The need for qualified professionals in the field of applied behavior analysis is increasing to meet the needs of society for effective methods and treatment programs for those with behavioral challenges.

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Simmons College’s Online Master’s in Behavior Analysis

Earn your MS in Behavior Analysis online in as few as 18 months, from Simmons College. No GRE required. BACB® approved course sequence. Get more information here.

A masters in applied behavior analysis provides graduates with training and education in this diverse area, as well as the opportunity to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Behavior analysis graduate programs are found in a variety of departments including psychology, special education, and social work which allow for unique perspectives and emphasis in the many facets of applied behavior analysis. Below we list the top 20 masters in applied behavior analysis programs.

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In order to be included in our list, programs need to be accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and have the appropriate coursework sequence to allow students to be eligible to take the exam to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or a Board Certified Assistance Behavior Analyst (BCaBA).
Ranking is as follows:
Student/Faculty ratio:
15:1 or less- 3 points
15:1 to 19:1- 2 points
20:1 and above- 1 point
Tuition rate:
Less than $13,000- 3 points
$13,000 to $20,000- 2 points
Greater than $20,000- 1 point
Retention rate:
Greater than 75%- 3 points
50% to 75%- 2 points
Less than 50%- 1 point

Where there are ties, schools are ranked according to in-state tuition rates per College Navigator.

#20 -Columbia University Teachers College-Master of Arts:Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis

New York, New York
Columbia University Teachers College
Points: 3
Columbia University Teachers College offers a unique MA degree focused on applied behavior analysis in the teaching environments for students with and without disabilities. Students are trained to work with individuals who require expert level instruction and benefit from applied behavior analysis theory and practice. Graduates of the program are eligible for CABAS Board Certification at several different levels. Earning the MA degree allows students to teach regular and special education from birth to grade 6. Students must complete a full-time two-year internship at Columbia’s CABAS model Research and Development schools.

#19 -Western Michigan University-MA Program in Behavior Analysis

Kalamazoo, Michigan
Western Michigan University
Points: 4
The MA in behavior analysis from Western Michigan University allows students to select a specialty in developmental disabilities, basic operant research with humans and non-humans, organizational behavior management / performance management, behavioral pharmacology, behavioral gerontology and behavioral medicine. Students have access to cutting edge research facilities and practical opportunities in a variety of settings. The program utilizes a mentorship model. Graduates are prepared to assume positions in the field of mental health or continue on in their education.

#18 -California State University Stanislaus-MS in Psychology:Behavior Analysis

Turlock, California
California State University
Points: 4
The MS Psychology Program in Behavioral Analysis at California State University is an approved Marriage Family Therapist (MFT) graduate training program and meets requirements for BCBA certification. Students benefit from a balanced curriculum which includes coursework and experience in theory, application and experimental areas. Throughout the program, students are able to apply their knowledge in supervised settings and practicum experiences. Faculty engage students to understand legal and ethical concerns in the area of behavior analysis.

#17 -West Virginia University-Ph.D. Behavior Analysis area of emphasis

Morgantown, West Virginia
West Virginia University
Points: 4
West Virginia University offers a unique program in behavior analysis which allows doctoral students to receive an MS degree upon completion of MS requirements. Students are trained in research, theory and application of behavior analysis and may focus in either basic or applied research. The Department has been given accolades by the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis Award for Enduring Programmatic Contributions to Behavior Analysis. Laboratory facilities include an outpatient mental health facility, animal research labs, computer labs and testing and observation centers.

#16 -University of North Texas-MS Program in Behavior Analysis

Denton, Texas
University of North Texas
Points: 4
The Master of Science program in Behavior Analysis was the first graduate program to be accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis. Instructors are highly respected in the field and students come from all over the world to study at the University of North Texas. Students are actively engaged in their learning and development through practicums, internships, independent work study and a master’s thesis. For students interested in the area of early intervention/autism, there is a course sequence in this in-demand area. Students are able to select from either an applied track which prepares them for work in the field or a research track while prepares students for doctoral study.

