Western Michigan University


Applied Behavior Analysis Programs at Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University appears in our ranking of the Top 25 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Programs.

Through the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University, students can earn degrees in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). This is one of the only schools in Michigan with both a graduate and a doctoral program. Both programs have professional approval because they prepare students to work with clients in the field.

Graduate students can earn a Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Behavior Analysis. Students must take three courses at the start of the program to learn about ABA theories and principles: Conditioning and Learning, Skinner’s Behaviorism and Professional and Ethical Issues in Psychology. That third course is especially important because it shows students some of the issues that can occur as they work with clients and patients. Other courses in this ABA program include Research Methods in Behavior Analysis, Behavioral Assessment, Behavioral Intervention and Experimental Analysis of Behavior. They will also need to do a research project or a thesis that awards them six credits and six additional credits of professional work. Western Michigan University allows students to either do a practicum or an independent research project. They can also teach at the university for professional credit.

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A Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Behavior Analysis is also available. This doctoral program requires that students do a thesis project before they enroll, but it will also accept those who completed a thesis in graduate school. Students will take 27 credits of core courses from specific areas, including ABA theories, research methods and professional issues. Those courses include Psychology in the Schools, Supervision in ABA, Psychology of Work, Current Research in EAB and Personnel Training and Development.

To finish the doctoral program, the university requires that students complete a minimum of nine credit hours of professional experiences too. They can teach at the university, do a practicum with an ABA organization, complete an internship or do an independent research project. They will also need to do a final project of some type that is similar to a thesis. Western Michigan University awards students a total of 12 credit hours for the dissertation research they do and the time they spend writing a dissertation.

About Western Michigan University

Established in 1903, Western Michigan University is a public university with a strong reputation. Called the Western State Normal School during its early years, it kept this name until 1927, which was when it became the Western State Teachers College. The university also operated as the Western Michigan College of Education because of its strong teaching programs before becoming Western Michigan College in the 1950s. It took until 1957 before the state granted the college university status, which was when it changed its name to Western Michigan University or WMU. Some also call the university Western Michigan.

Western Michigan is now home to one of the country’s best aviation programs and hosts aviation events for students that bring in guest speakers and others from across the nation. It also hosts an annual event dedicated to medieval studies. Both Washington Monthly and U.S. News and World Report ranked WMU as a top school in America. On a list of the world’s best colleges, USNWR included WMU. As the university changed its curriculum to include more than education programs, it saw its enrollment grow. More than 23,000 students now take classes on the WMU campus in Kalamazoo.

Western Michigan University Accreditation Details

WMU has approval from the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) for its programs. Its ABA programs provide students with the training that they need to work as analysts. Students may take some classes accredited by the APA too. WMU has primary accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which also serves as its regional accreditation. Western Michigan can grant degrees, establish its curriculum, award financial aid and accept transfer credits because of this accreditation.

Western Michigan University Application Requirements

The ABA programs offered by WMU are available as cohort programs for all types of students. They will follow the same curriculum during the program and graduate at the same time. Those who live in and around the Detroit area can start in the spring, but all other students must start in the fall. WMU has an application deadline of December 1 for the fall semester and a deadline of September 1 for the spring semester. It must receive all application components by this deadline, and students must meet all admissions requirements by the deadline too.

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Those requirements include having a bachelor’s degree in hand when the program starts. Students must have transcripts that show they took a minimum of 18 credits of psychology courses too. They also need to score within the 50th percentile on the GRE and have a cumulative undergrad grade point average of at least 3.0. Students will write a personal statement to explain why they selected the WMU program and what they want to do while in that program. The university asks for letters of recommendation from three different references too. Students may need to meet with a faculty member and go through a long interview too.

Tuition and Financial Aid

WMU offers a tuition discount for Michigan residents to help them pay their education expenses. Both graduate and doctoral students who are Michigan residents pay $652 per credit hour. The cost for nonresident doctoral and graduate students is $1,232 per credit hour. Students must also pay any other expenses they have during the school year, including the cost of room and board and supplies.

Students have many different options regarding how they will pay their tuition and other expenses at WMU. Those who complete the FAFSA can get one or more government loans such as an unsubsidized loan or a PLUS loan. They can also borrow from private lenders. WMU recommends that students look at assistantships before they use private loans that have high interest rates. Teaching assistants help professor run their classes. They may oversee students taking tests and grade the assignments that they do. Research assistants are responsible for helping faculty members with their research projects and studies. The university offers a small number of assistantships for students outside of teaching and research positions too. Students apply to Western Michigan University can apply for an assistantship at the same time that they apply to an ABA program.