10 Best ABA Master’s Degree Programs 2020

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In this article, we profile the 10 best ABA master’s degree programs from accredited colleges and universities for 2020.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the use of techniques and principles designed to bring about positive and meaningful change in behavior. To become a certified ABA specialist, highly specialized skills and education must be acquired. Few programs that lead to Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification exist. But those that do exist provide students with the necessary coursework and curriculum needed to sit for board certification.

10 Best ABA Master’s Degree Programs Ranking Methodology

For the purpose of this list, we looked at 38 regionally and nationally accredited colleges and universities that offer ABA master’s degree programs (either online or on-campus). We selected accredited ABA programs, many of which aligned their coursework with the standards set forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). We also chose schools with graduate tuition (inclusive of fees) of less than $35,000 per year. Many of the programs on our list are BACB-certified and offer eligibility to sit for the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification exam.

Below is our list of the 10 best ABA master’s degree programs for 2020.

10. Drexel University

Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

School Profile

Drexel University - 10 Best ABA Master's Degree Programs 2020

Drexel University’s online master’s in applied behavior analysis is ranked and accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $34,995

While not the most affordable school on our list, Drexel University offers one of the most recognized and respected on-campus and online ABA programs in the country. Course sequence for this program has been certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board–an international nonprofit organization responsible for setting professional standards in the behavior analysis field. The program also offers an autism spectrum disorders concentration and a practicum to help students gain additional expertise. For those interested in ongoing education, the program assists students who wish to enter PhD programs in applied behavior analysis, school and clinical psychology, or experimental psychology. Drexel has received recognition from major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university, best value school, and best college for veterans. It is one of our top picks for best ABA master’s degree programs.

9. Northeastern University

Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Boston, Massachusetts

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Northeastern University - 10 Best ABA Master's Degree Programs 2020

Northeastern University offers an online ABA master’s that takes 18-24 months to complete.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $24,309

Northeastern University offers one of our top choices for online ABA master’s degree programs. This BACB-accredited, part-time program can be completed entirely online and in just 18-24 months. Coursework is designed to prepare students to take the BCBA examination. Also, an optional two-semester intensive practicum course allows students to gain supervised experience hours required by the BACB. Some of the basic courses offered include advanced learning, applied programming, research and design methods, and systemic inquiry. In addition to accreditation, Northeastern has received rankings from major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university and best value school. Also, several online graduate programs at Northeastern have received top 40 recognition in the most recent publication of Best Colleges.

8. Florida Institute of Technology

Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Melbourne, Florida

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Florida Institute of Technology - 10 Best ABA Master's Degree Programs 2020

Florida Tech’s online master’s in applied behavior analysis is BACB-aligned.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,588

The accredited ABA master’s program at Florida Institute of Technology is a BACB-aligned program that can be completed both on campus and via distance learning. Graduates of the master’s program can also pursue further study in the discipline by choosing to obtain a PhD at Florida Tech. Some of the courses offered for the ABA master’s include behavioral and functional assessment, ethical and legal consideration for behavior analysis, introduction to organizational behavior management, and radical behaviorism. Florida Tech is ranked and accredited. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school as a top national university.

7. Simmons University

Master’s in Behavior Analysis

Boston, Massachusetts

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Simmons University - 10 Best ABA Master's Degree Programs 2020

Simmons University is one of our top picks for ABA programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,894

One of the top ABA programs on our list is the partially online master’s (or Ed.S.) in behavior analysis from Simmons University. Applicants must submit a current resume, statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and official college transcripts to be considered. GRE scores are not required. The program offers evening classes designed to accommodate working students. Course sequence aligns with the standards set forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and meets the requirements for the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Simmons as a top regional university in the North. Also, the school is a top pick for accredited ABA master’s online degree programs and one of the affordable options on our list.

6. Michigan State University

Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

East Lansing, Michigan

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Michigan State University - 10 Best ABA Master's Degree Programs 2020

Michigan State University’s master’s in ABA aligns with the BACB standards.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,132

Michigan State University offers an ABA master’s degree program that is designed to prepare students to be highly competent behavior analysts in educational settings. Students who complete the graduate degree are eligible to take the examination to become a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. Coursework sequence aligns with the standards set forth by the BACB and includes autism spectrum disorders – assessment and intervention, concepts and principles of behavior analysis, ethics in behavior analysis, experimental analysis of behavior, functional behavior assessment and behavior change, and verbal behavior in education. In addition to the reputation of the ABA program, Michigan State has earned top rankings with U.S. News and World Report as a best value school and top national university.

