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Top 25 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Programs 2019

In this ranking, we highlight the best master’s in applied behavior analysis degree programs.

A study conducted by Burning Glass Technologies on behalf of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board found the demand for professionally trained ABA professionals is on the rise. Between 2012 and 2014, the number of positions posted doubled. There’s a need for qualified professionals in the field of applied behavior analysis. There’s a need for effective methods and treatment programs for those with behavioral challenges. These include individuals on the autism spectrum and those with a diagnosed developmental disability.


A master’s 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. They allow for unique perspectives and emphasis in the many facets of applied behavior analysis. Below we list the top 25 master’s in applied behavior analysis programs.

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In order to be included in our list, programs need to be accredited, offer the approved course sequence for BCBA certification and have an average pass rate of at least 80% for first time candidates. Programs also must have at least six first-time candidates during 2017.

Ranking is as follows:
Student/Faculty ratio:

  • 15:1 or less- 3 points
  • 14:1 to 19:1- 2 points
  • 20:1 and above- 1 point

Average Graduate Tuition Rate Per Year:

  • Less than $13,000- 3 points
  • $13,000 to $20,000- 2 points
  • Greater than $20,000- 1 point

BCBA Examination Pass Rate for 2017:

  • Greater than 95%- 5 points
  • 85% to 94%- 3 points
  • 80% to 84%- 1 point

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

#26 -Simmons University – Boston, Massachusetts

MS or Ed.S. in Behavior Analysis

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 83%
Ratio: 8:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $20,988/year
Points: 5
Simmons University offers two different degree options for those interested in an applied behavior analysis degree and BCBA certification. Students who already have a master’s degree can earn an advanced degree with a specialization in education. Students engage in research from a collaborative perspective. This allows students to present and publish their own material in partnership with faculty. Graduates are prepared to work in:

  • organizational behavior management
  • behavioral medicine
  • instructional design
  • animal training

The program is offered in the evening to allow students to work full-time while attending class.

#25 -California State University Sacramento – Sacramento, California

Master of Science in ABA

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 83%
Ratio: 26:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,176/year in-state and $16,680/year out-of-state
Points: 5
Sacramento State features a top master’s in applied behavior analysis. It’s focused on understanding variables that affect behavior and developing technologies to modify behavior based on this knowledge. Students complete 35 units of coursework taken concurrently. All students are required to complete a thesis and a practicum experience in ABA. Coursework covers areas like:

  • research methods
  • assessment and treatment of behavior problems
  • advanced experimental analysis of behavior

Graduates are prepared to sit for national certification exams like that BCABA and the BCBA.

#24-Oakland University – Rochester Hills, Michigan

M.Ed. in Special Education with ABA Concentration

School Profile
Pass Rate: 85%
Ratio: 20:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $16,950/year in-state and $24,648/year out-of-state
Points: 6
Oakland University features a top master’s in ABA with emphasis on its application in Special Education. This 44 credit hour program meets the coursework requirements for the BACB. Students can take advantage of a variety of board-approved practicum. Independent fieldwork opportunities are available to gain hands-on training. Coursework covers areas like:

  • behavioral assessment
  • treatment planning
  • ethics
  • research methods

Core special education courses are available online with ABA courses offered on campus.

#23 -Rutgers University – New Brunswick, New Jersey

Master’s in Special Education with the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Sequence

School Profile
Pass Rate: 82%
Ratio: 15:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $16,848/year in-state and $28,656/year out-of-state
Points: 6
This program is offered through the collaboration of the Graduate School of Education and the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology. This top master’s in ABA at Rutgers University is a 36 credit hour program that meets the academic requirements for BCBA. Courses cover areas like:

  • the assessment and treatment of challenging behavior
  • the application of behavior analytics principles in changing behavior
  • advanced topics in ABA

Students have five years to complete the program, making this a great choice for working professionals.

#22 -University of Texas – Austin, Texas

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Master’s Degree Programs

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 83%
Ratio: 18:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,490/year in-state and $22,178/year out-of-state
Points: 6
Graduate students interested in working with individuals on the autism spectrum or with other developmental disabilities should consider one of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Master’s Degree Programs at the University of Texas at Austin. The College of Education offers both a Master’s of Education and Master’s of Arts, delivered through a blend of:

  • coursework
  • applied intervention
  • practical experience

Courses cover ABA areas like:

  • communication intervention
  • teaching individuals with developmental disabilities,
  • the understanding and treatment of Autism

Practicum experiences are available working with individuals with severe and multiple disabilities or autism and developmental disabilities.

