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ABA student studying Applied Behavior Analysis

M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Full-Time, Part-Time
  • 2 Years Full-Time, 3 Years Part-Time

Students pursuing a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at our Los Angeles campus are trained to affect socially significant behavioral changes in individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, brain injury, or coping with mental and social issues as a result of aging. They assist a variety of individuals—from those in regular educational settings to those who […]

Students pursuing a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at our Los Angeles campus are trained to affect socially significant behavioral changes in individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, brain injury, or coping with mental and social issues as a result of aging. They assist a variety of individuals—from those in regular educational settings to those who wish to improve performance or master skills in a variety of areas.

The Chicago School’s ABA master’s curriculum offered in L.A. and Irvine, California covers all four domains of behavior analysis:

  • Applied behavior analysis
  • Experimental analysis of behavior
  • Service delivery
  • Theory and philosophy (radical behaviorism)

In addition to coursework, applied behavior analysis students receive practicum experiences and complete a capstone project—either a master’s thesis, or provide a clinical demonstration project.


Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis: Los Angeles Student Experience

Immersed in the heart of the most diverse city in the most diverse state in the U.S., students attending the Los Angeles Campus will benefit from significant networking opportunities as they experience real-world training in the city’s rapidly evolving downtown business district. Together they learn from and work side-by-side with an experienced, qualified, and passionate faculty practitioners.

Read more about our Los Angeles Campus.

In addition, students enrolled in the program are offered the opportunity for hands-on learning through ConCISE, a student run consulting firm with a mission of providing solutions to business and organizations throughout Southern California.

Learn more about ConCISE.

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Science and Human Behavior

Designed to enhance a student’s understanding of the application of behavior analysis to individual and social problems, with an emphasis on the philosophical bases of behavior analysis. Students read Skinner’s seminal text, Science and Human Behavior, in which he describes behavioral and cultural analyses, as well as critiques and related articles. The major objective of the class includes understanding and critiquing Skinner’s approach to the study and control of individual and group behavior. Topics include discussing individual behavior that seems difficult to study with a behavior-analytic approach (e.g., private events) as well as control of group behavior and the problems associated with such control. Students will be able to discuss the pros and cons of Skinner’s perspective, identify the aspects of his beliefs with which they agree or disagree, and explain their own perspectives.

Measurement and Design in Behavior Analysis

This course addresses the measurement of behavior, data display, interpretation of data, and experimental design. Aspects of measurement including behavior definition, measureable dimensions of behavior, measurement systems and their selection, and data collection, graphing, and interpretation will be covered. Students will learn how to evaluate the validity and reliability of measurement procedures including interobserver agreement, social validity, and treatment integrity. This course also covers the uses and defining features of single-subject experimental designs as well as their advantages and limitations.

Behavior Assessment

In this course, students learn to determine the need for behavior analytic services, conduct and interpret the results of behavioral assessments, identify common functions of problem behavior, and create socially meaningful behavior change goals. Assessments of relevant skill strengths and deficits, preference assessments, as well as indirect and descriptive assessment, and functional analysis of problem behavior will be examined.

The M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis is aligned with degree, coursework, and supervised experience requirements for eligibility to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®).  Applicants for BCBA® certification must meet additional requirements established by BACB® including application, examination, and background check.

BCBA Examination Pass Rates for Verified Course Sequence


*Pass-rate data are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of operation.

There may be state professional licensure requirements to practice applied behavior analysis.  A state’s licensure board determines the specific requirements for candidates seeking professional licensure and those requirements are subject to change.  The following is professional licensure information as of the date of publication:

  • Graduation from the M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis Program in conjunction with BCBA® certification aligns with degree and certification requirements for professional licensure in Alabama, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. Graduation from the M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis Program aligns with degree requirements for professional licensure in Arizona, Massachusetts, and New York. Note that candidates for licensure may be required to meet additional state requirements such as application, examination, and background check.
  • A professional license is not required to practice behavior analysis in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. State laws on professional licensure are subject to change by their legislatures.

Due to recent and ongoing changes in state professional licensure of applied behavior analysis practitioners, students should contact the state board directly to verify information regarding professional licensure.  To assist with this research, the Association of Professional Behavior Analysists (APBA) publishes information regarding state licensure.

Licensure and Certification FAQ

The Advanced Applied Project allows a student to demonstrate a level of competency that is necessary to be a successful professional applied Board Certified Behavior Analyst. The thesis option, the Advanced Research Project is targeted for individuals who are interested in conducting experimental research and pursing a doctoral degree.

Chicago School’s ABA course sequence is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®. Graduates are eligible to sit for certification by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®.

Send materials to:

Admissions Operations
c/o The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
203 N LaSalle St., Suite 1900
Chicago, IL 60601

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Students applying to the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis program must submit the following:

  • Application
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Essay – Please answer the following question within three double spaced typed pages (approximately 500-750 words). Essay must specifically address the program/specialization for which you are applying.
    • Psychology is a vast discipline with many career options. In an essay format, please describe:
      • Why you chose this particular program/specialization * Cite specific experiences and examples.
      • Why it is important to you to study this discipline at a school that emphasizes cultural awareness, competence, and understanding of diversity.
      • Your professional career goals as they relate to this specialization.
      • Why you believe this program will assist you in reaching these goals.
  • Official College/University Transcripts
    • Students must submit official transcripts from all schools where degrees have been earned. The Chicago School requires that all schools be regionally accredited higher education institutions. Official transcripts may be sent directly from the institution or with your application for admission as long as they are official, sealed, and signed across the envelope flap when they arrive.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
    • Appropriate recommendations are from professors and/or supervisors from significant work or volunteer experiences, who can appraise your academic or professional performance. If you are mailing in your letters, they should arrive in a sealed envelope, signed across the seal. You can also submit the letters online via the applicant portal.

International Application Requirements

The Chicago School is dedicated to keeping our professional degree programs accessible to anyone regardless of financial status. In addition to the scholarships that may be available, our Financial Aid department will help provide you with information to determine what financial arrangements are right for you.

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