Program: M.S., Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Description

The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program is designed to provide advanced graduate-level training for students who have strong and well-defined interests in the scientific study of behavioral principles as applied to individuals and organizations. In this two-year program, students can obtain their M.S. degree in preparation for independent practice as Board Certified Behavior Analysts®. The program emphasizes the philosophy, theory, science and methodology that guide clinicians in the field of ABA. Students will learn how to conduct behavioral assessments and to design, implement and monitor outcome-based interventions, while adhering to Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB®) ethical and professional guidelines. The coursework incorporates practical training with a focus on a conceptual understanding of the science of ABA. The breadth and scientific rigor of this program provides students with the foundation necessary to pursue careers as scientist-practitioners and to become competitive candidates for doctoral training. This program is offered in a cohort model, with sequentially advancing coursework, in collaboration with The Tseng College of Extended Learning. (Note: Refer to the BACB® website for standards and requirements to become eligible to sit for the Board Certification Exam.)

This program is available through self support (funded entirely by student fees and offered in a cohort format) in partnership between one of the CSUN academic colleges and The Tseng College.

Program Requirements

A. Procedures and Requirements for Admission

For applications, admission requirements and deadlines for the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis, see the ABA program website.

To be considered for an interview for admission to the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis program, applicants must submit:

  1. An application (see the ABA program website).
  2. A statement of purpose (approximately 1,000 words, double-spaced, 12-point font).
  3. Original or certified copies of all postsecondary academic transcripts.
  4. Three letters of recommendation.

B. Classified Admission and Conditionally Classified Admission

Participation in any of the graduate programs offered by the Department of Psychology is limited to classified and conditionally classified graduate students. Conditionally classified admission, used sparingly by the department, is for students who have met all requirements for admission to the graduate program except for completion of a course or examination. The department specifies the conditions to be fulfilled before classified standing is awarded. Normally, these conditions must be met within the first semester of graduate training. Applicants interested in the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis program are advised to review the admission requirements on The Tseng College website.

C. For Admission to Classified Graduate Status

  1. Admission to the program generally requires an undergraduate degree (or its equivalent for international students), from a regionally accredited institution, in Psychology. Applicants who do not have a degree in Psychology should consult with the program director.
  2. A GPA of 3.0 is required except on approval by the Graduate Admission Committee.
  3. General University requirements also must be met. Carefully consult other sections of this Catalog for details.

D. Program Requirements

1. Required Courses (37 units)

PSY 525AB Advanced Psychological Measurement (3)*
PSY 551A Becoming a BCBA: Professional and Certification Issues (1)*
PSY 552 Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (3)*
PSY 553 Measurement and Experimental Evaluation of Behavior (3)*
PSY 555 Assessment in Applied Behavior Analysis (3)*
PSY 557 Behavior Change Procedures and Systems Support (3)*
PSY 558 Topics in Behavior Analysis (3)
PSY 600 Ethical Practice with Individuals, Families, and Multidisciplinary Teams (3)*
PSY 611 Developmental Psychopathology and ABA Interventions (3)*
PSY 629 Philosophy and Concepts of Behavior Analysis (3)
PSY 650 Organizational Behavior Management (3)
PSY 692A Seminar in Research Methodology (3)*
PSY697ABA Directed Comprehensive Studies/Exams (3)**

*Indicates coursework with BACB® 5th Edition Task List content.
**Culminating Experience.

2. Continuing Education Practicum Courses for Students Preparing to Sit for the Board Certification Exam

XBEH 903 Practicum [Tseng College Continuing Education (CE) Hours]

To meet a professional requirement, students of this program can enroll in BACB®-approved practicum in which they complete the behavior analytic supervised experience competencies to sit for the BCBA® Examination. Students enroll in practica for each semester of the two-year program (total of 18 CE units of Practicum). The practicum provides opportunities to accrue experience in practicum group meetings and at approved sites and/or within program faculty laboratories.

Total Units Required for the M.S. Degree: 37

More information

For more information about this program, please contact


Department of Psychology
Chair: Jill Razani
Sierra Hall (SH) 376
(818) 677-2827

Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis
Graduate Coordinator: Gary Katz
(818) 677-2964

Staff: Ashley Rice
(818) 677-3257

Staff: Odette Arman
(818) 677-6648

Staff: Genesis Sandoval
(818) 677-7707

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis will be able to:

  1. Understand how to access professional information and practice within ethical guidelines.
  2. Know the various scopes of practice and research in behavior analysis.
  3. Know how to initiate, continue, modify or discontinue behavior analysis services.
  4. Know how to choose the most effective assessment and behavior change procedures and give preference to scientifically validated methods.
  5. Know how to define and use behavioral principles and concepts in identifying functions of behaviors and making behavioral change.
  6. Know how to select, define, measure, assess, manipulate, record and interpret behaviors and behavior changes.
  7. Know how to use experimentation to assess intervention outcomes using various methods and designs.
  8. Know how to design and use systems for monitoring and carrying out interventions.
  9. Know how to teach various audiences about behavior analysis.
  10. Be ready for in-field and supervised behavior service experiences.
  11. Be prepared to take the board certification exam.