#21 -Jacksonville State University – Jacksonville, Alabama

M.S. in Psychology with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile

Pass Rate: 80%
Ratio: 19:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,168/year in-state and $18,336/year out-of-state
Points: 6
Jacksonville State University features a top applied behavior analysis master’s degree. It prepares students to become board certified behavior analysts. Students complete both coursework and hands-on training, providing them with a well-rounded ABA education. Both thesis and non-thesis options are available so students can tailor the program to meet their personal and professional needs. Coursework covers areas like:

  • functional assessment
  • experimental analysis of behavior
  • ethics and professional development

Most students can earn their degree in about two years.

#20 -Antioch University – Keene, New Hampshire

MS in Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 92%
Ratio: 5:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $22,100/year
Points: 7
Antioch University created a top master’s in applied behavior analysis to empower students to work with a variety of populations including:

  • individuals on the autism spectrum
  • those with socio/emotional disorders
  • employers who want to improve employee performance

Courses start in August and the program features a flexible weekend schedule that’s ideal for working professionals. This 33 credit hour program usually takes about seven semesters to complete, including a 750 hour intensive practicum. Students can take advantage of practicum opportunities with BCBA supervision that meets the requirements set by the BACB.

#19 -University of Washington – Seattle, Washington

Applied Behavior Analysis (MEd)

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 85%
Ratio: 19:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $15,207/year in-state and $27,255/year out-of-state
Points: 7
The College of Education at the University of Washington offers both a seated and online top master’s in ABA. Students can complete both the coursework and supervised practicum experience needed to be able to sit for the BCBA exam. This two-year program is offered during the evening hours to accommodate working professionals. Coursework covers unique areas like:

  • a tiered approach to inclusive instruction
  • educating students with autism
  • behavioral measurement and management

A capstone project serves as the culminating experience, giving students the opportunity to develop a planned intervention to positively change the behavior of an individual with developmental disabilities.

#18 -Western Michigan University – Kalamazoo, Michigan

MA Program in Behavior Analysis

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 87%
Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $14,310/year in-state and $28,900/year out-of-state
Points: 7
The online master’s in behavior analysis offered by the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University is a 36 credit hour program. It prepares students to earn BCBA certification. Courses cover areas like:

  • behavioral assessment
  • supervision and ABA
  • behavioral interventions

Students can choose to complete either a master’s thesis or a master’s project, depending on their future educational goals. The program provides students with valuable professional experience through special projects, practicums, and independent research. Research facilities include:

  • non-human behavior labs
  • child and adult studies labs
  • organizational behavior management labs.

#17 -Rowan University – Glassboro, New Jersey

Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 88%
Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $13,266/year
Points: 7
Rowan University features a top master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis that includes both the coursework and practicum hours needed for certification as a behavior analyst. Coursework covers areas like:

  • ethics
  • advanced practice
  • psychopathology of childhood and adolescence
  • applied behavior analysis

Students complete two practicum experiences and a clinical research experience in ABA in addition to a research project. The program features a flexible evening schedule that accommodates working students. Most students can complete their degree in just four semesters of full-time study.

#16 -Florida State University – Panama City, Florida

MS in Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 88%
Ratio: 22:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,684/year in-state and $24,116/year out-of-state
Points: 7
Florida State University features a top master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis that takes just five semesters to complete. Accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International, FSU is one of the most prestigious ABA programs in the country. This top ABA program is extremely competitive. All students receive a tuition waiver and paid assistantship placements. Students have the opportunity to develop their skills at locations like the Early Childhood Autism Program in Panama City. Coursework is designed to cover some of the most in-demand areas including:

  • Mental Health and Aging
  • Education
  • Performance Management and Supervision
  • Developmental Disabilities and Autism.

#15 -California State University Northridge – Northridge, California

Master of Science Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 92%
Ratio: 26:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,176/year in-state and $16,680/year out-of-state
Points: 7
The two-year applied behavior analysis program at California State University Northridge is a well-rounded program with a 95% on-time graduation rate. Students learn how to:

  • conduct behavioral assessments
  • implement evidence-based interventions
  • consult with parents and caregivers
  • follow ethical guidelines

Hands-on training opportunities are available through assistantships, practicum experiences, and research. Worried about finding a job after graduation? Over 90% of CSUN graduates find employment in ABA.

