Master of Science in Special Education: Severe Disabilities with an Emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis

The MS in Special Education, Severe Disabilities, Applied Behavior Analysis enhances the skills of education professionals by providing a focus area in applied behavior analysis. Candidates with a background in education or human services learn how to design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based ABA practices to positively impact student learning outcomes and meet the needs of a growing population of students, who require special education and behavior supports.

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Contact Us

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Faculty Lead
Tamara Marder, PhD, BCBA-D
tmarder1@jhu.edu

Camilla Mika Simms

Senior Academic Program Administrator
Camilla Mika Simms
443-927-0145
camilla.mika.simms@jhu.edu

Master of Science in Special Education: Severe Disabilities with an Emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis

At A Glance

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Frequency

PART-TIME

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Location

JHU APL, Laurel, MD

Format*

In-person
Online

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Credits

36 – 48

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Start Term 

FALL 

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Completion Time

3–4 YEARS

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Application Deadline

ROLLING UNTIL AUGUST 1, 2022

Application requirements and deadlines
Master of Science in Special Education: Severe Disabilities, Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Studies
Enrollment:Part-Time
Start Terms:Fall
Application Deadline: Rolling until Aug. 1.

Based on cohort-space availability; Completed applications will be reviewed for decision three weeks before the start of the semester.
Pre-requisite:Hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally or nationally accredited college or university.
Earned minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in all previous undergraduate and graduate studies (including for incomplete programs of study and for programs still in progress).
Application Requirements:
Online application form
$80.00 application fee
Resume/CV:To be uploaded to your online application form.
Official Transcripts:Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
Essay:To be uploaded to your online application form.

Upload a 500-word essay discussing why you wish to pursue a degree at Johns Hopkins University, focusing on your long-term goals and how your academic program will complement those goals. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses in your educational background, as well as any additional comments that will assist in evaluating your application materials. Essays should be submitted in a typed format on a separate sheet of paper.
Letters of Recommendation:Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to your work with children with disabilities.

After entering the contact information for your recommendation providers within the online application, each provider will receive an email with instructions about logging onto our system. At that time, they will have the opportunity to fill out the Recommendation Form and upload a recommendation letter. Providers should use the online application form to upload and send their recommendation letters.

Applicants should request recommendation letters that directly address their candidacy for admission to this program. Ideally, individuals selected to provide letters should include those from both academic and professional settings. It is acceptable for candidates who have not been enrolled in post-secondary-level courses for several years to substitute letters from professional contexts.
Interview:Applicants who meet admission requirements will be asked to interview (in-person, via Zoom, or by phone) to ensure that their goals align with the program’s goals before an offer of admission.
International Applicants:The MS Special Education, Severe Disabilities, Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Studies program offers part-time enrollment only. Admission is not open to international applicants seeking an F-1 or J-1 visa for this program.
Tuition and fees

Tuition and fees are subject to change for ensuing academic years, and will be updated on the School of Education website accordingly.

Master's Degree and Certificate Programs
Part-Time (Face-to-face/Lecture courses, with the exception of the Counseling and Education Policy programs)$875 per credit
Part-Time (Face-to-face/Lecture courses - Counseling)$891 per credit
Part-Time (Face-to-face/Lecture courses - Education Policy)$1,300 per credit
Online Courses (with the exception of Counseling and DALET programs)

*In addition, a $20 per credit technology fee will be assessed.
$926 per credit*
Online courses (Counseling and DALET)

*In addition, a $20 per credit technology fee will be assessed.
$944 per credit*
M.Ed. Education in the Health Professions & Post-Master's Certificate in Evidence-Based Teaching in the Health Professions programs

**Classes in the Master of Education in the Health Professions (MEHP) or Post-Master's Certificate in Evidence-Based Teaching in the Health Professions programs are $1,382 per credit, with the exception of Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System employees, who pay $850 per credit.
$1,382 per credit**
MS in Education (International Teaching and Global Learning)

***In addition, a $1,500 per academic year technology fee will be assessed.
$48,000 per academic year***

*Each class session and learning activity is offered in-person and synchronous online. Students can decide how to participate.

Note: The Applied Behavior Analysis area of emphasis will be offered starting in the fall 2022 semester. This curriculum will be included in the 2022-2023 academic catalog (August 2022). To view course descriptions, please check JHU Student Information System.

