The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program will train you to be an exceptional behavior analyst who has the skills to improve quality of life for people with behavioral challenges, including children and adults with developmental needs. You will also gain experience, and knowledge, in cutting edge research in the field of ABA. Behavior analysts successfully use ABA techniques across a variety of populations and settings to bring about meaningful and positive change in behavior. Behavior analysts are employed in numerous fields, including general and special education, mental health, disability, business, and institutions of higher learning. There is a high demand for individuals who finish their degree and obtain certification who then can practice as independent educational specialists or clinicians. 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 Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, which serves as the primary practicum site to give you an exceptional experiential learning opportunity working with individuals with developmental needs. We place a heavy emphasis on face-to-face contact. Therefore, our program is an on-campus only program.

Course Work, Plan of Study, and Completion Timeline

The course sequence can be completed in two years on campus. The following is a sample program:

1. Fall Semester (1st year)

Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis

Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis

Intensive Practicum

2. Spring Semester(1st year)

Methods in ABA

Individualized Behavioral Assessment & Intervention

Intensive Practicum

3. Summer Session (First 4-week session)

Ethical and Professional Conduct in ABA

4. Fall Semester (2nd year)

Survey of ABA

Verbal Behavior

Thesis I/Capstone

5. Spring Semester (2nd year)

Systems Level Behavior Analysis

Developmental Processes in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Thesis II/Capstone

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 Master’s program will be required to complete intensive practicum at the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders for credit (6 credits) under the supervision of a BCBA.

Program Faculty & Instructors

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

Casey Clay, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Bethany Contreras, Ph.D., BCBA


Applications are due by Feb. 1. For information on how to apply to our program, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions