The Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis is a research-based program of study designed to prepare students for teaching at the university level and/or for work as scientist-practitioners involving business and industry, developmental disabilities (including autism), education, and public policy.
The program requires a minimum of 60 semester hours and is designed to be completed in a minimum of three years. Applicants must have completed a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis or the equivalent. A minimum of 39 hours of coursework and a minimum of 21 hours of research and dissertation credit hours are required for graduation. Completion of the program meets the academic requirements for licensure as an Applied Behavior Analyst in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Ph.D. program will be offered simultaneously in both classroom-based and an online format, affording students living outside of the Greater Boston area the opportunity to complete the program without the need to permanently relocate to Beverly, Massachusetts for the duration of their studies. For those students opting for the online model, a residency requirement developed in cooperation with their Dissertation Chairperson, in which the student studies on-campus must be completed.
Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Behavior Analysis (Ph.D.) Program Mission
The mission of the Ph.D. program in Applied Behavior Analysis at Endicott College is to train researchers, scientist-practitioners, and university faculty in the discovery, translation, and application of newly acquired knowledge regarding the science of human behavior toward solving socially-significant problems of human behavior and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior (Baer, Wolf, & Risley, 1968; Sulzer-Azaroff & Mayer, 1991).
Applied Behavior Analysis is a profession devoted to the understanding and improvement of human behavior. What sets Applied Behavior Analysis apart from many other professions is a focus on objectively defining and measuring the behavior under question, while demonstrating a reliable relationship between the procedures employed and the behavioral improvements gained, utilizing methods of science, including description, quantification, and analysis. The “attitudes of science” upon which Applied Behavior Analysis is based include:
• Scientific Manipulation, and
• Philosophical Doubt
The course of study will focus on educating students as researchers, applying the Scientist-Practitioner Model, also called the Boulder Model (Davison, 1998), in the discovery, translation, and application of newly acquired knowledge toward solving socially significant problems of human behavior. The Scientist-Practitioner Model is a training model for graduate programs that aspires to prepare students within a foundation of research and scientific practice.
Following the lead of the mission of Endicott College, the Ph.D. program in Applied Behavior Analysis adopts the college’s philosophy of a “concept of applied learning, which has been the hallmark of Endicott. Linking classroom and off-campus work experience through required internships remains the most distinguishing feature of the College.” The Institute for Behavioral Studies has developed a rich resource of seven “partner programs” serving individuals diagnosed with Autism and Developmental Disabilities that are available to the doctoral students as research settings in which such problem-oriented investigations can be conducted. The Institute, like that of Endicott, “has a vision for the total development of the individual within a community that fosters an appreciation of diversity, international awareness, community service, and moral and ethical values.” Also, like Endicott, the Institute programs value the need for “common threads to run through the fabric of the Endicott experience: increased self-confidence, stronger professional skills and technological competencies, and perhaps the most valued of all, lives open to change.” The goal is for the Institute Doctoral students to serve as a resource to the individuals served in these settings by systematically identifying and solving the problems faced by their caregivers in an empirical/research based approach.
The Ph.D. program integrates technology across the curriculum. The courses will be delivered as face-to-face learning on the Beverly campus or through an online model. This model appeals to busy professionals and those living outside the Greater Boston area seeking a rigorous doctoral educational experience in a convenient and modern format.
Courses are offered during three semesters (fall, spring and summer). Students are required to enroll in a minimum of two courses in fall, and summer semesters, and three courses in the spring semesters of their first two years. During each semester, one course will be taught one evening per week for 11 weeks, and the second/third course will be taught on Friday evening and all day Saturday for four weekends. Students are expected to enroll in a minimum of one course in each of the four terms during their third and fourth year of the program (two courses in the first semester of their third year). Students who have not completed the program by the end of their third year must register for dissertation credits in all subsequent years, up to seven-year maximum, until completion of all degree requirements.
The Academic Program
Prior to the end of the student’s second year (or the completion of 39 credits), the student will complete three two-hour qualifying examinations prepared by his or her doctoral committee. One of the three examinations must focus on the topic of Research Methodology. The student, in consultation with his or her advisor and dissertation committee, will define the other two areas of study. As an alternative for one exam, the student can publish, in a peer-reviewed journal, a first-authored research article.
Independent Work, Internship, or Clinical Placement Arrangements
The Institute for Behavioral Studies currently offers programs in both a traditional face-to-face didactic lecture format, as well as through online distance learning and blended courses that combine both approaches. In addition to providing face-to-face courses on the Endicott College campus in Beverly, MA, the Institute for Behavioral Studies has long-standing relationships with several additional local Partner Sites around the greater Boston area and beyond, including:
1. Melmark New England, Andover, MA
2. Nashoba Learning Group, Bedford, MA
3. Futures Behavior Therapy, Beverly, MA
4. Amego Inc., Attleboro, MA
5. Crossroads School, Natick, MA
6. Road to Responsibility, Hingham, MA
7. Hillcrest Educational Center, Pittsfield, MA
Each of these programs has expressed interest in marking themselves available to the students enrolled in our Ph.D. program as sites for research, teaching, and clinical practice experiences.
Baer, D.M., Montrose, M.W., & Risely, T.R. (1968). Some current dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Davidson, G.C. (1998). Being Bolder with Boulder model. The challenge of education and training in empirically supported treatments. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66(1), 163-167.
Sulzer, B. & Mayer, R.G. (1991). Behavior analysis for lasting change. New York; Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
Student Learning Outcomes
The Program Learning Outcomes of Ph.D. graduates in Applied Behavior Analysis include the ability to:
• Organizes the knowledge, principles, and skills of Applied Behavior Analysis in the conduct of problem-oriented research
• Formulate research questions that are in keeping with a problem-oriented model
• Design problem-oriented research projects to provide evidence-based solutions to socially significant problems
• Demonstrate skill in planning curriculum and instruction, delivering effective instruction, managing classroom climate, promoting equality and meeting professional standards
• Analyze and compare previous research solutions to topics within the scope of Applied Behavior Analysis