M.Ed. in Educational Psychology/Special Education (Applied Behavior Analysis)

This information is only applicable for students who started the program in Fall 2012. As of Fall 2013, we are offering a Master of Professional Education (MPEd) in Educational Psychology/Special Education/Inclusive Education with a focus on Applied Behavior Analysis.

The Master of Professional Education in the field of Educational Psychology/Special Education (course cluster in Applied Behavior Analysis [ABA]) will include 8 courses for a total of 288 hours of classroom time (including 1 placement course which has 18 hours classroom time). The number of course hours are the same as those set out by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) in the United States.

Upon completion of this course sequence, graduates will have learned about behaviour principles and how they play a role in shaping new behaviours and reducing the frequency of existing behaviours; ethical decision making in the practice of ABA; research methodology; application of behaviour principles to a variety of settings; assessment and treatment. 

This course sequence is appropriate for both clinical and educational settings. Students will learn how to apply acquired knowledge and skills to both typical and atypical populations as students will be exposed to information on individuals with developmental disabilities, anxiety and mood disorders, and disruptive behaviour disorders.

Note: The practicum course will not complete the full certification requirements for practical experience as outlined by the BACB. To better inform you of the full experience requirements please go to their website at: http://www.bacb.com/index.php?page=158.

Admission Criteria

For admission to the Master of Education program, students must possess a four-year degree from an accredited university. The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requires at least a 70% average in senior level academic courses, as determined by the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, taken in the last two full-time years of the undergraduate degree. Selection, however, will be made on a competitive basis.

Applicants whose first language is not English must furnish evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language by a satisfactory achievement within the last two years in one of the following:

  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum acceptable score is 86, which no individual score below 20 for the internet based version; 213 for the standard electronic version; or 550 for the paper and pencil version.
  • The International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) of the British Council. The minimum acceptable score if 6 out of 9. The IELTS is offered in 6 test centers in the US and 3 in Canada.
  • The Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) of the University of Michigan. Arrangements to write MELAB may be made online.
  • The Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL Assessment). The minimum acceptable score is 60. The CAEL Assessment is offered in several countries throughout the world as well as Canada.

Students who are required to present evidence of proficiency in English must make their own arrangements to write the TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB or CAEL and to have the official results sent directly to the School of Graduate and postdoctoral Studies by the testing agency.

Other formal evidence of graduate level proficiency in English (as determined by the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies) may be considered in lieu of these test scores.

Faculty Research

Faculty conducting research in the area of Educational Psychology/Special Education (Applied Behavior Analysis):

Sandieson, Ph.D.

Robert Sandieson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
FEB 1105
519.661.2111 x 88620

  • Louise LaRose
  • Robert Nicholson

Route of Study

The route of study for this program is Professional Route (course-based option) only. Students will take 7 half-courses and a practicum course. There is no thesis component for this course. Students join together as members of a cohort that collaborates as a professional and academic community of practice. This cohort structure will provide ongoing support within the course work sequence. The cohort will proceed through the program together, enrolling in the required courses. To ensure the integrity of the cohort model, a continuous enrollment requirement will be necessary which will necessitate that students complete all the required courses within the timeframe stipulated.


The M.Ed. in Educational Psychology/Special Education (Applied Behavior Analysis) program is designated as a part-time 2 year program. One course is taken in each of the four sessions: Fall, Winter, Intersession and Summer.

Online Study and Technology Recommendations

This program is a blended program.

Sakai OWL:

Online and onsite courses are available via the Sakai OWL platform, although instructors of onsite courses use this tool to varying degrees as well. Access to a course in Sakai OWL is typically opened the first business day of each term. Please note that although your own access may be granted prior to the first business day, course content may not be posted until closer to the scheduled term start. Your Western University login and password is required to access the course (your Western email without the @uwo.ca and its accompanying password). Access to Sakai OWL is found here: http://owltoo.uwo.ca.

For online courses, students are required to have access to the following:

  • High speed Internet access
  • Access to a computer that enables connection to outside websites (flexible firewall restrictions)
  • Multimedia playback capabilities (video/audio)
  • WebCam
  • Computer capable of running a recent version of Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox; and/or Cisco MOVI client for PC or Mac
  • Audio headset and microphone for computer

Typical Program of Study

Each class will be designed as a case study rather than in a traditional didactic way of teaching. The classes will be framed within an overarching problem that one can expect to find in practice. This format will serve as the catalyst for identifying other problems and issues of practice students encounter in their own work and for developing problem solving skills. The goal is to develop students reasoning skills as they weave together theoretical formulations, results of empirical research, and facts from real-life situations into a comprehensive analysis of the presenting problem. Ultimately, our goal within each course is for students to develop in critical thinking skills to collaboratively examine and solve, from both a behavioural and research perspectives, real problems found in their everyday practice.

Program Sequence and Detail

Students will take one course in the Fall, one course in the Winter, and two courses in the Summer (one in Intersession and one in Summer Session) for two years.

Year/Term Course Description
Year 1 Fall Basic Behaviour Principles This graduate course focuses on behavioural principles and their application to many different types of populations. Readings will be from radical behaviourism, experimental and applied behaviour analysis. The basic principles of reinforcement and punishment, will be with the attendant variations, will be presented.
Year 1 Winter Behaviour Assessment and Treatment This graduate course focuses on the various methods of assessment in applied behaviour analysis, including descriptive and analogue assessments, self-report, goodness-of-fit and positive behaviour support plans.
Year 1 Summer - Intersession Advanced Topics in Behaviour Analysis This graduate course is a continuation of the first course in Basic Principles, covering topics such as Verbal Behaviour and Relational Frame Theory.
Year 1 Summer - Summer Session Ethics This graduate course will focus on ethics/jurisprudence specific to Applied Behaviour Analysis and the legal context of working in Ontario.
Year 2 Fall Behaviour Analysis Research Design: Single Subject Designs This graduate course will focus on research methodology to evaluate interventions with single subjects, including individuals, families, organizations or other social systems. Readings will be drawn from a variety of textbooks and research articles.
Year 2 Winter Laboratory of Practice in ABA This graduate course fulfills certification requirements for field experience in applying the principles of ABA. Supervised placements can be current work placements, which include schools, private practice, and clinical programs in agencies. If the student is not working, practicum placements can be located with the cooperation of the student.*
Year 2 Summer - Intersession Special Topics in Basic Behaviour Principles This graduate course covers topics related to the practices of implementation of Applied Behaviour Analysis: specific clinical implementation, effective leadership and supervisory practices, and behavioural consultation.
Year 2 Summer - Summer Session ABA in the Classroom and School This graduate course will focus on how to implement behaviour principles at the classroom and on a school wide basis. Assessment and intervention practices will be covered that are practical for the busy teacher and administrator.