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Top 25 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Programs 2021

Applied Behavior Analysis is a specialized area that uses our understanding of behavior to increase helpful behaviors and decrease behaviors that hold us back. ABA is effective for individuals of all ages and is frequently used as a tool by professionals who work with individuals with autism or developmental disabilities. The demand for qualified ABA therapists continues as families and organizations seek professional assistance. ABA is used in a variety of settings including education, healthcare, and business. According to PayScale.com, Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) earn an average salary of $63,582/year. To earn this coveted master’s level certification, BCBAs must earn a master’s degree and complete an approved course sequence and supervised practicum experience under an experienced ABA professional. They must then pass an exam in order to earn their certification. It is a rigorous yet rewarding process. We created this ranking of the top master’s programs in ABA that include the verified course sequence needed to sit for the BCBA exam.

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 hold regional accreditation and offer the ABAI approved course sequence for BCBA certification. Programs needed to have an average pass rate of at least 85% for first time candidates. Programs also must have at least six first-time candidates during 2019.

Ranking is as follows:
Student/Faculty ratio:

  • 15:1 or less- 3 points
  • 16:1 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 2018:

  • Greater than 95%- 5 points
  • Less than 85%- 3 points

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

#25 -University of Washington – Seattle, Washington

Applied Behavior Analysis (MEd)

University of Washington Applied Behavior Analysis (MEd)

School Profile
Pass Rate: 91%
Ratio: 20:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $16,278/year in-state and $29,178/year out-of-state
Points: 6
The University of Washington College of Education offers a low-cost ABA MEd on-campus or online. The on-campus program is a two-year program that includes coursework and a group practicum. Courses are offered during the evenings to accommodate working professionals. The online program uses state-of-the-art technology to facilitate high-quality participation between faculty and students. Online students are eligible for a limited number of supervision opportunities with university affiliated BCBAs. Students planning to pursue doctoral study can continue their ABA education through the doctoral program in special education, ABA option.

#24 -Vanderbilt University – Nashville, Tennessee

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

Vanderbilt University Special Education (M.Ed.) - Applied Behavior Analysis Specialization Program
School Profile
Pass Rate: 94%
Ratio: 7:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $50,082/year
Points: 7
The top value ABA master’s program at Vanderbilt University is an MEd degree that includes the ABAI verified course sequence and a BACBI concentrated supervised fieldwork program. Courses include:

  • Administering Ethical Behavior Analytic Services
  • Management Procedures for Academic and Social Behavior
  • Advanced Procedures in Classroom Management

Elective coursework is available for students to learn different aspects of ABA that align with their primary focus area. All students complete a capstone project focusing on Academic or Behavioral Intervention, Case Management, or a thesis.

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

MS Program in Applied Behavior Analysis

St. Cloud State University MS Program in Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile
Pass Rate: 90%
Ratio: 20:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,607/year in-state and $11,780/year out-of-state
Points: 7
St. Cloud State University offers a high-value master’s in ABA available online or on-campus. Courses are taught by PhD level instructors and cover areas like:

  • functional analysis
  • community integration strategies
  • program evaluation

The on-campus cohort program includes practical experiences that prepare students for success in their career. Students are supported by faculty to publish and present research and pursue their professional goals. Opportunities through student organizations, research, and internships allow students to apply their knowledge and skills.

#22 -California State University Northridge – Northridge, California

Master of Science Applied Behavior Analysis

CSUN Master of Science Applied Behavior Analysis
Pass Rate: 92%
Ratio: 27:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,176/year in-state and $16,680/year out-of-state
Points: 7
Tseng College at CSUN features a top master’s in applied behavior analysis using a curriculum focused on real-world application and behavioral theory. This two-year program includes on-the-ground training in a variety of clinical settings arranged through CSUN. Courses are taught by doctoral level faculty and cover areas like:

  • developmental psychopathology and ABA interventions
  • measurement and experimental evaluation of behavior
  • organizational behavior management

The cohort model allows students to stay together with their peers throughout the program. Enrollment is guaranteed in all courses which contributes to high graduation rates. Over 90% of graduates report having jobs in the field of ABA.

#21 -University of North Texas – Denton, Texas

Behavior Analysis Master of Arts

UNT Behavior Analysis Master of Science

School Profile
Pass Rate: 94%
Ratio: 26:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $6,350/year in-state and $13,712/year out-of-state
Points: 7
The low-cost ABA master’s degree program at the University of North Texas is a comprehensive program that can be completed in just one year. The curriculum is offered entirely online, and all courses are offered each semester. Course offerings include:

  • Effective Communication and Collaboration in Behavioral Practice
  • Meaningful Assessment in Behavioral Practice
  • Fundamentals and Techniques of Compassionate and Effective Behavior Change

New students are admitted to the program at the start of each semester.