#15 -University of Nevada-MA in Psychology: Behavior Analysis

Reno, Nevada
University of Nevada-Reno
Points: 4
The University of Nevada, Reno offers a Master of Arts degree in psychology with a specialization in Behavior Analysis. Students learn from a junior-collegue model which includes supervised experience throughout the program. The program is comprehensive, offering students the opportunity for training in philosophy, experimentation and applied behavior analysis. Students work alongside professors in programs such as the Early Childhood Autism Program and the Person-centered Assessment Training and Habilitation (PATH) program. Graduates are able to find employment with ease due to the strong reputation of the program and the faculty.

#14 -Florida Institute of Technology-MS Applied Behavior Analysis

Melbourne, Florida
Florida Institute of Technology
Points: 5
The MS degree in Applied Behavior Analysis prepares students for a professional career working with a adults and children with behavioral challenges across a wide spectrum. Students are able to learn through coursework, internships, and an involvement in research studies on behavior. Students appreciate the close knit community and involved faculty who work alongside students to provide one on one attention and mentorship. Coursework schedules are flexible and include day, evening and weekend offerings.

#13 -Caldwell University-MA in Applied Behavior Analysis

Caldwell, New Jersey
Caldwell University
Points: 5
Caldwell University offers an MA in Applied Behavior Analysis as well as a combined BA/MA degree. This program is designed for those seeking professional positions in developmental services, special education and overall mental health. Students benefit from a holistic curriculum including principles, procedures and application of behavior analysis and support across a variety of settings. Graduation requirements include completion of coursework and a thesis. Graduates meet the requirements to sit for the BCBA exam.

#12 -Southern Illinois University-Masters Degree in Behavior Analysis and Therapy

Carbondale, Illinois
Southern Illinois University
Points: 5
The Behavior Analysis and Therapy program Southern Illinois University is ideal for students wanting a career in clinical or research based work in behavior analysis. Students benefit from supervised work experience which prepares them to apply their knowledge and training in the workforce through assistantships and internships. These positions allow the students to work with their own caseload and allow for hands on work experience. The program not only prepares students to work in the field, but serves as a launchpad for doctoral study.

#11 -Ohio State University-MA in Special Education:Applied Behavior Analysis

Columbus, Ohio
Ohio State University
Points: 5
The Applied Behavior Analysis program at The Ohio State University is one of the Special Education Graduate Programs. The program prepares graduates to work within the field of special education with children and young adults including those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Graduates are eligible to sit for the BCBA exam. Students can enroll in the program either full-time or part-time and can complete in two to three years. The program includes both research and field experience requirements.

#10 -University of Maryland Baltimore County-MA in Applied Behavior Analysis

Baltimore, Maryland
University of Maryland- Baltimore County
Points: 5
The Masters Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Maryland Baltimore County equips students with the knowledge they need to work in behavioral medicine, education, organizations and with those who have developmental disabilities. While teaching assistantships are rare, students typically support themselves through full-time employment at regional organizations. Most students are able to complete their degree in two years and are able to sit for and pass their BCBA certification.

#9 -Florida State University-MS in Psychology with a Specialty in Applied Behavior Analysis

Panama City, Florida
Florida State University
Points: 5
The Masters degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Florida State University can be earned in five semesters of study. All students currently receive assistantships and tuition waivers through work opportunities with approved agencies offering opportunities in ABA. Students complete three different practicums over the course of the program allowing for diverse experiences. Coursework is designed to cover some of the most in demand areas including Mental Health and Aging, Education, Performance Management, Developmental Disabilities and Autism.

#8 -University of South Florida-MA Program in Applied Behavior Analysis

Tampa, Florida
University of South Florida
Points: 5
The Master’s of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of South Florida prepares students for a multitude of careers including working with children and adults with developmental disabilities, working in residential and rehabilitation facilities and positions within social services. UFS is proud to offer a program where an above average number of students pass both the BCBA and BCaBA examinations on the first try. Students complete a 1,000 hour practicum experience, working side by side with a BCBA. Special opportunities exist for those interested in contributing to evidence-based practices for children with autism.