#14 -Texas State University – San Marcos, Texas

Master of Education in Special Education with a Concentration in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile
Pass Rate: 89%
Ratio: 22:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $6,392/year in-state and $14,692/year out-of-state
Points: 7
The Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas State University features a top master’s in applied behavior analysis focused on autism. Students are well trained to work with children and youth with autism in a variety settings including:

  • schools
  • homes,
  • communities

This unique program combines both special education and ABA coursework. Graduates are eligible to sit for the BCBA examination once they have enough experience hours. Supervision hours can be completed in the Texas State CARES clinic which provides services to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. Courses are conveniently offered once or twice a week in the evenings during the fall and spring semester to allow students to maintain employment.

#13 -University of North Texas – Denton, Texas

Behavior Analysis Master of Science

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 87%
Ratio: 26:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $5,450/year in-state and $12,920/year out-of-state
Points: 7
The University of North Texas features a top master’s in behavior analysis that provides students with an in-depth understanding of the principles of ABA. The program was the first in the nation to earn accreditation from the ABAI. Students can participate in a variety of research opportunities through:

  • the Behavior Analysis Resource Center
  • the Human Operant Lab
  • Little Learner Lab
  • the Easter Seals North Texas Autism Treatment Program Research Group

Graduates are prepared to work in a variety of settings working with adult learners, pets and exotic animals, individuals with autism, and those with developmental disabilities.

#12 -Cambridge College – Boston, Massachusetts

Master of Education-Autism/Behavior Analyst

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 88%
Ratio: 11:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $14,115/year
Points: 8
The Autism/Behavior Analyst MEd program at Cambridge College in Massachusetts is a 38 credit program. The course sequence is approved by the BACB for students to sit for the BCAB exam. Courses are offered online and during the evening/weekend on-campus. The program is divided into two parts: 19 credits of Autism and Special Education Courses and 19 hours of BCBA coursework. Students are required to hold employment in an area related to ABA and have at least one year experience in an ABA treatment setting. Unique course offerings cover areas such as:

  • collaboration and consultation techniques
  • assessment and appraisal process
  • ethics and professionalism in ABA.

#11 -University of Maryland Baltimore County – Baltimore, Maryland

MA in Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 92%
Ratio: 18:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,178/year in-state and $18,846/year out-of-state
Points: 8
The top master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of Maryland Baltimore County equips students with the knowledge they need to work in a variety of areas including:

  • behavioral medicine
  • education
  • organizations

The program can be completed in just two years while working full-time. Courses are offered late afternoon or during the weekend to allow students to continue working. The curriculum covers areas like:

  • interventions in ABA
  • measurement in ABA
  • learning and cognition

Graduates have had success working with adults and children on the autism spectrum or with developmental disabilities.

#10 -Westfield State University – Westfield, Massachusetts

Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 92%
Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $5,976/year
Points: 8
Westfield State University features a top master’s in applied behavior analysis. It prepares students to conduct behavioral assessments and interpret results for individuals in a variety of settings. This 48 credit hour program offers both late afternoon and evening classes that cover areas like:

  • behavioral interventions
  • clinical behavior analysis
  • autism and developmental disability
  • behavioral consultation

Graduates are prepared to design, evaluate and supervise behavioral intervention, and teach effective strategies to others.

#9 -Vanderbilt University – Nashville, Tennessee

Special Education (M.Ed.) – Applied Behavior Analysis Specialization Program

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 96%
Ratio: 7:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $45,840/year
Points: 9
The Special Education program at Vanderbilt University features an applied behavior analysis training program. It’s for students planning to specialize in in Early Childhood, High Incidence, or Severe Disabilities at either the master’s or doctoral level. Courses cover areas like:

  • experimental analysis of behavior
  • advanced procedures in classroom management
  • research methods
  • ethical behavior analytics services

In order to earn BCBA certification, students need to complete field experience hours. This can be done through department facilitated research opportunities and internship experiences. ABA students complete a capstone project. This project can be an applied project, thesis, or clinical case manager that showcases the skills gained through the program.

#8 -Regis College – Weston, Massachusetts

Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 11:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $39,820/year
Points: 9
Regis College is a Catholic university located in the greater Boston area. It offers an Applied Behavior Analysis top master’s degree that takes just two years to complete. This 39 credit hour program combines research and hands-on experience to advance in the field of ABA. Students complete one course at a time in an innovative hybrid learning format. Students are prepared to work with individuals on the autism spectrum, as well as in:

  • organizational behavior management
  • behavioral psychology
  • behavioral pharmacology

Students can complete practicum placements on-campus at the Regis Autism Center or at one of a variety of community partner organizations.

