Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at MBU
Offering four 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.
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:
- A natural science approach to behavior change.
- Based on the underlying principles of learning derived from psychologists like B.F. Skinner and Edward Thorndike, among others.
- Applied to systematically improve socially significant or performance-related behaviors that are important to the client
- Continuously using experimentation to identify variables that are important and effective for behavior change.
- Identifies the function of behaviors targeted for reduction and uses that knowled
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.
**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.
Certification as an International Behavior Analyst (IBA)™ indicates that you have met instructional, practice, and examination requirements as set by the International Behavior Analyst Organization (IBAO)™. This credential affirms that you have been trained to practice in an ethical, culturally sensitive, and well-informed manner through an accepted framework and international standard that will be recognized globally.
Certification as a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA®) or Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) indicates that you have advanced qualifications to meet the needs of ABA clients with a variety of skill levels, needs, and challenging behaviors. ABA employers are seeking to hire those with board certification, and health insurance companies require that authorized providers of ABA services carry these credentials (or be directly supervised by someone who holds them).
Students may enroll at MBU to complete ABA courses toward BCaBA® or BCBA® exam eligibility without being enrolled in a comprehensive degree program. The Post–Master’s Certificate in ABA and the Post–Bachelor’s Certificate in ABA are available 100% online. Pending student demand, some courses may also be available on campus. To learn more about degree and fieldwork requirements for exam eligibility, please visit www.bacb.com.
The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified applicable Mary Baldwin University courses toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination. Applicants will need to meet additional eligibility requirements and demonstrate they reside in an authorized country before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination. Contact Dr. Rachel Potter at firstname.lastname@example.org or request information for more details about program options.
ABA & AS Faculty & Staff
Our talented, experienced and dedicated staff at Mary Baldwin University’s Applied Behavior Analysis & Autism Studies Programs.
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.