#20 -Cambridge College – Boston, Massachusetts

Master of Education-Autism/Behavior Analyst

Cambridge College Master of Education-Autism/Behavior Analyst

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 94%
Ratio: 11:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $17,062/year
Points: 8
Cambridge College features a specialized ABA program focused on autism. The program is divided into two parts, the ABA course sequence and courses in autism/special education. Courses are offered online and on-campus, including weekends and evenings. Required courses include:

  • Collaborative and Consultation Techniques
  • Ethics in ABA
  • Social and Psychological Perspectives in ASD

Faculty have significant experience in areas like clinical application and leadership. Students should be actively employed in an ABA treatment setting, making it easy to apply what they have learned.

#19 -Temple University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Applied Behavior Analysis (MSEd)


Pass Rate: 90%
Ratio: 13:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $16,956/year in-state and $23,346/year out-of-state
Points: 8
The top affordable master’s in applied behavior analysis at Temple University is an interdisciplinary program that includes a complementary blend of education and psychology courses. Both full and part-time students are welcome to apply to the program. The curriculum is taught by faculty with strong academic credentials and practical experience. Courses cover areas like:

  • principles of learning
  • skill deficits and behavior problems
  • research methodology

Students gain a diverse set of skills that prepare them to create personalized interventions, complete assessments, and make modifications as appropriate.

#18 -University of Texas – Austin, Texas

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Master’s Degree Programs

University of Texas Autism and Developmental Disabilities Master’s Degree Programs

 School Profile
Pass Rate: 88%
Ratio: 19:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $12,028/year in-state and $22,886/year out-of-state
Points: 8
The University of Texas at Austin features two ABA master’s programs that prepare students to become BCBA. The Autism and Developmental Disabilities program provides training for students working with individuals of all ages with autism or other developmental disorders. The other ABA program is an Early Childhood Special Education program with a BCBA track. Courses are taught by expert level faculty who share their experience in the field. Research opportunities are available to students in areas like:

  • design and evaluation of assistive technology
  • behavioral interventions
  • transitions to post-school employment for students with disabilities

Full time students can complete either track in about 12 months.

#17 -CUNY Queens College – Queens, New York

Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s Program

Queens College Applied Behavior Analysis Master's Program
School Profile
Pass Rate: 86%
Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,090/year in-state and $20,520/year out-of-state
Points: 8
Queens College offers a top value ABA master’s that prepares students for a career in ABA. Students learn to work with a variety of populations while advancing the field thru participation in research. This 30-credit hour program includes courses in:

  • Theory and Method in ABA
  • Ethical Issues in Psychology
  • Statistical Methods in Psychology

Students can choose to complete a course in autism or autism treatment. A fieldwork project in ABA is required of all students and a thesis is optional. Students who choose not to pursue a thesis can complete a comprehensive exam.

#16 -University of the Pacific – Stockton, California

Master of Arts in Behavioral Psychology


Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 14:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $48,904/year
Points: 9
The University of the Pacific features a cost-effective master’s in behavioral psychology emphasizing ABA. The program was created to prepare students to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts or to continue their studies at the doctoral level. Required courses include:

  • Behavioral Assessment
  • Behavioral Treatments and Applications
  • Controversial Treatments in Applied Settings

A thesis is required for all students. An optional clinical internship and independent study are available. Students take courses on-campus, and most can earn their degree in two years.

#15 -Regis College – Weston, Massachusetts

Master’s of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)


Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 9:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $38,280/year
Points: 9
The budget friendly master’s in applied behavior analysis at Regis College teaches the latest ABA practices to address the unique needs of individuals with behavior challenges. Students will learn through active responding role-play, peer presentations, and a practicum to enhance their classroom understanding of key ABA practices. The program is offered online and on-campus to be accessible to diverse groups of students. Students can optimize their learning by taking a blend of course formats, moving through the program one course at a time. An optional international service experience is available to students who want further hands-on training.

