Curriculum
BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons

BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons offers an extensive, interdisciplinary exploration of the field of applied behavior analysis. Our rigorous, practice-based curriculum focuses on contemporary research and the full range of applications of behavior analytic principles, including the contexts of special education, behavioral medicine, organizational behavior management, instructional design, and animal training.

Course Sequence

Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Term 4

Term 5

Optional

Course Descriptions

Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis

BEHVO 424 | 4 credits | Term 1

The focus of this class is on basic behavioral vocabulary, definitions, and principles (e.g., reinforcement, stimulus control, and motivation). The format includes a combination of lectures, group discussions, and small group activities. Readings from assigned texts will serve as the basis for class presentation and discussions. 

This course will use behaviorally based pedagogical strategies, such as Say All Fast Minute Each Day Shuffle (SAFMEDS), interteaching, group activities, case studies, readings, literature reviews, guided notes, Socratic questioning, quizzes and exams, a midterm and a final exam. Active student responding will be prioritized.

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Introduction to Single Subject Research Design

BEHVO 415 | 4 credits | Term 1

This course presents and assesses the experimental control developed by various types of single-subject research designs. Additionally, the types of measurement protocols, ethical issues, data collection, and visual display are discussed in relation to each research design.

This course will use behaviorally based pedagogical strategies, such as Say All Fast Minute Each Day Shuffle (SAFMEDS), interteaching, group activities, case studies, readings, literature reviews, guided notes, Socratic questioning, quizzes, exams, a midterm, and a final exam. Active student responding will be prioritized. Students must design, present, and defend a hypothetical study in a professional poster format.

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Behavioral Assessment

BEHVO 426 | 4 credits | Term 2

Assessment is the cornerstone of behavior analysis. Whether working with people or animals, individually or in groups, addressing any given problem, the foundation of the behavior analyst’s work is rigorous assessment. This course introduces the methods of behavioral assessment, focusing on identifying hypotheses and testing the hypothesis to identify functional relations. The course also teaches students to plan effective clinical and educational interventions based on the results of multi-dimensional behavioral assessment that uses a continuum of assessment methods.

Through this course, students will learn to conduct a functional behavioral assessment including planning, taking data, interpreting data, composing narrative reports, and establishing rapport with clients while determining how best to measure progress and develop goals. By the end of the course, students should be able to perform these processes with any client or any group of clients.

This course will use behaviorally based pedagogical strategies, such as Say All Fast Minute Each Day Shuffle (SAFMEDS), interteaching, group activities, individual self paced modules, readings, literature reviews, guided notes, Socratic questioning, quizzes, exams, and a final project. Active student responding will be prioritized.

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Methodologies for Behavior Change I

BEHVO 427 | 4 credits | Term 2

The purpose of this course is to expose students to basic procedures and protocols to accelerate and decelerate behavior changes. Some topics presented include reinforcement, contingency contracting, rule-governed behavior, the development and implementation of token economies, differential reinforcement, shaping, punishment, and generalization. Students present an assigned article on a specific topic area during each class, followed by class discussion and lecture.

This course will use behaviorally based pedagogical strategies, such as interteaching, student presentations, group activities, curriculum sheets, readings, literature reviews, guided notes, Socratic questioning, quizzes, exams, and a final poster project. Active student responding will be prioritized.

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Ethics and Legal Issues

BEHVO 430 | 4 credits | Term 3

This course was designed to provide students with an overview of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (2014) Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts. Ethical issues outlined in the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) Task List will be reviewed in the context of this class (http://www.bacb.com/). Additionally, the student will become familiar with federal and state legal regulations and policies specific to behavior management and restraint, as well as discuss larger ethical issues such as the design of cultures, guardianship, and discrimination.

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Methodologies for Behavior Change II

BEHVO 434 | 4 credits | Term 3

The purpose of this course is to expose students to innovative behavioral instructional protocols, such as precision teaching, PSI, direct instruction, stimulus equivalence, and errorless instruction.

This course will use behaviorally based pedagogical strategies, such as lecture with guided notes, active choral responding, practice opportunities with modeling, Personalized System of Instruction, guided reading, guest lectures, weekly quizzes, a final exam and two student projects.

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Advanced Topics in Behavior Analysis

BEHVO 445 | 4 credits | Term 4

Examines the how fundamental behavior analytical protocols (e.g., schedules of reinforcement, stimulus control, etc.) can be used to assess and account for sophisticated human behaviors, such as verbal behaviors, private events, and derived relational responding. Translational research (i.e., from laboratory to the real world) is presented and discussed.

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Verbal Behavior

BEHVO 465 | 4 credits | Term 5

Skinner considered his 1957 book, Verbal Behavior, to be his most important work. Skinner rejected cognitive explanations of language as the transmission of thoughts and ideas that start in our minds. Instead, he analyzed verbal behavior as behavior controlled by basic behavioral processes, including positive reinforcement and stimulus control. In this course, students will read and analyze the concepts in Verbal Behavior, such as the mand, tact, intraverbal, and autoclitic. The distinction between radical and methodological behaviorism is discussed, including a discussion of how behavior analysts treat private events and covert verbal behavior. Students will read research on applications of verbal behavior to improve the communication of individuals with language delays. The course also emphasizes practical applications of the analysis of verbal behavior. By the end of this course, students will produce a teaching program based on verbal behavior and a paper extending ideas or research avenues in verbal behavior.

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Autism Spectrum Disorders

BEHVO 466 | 3 credits

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have complex behavior, learning, and social characteristics that vary widely between learners. Successfully addressing behavior challenges associated with ASD requires comprehensive and coordinated intervention. Through this course, students will learn how to apply behavior analytic principles and tactics with this special population in order to create measurable improvements in behavior. This course is not required and is offered at an additional cost. Students elect to take this course to enhance their knowledge of ASD and/or to meet the licensing requirements of some states.

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Mentoring and Supervision: Intensive Practicum

8 credits | Terms 4 and 5

There are two mentoring courses, taken in consecutive terms. These courses provide individualized and group supervision to students using the basic principles of behavior analysis in the classroom or work setting. They fulfill the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s requirements for completion of supervision under the Intensive Practicum category.

Students will meet individually with an appointed Individual BCBA Supervisor for one 90-minute meeting per week, and will meet as a small group with a Simmons University Group BCBA Supervisor for a second 90-minute weekly meeting. 

Students must work at an approved site throughout the mentoring program. Students must work a minimum of 10 hours per week every week of the mentoring term to meet BACB® Eligibility Standards for supervision. However, Simmons University recommends students work 30 hours per week to ensure they accrue sufficient hours. Students must complete a total of 750 work hours in the approved settings over the course of the supervision experience (2 terms). A minimum of 10% of these work hours must be supervised. More than one setting may be combined to fulfill these requirements.

Responsibilities include direct and clinical service provision to human clients for whom behavior analytic services are appropriate. Per BACB standards, no more than 50% of the hours worked may be direct services. Clinical responsibilities include designing and/or monitoring behavior analytic programs, overseeing implementation of programs by others, conducting behavior analytic assessments and analyses, training other service providers to implement behavior analytic programming, and data analysis.

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