University of North Dakota Interview

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We recognized University of North Dakota as one of the 62 Best Schools with Online ABA Master’s and Certificate Programs, adding them to our list of top recommendations for students in the area.

We were excited to hear from Cristine Deaver, a faculty member at University of North Dakota who took the time to answer a few questions about how the school works to create a great student experience that helps prepare graduates for a career in applied behavior analysis.

University of North Dakota Programs:

  • Special Education


Professor/Faculty Name: 
    Cristine Deaver

Tell us about the types of students you see come through your program. Are you seeing more non-traditional students and career changers coming from other fields?

Cristine:  Most of our students have experience working in the field of either special education or human services agencies providing services to individuals with disabilities. They tend to have families and full time jobs and want to continue their education.  Although, most students are seeking national certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

What areas of practice are you seeing graduates going into? Do they tend to find jobs in the local school districts or more often join private practices?

Cristine:  Most of our students plan to sit for the national exam and continue to work with people with autism and other developmental disabilities.  Most continue to work in their current jobs while others seek out employment in private agencies or in school districts.

What are some of the things you love most about the ABA program at your university – the kind of things you’d like future students to know about as they consider their options?

Cristine:  I enjoy that our program focuses on applying the principles of behavior analysis to many populations and settings.  Students complete authentic, competency-based assignments that make them career ready.

What do you feel are the most pressing issues in ABA today, and how does the program at your school prepare graduates to address these issues?

Cristine:  There are two issues that I think are important to address.  The first is that the principles of behavior analysis apply to all people and settings.  The second is that our field is a field of science and therefore we should understand the principles behind what we do and that we are not practicing from a tool kit or bag of tricks.  Courses within our program require assignments that students apply to various behaviors, settings, and populations.  We also weave in many research articles and stress the importance of reviewing the research to support our interventions.

The school describes the online MS in Special Education—ABA Specialization program as “barrier-free.” Could you tell us a little about that?

Cristine:  The program at the University of North Dakota is full service.  Student can attend UND and meet BACB’s degree, course sequence, and experience requirements. All of our courses are offered on-line and asynchronous.  Students can complete their assignments at times that are convenient for them during the week.  Our intensive practicum allows students to identify and set up a practicum site wherever they may live.  The intensive practicum does require group supervision which is conducted via synchronous web based meetings. This allows us to accommodate students with busy schedules such as working full time and raising a family.

One of the unique features of the MS—ABA degree is its Special Education Resident Teacher Program. Would you share some details about this program?

Cristine:  The Resident Teacher Program is associated with those specializations in Special Education that lead to classroom teaching.  Currently, the ABA program meets the experiential training requirements through our intensive practicum.

Does the online format affect the students’ tuition rates? If so, in what ways?

Cristine:  At this time, online students pay the same tuition rate as in state students.

Please feel free to add anything else you would like potential students to know about your program and that would be good for them to consider before choosing a program.

We strive to get to know our students through academic advising as well as smaller student to faculty ratios.  Beginning Fall 2019, we will also be offering a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis.  Beyond this, UND is currently exploring a PhD program in ABA.


Check out our full interview series here to see what other professors and faculty are saying about their ABA programs.