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An ABA student poses with a Chicago School banner Applied Behavior Analysis

M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Full-Time, Part-Time
  • 2 Years Full-Time, 2-5 Years Part-Time

The Chicago School’s Master’s program in Applied Behavior Analysis in Washington D.C. provides students with a solid foundation in the principles of behavior analysis, equipping them with the skills to bring about socially significant behavioral changes through data-based program development. Students will be challenged to become leaders in the field of applied behavior analysis through the use […]

The Chicago School’s Master’s program in Applied Behavior Analysis in Washington D.C. provides students with a solid foundation in the principles of behavior analysis, equipping them with the skills to bring about socially significant behavioral changes through data-based program development. Students will be challenged to become leaders in the field of applied behavior analysis through the use of research-based teaching and innovative technology.

Guided by practitioner faculty, students gain experience and exposure in a wide variety of ABA applications and specialties, including:

  • Early intervention techniques
  • Problem behavior
  • Verbal behavior

The M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis in Washington D.C. is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB®) as meeting the educational and/or experience requirements necessary to qualify for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BACB®) exam. The program challenges students to develop the depth and breadth of knowledge necessary to pass the BCBA® certification exam and become a successful professional BCBA®.

M.A. Applied Behavior Analysis in Washington D.C. Student Experience

Surrounded by much of the nation’s historical and cultural riches, students will have the opportunity to benefit from a location essential to much of the United States’ political, governmental, and multi-national affairs.

Expanding on the success of the Chicago, Los Angeles, and Orange County, Calif. campuses, the D.C. campus reflects The Chicago School’s commitment to diversity and effort to expand mental health services to multicultural and underserved communities.

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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.

Research Methods

This course teaches students how to conduct an experiment in applied behavior analysis that is methodologically and logically sound, socially valid, ethical, and legal. The course covers the major experimental designs used in behavior analysis, interpretation and evaluation of data, and limitations of behavioral and nonbehavioral research.

Observation and Measurement

This course addresses behavioral definition, data collection, inter-observer agreement, and data displays. Students learn to employ and evaluate various measurement and display techniques and to interpret data displays.

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.

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 3/1/2017:

  • Graduation from the M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis Program in conjunction with BCBA® certification aligns with degree and certification requirements for professional licensure in Maryland and Virginia.
  • A professional license is not required to practice behavior analysis in California, Illinois, or Washington D.C.

It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements for any state not listed above. The M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis may meet some or all of the requirements of states not listed, but additional state-specific approvals or coursework and/or practicum hours may be required beyond the program’s graduation requirements. Some state licensing requirements include the following: completion of a master’s degree, post-graduate field work, certification as a board certified behavior analyst, examination, and application for license.

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:

The specialization requires seven credits (1000 clock hours) of field-based clinical training (practicum training, see for supervision requirements) held at approved sites.

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Admissions Operations
c/o The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
350 N Orleans ST STE 1050
Chicago, IL 60654-1822

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 (see our Commitment to Diversity statement).
      • 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.

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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