M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis

ABAI Masters Accreditation LogoThe Caldwell University on-campus ABAI accredited M.A. in ABA was designed to prepare students for employment within the fields where there are growing demands for competent professionals with expertise in applied behavior analysis: namely, developmental services, special education, and mental health. Students are required to show proficiency in coursework and to complete a research thesis. The curriculum for this program focuses on (a) the principles and procedures of basic and applied behavior analysis practice and research and (b) the application of behavior analysis and behavioral support in complex environments (i.e., home, school, work, other community settings, and institutional settings) (c) conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of advanced topics in behavior analysis (d) development and completion of independent research in behavior analysis.

Admission Requirements Program Requirements (45 Credits)

Note: The application deadlines for the M.A. in ABA are:
April 1 – Summer • June 1 – Fall • December 1 – Spring

  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.3
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher, preferably in a related field such as psychology,education, or special education
  • Official undergraduate/graduate transcripts
  • Satisfactory scores on the general Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) (Students who already have a master’s degree are exempt from this requirement)
  • Two letters of recommendation for graduate study
  • Writing sample: a research-based paper in psychology or education of at least ten pages that was previously submitted as part of an undergraduate or graduate course. Other subject matter may be considered if the candidate has had limited prior psychology or education work.
  • Personal statement of 2-3 pages in length describing the reasons for pursuing graduate study in ABA at Caldwell University..
  • Personal Interview (applicants who qualify for an interview will be contacted by the ABA Department).

Required Courses (36 credits)

ABA 510 Survey of Research Methods and Statistics (3)
ABA 526 Behavior Analysis and Learning (3)
ABA 534 Research Methods in Applied Behavior Analysis (3)
ABA 537 Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis (3)
ABA 553 Assessing Autism Interventions (3)
ABA 556 Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis (3)
ABA 563 Ethics for Behavior Analysts (3)
ABA 572 Language and Social Skills for Individuals with Autism (3)
ABA 573 Scientific Writing for Behavior Analysts (3)
ABA 574 Professionalism for Behavior Analysts (3)
ABA 650 Thesis in Applied Behavior Analysis I (3)
ABA 651 Thesis in Applied Behavior Analysis II (3)

Elective Courses (9 credits: Any 3 courses)
ABA 521 Cognitive Psychology (3)
ABA 535 Biopsychology OR
ABA 627 Psychopharmacology (3)
ABA 600 Behavior Analysis of Child Development (3)
ABA 601 Behavioral Applications to Childhood Disorders (3)
ABA 603 Older Learners with Autism (3)
ABA 604 Advanced Language and Social Skills for Individuals with Autism (3)
ABA 615 Functional Behavior Assessment (3)
ABA 616 Assessment & Program Development for Individuals with Autism Part I (3)
ABA 618 Assessment & Treatment of Stereotypy (3)
ABA 619 Pediatric Feeding Disorders (3)
ABA 620 Stimulus Control (3)
ABA 625 Motivational Systems and Reinforcement (3)
ABA 626 Assessment & Program Development for Individuals with Autism Part II
ABA 630 Choice & Preference (3)
ABA 635 Concept Formation (3)
ABA 640 Self-Management (3)
ABA 645 Developmental Disabilities (3)
ABA 646 Analysis of Verbal Behavior (3)
ABA 648 Standardized Testing for Developmental Disabilities (3)
ABA 654 Behavior Analysis of Social Issues (3)
ABA 655 Philosophy of Behaviorism (3)
ABA 800 Applied Practicum in ABA I (1-3)
ABA 801 Applied Practicum in ABA II (1-3)

Status During Thesis

Master’s degree students who have completed all course requirements except for their thesis will register in ABA 650 Thesis in ABA I for three credits. Upon successful completion of ABA 650 Thesis in ABA I, students will register for ABA 651 Thesis in ABA II. Students who must continue beyond two semesters to complete their thesis may register in ABA 652 Thesis in ABA III, or ABA 653 Thesis in ABA IV. Students must seek permission of the department to continue thesis registrations beyond four semesters. Registration in any thesis course will grant the student full-time status.

Transfer of Graduate Credit

Caldwell University will accept the transfer of a maximum of twelve credits of graduate work in psychology, education or a closely related field, provided that the credits were completed within five years of the student’s registration at Caldwell University. Official transcripts of previous graduate work as well as the catalog description of each course must be submitted for review at the time of application. Approval of transfer credit is based on course content and grade earned in the course. Each transfer request will be reviewed by the Program Coordinator.


As the capstone requirement for the M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis, students must complete the courses Research Thesis I and II (ABA 650 & ABA 651), and additional thesis courses, if necessary. In these classes, students will first complete a comprehensive survey of the research literature in a particular area within applied behavior analysis. They will then design and conduct an original empirical research thesis using the principles of ABA and an appropriate single-case research design. When completed, the research study will then be written up in the style of the American Psychological Association (APA). Following the write-up, the thesis will involve an oral defense/presentation to a committee of faculty members. The goal of the completed thesis is to generate a scholarly work that will be of professional presentation and/or publication quality.

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