. TA positions are generally 20-hour a week positions and with a tuition waiver, excluding fees. To see the deadlines for applying for the Department of Psychology positions, see the Graduate Teaching Assistantship information through the Graduate College. However, Graduate Assistant (GA) positions are also available at UNO outside the Department of Psychology; most of these include a tuition waiver. In order to apply for these positions, visit UNO Human Resources to view available positions and online application procedures.

In addition, many of our students are employed at the MMI integrated Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, MMI Severe Behavior, MMI Pediatric Feeding, or the MMI Psychology Department. Graduate students who are employed at MMI are often working at clinics in which they may also accrue some of their practicum hours.

If I have not been admitted to the program or if I am waiting to apply, can I start taking classes early?  

No. Only students admitted to the program are permitted to take ABA courses. This is to ensure personal attention and small class sizes to those who are in the program. While you are waiting to start the program, undergraduate courses such as upper level laboratory classes (see number 3), statistics courses, ABA, and developmental psychology courses are helpful.

What can I do with my degree from UNO/UNMC?  

This degree fulfills course and practicum requirements allowing students to sit for the BCBA exam, as well as qualifying students to pursue LMHP (provided they have accrued 3,000 additional supervised hours). The LMHP allows students to provide mental and behavioral health services (including ABA) in Nebraska.

Recent Graduates of this program are currently working as clinicians providing services at:

Munroe-Meyer Institute

  • Integrated Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (iCASD) Severe Behavior clinic, Autism Care for Toddlers (ACT) clinic, and Early Intervention clinic
  • Pediatric Feeding program
  • Psychology behavioral health clinic

Omaha, Nebraska

  • Contracting with local school districts to provide ABA consultation
  • Behaven Child Services
  • Childhood Autism Services
  • Immanuel Hospital Inpatient Child and Adolescent unit
  • Radical Minds behavioral health agency

Other locations

  • Little Leaves Autism clinic in Washington, DC
  • Heartspring Residential and Outpatient Behavioral Health in Wichita, KS

In addition, we have graduates pursuing graduate training for PhD at:

  • UNMC MMI Applied Behavior Analysis program
  • University of Nebraska Lincoln School Psychology program
  • University of Oregon School Psychology program
  • University of Georgia Applied Behavior Analysis program