The Board of Trustees approved a new undergraduate major in applied behavior analysis with an emphasis in autism at their meeting Feb. 3.
Although the major will not be available until it is approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the board anticipates that students will be able to enroll in the 36-hour online-only major in three years.
The new undergraduate degree, when available, will be the only degree of its kind in Indiana.
It’s expected that students who enroll in the new major will apply to a graduate program in the same field of study. However, the undergraduate major will make students “attractive candidates” when applying to master's and doctoral programs in special education, psychology, school psychology and education as well, according to the Academic and Student Affairs Committee Report.
Ball State already offers three types of graduate programs that expand upon the curriculum covered in the undergraduate major, one being an online 30-credit-hour master's degree in applied behavior analysis with an emphasis in autism.
In addition to graduate programs, students can also enroll in minors in applied behavioral analysis, autism spectrum disorders and an applied behavior analysis specialization for those who already have a bachelor’s degree.
The majors, minors and graduate programs all prepare students to take the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst exam and become a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst, someone who “studies the principles of learning and behavior,” according to the report.
The new undergraduate major addresses the increase in national and regional job openings for bachelor’s level analysts, which grew by 8 percent between 2015 and 2016.
When offered, the undergraduate major will enroll 30 students with no new faculty until the third year of the major being available. At that point, the report projects that two new faculty will be hired for the major, or more if necessary.