About Our Program

Centre for Applied Disability Studies

About Our Program

Why pursue a degree in Applied Disability Studies?
There is an increasing number of jobs available for Certified Behaviour Analysts throughout North America, but there is a critical shortage of qualified personnel. Many positions are available for providing therapeutic and consultation services, as well as supervising interventions, research and program evaluation. Those students specializing in ABA will be able to work as Behaviour Therapists, Consultants and Supervisors in services for persons with Autism and developmental disabilities, Children and Adult Mental Health, Special Education, Brain Injury, Physical disabilities, Geriatrics and Early intervention. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® has approved our current ABA course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Examination®.

Even without the ABA credential, graduates from our programs will also be attractive to disability services as supervisors, managers, program evaluators and researchers. As we expand our specialities to include Counselling and Assessment, many employment opportunities will be available because there are so few of these professionals who know how to provide these services to persons with disabilities. Even in the short time we have existed, employers are reporting how impressed they have been with our students knowledge of disabilities and ABA during job interviews. We anticipate that graduates from our program will be considered strong candidates for positions in human service positions.

Students have the option of applying for two types of Master's degrees or a Graduate Diploma.


Master of Arts (MA)
In addition to course work and practicum placements, the MA program requires the student to complete an original research study and write an MA thesis under the supervision of a key faculty member and a thesis committee. The MA program is highly competitive with enrolment in the MA program currently limited to 5-7 new students per year. It is geared towards students who are interested in research careers and perhaps pursuing a Ph.D. For the MA, preference is given to students who apply for full-time status. Full-time students who are accepted into this program will be entitled to the stipends and bursaries typically awarded to Brock full-time graduate students. MA students may choose to specialize in ABA, take our BACB approved ABA courses and become eligible for certification as a BCBA after completing their degree and experience hours.

Master of Applied Disability Studies (M.ADS)
The second option is called a Master of Applied Disability Studies (M.ADS). The M.ADS is a professional Master's degree. This option differs from the MA in that no research thesis is required, and the student would not likely be eligible for Brock graduate student stipends and bursaries. M.ADS students may choose to specialize in ABA, take our BACB approved ABA courses and become eligible for certification as a BCBA after completing their degree and experience hours.

The M.ADS programme is designed to be completed in three years on a part-time basis (or two years on a full-time basis). The programme is geared to students who are already working in the field (e.g., Instructional Therapists in IBI programs, Behaviour consultants/Therapists in Community Behavioural Programs).


What is the difference between the M.ADS and MA programmes?


Graduate Diploma
The third option is a Graduate Diploma in Applied Behaviour Analysis.  Many students who already have a Master's degree may choose the Diploma program to take the approved ABA courses needed to become BCBA. The admissions requirements for the Grad Diploma are similar to the M.ADS (i.e., Honours degree, 75 average and relevant experience). Diploma students take the same courses as the M.ADS students.  The course sequence will include ABA and non ABA courses.  Students who do not wish to pursue an ABA diploma may consider a Diploma in Applied Disability Studies.  Students who hold an undergraduate degree and who do not wish to complete a Master's Degree may apply for this option.


Course Schedules
To accommodate working students, we schedule courses on weekends (one Saturday and Sunday per month). We also offer intensive one-week courses, usually in the spring. However, we reserve the right to offer courses at other times, especially for full-time students. It is likely that one could use their work experience to fulfill the practicum course requirements (provided that the required supervision could be arranged). If an ABA student works in an ABA setting and is receiving supervision from a qualified supervisor, then the student has the opportunity to earn a Master's degree as well as the necessary course work and experience hours to apply to BACB to take the exam for BCBA. We offer a series of practicum courses for those ABA students who are unable to arrange supervised experience.  Courses are generally offered in Hamilton, Toronto and St. Catharines.  Please read the FAQ for details.