Students have the option of applying for two types of Master’s degrees or a Graduate Diploma.
Learn more about the difference between the M.ADS and MA programs here.
Master of Arts in Applied Disability Studies (MA)
Students can choose to specialize in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) or Leadership, Diversity, Community, and Culture (LDCC). In addition to course work and practicum/internship 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 10-12 new students per year. It is geared towards students who are interested in research careers and pursuing a Ph.D. The MA is a full-time program. 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 who choose to specialize in ABA take our ABAI Verified Course Sequence designed to meet the coursework and degree requirements needed to write the BCBA exam (see BACB.com for other requirements).
Applicants interested in the LDCC specialization, please follow the LDCC links below as information on this program (NEW FOR 2021) was not included in the 2020/21 Graduate Calendar.
Master of Applied Disability Studies (MADS)
The MADS is a course-based Master’s degree. This option differs from the MA in that no research thesis is required and tuition is determined by the number of courses taken each semester.
MADS students who choose to specialize in ABA take our ABAI Verified Course Sequence which meets the coursework requirement for applying to write the BCBA exam after completing their degree and experience hours.
The MADS program is designed to be completed in two years of full-time study. Students in the ABA specialization have the option to complete the program over 3 years (Part-time).
The program is geared to current and future professionals and offers courses on weekends in different locations in Ontario.
MADS students who specialize in ABA may potentially gain employment as Instructional Therapists in IBI programs, Behaviour consultants/Therapists in Community Behavioural Programs, Teachers and Educators, and more.
MADS students who specialize in LDCC may potentially gain employment as managers, supervisors, consultants, policy analysts, and other leadership roles in disability organizations.
Please follow these links for more information about ABA specialization:
Applicants interested in the LDCC specialization, please follow the LDCC link below as information on this program (NEW FOR 2021) was not included in the 2020/21 Graduate Calendar.
Graduate Diploma in Applied Disability Studies
The Graduate Diploma in Applied Disability Studies is meant for persons who already have a Master’s degree.
Students who already have a Master’s degree in a related field (ABA, Psychology, Education) may choose the Diploma program to take the ABAI Verified Course Sequence which meets the coursework requirement for applying to write the BCBA exam after completing their Graduate Diploma and experience hours.
The admissions requirements for the Grad Diploma are similar to the MADS (i.e., Honours degree, 75 average and relevant experience).
Diploma students take the same courses as the MADS students.
Students in our MA, MADS and Diploma programs choose to specialize in either ABA or LDCC
Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)
The ABA specialization provides students with graduate level coursework and experience in applied behaviour analysis. Our ABA course sequence is verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) to meet the 5th Edition coursework requirements to become Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBAs).
As part of their coursework, ABA students have to opportunity to gain practical experience through a 300-hour practicum placement and have access to other experiential learning in the classroom environment.
There are many jobs for BCBAs in a variety of clinical and educational settings with diverse clients populations. Our graduates work in ABA programs for people with autism, developmental disabilities, acquired brain injuries, neurodevelopment disorders. They also provide treatment for challenging behaviour, addictions, mental health needs, dementia. Many behaviour analysts work in public and private schools, and post-secondary institutions.
Ours was the first graduate program in Eastern Canada to offer a BCBA Approved courses (now ABAI verified) and our pass rate on the BCBA examination is significantly above average.
Leadership, Diversity, Community, and Culture (LDCC)
Students with interests in leadership, community-engaged research and scholarship, social policy, teaching, community–based programming, health care, therapeutic and other services and support across the lifespan and a variety of disabilities, inclusive and accessible environments, and advocacy and social justice will enjoy the professional, personal and scholarly challenges offered by the critical disabilities orientation LDCC program option of the Applied Disability Studies degree.
This option provides leadership, interdisciplinary, socio-political, cultural, and foundational scholarship written by scholars with disabilities about issues of relevance for persons with disabilities. The program is highly flexible. Students will develop skills in qualitative and quantitative research methods, applicable to Program Evaluation, Community Engaged Research and Scholarships and Participatory Action Research. Students can apply these skills in an internship and an original research thesis. In addition, throughout the program, students will have the opportunity to select among bank of electives, including new courses in leadership theories and approaches and social policy analysis, This program option provides students with both theoretical and applied experiences in a variety of online, hybrid and face-to-face contexts, allowing them to develop skills in research, leadership, writing, analysis, multi-media literacy, networking, and advocacy.
The course bank also includes opportunities for qualitative and blended research methods, community engaged scholarship, social policy, reading & writing conventions in disability studies, internships and a Major Research Paper (MRP).
This program option provides students with both theoretical and applied experiences in a variety of online, hybrid and face to face contexts and allows students to develop skills in research, leadership, writing, analysis, multi-media literacy, networking and advocacy.
ABA students will take practicum courses.
LDCC students will take internship courses.
All ABA students are required to take two practicum courses, ADST 5P74 and 76, in Fall and Winter, respectively, of their final year (year 2 for full-time students and year 3 for part-time students. Each required practicum course involves 150 hours of hands-on experience in ABA. ABA students must be doing ABA work in their practicum and be supervised by a qualified BCBA supervisor (see BACB.com). In addition to the 150 hours (on-site), the practicum course includes in class and online instructional hours and assignments.
Extra ABA Practicum (ADST 5P2X)
Extra Practicum courses (ADST 5P20, 21, etc.) can be completed by full and part-time M.ADS students. These courses are not required and incur extra tuition fees. It is possible for ABA students to independently earn BACB experience hours without taking extra practicum courses. See BACB.com for details on how to earn experience hours towards BCBA.
If you are working in the field of disabilities, then you may be able to complete the practicum hours as part of your normal work. For their practicum, ABA students must be doing ABA work (per 4th Edition Task List) under the supervision of a BCBA. Non-ABA work experience is not permitted to be used as a practicum placement.
A student in an ABA placement with a supervisor who is not qualified, but who is approved by the clinical coordinator for ADS may complete the practicum requirements under a special written agreement stating that they would not be able to count those practicum hours towards their Supervised Field Experience for their BCBA application.
Note that ABA students can start earning BCBA experience hours (with qualified supervision) as soon as they start the Master’s program. Please see BACB for information on obtaining approved experience hours. BCBA experience hours are independent of the practicum course, although students can continue to earn experience hours while completing the practicum course.
All LDCC students are required to take an internship course during their degree. Ideally, the course should be completed during their first spring semester in the program or the fall semester of their section year. The internship involves the completion of a 150-hour supervised project in a government, clinical, educational, or other applied setting. Supervision is provided by a previously approved Field Supervisor or qualified faculty member. The internship allows students to participate in ‘applied’ study, as they have the opportunity to engage directly with people in a service provision or support capacity. In addition to the 150 hours (on-site), the internship course includes the completion of an ongoing reflective journal and other prompts and assignments evaluated by the course instructor.
Please note the following are location guidelines only and the information below is subject to change.
- Primary location: St. Catharines Campus
- Courses during the week: Fall, Winter, Spring
- Over the course of study: One course/one weekend per month at Hamilton Campus
- Approximately 50% will have primary location at St. Catharines Campus (mainly)
- Courses during the week
- Over the course of study: One course/one weekend per month at Hamilton Campus. Another course is online
- Hamilton Campus
- Courses on weekends, Fall, Winter, Spring
- One course is online
- Hamilton Campus, Toronto, and Ottawa
- Courses on weekends; on weekend a month, Fall, Winter, Spring
- Ottawa is offered once every 3 years and is dependent on enrolment
- Brock University, St. Catharines (directions)
- Brock University, Hamilton Campus (directions)
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