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An Applied Behavior Analysis Student poses Applied Behavior Analysis

Online Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis Degree Program

  • Online
  • Part-Time
  • 28 Months Part-Time

Providing a solid foundation in the philosophy, science, and application of behavior analysis, The Chicago School’s M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis Online Program prepares students for a rewarding career in the rapidly growing field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Guided by practitioner faculty, students gain experience and exposure in a wide variety of ABA applications and specialties, including: […]

Providing a solid foundation in the philosophy, science, and application of behavior analysis, The Chicago School’s M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis Online Program prepares students for a rewarding career in the rapidly growing field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Guided by practitioner faculty, students gain experience and exposure in a wide variety of ABA applications and specialties, including:

  • Instructional design
  • Precision teaching
  • Verbal behavior

Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Online Degree Program graduates serve many different populations including children, adults, and seniors and may work in residential, school, and community-based settings. Individuals served may have no diagnoses (e.g., school children in a regular education class or teachers seeking to be more effective) or may have diagnoses such as autism, behavioral difficulties, developmental disabilities, mental illness, and a variety of geriatric conditions. The thesis option, the Advanced Research Project, is targeted for individuals who are interested in conducting research or continuing on to doctoral studies.

This program meets the educational requirements for students who wish to pursue a career as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). In addition to their educational requirements, graduates of this program will need to pass an exam and complete the application process to become certified.

M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis Online Program: Student Experience

Through the convenience of The Chicago School’s online programs, your life remains intact. Our online Global Student Dashboard is where you will find all of the components to successfully complete your program. There, you’ll find your coursework and assignments, interact with fellow students, and are ask questions from your instructor.

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The Chicago School is not currently accepting applications for the online M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis program from individuals who live in or who intend to complete their practicum or internship at a site located in these states: Delaware, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Washington.

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Science and Human Behavior

This course is designed to enhance students’ 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


*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

Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Behavior Analysis Online Degree program students are also required to complete a thesis (Advanced Research Project) or a non-thesis option known as the Advanced Applied Project. The thesis must be a data-based empirical evaluation, but does not necessarily need to mark an original contribution to the published literature (it may be a replication and extension). The primary function of the master’s thesis is to demonstrate that students are actively learning to function as scientist-practitioners who are continually engaged in making data-based assessment and treatment decisions. The applied project is a demonstration that the student can assess and treat a client effectively and ethically from start to finish. The applied project process is as stringent as the thesis option and demonstrates similar skills as the thesis option but focuses on application rather than research. The course sequence facilitates student completion of theses and applied projects with a carefully designed course sequence that has the necessary steps toward thesis and project completion embedded into the required coursework. Any student considering going on to a Ph.D. program should choose the thesis option.

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

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Master of Science (M.S.) Applied Behavior Analysis Online Degree 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 questions within two double-spaced pages:
    • How will your personal and professional accomplishments, academic background, and experience contribute to your success in this program?
    • How will the successful completion of this program support your professional career 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 keep 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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