Applied Behavior Analysis and Special Education

Major: Applied Behavior Analysis and Special Education
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 76.5
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 42.2814
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code:

About the Program

This dual master’s program combines two critical and research-based programs focused on improving educational outcomes for individuals with disabilities. This innovative program will prepare candidates to work in PreK-12 institutions seeking educators and leaders knowledgeable about special education and skilled in behavior analysis—a growing area of need in today's schools.

The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified the master's in Applied Behavior Analysis core course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements, content hours, and faculty standards. For eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®, applicants will have to meet additional experience and supervision requirements.

Special Education courses address all required state and federal regulations as well as the Pennsylvania General Standards for Special Education and the competencies and standards outline by the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC).

The program is a flexible graduate program. This dual program consists of 76.5 of credits. These credits are broken up into 9 core Special Education classes, 7 core Applied Behavior Analysis classes, and 3 elective classes, as well as a three-part capstone sequence. This dual program confers a Master of Science in Behavior Analysis as well as a Master of Science in Special Education, which provides candidates with increased flexibility and a much sought after skillset. Most courses require a fieldwork component that helps the student apply the skills and content learned in the classroom to real world educational environments.

Additional Information:

For more information about this program:

Jaclyn Aldworth
Director of Recruitment

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the program will follow the university standards for admission to graduate study. Prospective students must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher to be considered for admission (graduate degree GPAs will be considered along with the undergraduate GPA).

In addition, prospective students are required to submit the following:

  • Completed application form including official transcripts from all universities or colleges attended
  • Two letters of recommendation—professional or academic
  • An essay describing why the applicant is interested in pursuing graduate study in this field
  • Resume

An interview, in person or by phone, may be conducted by the admissions committee with those applicants who meet Graduate Admissions' standard admissions criteria.

Degree Requirements

Required Courses
ABA 630Fundamental Elements of Behavior Change4.5
ABA 631Measurement and Experimental Design4.5
ABA 632Behavioral Assessment and Functional Analysis4.5
ABA 633Behavioral Interventions4.5
ABA 634Consultation, Systems Change and Supervision4.5
ABA 635Ethical Considerations and Professional Conduct4.5
ABA 636Applications of Fundamental Elements of Behavior Analysis 4.5
EDEX 543Emotional and Behavioral Support of Individuals with Disabilities 3.0
EDEX 549Teaching Individuals with High Incident Disabilities3.0
EDEX 550Teaching Individuals with Low Incident Disabilities3.0
EDEX 552Integrating Technology for Learning & Achievement3.0
EDEX 536Special Education Law and Process3.0
EDEX 555Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder3.0
EDEX 578Special Education Practicum PK-123.0
EDEX 588Implementing Academic Interventions in Inclusive Educational Environments3.0
Concentration Options21.0-24.0
Initial Certification
Fundamentals of Special Education
Inclusive Practices
Literacy and Content Skill Development PK-12
Special Education Student Teaching Seminar
Adolescent Learners in Secondary Schools
Typical and Atypical Development in Early Childhood Education
Evaluation of Instruction
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Select 3 of the following courses
Characteristics & Methods: Autism
Characteristics & Methods: High Functioning Autism
Communication & Language Interventions: Autism Spectrum Disorders
Behavior & Sensory Support: Autism Spectrum Disorders
Students must also complete the following:
Teaching STEAM in an Inclusive Environment PK-12
Collaborative Special Education Law and Process
Select 3 of the following courses
Family, School and Community Engagement in Special Education
Special Education Advocacy
Special Education Dispute Resolution and Skills Training
School Law & Policy in Special Education
Students must also complete the following:
Teaching STEAM in an Inclusive Environment PK-12
Social Emotional Behavior Wellness
Select 3 of the following courses
Social Emotional Wellness and Evidence-Based Preventative School Practices
Understanding Social Emotional Disorders
Evidence-Based School Interventions and Trauma Informed Education/Care
Collaboration and Community Based Practices to Promote Social Emotion Wellness
Students must also complete the following:
Teaching STEAM in an Inclusive Environment PK-12
Students selecting Autism Spectrum Disorders, Social Emotional Behavioral Wellness, or Collaboartive Law and Process Concentration must also complete capstone sequence
Capstone Research
Students have the option to select from one of the Capstone tracks:
Lesson Study
Lesson Study Capstone Course I
Lesson Study Capstone Course II
Thesis Capstone Course I
Thesis Capstone Course II
Practitioner Capstone Course I
Practitioner Capstone Course II
Capstone in ABA I
Capstone in ABA II
Total Credits76.5-79.5

Sample Plan of Study

MS in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis with Initial Certification Concentration

First Year
EDEX 5423.0EDEX 5433.0ABA 6304.5ABA 6314.5
EDEX 5443.0EDEX 5553.0EDEX 5493.0EDEX 5363.0
 EDEX 5683.0  
 6 9 7.5 7.5
Second Year
ABA 6324.5ABA 6334.5ABA 6354.5EDEX 5503.0
ABA 6344.5ABA 6364.5EDUC 5213.0EDUC 5223.0
 9 9 7.5 6
Third Year
EDEX 5783.0EDEX 5146.0EDEX 5523.0 
EDEX 5883.0 EDUC 5153.0 
 6 6 6 
Total Credits 79.5

MS in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis with alternative concentration 

First Year
EDEX 5523.0EDEX 5433.0ABA 6304.5ABA 6314.5
EDEX 5753.0EDEX 5553.0EDEX 5493.0EDEX 5363.0
 6 6 7.5 7.5
Second Year
ABA 6324.5ABA 6334.5ABA 6354.5EDEX 5503.0
ABA 6344.5ABA 6364.5EDEX 5883.0EDU 7803.0
   Concentration Course3.0
 9 9 7.5 9
Third Year
EDEX 5783.0EDUL 781, EDUP 781, EDUT 781, or ABA 7813.0  
EDUL 780, EDUP 781, EDUT 780, or ABA 7803.0Concentration Course3.0  
Concentration Course3.0   
 9 6  
Total Credits 76.5
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