5. California University of Pennsylvania

Master’s in Special Education – Applied Behavior Analysis

California, Pennsylvania

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California University of Pennsylvania - 10 Best ABA Master's Degree Programs 2020

Autism and general track! California University of Pennsylvania’s ABA master’s degree programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,672

One of the top online ABA programs on our list is the online master’s in applied behavior analysis at California University of Pennsylvania. The university offers three tracks, including the M.Ed. in special education (autism track), the M.Ed. in special education (general track), and the Board-Certified Behavior Analysis preparation certification track. All programs prepare students for the BCBA examination and offer coursework that aligns with BACB requirements. When attending full time, students may complete the master’s degree in just four semesters, although additional time is available. California University of Pennsylvania ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 129th to 170th best regional university in the North and is one of our top choices for ABA master’s degree programs.

4. University of Massachusetts

Master’s in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis

Dartmouth, Massachusetts

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University of Massachusetts - 10 Best ABA Master's Degree Programs 2020

University of Massachusetts offers an ABA program that’s BACB-certified.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,337

While the master’s in psychology at University of Massachusetts is not an online ABA master’s degree, it is an accredited ABA program that earns a spot on our list for affordability and reputation. This on-campus ABA program allows students to earn a master’s in psychology with an applied behavior analysis (ABA) focus in just seven semesters. Coursework aligns with the standards set forth by the BACB and prepares students to sit for the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination. Some of the required courses include behavioral assessment, behavioral interventions, ethics and professionalism in ABA, research and design in ABA, and statistical methods in psychology. Admission requires an earned bachelor’s in psychology or closely related field with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0. UMass ranks with U.S. News and World Report as a top national university and top public school.

3. University of Saint Joseph

Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

West Hartford, Connecticut

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University of Saint Joseph - 10 Best ABA Master's Degree Programs 2020

The master’s in applied behavior analysis program at University of Saint Joseph has part-time and full-time options.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,532

One of the top accredited ABA master’s degree programs on our list is the master’s in applied behavior analysis at University of Saint Joseph. Classes meet weekday evenings during traditional 15-week academic semesters during the fall and spring and during summer sessions. When enrolled on a full-time basis, students can expect to earn their degree in two years, while part-time students can complete their degree in three years. To be eligible for admission, students must submit official transcripts from regionally accredited institutions, two professional letters of recommendation, personal essays, and a complete application and resume. The University of Saint Joseph ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 147th best national university and the 31st best value school.

2. University of Michigan

Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Dearborn, Michigan

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University of Michigan - 10 Best ABA Master's Degree Programs 2020

Ranked & accredited! University of Michigan’s ABA master’s degree programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,920

University of Michigan’s master’s in applied behavior analysis prepares students to become independent practitioners of applied behavior analysis. Classes meet proficiencies mandated by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and prepare students to sit for the BCBA examination. Courses cover ABA topics like applied behavior analysis, assistive technologies, research methods behavior analysis, and science of human behavior. According to U.S. News and World Report, University of Michigan at Dearborn ranks #33 in best regional universities in the Midwest. Additional 2020 rankings include #12 in top performers on social mobility.

1. Central Washington University

Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Ellensburg, Washington

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Central Washington University - 10 Best ABA Master's Degree Programs 2020

#1 most affordable! Central Washington University offers a master’s in applied behavior analysis – BCBA-certified.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,116

The most affordable ABA program on our list is the master’s in applied behavior analysis at Central Washington University. The program is designed to prepare students to become Board-Certified behavior analysts and to work with a variety of populations, such as individuals with autism, intellectual disabilities, and traumatic brain injuries. Coursework aligns with the Behavior Analysis Certification Board as meeting requirements for eligibility to become BCBA-certified. These courses include basic principles of behavior analysis, behavioral assessment and observation, and ethics in applied behavior analysis. Central Washington University ranks as the 55th best regional university in the West by U.S. News and World Report. CWU also ranks #1 in affordability on our list of the best ABA master’s degree programs of 2020.

ABA Staff
January 2020