#14 -Baylor University – Waco, Texas

MA in Educational Psychology – ABA


Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 13:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $33,408/year
Points: 9
Baylor University offers a unique master’s in ABA through its educational psychology program. Students interested in a career in research or education can pursue an MA in Educational Psychology with a concentration in ABA. Those with a passion for field work can choose the MSEd in Educational Psychology with a concentration in ABA. This residential program includes 30 hours of coursework and includes a master’s thesis. Courses include:

  • Managing Behavior Change Programs
  • Challenging Behavior
  • Teaching Individuals with Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Baylor offers funding opportunities that include paid tuition, a monthly stipend, and professional experience. Most students can complete their degree in just 18 to 24 months.

#13 -Western New England University – Springfield, Massachusetts

Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

Western New England University Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile
Pass Rate: 97%
Ratio: 13:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $25,812/year
Points: 9
The cost-effective master’s in ABA at Western New England University College of Arts and Sciences is a comprehensive program that prepares graduates to sit for the BCBA exam. Western New England University has a unique partnership with the New England Center for Children that allows them to offer this program to faculty and staff. Courses are offered in fall, winter, and spring terms. Students can expect to complete their degree in about three years. Doctoral level faculty serve as mentors to their students throughout the program. Students complete a research thesis, gaining valuable research training.

#12 -Florida Institute of Technology – Melbourne, Florida

MS Applied Behavior Analysis

FIT MS Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile
Pass Rate: 95%
Ratio: 14:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $22,338/year
Points: 9
Florida Tech features a best-value master’s in applied behavior with a flexible schedule and a choice of campus locations. Courses are offered during the day and night as well as on the weekends. Courses are offered on the main campus at Florida Tech and the Orlando Graduate Center. Professors are productive researchers and practitioners who provide one-on-one support while working with students. Real world experience is gained at the Scott Center for Autism Treatment in areas like assessment, training, and behavior therapy. Students are prepared to sit for the BCBA exam right after graduation.

#11 -Western Michigan University – Kalamazoo, Michigan

MA Program in Behavior Analysis

Western Michigan University MA Program in Behavior Analysis

School Profile
Pass Rate: 93%
Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $16,360/year in-state and $30,432/year out-of-state
Points: 9
The affordable master’s in behavior analysis from Western Michigan University is offered through the Department of Psychology. This 37-credit hour program provides students with comprehensive training in ABA. Courses include:

  • Professional and Ethical Issues in Psychology
  • Behavioral Interventions
  • Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Students can choose to complete either a master’s thesis or a master’s project. Professional experience opportunities are provided through:

  • special projects
  • independent research
  • a practicum
  • college teaching practicum

An elective course may be taken to gain additional training in an area of interest.

#10 -Auburn University – Auburn, Alabama

Master of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis

Auburn University Master of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis
Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 20:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,080/year in-state and $30,240/year out-of-state
Points: 9
The Department of Psychological Sciences at Auburn University offers a low-priced master’s in ABA that includes all coursework and supervised experience needed to sit for the BCBA exam. The program is available on-campus and can be completed in about two years. Required courses include:

  • Behaviorism
  • Ethical and Professional Issues in Behavior Analysis
  • Clinical Psychopharmacology

All students complete a practicum and a capstone project to gain valuable hands-on training. Graduates are prepared to work in:

  • home-based services,
  • schools
  • juvenile corrections
  • schools

#9 -Florida State University – Panama City, Florida

MS in Applied Behavior Analysis

FSU MS in Applied Behavior Analysis

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 21:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,684/year in-state and $24,116/year out-of-state
Points: 9
Florida State University Panama City offers a high-value ABA master’s program is a limited-access program with a BACB verified curriculum and practicum. The five-semester program does not require a thesis. Courses include:

  • Behavior Analysis in Developmental Disabilities and Autism
  • Behavior Analysis in Education
  • Behavior Analysis in Performance Management and Supervision

All students must pass a comprehensive exam and complete a Professional Portfolio demonstrating a variety of skills.

#8 -Northern Illinois University – Dekalb, Illinois

MSEd in Special Education-Behavior Analysis Specialization


Pass Rate: 90%
Ratio: 15:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $8,858/year
Points: 9
The Department of Special and Early Education at Northern Illinois University features an inexpensive ABA master’s degree for educators who want to gain expertise in ABA. The program includes the ABAI verified course sequence in ABA and courses like:

  • Ethics and Professional Behavior for Behavior Analysts
  • Issues and Trends in Teaching Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
  • Working with and Supporting Families of Young Children with Disabilities and Special Needs

Graduates have a 90% pass rate on the BCBA exam. NIU also reports that 90% of graduates are employed in field within a year of their graduation date.