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For me, the most important benefit was having a cohort of other teachers who are passionate about working with the population I was interested in. My professors also really wanted me to succeed, and they were all willing to explain anything I had questions about.

Mackenzie Brown, MS ’19

Master of Science in Special Education: Severe Disabilities with an Emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Description

The Master of Science in Special Education-Applied Behavior Analysis will be offered part-time, with two courses per semester in fall, spring, and summer.
The curriculum and delivery consist of:

  • Special Education coursework (5 courses) offered through fully online instruction.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis coursework (7 courses) courses offered in a in-person and synchronous online format, that offers enrolled students the option of attending class in-person or through live-stream, synchronous, online learning.
  • The program also provides the option to enroll in four elective practicum courses that are designed meet BCBA Fieldwork Requirements outlined by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). The practicum provides supervised real-world experiences in the application of behavior-analytic services in educational settings and includes both individual and group supervision. The option to enroll in practicum is limited to candidates in the Maryland/DC area.

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® has verified the course sequence listed under curriculum as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board -Certified Behavior Analyst Examination. Applicants will have to meet the additional requirements described above to qualify.

Master of Science in Special Education: Severe Disabilities with an Emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis

Core Faculty

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Rebecca Cruz

Tamara Marder Professional Headshot

Tamara Marder

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Alexandra Shelton

Master of Science in Special Education: Severe Disabilities with an Emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis

PROGRAM PLAN

Coursework and Practicum Requirements

The program includes 36 credits: 21 credits (7 courses) in Applied Behavior Analysis coursework and 15 credits (5 courses) in Special Education coursework.

Required courses

Note: The Applied Behavior Analysis area of emphasis will be offered starting in the fall 2022 semester. This curriculum will be included in the 2022-2023 academic catalog (August 2022).  To view course descriptions, please check JHU Student Information System.

Fall-Year 1
873.601: Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis and Special Education*(ABA)

873.602: Research Methods: Evaluation, Measurement and Single Case Design*(ABA)
Spring-Year 1
873.605: Ethics and Professional Conduct for Behavior Analysts*(ABA)

877.553 Classroom Programming for Students with Autism (Sp. Ed; online)
Summer-Year 1
871.510: Legal Aspects, Service Systems, and Current Issues in Special Education (Sp. Ed; online)
Fall-Year 2
873.604: Behavioral Assessment and Instructional Strategies (ABA Course)

877.551: Survey of Autism and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders (Sp. Ed Course; online)
Spring-Year 2
873.603: Behavioral Assessment & Intervention for Challenging Behaviors*(ABA Course)

877.555: Teaching Communication and Social Skills (Sp. Ed Course; online)
Summer-Year 2
Choose one (Sp. Ed course; online):
877.550 Inclusive Practices for Autism Spectrum Disorders
OR
877.513: Students with Severe Disabilities: Augmentative Communication Systems
Fall-Year 3
873.606: Applications of ABA in the Classroom*(ABA)
873.610: ABA Practicum 1 (ABA Elective)
Spring-Year 3
873.607: Supervision and Consultation Practices in ABA*(ABA)
873.611: ABA Practicum 2 (ABA Elective)
Optional Fall-Year 4
873.612: ABA Practicum 3 (ABA Elective)
Optional Spring-Year 4
873.613: ABA Practicum 4(ABA Elective)

*ABAI-verified course

Students will have the option to enroll in the practicum electives beginning in year 3 of the program, 12 credits (4 elective courses) required to meet the experience requirements to be eligible for certification outlined by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®).

  • The practicum courses are designed to meet the experience requirements for Concentrated Experience Fieldwork* as outlined by the BACB.
  • Provides supervised experiences in applying behavior analytic services in an educational setting. 
  • ABA Practicum Coordinator.
  • Includes a face-to-face seminar with an instructor.
  • Practicum electives must be in MD or DC area.

Course Information

Course descriptions, locations, and availability

Master of Science in Special Education: Severe Disabilities with an Emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis

WHAT TO EXPECT

Student Outcomes

Graduates of the Special Education, ABA Master’s degree program have a competitive edge in the number of career opportunities available.