#7 -University of Kansas-Master’s of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science

Lawrence, Kansas
University of Kansas
Points: 5
The University of Kansas offers both an MA in Applied Behavioral Science and a joint Ph.D./MPH degree. The joint Ph.D./MPH program is the first in the country to combine the two areas of study. The MA degree can be completed in two to three years. Students will be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam after completing all coursework and a 1500 hour supervised field experience. Graduate students are also eligible to apply for fellowships, assistantships and scholarships.

#6 -Jacksonville State University-MS in Psychology

Jacksonville, Alabama
Jacksonville State University
Points: 5
The MS degree in psychology prepares students to apply principles of behavior analysis to a diverse population of individuals. Coursework focuses on both experimental analysis of behavior as well as areas of applied behavior analysis. Students are able to practice their skills in both animal and human research facilities and many practicum sites throughout the Jacksonville area. Graduates are prepared to site for their BCBA exam to become professionals in the field.

#5 -Saint Cloud State University-MS Program in Applied Behavior Analysis

St. Cloud, Minnesota
St. Cloud State University
Points: 5
The MS program in Applied Behavior Analysis from Saint Cloud University is the only accredited online Applied Behavior Analysis program in the world. Students have the opportunity to study either on campus or online with Ph.D. level instructors. Coursework and practical experience prepare students for careers including working with individuals with autism and those with self injurious behavior, program evaluation, organizational development, and training and development. Research opportunities are available with support from faculty to both present and publish findings.

#4 -University of Houston-Clear Lake-MA in Behavior Analysis

Houston, Texas
University of Houston-Clear Lake
Points: 5
The University of Houston-Clear Lake offers a masters in behavior analysis that prepares students to be either a BCBA or a Licensed Psychological Associate. The program prepares students to work with children, adults and the elderly who have emotional and behavioral disorders, brain injuries and developmental disabilities. Research opportunities exist through the UHCL Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.

#3 -University of Cincinnati-M.Ed. in Foundations in Behavior Analysis

Cincinnati, Ohio
University of Cincinnati
Points: 6
The Master of Education in Foundations in Behavior Analysis is an online behavioral analysis degree program which can be completed by taking 10 courses, lasting 15 weeks each. Students can complete the program in just five semesters. There is no on-campus residency required for this program, which allows students to continue working while going to school. Students are expected to be able to apply knowledge directly to their current work position. This degree places emphasis on evidence based practice improving the lives of those with unique behavioral needs.

#2 -Simmons College-MS or Ed.S. in Behavior Analysis

Boston, Massachusetts
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Simmons College
Points: 6
Simmons College offers two different degree options for those interested in a behavior analysis degree. Students who already possess a masters degree can earn an advanced degree with a specialization in education. Students engage in research from a collaborative perspective allowing students to present and publish their own material in partnership with faculty. Graduates are prepared to work in educational settings, behavioral medicine, animal training and behavior management settings.

#1 -McNeese State University-MA Program in Psychology with a Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis

Lake Charles, Louisiana
McNeese State University
Points: 7
The Master of Arts in Psychology program offers a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. Students can complete the program by taking 24 credit hours of core coursework and 27 credit hours of ABA coursework. Students are able to gain hands on experience needed to obtain their BACB certification through a practicum and internship. Graduates who earn their applied behavior analysis master’s degree are prepared to practice in community settings with all age groups as applied behavior analysts. Students have access to research opportunities through the McNeese Autism Program and the Clinical Applied Behavior Analysis Academy.

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About the Author

Kelley Jacobs is a midwest business consultant and former program evaluator. Past experience includes qualitative and quantitative reaseach, survey development and statistical analysis. With 15 years in social service, Kelley is passionate about helping others and giving back to the community.