College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Psychology

Special education MA with an emphasis in applied behavior analysis

Prepare to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every four people is living with a disability. The MA in special education with an emphasis applied behavior analysis (ABA), prepares you to meet this growing need by becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. You’ll work with people with disabilities—such as autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities—to conduct socially valid assessments and support for individuals to achieve their goals and exercise self-determination. Click here to watch a recent info session.


Graduates of the MA with applied behavioral analysis degree will find careers as:

  • behavior analysts
  • clinical behavior therapists
  • education behavior support specialists
  • intensive behavior therapists
  • residential and vocational specialists

Why study at the U of M?

  • Get your master’s degree in only four semesters and prepare to become board certified as a behavior analyst.
  • Conduct research with faculty who are leading the way in behavior analysis.
  • Gain real world experience working alongside board certified practitioners.
  • Make lifelong connections with other students and faculty who share your passion for making a difference.
  • Feel confident and knowledgeable in a high-need field.
  • Prepare for a career where your work will have lasting change on people’s lives and wellbeing.


VCS Program Logo

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® has verified the following 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.

This is an in-person program; we do not offer an online program. Students are required to complete 33 credits and a capstone research project. Students are required to participate in up to 20 hours per week of fieldwork experience in one of our partner sites during each of the four semesters. Students who intend to take the board certification exam must complete 1,500 hours of concentrated supervised fieldwork (or 2,000 hours if accruing under supervised fieldwork) after beginning the MA in ABA program to qualify for the exam. Many of our practicum partners provide paid supervision in paid positions.

Note: At this time, Minnesota does not have licensing requirements specific to the state. Visit the Behavior Analysts Certification Board website for more information on licensing requirements by state.

    Fall term

    • EPSY 5657 – Interventions for Behavioral Problems in School Settings (3 cr)
    • EPSY 5623 – Ethics in Applied Behavior Analysis (3 cr)
    • EPSY 5659 – Foundations in Behavior Analysis (learning and cognition requirement) (3 cr)

    Spring term

    • EPSY 8708 – Functional Behavior Assessment (3 cr)
    • EPSY 5663 – Methods in ASD (3 cr)
    • EPSY 8994 – Applied Behavior Analysis: Behavior Assessment and Intervention in Applied Settings (4 cr)

    Fall term

    • EPSY 8706 - Single-Case Experimental Design (3cr)
    • Measurement/evaluation core course requirement (3 cr)
    • EPSY 5702 – Research Problems: Educational Psychology: Supervision 1 (1 cr)

    Spring term

    • Social/personality core course requirement (3cr)
    • Statistics core course requirement (3 cr)
    • EPSY 5703 – Research Problems: Educational Psychology: Supervision 2 (1 cr)

    Some courses meet in person; others are on-line; and all are taught by PhD level faculty and instructors with extensive experience and expertise in their fields.

    Tuition, funding, and financial aid

      Visit the College of Education and Human Development's Tuition and Financial Aid page for information on tuition.

      Visit OneStop Student Services for more information on available financial aid.


      Jennifer McComas

      Professor and head of special education MA with emphasis in ABA