#7 -California State University Sacramento – Sacramento, California

Master of Science in ABA

CSU Master of Science in ABA

School Profile 
Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 26:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,176/year in-state and $16,680/year out-of-state
Points: 9
The College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies at Sacramento State features a cost-effective ABA master’s degree that prepares students to work in a variety of settings including schools and agencies. Students can participate in research opportunities in state-f-the-art facilities around the region. Required courses include:

  • Assessment and Treatment of Behavior Problems
  • Professional Issues in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Applied Behavior Analysis in the Workplace

Students can engage in networking, attend professional conferences, and hear guest lecturers through participation in the Student Association for Applied Behavior Analysis.

#6 -Oregon Institute of Technology – Klamath Falls, Oregon

M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis

Oregon Tech M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis
Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $12,713/year in-state and $21,341/year out-of-state
Points: 10
Oregon Institute of Technology is home to Oregon’s only applied behavior analysis master’s degree. Courses are taught on-campus at both Klamath Falls and Portland-Metro or online through synchronous videoconferencing. The program features the BCBA course sequence, and the practicum placement required to sit for the BCBA exam. The practicum is a paid position with approved ABA agencies so students can feel confident they are getting the professional training needed for success in the field. Graduates are prepared to work in a variety of settings including:

  • homes
  • clinics
  • social services.

#5 -James Madison University – Harrisonburg, Virginia

Master’s in Psychological Sciences Concentration in Behavior Analysis

JMU Master's in Psychological Sciences Concentration in Behavior Analysis

School Profile
Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,848/year in-state and $27,888/year out-of-state
Points: 10
James Madison University features a high-value master’s in applied behavior analysis as a concentration in their psychological sciences program. The program serves to prepare students for advanced doctoral study or to pursue BCBA certification. The 36 credit-hour curriculum includes:

  • Behavior Assessment
  • Behavioral Methods of Instruction
  • Ethics and Professional Development in ABA

A thesis and practicum are both program requirements. The practicum can be completed at a variety of settings including local public-school districts, JMU clinics and the Virginia Institute of Autism. Students stay current on the latest research and professional issues in ABA through monthly concentration meetings with faculty. Students are also encouraged to participate in local, regional, and national organizations that further the study of ABA.

#4 -Jacksonville State University – Jacksonville, Alabama

M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis

JSU M.S. in Psychology with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis
School Profile
Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 18:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,600/year in-state and $19,200/year out-of-state
Points: 10
The affordable master’s in applied behavior analysis from Jacksonville State University is offered through the School of Human Services and Social Sciences. A thesis and non-thesis program option are available. Non-thesis students must pass a comprehensive exam. Courses include:

  • Functional Assessment
  • Personnel Supervision and Management
  • Ethics and Professional Development

Practicum and independent research opportunities are available, providing necessary training and field experience. Most students can complete their degree in about two years of full-time study.

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

MA in Behavior Analysis

University of Houston MA in Behavior Analysis

School Profile
Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,920/year in-state and $17,568/year out-of-state
Points: 10
The University of Houston Clear Lake offers a behavior analysis MA for individuals who want to guide and encourage individuals with developmental disabilities. Students gain a strong academic foundation in ABA while developing their professional skills through practical experience and research. Courses include:

  • Behavioral Assessment
  • Psychoactive Drugs
  • Behavioral/Cognitive Therapies

Hands-on training is provided in settings like the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, or another one of UHCL’s local partners.

#2 -Utah State University – Logan, Utah

M.S. with BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) Coursework


Pass Rate: 100%
Ratio: 19:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $6,164/year in-state and $21,575/year out-of-state
Points: 10
The Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling at Utah State University offers a three-year MS that prepares students to work as Behavior Specialists. The curriculum includes the coursework needed to sit for the BCBA exam. Courses include:

  • Systems Change/Supervision
  • Legal Issues in Special Education
  • Ethics and Professional Behavior

Courses are offered online, and students will only need to come to campus to complete their proposal meeting and final defense. Live, interactive courses are offered during the evening hours. New students are admitted for the fall semester.

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

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

UNCW 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: $4,719/year in-state and $18,548/year out-of-state
Points: 10
The University of North Carolina Wilmington features our top choice for a high value master’s in ABA. Students will gain a strong foundation in the conceptual and methodological principles of ABA while following a data-driven approach to behavioral assessment. The program focuses on ABA services for individuals with development disabilities. Most students can complete their degree in about two and a half years. Students complete:

  • a research practicum
  • an applied practicum
  • an empirical thesis

Upon completion of coursework and research requirements, students begin a 6 month/1,000 clock hour internship.

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Filed under: Accredited ABA Master’s Programs