Grad FAQs

Overview of the Graduate Program in Applied Behavior Analysis

1.  What is the goal of the applied behavior analysis graduate program?

The goal of our program is to prepare students for careers in the application of behavior analytic techniques to the behavioral habilitation of diverse populations and for careers in the experimental analysis of behavior. Furthermore, our program offers the coursework required for certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst®. This certification allows students to implement behavioral assessments and interventions in a variety of human service settings.

2.  Is this program a good choice if I want to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)?

Although the graduate program in psychology is designed to train students who want to improve the lives of others, we do not provide the coursework necessary to apply for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) licensure in the state of Alabama. If you are interested in pursuing a job that requires licensure as a counselor, you should consider the JSU College of Education and Professional Studies' master's degree programs in counselor education.

3.  Do I need an undergraduate degree in a certain area to apply to the graduate program in applied behavior analysis?

No. We consider all graduate applications, regardless of undergraduate degree; however, the Psychology Graduate Committee will evaluate each student's undergraduate coursework and experience to determine whether additional foundation courses and without experience in behavior analysis, you will be conditionally admitted to the program (see the Graduate Catalog for details).

4.  Is funding available to help me pay for my graduate degree in psychology?

Yes. We offer limited funding in the form of graduate assistantships and hourly pay for our top performing students in some of our practicum settings. Specific opportunities vary from year to year, so please contact Dr. Paige McKerchar ( for more information.

5.  What can you do with a master's degree from JSU's Psychology Department?

Graduates typically apply for jobs in human service organizations that provide behavioral services or continue their graduate training in a variety of Ph.D. programs. Please visit the Association for Behavior Analysis International's website to browse the types of jobs available to behavior analysts with a master's degree.

Application Materials and Procedures

6.  Does the Psychology Department accept new students each semester?

No, students are admitted into the graduate program in the fall semester only.

7.  When is the application deadline?

All application materials, including GRE scores, must be received by Graduate Studies by July 1 to be considered for admission into the program the following fall, but applications received before April 1 will be given priority consideration. See the Graduate Catalog for a list of required application materials. Applications completed after July 1 will be considered for admission in the fall semester of the following year.

8.  How do I complete the JSU Graduate Application for Admission?

Complete the JSU application online through Graduate Studies.

9. How do I sign up to take the GRE®?

Please visit the GRE® website for details about test dates, test center locations, and registration instructions.

10. How can I prepare for the GRE®?

There a number of online resources and books available to help students prepare for the GRE®. For example, this website provides an overview of preparation options and this website provides study tips and example questions. Please note: We do NOT require the Psychology Subject test.

11. When do I need to complete the GRE®?

The GRE® must be completed and the scores must be received by Graduate Studies by the application deadline, July 1. Additionally, the GRE® must have been taken within five years immediately preceding enrollment in our graduate program.

12. Is there a minimum GRE® score that I need to earn to be considered for acceptance into the graduate program?

We do not currently require a minimum score for conditional admission. Students with a score of 300 or above will be considered for unconditional admission. Acceptance into the program is competitive and the Psychology Graduate Committee reviews GRE® scores in addition to all other application materials to help determine whether students are likely to be successful in the program.

You may view the Graduate Student Profile from the previous calendar year for general information.

13. Is there a minimum GPA that I need to earn to be considered for acceptance into the graduate program?

We do not currently require a minimum GPA for conditional admission. Students with a GPA of 3.5 or above will be considered for unconditional admission. Acceptance into the program is competitive and the Psychology Graduate Committee reviews GPA in addition to all other application materials to help determine whether students are likely to be successful in our program. For those students that majored in psychology, the committee most closely evaluates students' performance in core courses such as Statistics, Research Methods, History of Psychology, and behavior analysis courses.

You may view the Graduate Student Profile from the previous calendar year for general information.

14. Where do I get the Graduate Reference Forms and how do I have them filled out?

You should request three (3) Graduate Reference Forms be completed by individuals who can provide qualitative assessment of your potential for success in graduate course work. Reference forms will be submitted electronically. Instructions for submission will be sent through email to the applicant upon submission of the online graduate application.

15. Who should I ask to fill out my Graduate Reference Forms?

You should ask former professors from your undergraduate or graduate institution(s) who can provide an assessment of your ability to succeed in our graduate program and/or Board Certified Behavior Analysts who you have worked with in the field. We recommend that at least two of your three references come from Ph.D.-level faculty. We also recommend that the person providing your reference attach a letter of recommendation to the reference form for a more complete assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.

