In this article, we profile the 10 best ABA master’s degree programs in the West.
Earning a degree in ABA therapy from a quality school is important for career advancement and future practice as an ABA therapist. While several schools exist, not all provide approved course sequences or eligibility to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analysis (BCBA) examination. We reviewed a number of schools that offer some of the best ABA master’s degree programs in the United States to help you with your research in determining the school that best suits your needs.
10 Best ABA Master’s Degree Programs in the West Ranking Methodology
For the purpose of this list, we examined 44 accredited ABA master’s programs that were located in the West and Midwest portions of the United States. We looked at programs that were accredited and provided a course sequence approved by the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), which provides students with eligibility required to sit for the BCBA certification examination. Graduate tuition and fees were collected from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES College Navigator), and the schools on our list were ranked according to raw affordability.
Below is our list of the 10 best ABA master’s degree programs in the West for 2020.
#10 – Eastern Michigan University
Master’s in Psychology – Clinical Behavioral
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,100
Eastern Michigan University offers one of the best ABA master’s degree programs on our list. The training provides a foundation in areas of behavioral analysis, behavioral psychology, psychological assessment, and psychotherapy. Students must complete their training under supervision and in the field. Some of the courses required of the program include clinical behavior analysis, cognitive assessment, experimental analysis of behavior, psychological statistics, and scientific and professional ethics. To be admitted to the program, competitive GRE scores are required. The program also prepares students for licensure and clinical practice at the master’s level as a Limited License Psychologist, for doctoral studies in psychology, and for certification in behavior analysis (BCBA). In addition to accreditation credentials, EMU ranks with U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.
#9 – University of Washington
Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,590
University of Washington offers one of the few online degrees in ABA therapy programs. This ABA master’s degree may be completed through distance learning by taking online courses and a supervised intensive practicum. Coursework is designed to prepare students to sit for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) exam. Some of the courses include application of behavioral principles, behavioral measurement and assessment, educating students with autism, instruction of students with moderate to severe disabilities, methods of applied behavior analysis research, and tiered approach to inclusive instruction. A capstone project and master’s examination must also be completed to fulfill requirements of the program.
#8 – Western Michigan University
Master’s in Behavior Analysis
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,561
Earning a degree in ABA therapy from Western Michigan University can help prepare you for a career as an ABA therapist. Western Michigan University offers one of the few accredited ABA master’s programs recognized by the Association for Behavior Analysis International. Qualifications for admission include a bachelor’s degree with at least 18 semester hours in psychology, a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and satisfactory GRE scores. Coursework is taught by leading scholars and esteemed faculty with years of experience in the ABA field. Also, the coursework is designed to prepare students for entry to doctoral programs. In addition to quality coursework and curriculum, WMU ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Recent 2020 rankings with U.S. News include #246 in best national universities and #119 in top public schools.
#7 – Southern Illinois University
Master’s in Behavior Analysis and Therapy
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,626
One of the best ABA master’s degree programs on our list is located at Southern Illinois University. This program is designed for individuals interested in becoming a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. Courses may be taken on-campus or in a hybrid format with some classes offered online. These courses include basic behavior analysis, behavior analysis research designs, complex behavior analysis, legal and ethical issues in behavior analysis, and staff training and development. Students must complete an internship under supervision of a behavior analysis and therapy faculty member. Also, a research paper or thesis must be completed under the direction of a chairperson at Southern Illinois University. 2020 rankings with U.S. News and World Report include #254 in best national universities and #123 in top public schools.
#6 – University of California
M.Ed. in Applied Behavior Analysis
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,584
One of the few M.Ed. degrees on our list includes the accredited ABA master’s programs offered by University of California at Riverside. This program is designed for educators who want to gain additional knowledge in the practice and instruction of behavior principles and behavioral health in children and adults. Classes are taught by university professors and cover topics like advanced behavioral interventions, child behavioral theory, ethics for applied behavior analysis, principles of social behavior intervention, and school psychological consultation. Admission requirements include an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 during the last two years of study. The GRE is not required for admission. UC Riverside ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 91st best national university in the country.
#5 – Whitworth University
Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,168
Whitworth University is one of our top choices for a degree in ABA therapy. The school offers a master’s in applied behavior analysis, which consists of 37 credits and takes approximately two years to complete. Whitworth’s ABA coursework is approved and verified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, and BCBA certification options are also available. Program curriculum includes classes like assessment and IEP planning, ethical research and treatment method, intervention and autism spectrum disorders, intervention through positive behavior support, and a final exit project and fieldwork experience. Whitworth, a private and accredited institution, ranks with U.S. News and World Report. In fact, Whitworth ranks #3 in best regional universities in the West as of 2020.
#4 – University of Kansas
Online Master’s in Applied Behavioral Science
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,027
With both online and traditional pathways, University of Kansas offers some of the best ABA master’s degree programs on our list. Enrolled students may earn a master’s in applied behavioral science by completing a series of courses that explore human behavior problems of societal importance. The master’s degree requires 30 credits and includes courses, practicum, and master’s thesis. Courses include applied behavior analysis, conceptual foundations, legal and ethical issues in applied behavioral science, principles of behavior, research methods, and research or intervention practicum. If you are interested in pursuing BCBA certification, all practicum courses must be completed. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the university as a top national institution.
#3 – Saint Cloud State University
Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,040
Saint Cloud State University offers a degree in ABA therapy that is both BACB-approved and accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International. The program has also been identified as having one of the top-rated master’s in autism spectrum disorder, as ranked by the Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide. To add to the program’s diversity, online options are available, making it one of the only online ABA master’s level programs in the country. Students with an earned master’s degree may take the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) online courses. Saint Cloud ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 105th best regional university in the Midwest and the 30th best top public school.
#2 – California State University
Master’s in Counseling – Applied Behavior Analysis
Los Angeles, California
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,183
California State University offers one of the best ABA master’s degrees on our list due to affordability. The accredited ABA master’s program at California State accepts 15 students each year and offers them a pre-approved course sequence by the BACB. There is also an option to tailor the degree toward autism, ideal for those interested in pursuing careers in education. Some of the required courses include applied behavior analysis, conceptual analysis of behavior, experimental foundations of applied behavior analysis, legal and ethical issues in ABA, and lifespan human development for counselors. A comprehensive examination and thesis or culminating project are also required for graduation. In addition to accreditation credentials, Cal State ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Cal State’s rankings include #31 in best regional universities in the West and #11 in best value schools.
#1 – University of Nevada
Master’s in Psychology – Behavior Analysis
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,575
The accredited ABA master’s programs at University of Nevada allow enrolled students to earn a master’s in psychology with a specialization in behavior analysis. Due to affordability, University of Nevada offers the best ABA master’s degree program on our list. The degree consists of 36 graduate credits, and the program is accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International. Also, the program has a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Some of the courses offered include behavioral and systems assessment, behavioral interventions, behavior management and consultation, ethics in psychology, principles of behavior, and research methods in applied behavior analysis. In addition to quality classes, University of Nevada offers rankings with U.S. News and World Report. In fact, University of Nevada’s most recent rankings include #240 in best national universities and #117 in top public schools.