Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at MBU

Offering five programs to meet your specific needs.

Employment opportunities are abundant in this field. Behavior analysts provide direct ABA therapy to children with autism and other developmental disorders, and they can also use their skills working with adult clients. They conduct assessments, provide parent and teacher training, and work to develop and help implement treatment plans.

The field of ABA is not limited to working with individuals with autism and other disabilities; often those with training in ABA explore other areas of application including business, criminal justice, social work, and related fields. At MBU, we do offer additional specialized training related to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (required for students in the Autism Studies & ABA major; optional for other ABA students). Those who complete this additional course sequence will also receive the Comprehensive Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders, which has been endorsed by the Virginia Autism Council.

Did you know? Coursework in ABA has been offered at Mary Baldwin since 1993, with a comprehensive certificate in ASD since 2019, and an approved program for those seeking ABA board certification first offered in 2012.

Program Options:

ABA Curriculum

What is ABA?

ABA is a leading intervention for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. ABA has been used with a multitude of other disabilities and disorders and also has broader applications in areas such as academic skills acquisition, forensic psychology, speech and language development, organization behavior management, and gerontology. ABA is:

How is it changing lives?

Learn more about how Mary Baldwin University is helping families in this story from WMRA.

Statement Regarding Interventions for Clients and Patients

The Applied Behavior Analysis program at Mary Baldwin University centers around values of compassion, quality of life, and best practice when working with clients/patients. Students in our ABA programs learn how to implement ethical, evidence-based behavior-change interventions. We teach our students to focus on client/patient consent, assent, autonomy, and social validity as guiding principles for any intervention. Students seeking credentials through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® will learn and practice a number of behavioral strategies in the context of their program during supervised fieldwork experiences.

Mary Baldwin University centers all ABA student training on reinforcement-based interventions, least-restrictive options, and careful analysis of the risk/benefit of any treatment decision. MBU does not directly teach, encourage, demonstrate, or assess students in the use of consequence procedures that inflict physical pain on a client or patient. Uses of these procedures have a complex history, including abuses, that are reviewed during ethics coursework. Students do have exposure to these procedures in an ethical, theoretical, and historical framework.

As such, completion of the MBU ABA program will not render use of any physical pain-inflicting procedures within the individual’s scope of practice. Curricular emphasis at Mary Baldwin University regarding intervention strategies to reduce problematic behaviors will focus on teaching replacement/desired behaviors through differential reinforcement techniques.

ABA Certifications

**All ABAI Verified Course Sequences are required to publish pass rates of their students who take the BCaBA and BCBA examinations. View the BCBA and BCaBA Examination Pass Rates data. Pass-rate data are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of operation. 

ABA & AS Faculty & Staff

Our talented, experienced and dedicated staff at Mary Baldwin University’s Applied Behavior Analysis & Autism Studies Programs.

“At MBU, our professors get to know us and our interests. You get to work one-on-one with professors, and it was actually one of my teachers who was also working as an ABA clinician, who got me interested in this field. I took that and ran with it.”

 Tatiana Bryant ’17, Med ’19Who Earned Her Master’s in ABA While Working as a Behavior Support Clinician at Compass Counseling Services in Staunton
graduate holding proud child

Complete your degree online

Our MS in ABA, BA in Autism Studies & ABA, ABA minor, ASD minor, Post–Master’s Certificate in ABA, Post–Bachelor’s Certificate in ABA and Comprehensive Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders can be completed online through the university’s innovative MBU Online.

Just like in-person classes, you will receive personal attention from professors who are experts in this rapidly developing field. We emphasize the development of strong conceptual skills in tandem with practical applications.

It’s time to level up your career. Apply today!