#7 -Western New England University – Springfield, Massachusetts

Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 96%
Ratio: 12:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $24,720/year
Points: 9
The top master’s in applied behavior analysis at Western New England University equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to educate and treat individuals on the autism spectrum and related disabilities. The program partners with The New England Center for Children, which serves over 500 children with autism, by offering the program to faculty and staff employed by The Center. Courses cover areas like:

  • evidence based teaching
  • personnel management and supervision
  • behavioral interventions
  • behavioral assessment

Students can complete this 36 credit hour program in about three years by taking four credit hours each term.

#6 -Florida Institute of Technology – Orlando, Florida

MS Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile
Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 15:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $22,338/year
Points: 9
The MS degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at Florida Institute of Technology prepares students for a career working with adults and children with behavioral challenges. Students learn to help individuals:

  • on the autism spectrum
  • those dealing with substance abuse
  • others with problems ranging from issues with everyday interactions to more severe behaviors

Students benefit from a close knit learning environment working with professors, completing internships, and involvement in research studies on behavior. This 44 credit hour program includes courses in:

  • radical behaviorism
  • experimental analysis
  • functional assessment
  • experimental evaluation

Coursework schedules are flexible and include day, evening and weekend offerings.

#5 -CUNY Queens College – Queens, New York

Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s Program

School Profile
Pass Rate: 85%
Ratio: 15:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,450/year in-state and $19,320/year out-of-state
Points: 9
The applied behavior analysis top master’s program at Queens College features pre-approved BACB approved coursework. It’s registered as a license qualifying program with New York State. Courses cover:

  • ABA theory and methods
  • ethics
  • autism
  • statistical methods

To complete the program, students have the option of completing a thesis and/or elective coursework. The Queens College Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Evidence Based Services provides students with clinical opportunities through their Behavior Disorders Clinic and the SIBS Club for families of children with autism.

#4 -Saint Cloud State University – St. Cloud, Minnesota

MS Program in Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile
Pass Rate: 96%
Ratio: 21:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,668/year in-state and $11,650/year out-of-state
Points: 9
St. Cloud University features a top master’s in applied behavior analysis available on campus or online. Students receive ABA training to work with individuals with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. The goal is to work toward community integration and positive behaviors. Faculty have developed partnerships with over 120 agencies around the world and share their global experience with their students. Students come to the ABA program at St. Cloud University from 18 different countries, contributing to the unique international perspective. Students have the opportunity to showcase their research efforts through state, regional, and international conference presentations.

#3 -James Madison University – Harrisonburg, Virginia

Master’s in Psychological Sciences Concentration in Behavior Analysis

School Profile
Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,224/year in-state and $28,416/year out-of-state
Points: 10
James Madison University offers a top master’s in applied behavior analysis. The program is designed for those interested in pursuing doctoral level study as well as students who plan to become a BCBA. Students complete coursework and practicum experiences to get a well-rounded ABA training experience. Students work closely with faculty on thesis requirements and research apprenticeships. This 36 credit hour program includes courses in:

  • behavioral assessment
  • ethics and professional development
  • systematics behavioral interventions
  • ABA.

#2 -University of North Carolina – Wilmington, North Carolina

Master of Arts in Psychology with a clinical concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 18:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $4,626/year in-state and $17,834/year out-of-state
Points: 10
The Department of Psychology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington features a top master’s in applied behavior analysis that takes a data-based approach to ABA. It focuses on individuals with developmental disabilities. This 53 credit hour program includes a research and applied practicum and an empirical thesis. Students complete a 1,000 clock hour internship (6 months) upon completion of their coursework. The internship is needed to prepare students for certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

#1 -University of Houston-Clear Lake – Houston, Texas

MA in Behavior Analysis

School Profile
Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 15:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,308/year in-state and $16,290/year out-of-state
Points: 11
The University of Houston-Clear Lake offers our top master’s in behavior analysis. The program helps prepares students to be either a BCBA or continue on to doctoral study in psychology or behavior analysis. The focus of the program is on serving individuals with developmental disabilities. Courses cover:

  • behavioral assessment
  • ABA
  • behavioral interventions
  • research methods
  • verbal behavior

Practicum and research opportunities are available in a variety of settings including the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.

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Filed under: Accredited ABA Master’s Programs

About the Author

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