Mercyhurst University


Applied Behavior Analysis Programs at Mercyhurst University

Mercyhurst University is also featured in our ranking of the 30 Best Colleges for Students on the Autism Spectrum.

Mercyhurst University offers applied behavior analysis (ABA) programs for students who want to work with adults and children with an autism spectrum disorder. One option is a graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis. It requires that students take classes on the Mercyhurst campus though a small number of courses are available online too. The university prefers that students start in the fall but may allow them to start in the spring. Students only need to take six classes, including Basic Principles of Behavior and Functional Behavior Assessment and Intervention Development.

A similar program lets students earn a graduate certificate in special education and applied behavior analysis. It includes 32 weeks of classes and can help students become special education teachers in preschools as well as elementary, junior high and secondary schools. Graduates meet the requirements to sit for the Pennsylvania teachers’ licensing exam too. Though students do not need to do internships, they will need to take classes on interventions and assessments that help them identify the needs of special education students. They also learn how to create treatment plans that involve the families of their students.

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Students who have a teaching license can enroll in the university’s autism endorsement program, which awards them a certificate that meets the requirements to add an autism endorsement to their licenses. It features three courses and a lab component that helps students practice their skills. Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders, Instructional Assessment Methods and Behavior Management: Introduction to ABA and Behavior Change. That last course addresses topics that students will examine in-depth in their labs.

Also available are bachelor’s programs in special education that teach students how to help those with behavior disorders in a classroom setting. The university offers an early childhood education major for those who want to teach in preschool through fourth-grade settings. A dual major is available in this field that lets students teach those up through the eighth grade. The 4 + 1 program helps students earn their bachelor’s and graduate degrees in special education in five years.

Through the university’s special education and applied disability studies program, students take 30 to 39 credits of classes and learn the basics of working with kids who have disabilities. They can choose from concentrations in applied behavior analysis, autism, English language learners or applied disability service in higher education. The ABA program includes three courses: Basic Principles of Behavior, Advanced Seminar: Applied Behavior Analysis and Functional Assessment and Intervention Development. Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder, Behavior Management: Introduction to ABA and Behavior Change and Instructional Assessment and Methods are required courses in the autism concentration.

About Mercyhurst University

Mercyhurst University is a private university and affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Established in 1926 as Mercyhurst College, it was opened in Erie, Pennsylvania by the Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters used funds from the Church and donations to hire an architect to design the first buildings on the campus because they wanted the campus to be as beautiful as possible. The university spent $40 million in the 21st century to renovate some of those buildings to give them a modern look. More than 20 percent of the university’s student body takes advantage of the study abroad programs that are available every year. Mercyhurst University has an enrollment of more than 2,700 students, including a few hundred graduate students.

Mercyhurst University Accreditation Details

Mercyhurst designed its ABA and special education programs to meet the requirements for students who need to obtain teaching licenses in Pennsylvania and those who want to become board certified. All the university’s programs have regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), which applies to all the other Mercyhurst programs too. It gives students in need the right to apply for financial aid and get help through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Mercyhurst University Application Requirements

The ABA program offered by Mercyhurst has a rolling admissions policy. Students need to apply online and submit their required documents. An admissions panel will then look at all the information provided and decide whether to accept the student. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, the university looks favorably at those with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Students need to submit both a current resume and transcripts from all their former colleges. Mercyhurst also requires a personal statement of 500 to 750 words that show all the goals the student has and his or her reasons for choosing the university. The university has the same requirements for all its other graduate degree programs and may ask for a copy of the student’s teaching license.

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At the undergraduate level, students can apply online for free with the university’s website or they can use the Common or Coalition applications. Mercyhurst asks that students complete a biography section and sections on their extracurricular interests and academic backgrounds. They also need to self-report their high school transcripts and create a writing sample. Depending on which applications they use, they may need to provide a letter of recommendation and/or an ACT/SAT score.

Tuition and Financial Aid

In the university’s ABA graduate certificate program, students pay $804 per credit hour, which comes to $15,000 to complete the whole program. Graduate students qualify for financial aid from Mercyhurst if they submit the FAFSA. They can get a graduate assistantship or look at the employment opportunities for grad students. The university accepts supplemental grants and unsubsidized loans, which students can get from the federal government. They have the option of using reimbursement plans too. Mercyhurst encourages students to view all the different financial aid programs and to speak with an aid counselor if they need help.

While the special education program charges the same rate, students pay $20,840 to finish their programs because they need to take more classes. In the autism endorsement program, students pay a total of $10,500 to complete their certificates. Undergrads attending Mercyhurst pay $37,500 a year in tuition and another $2,980 in fees. Room and board packages start at $12,880 a year and can vary based on the rooms that students choose. Some of the financial aid that Mercyhurst University students can use in the ABA special education program can use include work-study, loans, scholarships, and grants.