Applied Behavior Analysis at SCSU

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has approved the following course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination (BCBA®).  Applicants will have to meet additional requirements to qualify.

ABA Coursework at Southern Connecticut State University

SCSU offers three different program options designed to prepare students from diverse backgrounds to meet the coursework and optional supervision requirements to sit for the exam to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®), an international certification in ABA. Graduates from SCSU’s program are highly sought after in many fields of employment where BCBA®’s regularly practice such as with individuals with or without disabilities in educational or therapeutic environments. The ABA courses will be particularly relevant for special educators, school psychologists, and other educational professionals. However, professionals from other fields may also benefit from an in-depth understanding of learning and behavior.
Verified Course Sequence:
SED 641: Ethics and Professional Conduct
SED 642: Organizational behavior management and supervision
SED 689: Philosophical Underpinnings of ABA
SED 690: Principles of ABA
SED 691: Single Subject Research Methods
SED 692: Advanced ABA
SED 693: Assessment in ABA
SED 694: Intervention in ABA

SCSU also provides students the option of receiving supervision, consistent with the supervision requirements for the BCBA® exam.  The optional supervision consists of 1:1 supervision by qualified personnel through the Center of Excellence on Autism Spectrum Disorders and a 1-credit seminar (SED 695, 3 semesters required to meet the BACB® supervision requirement).

Verified Course Sequence (VCS) first-time pass rate data for the BCBA exam can be found at the BACB website here (link to  Please note 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.”

Program Offerings

There are three ABA program options at SCSU:

Master’s Degree in Special Education: Concentration in ABA (Anticipated Fall 2019)
The Master’s Degree in Special Education with a concentration in ABA is a 30-credit course sequence that results in a Master’s Degree in Special Education.  The embedded ABA coursework provides students with a strong background in ABA and meets the coursework requirement to sit for the BCBA® exam.  In addition to the ABA coursework, the Master’s Degree requires 9 credits in electives in the Special Education department (to be approved by the student’s advisor).  

6th Year Professional Diploma in Special Education: Specialization in ABA
The 6th Year Professional Diploma in Special Education with a specialization in ABA (6th Year) is a 30-credit course sequence that results in a 6th Year in Special Education.  The embedded ABA coursework provides students with a strong background in ABA and meets the coursework requirement to sit for the BCBA® exam.  In addition to the ABA coursework, the 6th Year includes 9 credits in electives in the Special Education department (to be approved by the student’s advisor).  

Graduate Certificate in ABA in Educational Settings
The Graduate Certificate in ABA is a 21-credit program that provides students with a strong background in ABA and meets the coursework requirement to sit for the BCBA® exam.  (Note: The graduate certificate issued at the end of the course sequence is NOT the same as the certification conferred by the BACB® after passing the BCBA® exam.)

Each program is centered on understanding the science of behavior analysis and how it can be used to help individuals become more successful.  Both programs prepare students to take and pass the BCBA® exam and to use ABA in applied settings,

The ABA programs at Southern were designed to meet the requirements of the BACB® and provide students with a rigorous course sequence in ABA.  Students will be expected to demonstrate a strong understanding of the principles of ABA, and how these principles can be used in various real-world settings to help individuals succeed.  

Application Information
Applicants to the ABA programs at Southern must
•    Complete the School of Graduate Studies application online
The following must be submitted or arranged with the Special Education Department:
•    Complete an interview

ABA Faculty Information
Mark P. Groskreutz, PhD, BCBA-D, LABA (CT, MA)
(203) 392-5951

Meghan M. Brahm, PhD, BCBA, LBA-CT
(203) 392-5046

About Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Background
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a science of learning and behavior.  The focus of ABA is on the relation between an individual's environment and his/her behavior in real-life situations.  Roughly 100 years of research has identified consistent laws of learning that form the core principles of behavior analysis.  By examining and understanding these principles, changes can then be made to help individuals experience more success in their daily activities, including interpersonal, educational, vocational, and other domains.

A Common ABA Misunderstanding
Since the 1990s, ABA has become closely linked to educational and behavioral interventions for individuals with autism.  Currently, ABA is the most well-researched intervention paradigm for helping individuals with ASDs experience greater success.  This demonstrated effectiveness is likely due to ABA's focus on careful measurement of observable variables and thoughtfully designed individualized assessment and intervention.  Unfortunately, ABA is often misrepresented as simply discrete-trial teaching (DTT) instead of an extensive science of learning and behavior.  ABA does not focus on any particular intervention strategy, instead ABA uses individualized assessment to inform development of whatever strategy a given individual may need and fits currently available resources.  ABA has likely lead to consistent success for individuals with ASDs because of the flexibility gained through a scientific understanding of learning and behavior.  In other words, ABA is not DTT, it is the means through which to gather information and improve success.  

The ABA programs at Southern will provide the coursework essential to preparing professionals to work effectively with individuals with ASDs as well as other individuals with or without disabilities.

What is BCBA®?
A BCBA® is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.  It is a Master's level professional who has met the requirements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, for training in applied behavior analysis.  BCBA®s can be found in a variety of fields and have unique classroom and real-world training that is not found in other professions.

Becoming a BCBA®
Professionals must meet several requirements to become a BCBA®.  First, they must complete coursework in ABA.  The courses cover a variety of topic areas with specific learning standards essential for professionals to become BCBA®s.  Under current requirements, coursework must include a variety of graduate level courses in ABA, including principles of learning, observation, measurement, data-based decision making, single-subject research, behavioral interventions, and ethics and professional responsibilities.  Second, they must be supervised using principles and practices consistent with ABA in applied settings.  This supervised experience can begin only after the individual has started the ABA coursework (i.e., attended their first class).  Third, professionals must have obtained a master's degree.  Finally, after professionals have met all other requirements, they must past the BCBA exam administered by the BACB®.  See the website for additional details on requirements.