  • Special Education teacher
  • Behavior Analyst
  • Administrator of Special Education programs
  • Behavior Support Specialist
  • Special Education Advisor for departments of education
  • Autism Support Specialist
  • Autism Consultant Teacher

Learning Outcomes

By completing the coursework and, if elected, the additional practicum requirements for this degree program, candidates will acquire the competencies to:

  • Define, demonstrate, and apply the concepts and principles of behavior analysis within an educational setting.
  • Utilize research methods to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of intervention and instructional procedures
  • Complete behavioral assessments to identify the effective instructional program or behavior reduction plan in an educational setting.
  • Design, implement and evaluate an instructional program based on assessment results to increase a desired behavior/skill for an individual student or a group of students in an educational setting.
  • Design, implement and evaluate a behavior reduction program based on assessment results
  • Define and practice within the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts, as evidenced by completing coursework and practicum requirements when elected.
  • Implement, manage, and practice applied behavior analysis in an educational setting as evidenced by completing coursework and practicum requirements.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills as outlined by the CEC’s Advanced Specialty Set: Special Education Behavior Intervention Specialist.
  • With completing coursework and practicum requirements, candidates will take and complete the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) exam as evidenced by a passing score (set by the BACB).

Master of Science in Special Education: Severe Disabilities with an Emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where are courses offered? How are classes offered?

Five of the 12 required courses are delivered through fully online instruction (Special Education coursework).

Seven of the 12 required courses towards the degree are offered through a in-person and synchronous online format. Enrolled students can attend class in-person or through live-stream, synchronous, online learning to allow social distancing and provide some of the benefits of a face-to-face course. Courses are held two weekday evenings a week.

A student who elects for the in-person instruction attends courses offered at the JHU APL facility in Laurel, MD. The goal of the approach is to successfully give enrolled students the flexibility in their method of participation from session to session, creating their own unique experience.

The optional practicum electives are completed outside of structured classroom instruction but require residency in the D.C., Maryland, region to participate.

I live at a distance from Maryland. Can the requirements of this program be completed online and entirely remotely?

The required coursework may be completed through the synchronous online attendance but is not an option for students who live in different time zones. The synchronous online format will require enrolled students to participate in live, synchronous classroom discussions.

Who is considered an ideal candidate for the MS Special Education, Severe Disabilities, Applied Behavior Analysis Program?

The ideal candidate for this master’s program should demonstrate

  • A passion for and commitment to the field of applied behavior analysis.
  • Working or advancing a related to education or special education.
  • Understand the requirements to become board certified as outlined by the BACB.
  • Ability to commit to 3 years of intensive graduate coursework.
  • Demonstration of meeting all admissions requirements.
  • Willing to work and study hard
Will I be a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) when I complete the program?

The Johns Hopkins University School of Education does not certify candidates in Applied Behavior Analysis. Students are responsible for applying to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and for supplying all supporting documentation of coursework completed, supervised fieldwork hours completed, and scheduling the Behavior Analyst Certification Board exam.

This program provides the Verified Course Sequence (VCS) necessary to be eligible to apply for BCBA certification through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has verified the courses toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst®. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination. The VCS listing can be found here.

It is expected that candidates will pursue certification (board certified behavior analyst) upon completion of coursework and completion of supervised fieldwork experience (either through JHU or independently). Students are responsible for verifying (via Behavior Analyst Certification Board) the most current information and requirements for becoming certified bacb.com.

 

Does the MS Special Education, Severe Disabilities, Applied Behavior Analysis program lead to initial state teacher certification?

The MS Special Education, Severe/Applied Behavior Analysis does not lead to Special Education teaching certification in Maryland. Candidates interested in earning teaching certification are encouraged to review the MS Special Education, Mild-to-Moderate Disabilities.  

Master of Science in Special Education: Severe Disabilities with an Emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis

State Authorization Disclosure Regarding Educational Prerequisites

Federal regulations require Johns Hopkins to disclose to students considering enrollment or enrolled in this program whether or not it meets educational prerequisites for licensure or certification by state.

Educational prerequisites for professional licensure or certification

Program meets licensure requirements in the following States: Maryland. Maryland has a licensure agreement that provides for reciprocity with Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Vermont. The licensure agreement provides for reciprocity with conditions in the following states: Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Virginia, Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.