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California State University – Los Angeles

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ABA at Cal State LA

California State University – Los Angeles appears in our ranking of the 10 Best ABA Master’s Degree Programs in the West.

ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, is a very interesting field of study to consider.  ABA students will study behavior from a scientific perspective.  Applied Behavior Analysis is very often connected to work with those on the autism spectrum.  This is because ABA has proven to be a very successful tool for those with autism.  ABA specialists often work with clients who have autism, but there are other situations in which ABA can be very beneficial, as well.  Applied Behavior Analysis can help anyone to learn and put into place beneficial and constructive behavioral patterns.  This important skill can be used when working with many different clients, particularly those whose  behavior might be considered atypical.

California State University – Los Angeles offers a convenient option for students who want to study Applied Behavior Analysis in the LA area. There are three different program options that allow students to earn either a certificate or a degree in this area.  The first is a Post-Master’s Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis.  The second is a Master of Science degree in counseling with an applied behavior analysis specialization.  The third option for ABA students is a Master of Arts in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The Applied Behavior Analysis certificate program is designed for those enrolled in a related master’s degree program, or have already completed one in a similar field, such as counseling or psychology, or special education.  The certificate program includes just seven courses for a total of 21 credits. Research Methods in Single Subject Design prepares students for doing research in the field and designing treatment programs based on the needs of one individual. Analysis and Applications of Verbal Behavior is another required course that focuses on improving the verbal skills of clients. The program is designed to offer many different types of workers the opportunity to develop specialized skills for designing and implementing ABA programs in behavior management, motivation, consultation, and teaching.  California State University – Los Angeles only offers this program at the post-graduate level.

The second ABA option at Cal State-LA is to earn an MS in counseling.  Though this California State University campus has several counseling programs, it’s one of the only in the state with a counseling program that has an emphasis on applied behavior analysis. This program has approval from the board certification board for ABA therapists and can help students get their counseling credentials. Students have the option of taking a thesis or project planning class and then doing a thesis or a project, but they can also take a comprehensive exam in lieu of doing a project. They will also take three fieldwork experience courses that function as practicums and 11 other required classes.  The program requires the completion of 55-77 credits.  This includes the 18 credits of fieldwork. Upon acceptance into this exciting program, each student is assigned a faculty advisor as well as a cohort group.

In addition to a Master of Science in Counseling, the university also designed a Master of Arts in Special Education with an emphasis on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Majors may need to take some prerequisites, but they will also take required courses, including Fieldwork with Students with Disabilities: Autism, Seminar in Advanced Study in Human Development, Analysis and Application of Verbal Behavior and Advanced Strategies to Support Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. California State University – Los Angeles requires that students in this program either do a thesis or a final project or that they take a comprehensive exam.

Depending on your current situation and your goals for your career, one of these ABA options at Cal State – LA may be a perfect fit for you.  Let’s take a closer look at the school and what it has to offer.

About California State University – Los Angeles

California State University – Los Angeles is a public university better known as Cal State LA. It is one of the more than 20 schools in the CSU system and it is one of the only campuses in the Los Angeles area.  The campus is located in the heart of Los Angeles, which is appealing to many prospective students.

The university owns two different campuses. One is in the University Hills area, while the second is in downtown Los Angeles. Though the downtown campus does not offer as many courses as the main campus does, it provides students with a convenient way to enroll in programs that are closer to their homes or places of work. A number of residence halls and housing options are available to students within walking distance of the main campus. Its two campuses have a combined enrollment of more than 27,000 students.  The school has over 1,700 faculty members, as well.  Cal State-LA is ranked number one in the country for the upward mobility of their students, according to their website. This means that the school is the best at helping students to earn their degree and quickly make their way up the economic ladder.  The University is also federally-designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution, as well as Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving Institution.

California State University – Los Angeles Accreditation Details

Cal State LA has regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The university established a committee to make sure that it meets the requirements for this accreditation each time that it comes up for renewal, which occurs once every 10 years. Cal State LA allows students to transfer credits and put those credits towards any of its degree programs, but it also allows those in need to apply for financial aid. All of this is possible because of its regional accreditation.

California State University – Los Angeles Application Requirements

As the university offers both certificate and degree programs, it’s important that students look at the admissions requirements for each one. The certificate program asks that students complete and submit the Cal State LA application and then complete the Charter College of Education Certificate Program Application. This separate application asks for an official transcript and two letters of recommendation. Students can provide two references rather than these letters. They will then meet with a program advisor and have the advisor sign that application before giving it to the university.

Those applying to a graduate program must have a bachelor’s degree and an undergrad GPA of 2.75 or higher over the last 60 credits or 90 quarter units of classes they took. They will also submit the Cal State LA application and provide two letters of recommendation. The university looks for both academic letters from former professors and professional letters from those familiar with the student’s fieldwork. Students may need to meet with an advisor or talk with someone in the department to complete an interview requirement too.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time graduate students qualify for the Cal State LA resident tuition rate is they are California residents and live full-time in the state. Those students pay close to $4,100 per semester or $8,200 per year. Nonresidents pay the same rate plus a second fee that increases their tuition to $8,850 per semester or $17,700 per year. Students who take classes on the Cal State LA campus and live in the Los Angeles area can establish their residency after their first years and qualify for the resident rate later.

The deadline for any student who wants to get financial aid is at the beginning of March every year. Cal State LA has deadlines of the beginning to the end of March for those who want to apply for scholarships, some of which are available for grad students. Those students can also apply for one of the university’s graduate assistant jobs and work as an assistant to a professor in the classroom or on a research project. Many of these positions include funding that covers all tuition and fees and a stipend each semester. Grad students can also use any federal or alternative loans they receive. The California State University – Los Angeles sends financial aid letters to students around one month after they apply to the ABA program or any of its other programs.

California State- Los Angeles is a great option, especially for someone with the desire to both live and work in the heart of a thriving community.  Their excellence in upward mobility offers a great opportunity for students to graduate and being an exciting career.  The opportunities in Los Angeles are endless, and for Cal State-LA students, all they need to do is walk out their door in order to take advantage of them.  The school also offers unique opportunities for public service in LA.  Additionally, graduates will not have to look far to find abounding job opportunities.  Check out their website to schedule a visit or contact an admissions specialist, and be on your way to an exciting ABA degree!


updated Spring 2024