16. What should I include in my curriculum vitae?

Please include your name and contact information, educational background, research experience, applied experience (e.g., practicum), other professional experience (e.g., teaching), presentations, honors, and awards. (Example)

17. What should I include in my letter of intent?

Explain your reasons for applying to JSU's graduate program in psychology. Provide a brief review of the coursework and experiences you have had that you think prepared you for our graduate program, and discuss what you intend to do if you graduate from our master's program.

18. Where do I send my application materials?

All application materials should be sent to:
Graduate Studies
Jacksonville State University
700 Pelham Road North
Jacksonville, AL 36265-1602

19. Who do I contact to determine whether my application materials have arrived?

Please contact Graduate Studies at 256-782-5348.

20. Who reviews my application materials?

Application materials are reviewed by faculty and staff in Graduate Studies and the Psychology Graduate Committee, which consists of faculty in the Psychology Department that teach at the graduate level.

21. What does the admissions process involve?

  • Students complete all application materials and send them to Graduate Studies.
  • Graduate Studies sends a copy of your complete application to the psychology department.
  • Psychology Graduate Committee reviews the application and provides a recommendation for admission to Graduate Studies.
  • Graduate Studies sends a letter to the student informing them of the admission decision.

22. How does the Psychology Graduate Committee determine their recommendation for admission?

Admission to the program is determined on a competitive basis by the Psychology Graduate Committee and is based on your application materials. The Psychology Graduate Committee is looking for coursework/experiences that suggest (1) the student will be successful in the program and (2) the program will prepare them for a career in their area of interest.

23. How and when will I know if I have been accepted?

You should receive a letter from Graduate Studies approximately one to three months after your application is complete. This time frame will vary depending on when your application is received. We typically review applications beginning April 1 and monthly/weekly thereafter.


24. Who will advise me so that I can enroll in graduate courses?

Dr. Makenzie Bayles serves as the advisor for all incoming graduate students. Each semester, you will receive an e-mail from Dr. Bayles before the pre-registration period. In this e-mail, she will include the courses you are cleared to take for the next semester. Dates for Pre-Registration and other registration deadlines 

25. Is there a way for me to track my progress in the graduate program?

Yes. Please print a copy of the Graduate Advisement form. You should also be able to review the requirements you have completed and those remaining by using the "Degree Evaluation" option in your MyJSU account.

Psychology Course Offerings

26. On which days/times are our graduate courses typically offered?

We typically offer graduate courses on either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday from 2:00pm-5:00pm, 2:30pm-4:00pm, or 4:30pm-6:00pm. Specific times are determined on a semester-by-semester basis, so please check the JSU course schedule.

27. During which semesters are our graduate courses offered?

Fall courses:

Core Courses (available every fall)

    • PSY 504 Graduate Behavior Analysis Lab
    • PSY 511 Conceptual Foundations
    • PSY 521 Functional Assessment
    • PSY 528 Applied Behavior Analysis I

Elective Courses (some of the following courses are available each fall)

    • PSY 450G History and Systems of Psychology
    • PSY 540 Analysis of Child Development
    • PSY 551 Seminar in Contemporary Topics
    • Practicum courses (require consent of instructor)

Spring courses:

Core Courses (available every spring)

    • PSY 529 Applied Behavior Analysis II
    • PSY 530 Single-Subject Research Methods
    • PSY 534 Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Elective Courses (some of the following courses are available each spring)

    • PSY 541 Verbal Behavior
    • PSY 544 Behavior Analysis in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
    • PSY 552 Seminar in Contemporary Topics
    • Practicum courses (require consent of instructor)

Summer courses:

Core Courses (available every summer)

    • PSY 504 Graduate Behavior Analysis Lab
    • PSY 538 Ethics and Professional Development (Hybrid)

Elective Courses

    • Practicum courses (require consent of instructor)

28. If I need to complete additional undergraduate foundation courses in psychology (i.e., Principles of Psychology, Statistics, and/or Research Methods), when are they typically offered?

Principles of Psychology (PSY 201) and Basic Statistics (MS 204) are typically offered during fall, spring, and summer semesters. Research Methods and Statistics (PSY 301) is typically offered during fall and spring semesters, but may be offered during the full summer session on occasion.

29. Can our graduate students take courses outside the Psychology Department and use the credit hours toward their degree requirements?

No. Students must complete ALL graduation requirements in the Psychology Department.

30. Who should I contact if I have further questions about the master's program in psychology at JSU?

If you still have questions about our program after reviewing our website, please e-mail the Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Makenzie Bayles (

31. Where can I get more information about the requirements for becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)?

We provide additional information about BCBA requirements at Becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and you should review the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's website for up-to-date requirements.