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Psychology: Applied Behavior Analysis MA

Earn your master’s degree from UMassD

Earn your Master of Arts in Psychology with an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) focus in just 6 semesters. Our program offers courses that are verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) as meeting specific faculty and coursework standards. 

ABA Program

  • This master’s program prepares students to meet the academic requirements necessary to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination. View BCBA pass rates.

  • This part-time, 36-credit program is designed be completed in three years. Students can have some flexibility as long as they complete it on a timely basis. UMass Dartmouth also offers an Applied Behavior Analyst Graduate Certificate for professionals who have earned a master’s degree in education or psychology. This is a two year, 24-credit program that provides the academic requirements necessary to sit for the BCBA exam.

ABA Program Advantages

  • Earn your MA in psychology and learn from faculty who have specific training in behavior analysis and psychology. This coursework sequence has been verified to meet the academic requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination.
  • Receive comprehensive ABA training that complements the theoretical framework of psychology.
  • As a state university UMass Dartmouth’s tuition and fees are more manageable.
  • Conveniently located in the SouthCoast of Massachusetts where there is a strong, local demand for BCBAs.
  • The UMassD program is structured so that individuals can do their experience hours as part of their job, provided they can be supervised by a certified BCBA.

M.A. in Psychology students may also choose concentrations in:

Learning Style: On campus

Blended – Many of the ABA courses combine online and face-to-face classes in each course.

Career Opportunities

  • work with a variety of populations including autistic children and adults, typically developing children, adults with intellectual disabilities, and seniors with dementia
  • practice in various settings including clinics, hospitals, residential treatment centers, public schools and community agencies

Fall, Year 1

  • PSY534—Philosophical Underpinnings of ABA
  • PSY504—Topics in Child Development

Spring, Year 1

  • PSY526—Measurement and Design in ABA
  • PSY509—Concepts and Principles of ABA

Fall, Year 2

  • PSY531—Behavioral Assessment
  • PSY525—Implementing Behavior Analysis in Educational Settings

Spring, Year 2

  • PSY532—Behavioral Interventions
  • PSY518—Cognitive Neuroscience

Fall, Year 3

  • PSY529—Ethics and Professionalism in ABA
  • PSY527—Clinical Applications in ABA

Spring, Year 3

  • PSY533—Supervision and Management
  • PSY586—ABA Seminar

Changes to Graduate Studies admission requirements

In response to the COVID‐19 pandemic, admission requirements for graduate degree and certificate programs may have changed.
Learn more about changes to requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in psychology or closely related field including human services, sociology, education and/or work experience in the ABA field. 
  • A minimum undergraduate cumulative average of 3.0 on a 4.0 grading system is required. Students not meeting this requirement but who otherwise give evidence of strong academic ability may be admitted.
  • Signature on the Psychology Department “Competency and Fitness” and “Self Disclosure” forms.

Admission Process

  • Fall semester application deadline: August 15
  • Applications are considered on a rolling basis—so apply early—and decisions are made by the Psychology Department.
  • Students may be admitted to a maximum of 9 credit hours (3 courses) in a non-matriculated status with permission of the Director of the ABA Program. Following completion of 9 credit hours, students must be admitted to the program to continue studies.

Submit the following:

  • Graduate application
  • Three letters of recommendation. Applicants are encouraged to send letters from both academic settings addressing academic readiness, and from work settings addressing capacity for employment in ABA.
  • A personal statement of at least 300 words is required. Applicants should write about their experience in ABA and/or readiness for training in ABA.

Deadlines and Test Requirements

Psychology: Applied Behavior Analysis Faculty

R. Thomas Boone, PhD 
Social and Developmental Psychology, Brandeis University: 
Studies emotion communication and cooperation.

Gary M. Pace, PhD, BCBA-D 
Learning and Physiological Psychology, University of Kentucky: research interests include applied 
behavior analysis, severe behavior disorders, antecedent control procedures, treatment integrity, acquired brain injury.

Melanie DuBard, PhD, BCBA-D 
School Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi: clinical and research interests include functional behavior assessment, treatment integrity, school consultation, assessment and treatment of severe behavior.

Gary Pace
R. Thomas Boone

Explore more about Psychology: Applied Behavior Analysis

Course Catalog

See course schedules and requirements.


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