Applied Behavior Analysis and Special Education MS

Major: Applied Behavior Analysis and Special Education
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Minimum Required Credits: 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 unique and innovative program will prepare candidates to work in PreK-12 institutions where educators and leaders knowledgeable about special education and skilled in behavior analysis is a growing area of need.

The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified the core applied behavior analysis course sequence as meeting the 5th edition task list 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 set forth by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board.

Special Education courses in the program meet all required state and federal regulations including the Pennsylvania General Standards for Special Education as well as the competencies and standards outlined by the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC). Graduates seeking Pennsylvania special education teaching certification must either have an active Pennsylvania Instructional I or II teaching certificate or select the initial certification concentration to gain eligibility while in the program. 

This dual program confers a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis and Special Education, which provides candidates with increased flexibility and a much sought after skillset. Many courses include 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, please visit the School of Education's website. 

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 Analysis4.5
EDEX 536Special Education Law and Process3.0
EDEX 543Emotional and Behavioral Support of Individuals with Disabilities3.0
EDEX 549Teaching Individuals with High Incident Disabilities3.0
EDEX 550Teaching Individuals with Low Incident Disabilities3.0
EDEX 552Integrating Technology for Learning & Achievement3.0
EDEX 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
Special Education Student Teaching Seminar
Fundamentals of Special Education
Inclusive Practices
Literacy and Content Skill Development PK-12
Adolescent Learners
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:
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 5783.0EDUP 781, EDUT 781, or ABA 7813.0-4.5  
EDUP 780, EDUT 780, or ABA 7803.0Concentration Course3.0  
Concentration Course3.0   
 9 6-7.5  
Total Credits 76.5-78
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