The Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program will train you to be an exceptional practitioner of ABA-based interventions to improve quality of life for people with behavioral challenges, including children and adults with developmental needs. MU graduate students can complete the certificate program while pursuing a degree, and the certificate also complements the skills of recent graduates and experienced professionals who want to specialize in ABA. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. has approved the course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination. Applicants will have to meet additional requirements to qualify. (Please note: Pass-rate data are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of operation.)

In our program, you’ll learn the conceptual foundations of ABA and how these behavioral principles are applied to improve behavior. Central to this program is a collaboration with the MU College of Education and the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Partnership with the College of Education allows for shared courses taught by professors from the School of Health Professions and the College of Education, and the MU Thompson Center serves as the primary practicum site to give you an exceptional experiential learning opportunity working with individuals with developmental needs.

Course Work, Plan of Study, and Completion Timeline

The coursework will meet the requirements of the BACB’s Fourth Edition Task List and will require 18 credits (270 classroom hrs) of graduate-level instruction. The courses are as follows:

1. Ethical and Professional Conduct in ABA (3 credits: HLTHPSYC 8300)

2. Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis (3 credits: HLTHPSYC 8100)

3. Individualized Behavioral Assessment & Intervention (3 credits: HLTHPSYC 8350)

4. Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits ESCP 8087; SPED 8440; HLTHPSYC 8200)

5. Single Subject Design (3 credits: SPED 8353; HLTHPSYC 8250)

6. Elective (3 credits) – The student will select one additional course from currently existing courses or a new ABA course in consultation with the certificate coordinator.

The course sequence can be completed in as short as one year although it can be completed over a longer period of time. Please note that we value face-to-face contact. Therefore, this is an on-campus program only. The following is a sample program:

1. Fall Semester

Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis

ABA: Behavioral Assessment & Evaluation

2. Spring Semester

Single Subject Design

Individualized Behavioral Assessment & Intervention

3. Summer Session (First 4-week session)

Ethical and Professional Conduct in ABA

4. Elective – The elective can be taken during the Fall, Spring, or Summer semester.

In addition to the coursework requirement, you will need to meet experience standards. The BACB has three experience categories: (a) supervised independent fieldwork (1500 hrs), (b) practicum (1000 hrs), or (c) intensive practicum (750 hrs). Students in the graduate certificate program will be required to complete independent fieldwork, practicum, or intensive practicum for credit (6 credits) under the supervision of a BCBA. Depending on which university-based experience category the student chooses, the student will complete the experience requirement in 25 to 150 weeks (a portion of this may be concurrent with coursework).

Program Faculty

SungWoo Kahng, Ph.D., BCBA-D – Program Director

Casey Clay, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Kelly Schieltz, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Tim Lewis, Ph.D.


For information on how to apply to our program, click here.