Impact lives, starting with yours.

With a master's degree in applied behavior analysis, you can improve the lives of those with psychological neurodevelopmental disabilities as a practitioner of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Demand for certified experts is increasing at a fast pace in both therapy and research settings.

Courses for Southeast's applied behavior analysis program have been designed to meet the Fifth Edition Task List issued by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) and we are a Verified Course Sequence (VCS) by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI).

What You'll Do

In your second year, you'll work first-hand with clients with the support of a Behavior Analyst Certification (BCBA) supervisor. You choose your practicum site, giving you flexibility to work in an area of your interest. Though coursework and training you’ll have the opportunity to: 

  • Get personal attention from a faculty advisor with expertise in your field.
  • Complete the program within two years.
  • Access online study modules and other tools to help prepare you to pass the BCBA exam.

What Can You Do with an M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis?

A majority of graduates from the applied behavior analysis program go on to work in settings that include individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, various neurodevelopmental disabilities, and other behavioral health challenges.   

Other opportunities in this field include working in parent training, behavioral pediatrics, child welfare, and brain injury rehabilitation. 

Career Opportunities 

  • Counselor 
  • Psychological Assistant 
  • Special Education Assistant 
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) 
  • Social Work 

Applied Behavior Analysis Degree Map

Explore the courses you'll need to complete your degree

Applied Behavior Analysis by the Numbers

  • $60K

    School and Career Counselors

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual salary for school and career counselors is $60,140.

  • $64k 

    Human Resources Specialist

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a human resources specialist is $64,240 per year.

  • $85K


    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual salary for psychologists is $85,330.

Applied Behavior Analysis Curriculum

The program has a cohort model, so students will take classes with the same group of students throughout both years, helping to build a life-long behavior analytic community. Students may apply for admission for Summer or Fall; however, only electives are available during the first summer semester. ABA classes always begin in the fall.

Priority admission will be given to students who submit all application materials to the Office of Admissions by March 15. Later applications will be accepted until the program cohort is filled. Admission is considered only for the summer and fall semesters. In addition to the criteria established for general admission to graduate studies, applicants must have the following: 

  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale or 6 hours of graduate-level coursework a 3.0 equivalent in each course 
  • Letter of intent addressing preparation for graduate study, ability to succeed at the graduate level and professional goals and objectives. The letter should address what the applicant expects to achieve through graduate level study. The letter of intent should be typed and a maximum of 750 words in length. 
  • Two letters of recommendation 
  • Identification of potential site to obtain supervised experience. 

International applicants must also have a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 OR TOEFL score of 95. This requirement is for non-United States citizens who are not native English speakers. Students from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are exempt from English proficiency verification. 

Required Courses

  • AB531 Basic Principles in Applied Behavior Analysis (3) 
  • AB532 Methods for Studying the Behavior of Individuals (3) 
  • AB533 ABA I: Skill Acquisition and Assessment (3) 
  • AB534 ABA II: Function Based Assessment and Treatment of Challenging Behavior (3) 
  • AB535 Principles in Psychopharmacology (3) 
  • AB537 Behavioral Consultation & Management (3) 
  • AB601 Conceptual Topics in Behavior Analysis (3) 
  • AB603 Ethics, Disciplinary Systems, and Professionalism in Applied Behavior Analysis (3) 
  • AB605 Research & Practice in Applied Behavior Analysis – I (6) 
  • AB607 Research & Practice in Applied Behavior Analysis – II (6) 
  • AB608 Research & Practice in Applied Behavior Analysis – III (3) 
  • GR698 Masters’ Final Project (0) 

Choose one course: 

  • CE614 Family and School Collaboration (3) 
  • CF506 Theories and Issues in Child Development (3)
  • CF520 Professional Ethics & Practice (3) 
  • CF630 Advanced Family Systems (3) 
  • DS618 Environmental Design in Human Services (3) 
  • EX507 Families & the Child with Exceptionalities (3) 
  • EX555 Introduction to Autism (3) 
  • EX601 Education Assessment Technology (3) 
  • EX693 Special Education and the Law (3) 
  • PY525 Maturing and Aging (3) 
  • PY555 Health Psychology (3) 

Other 500 or 600 level courses may be considered for electives but must be approved by the Program Coordinator or advisor. All elective courses must be taken at the graduate level. 

Because of the intensive workload for this program, all courses must be completed in order with the exception of the approved elective that may be taken during any semester, though it is recommended to be taken during the first summer semester. 

Individuals seeking to sit for the BCBA® certification exam after January 1, 2022 must complete either 2000 hours of Supervised Fieldwork or 1500 hours of Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork. Supervision by SEMO Faculty is limited. Potential students should contact the SEMO Applied Behavior Analysis Program Coordinator prior to beginning the program if they do not have access to a qualified ABA Supervisor locally. 

The accelerated Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis degree program allows undergraduate students to take classes in their senior year that count for both undergraduate credit and graduate credit. Students majoring in Education, Psychology, Child Development, Communication Disorders, or working towards an Autism Studies Certificate could benefit from this opportunity. 

Program Requirements: 

  • Junior Standing with at least 75 credit hours completed 
  • Limit of 12 hours (500 level) 
  • Minimum grade point average of 3.0 
  • 2 letters of recommendation 
  • Personal statement 

Program Notes: 

  • Must be admitted to the accelerated graduate program prior to taking courses 
  • Course fee will be at undergraduate rate. 
  • Course will be initially recorded as undergraduate class at the end of semester. 

After grades are submitted at the end of the semester, the courses will be added to the graduate course list for graduate credit. 

Class of ‘17, Applied Behavior Analysis

"It was easier and more convenient because everything was online. I really like how Southeast offered the supervision for my practicum as part of the curriculum. It has better prepared me to take the state exam. "

Laura Stroud

Laura Stroud in graduation regalia smiling at the camera.

College of Humanities and Social Sciences 

This degree is housed within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The College prepares students for lifelong careers. We boast programs that train students in problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, organization, and adaptability. Skills employers value, so we prepare you for basically any career field.

Become a Redhawk.

Do more than dream about the future. Take the first steps to make it all happen.

Online Learning at Southeast

When it comes to your success, we do whatever it takes. Online learning at Southeast takes the same reputable college courses taught by Southeast faculty and makes them available anytime, anywhere.

Verified Course Sequence by ABAI

  • VCS (Verified Course Sequences) Program | ABAI logo

Getting the Job

Your education is just one piece to launching an extraordinary career. Once you’ve mastered the material, you still have to find the job you want, make the right connections, sell your knowledge and experience—and if all this is giving you anxiety, don’t panic. SEMO’s Career Services office is here to help you with the next step. They’ll provide the expertise and support you need, so you’re landing your dream job in no time.

Accelerated ABA

You can begin taking courses for your ABA while working on your bachelor’s degree, saving you time and money. Students majoring in education, psychology, child development, communication disorders, or working towards an autism studies certificate could benefit from this opportunity.

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