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Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis Degree

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Home » Programs » Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis Degree

Learn How to Help People on the Autism Spectrum Modify Their Behavior and Improve Vital Life Skills

National University’s Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis program is designed for those who have a true passion for working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum and those with neurodiverse conditions that benefit from behavior change systems. Our curriculum focuses on preparing you to sit for the BACB (Behavior Analyst Certification Board) exam.

ABA is an in-demand and rewarding profession that makes an impact in clients’ lives. It’s a type of therapy focused on helping the patient to modify their behaviors. When successful, ABA can help the patient establish or improve a wide range of critical skills, including social skills, employment-related skills, communication skills, academic skills, and hygiene-related or self-care skills.

If you want to help people who have behavioral and social challenges, NU’s MS in Applied Behavioral Analysis can provide you with the skills you need to accomplish your goals. To learn more about ABA Psychology and autism, please click here.

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Course Details

Program Requirements

  • 10 courses; 45 quarter units

This course identifies the goals of behavioral analysis as a science, explains the philosophical assumptions underlying the science of behavior analysis, describes and explains behavior from the perspective of radical behaviorism and the dimensions of ABA, and distinguishes among the four branches of ABA.

PrerequisiteABA 620

Defines the field’s fundamental elements: behavior and the environmental antecedent and consequential events that influence it; and introduces key terms and principles that describe relationships among these elements.

PrerequisiteABA 622

Role of measurement in behavior analysis, how to assess the social significance of potential target behaviors, how to interpret graphically displayed data, options for setting criteria for behavior change, state intervention goals in observable and measurable terms, identify potential interventions based on assessment results, and recommend interventions goals and strategies.

PrerequisiteABA 624

Describes an assessment process that explores the purpose a behavior serves for a person, how to conduct a functional analysis of problem behavior, interpret functional assessment data, and the role in treating and preventing problem behaviors.

PrerequisiteABA 626

Focuses on promoting improved significant social changes in an individual’s life and defines the major types of generalized behavior change and strategies and tactics applied behavior analysts use to achieve them.

PrerequisiteABA 628

Describes how to state intervention goals in observable and measurable terms, identify potential interventions based on assessment results, and recommend interventions, strategies, and goals.

PrerequisiteABA 630

Outlines standards of professional practice a code of conduct for behavior analyst, describes strategies and tactics for providing ethically sound client services, and how to achieve, maintain, and to maintain and extend professional competence.

PrerequisiteABA 632

The course focuses on providing the supervisor with instructions on how to facilitate ABA programming with supervises, and to evaluate the effects of supervision.

PrerequisiteABA 634

This course is designed to help students achieve fluency skills in applied behavioral skills.

PrerequisiteABA 636

The course is designed to utilize within-subject design research strategies when conducting an applied behavior analytical experiment.

Degree and Course Requirements

To receive a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis, students must complete at least 45 quarter units of graduate work. A total of 4.5 quarter units of graduate credit may be granted for equivalent graduate work completed at another institution. To effectively transfer units to this degree, the transferable units were not previously used in earning another advanced degree.  In addition, the coursework was completed within the past 7 years. Course equivalence cannot be granted for life experience. Please refer to the graduate information section of the University catalog for admission and evaluation.

You’ll work with faculty who are also experts in the field and have the opportunity to take advantage of their real-world insights. The program is highly individualized and focused on the student learning experience.

NU’s curriculum utilizes precision learning and a verified course sequence, which are unique to National University. Additionally, you’ll focus on practitioner self-care, social and emotional learning, and cultural competency. You’ll also complete a research-based capstone project, and upon completion of the program, we’ll help place you in an internship program.

Behavior analysts provide services to individuals, families, group homes, schools, mental health agencies, hospitals, industrial and business settings, and other agencies working with individuals who require intensive behavioral training and/or consultation.

A Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis degree opens doors in a variety of industries, including health care, social assistance, and educational services. Employers in this field are looking for skills in teaching, research, communications, leadership, writing, advocacy, planning, and management.

In order to be eligible to sit for the BACB (Behavior Analyst Certification Board) exam, you must have a master’s degree with the verified course sequence (provided by NU) and have 2,000 supervision hours. Once you pass the exam, you are a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

The career opportunities and rewards within the profession are plentiful. Some of the positions* NU’s ABA program can prepare you for include:

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
  • Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA)
  • Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT)
  • Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA)
  • Behavior Consultant
  • Behavior Analyst
  • Behavior Technician
  • Behavior Specialist
  • ABA Interventionist
  • ABA Behavioral Technician
  • Lead ABA Interventionist
  • Behavior Lead
  • Behavior Supervisor
  • Behavior Intervention Specialist
  • Behavior Engineers
  • Organizational Behavior Management Specialist

* SOURCE: Emsi Labor Analyst- Report. Emsi research company homepage at https://www.economicmodeling.com/company/ (Report viewed: May, 2022). DISCLAIMER: The data provided is for informational purposes only. Emsi data and analysis utilizes government sources to provide insights on industries, demographics, employers, in-demand skills, and more to align academic programs with labor market opportunities. Cited projections may not reflect local or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Current and prospective students should use this data with other available economic data to inform their educational decisions.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Understand key principles of behavior analysis, including terminology and foundational concepts
  • Apply behavior analytic techniques to design and implement effective interventions for behavior change
  • Develop behavior change programs that incorporate individualized strategies, data collection methods, and measurement systems.
  • Assess the ethical considerations involved in behavior analysis practices, including client rights and professional conduct.
  • Integrate knowledge and skill in the identification of the function of the behavior and the development of an intervention.
  • Collaborate effectively with interdisciplinary teams, including educators, psychologists, and healthcare professionals, to achieve behavior change goals.

Hear From Our Faculty

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“In the heart of ABA lies the belief that every person deserves the chance to shine and be celebrated for who they are.”

– Dr. Faheema Abdool-Ghany, BCBA-D, LBA-NY
MSABA Academic Program Director & Assistant Professor


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To that end, we’ve simplified and streamlined our application process, so you can get enrolled in your program right away. Because we accept and review applications year round, you can begin class as soon as next month, depending on your program and location of choice.

Learn more about undergraduate, graduate, military, and international student admissions, plus admissions information for transfer students. You can also learn more about our tuition rates and financial aid opportunities.

To speak with our admissions team, call (855) 355-6288 or request information and an advisor will contact you shortly. If you’re ready to apply, simply start your application today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A master’s degree in ABA provides students with advanced study in research-based theories and findings, arming them with the knowledge to implement the concepts and principles of behavior analysis so as to begin or advance in professional practice.

Aspiring behavior analysts need a master’s degree in special education, psychology, or a related field. Depending on the state in which they practice, professionals might also need to meet licensing requirements.

You can apply online via the BACB’s website. The application asks that you show proof of your degree, coursework, and supervised experience; you’ll also have to pay an application fee. Once the Behavior Analyst Certification Board sees that you’ve met these requirements, they will approve your application to be eligible to sit for the BCBA examination.

In order to obtain the Behavior Analysts Certification ABA certificate, a person has to complete the required coursework. Most certifications require 270 hours of coursework at an accredited institution if the person holds a master’s degree.

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.