Earn Your Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Online from Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University’s online Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program provides you with a thorough understanding of how to leverage applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques to enrich lives.

Featuring online course work and in-person field experiences, students learn the skills necessary to improve behaviors of individuals diagnosed with impairments such as autism, developmental disabilities, or traumatic brain injury.

84%

BCBA Exam Pass Rate

Our rigorous curriculum delivers impressive results. Online and on-campus students in the program had an 84% BCBA exam pass rate in 2020 – 18% higher than the national pass rate. 1, 2

Pepperdine is proud to offer its students a verified course sequence from the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), which meets the course work requirement to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam.

Once you graduate from the ABA online program, and complete all necessary experience hours, you will be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam.

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Online Master of Applied Behavior Analysis Program Highlights

As a student in the online applied behavior analysis master’s program, you will develop a deep understanding of analytical behavioral health and the modern techniques used to recognize, assess, and treat human behaviors. You will study concepts and principles of ABA, assessment procedures, and applications of ABA for behavior change.

The ABAI-verified course sequence is designed to teach you foundational knowledge of a wide range of clinical interventions for children, adolescents, and adults. You will help patients develop adaptive skills for optimal functioning in educational, family, social, and occupational roles.

Upon completion of the program and all necessary experience hours, you will be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam. Throughout the ABA program, you will have mentors that facilitate learning, positioning you to qualify for BCBA certification. The curriculum includes the following requirements:

5–7

sessions

34–37

units

6

units of supervised field placement

On-Campus MS in ABA Program

Pepperdine’s MS in Applied Behavior Analysis prepares you to sit for the BCBA exam and become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. The program can be completed in as few as 18 months and the course sequence is verified by ABAI. Gain clinical experience with over 50 practicum sites near our Malibu campus.

Visit our on-campus site to learn more and apply to the on-campus program. Note that on-campus and online MA in ABA program applications are separate. Access the online application here.

Admissions Overview

OnlinePsychology@Pepperdine seeks students who are committed to cultivating a deep understanding of human behavior while advancing their capability to serve those in need. We accept applications on a rolling basis and offer you the option to start earning your applied behavior analysis degree at various times throughout the year.

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution is required to apply.
  • GRE scores are not required.
  • Application fee waivers are available to those who meet the priority deadline.

Visit our Application Requirements page for further details.

Cohorts start four times per years in January, April, July and October.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Program tuition for the 2021–2022 academic year is $1,700 per unit. You will need to complete 34–37 units to graduate. To gain a better understanding of the total cost of your degree, Pepperdine offers a calculator tool to approximate the cost of tuition.

Financial aid opportunities are available for Pepperdine University GSEP students. Students may utilize military education benefits, employer tuition assistance, federal student loans, private loans, or scholarships to assist with program expenses.

For more information, visit the Tuition and Financial Aid page.

Pursue Your Purpose

Learn more about earning your master’s in applied behavior analysis online from Pepperdine University.

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Access Your Application

Now is the time. Advance your career with Pepperdine. Take the next step today.

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ABA Master’s Online Curriculum Overview

The applied behavior analysis masters program curriculum gives you the opportunity to understand behavioral psychology from an evidence-based, data-driven perspective. Students learn to observe and assess behavior patterns, determine target behaviors, and select strategies to promote positive change.

As a student, you will learn the principles and techniques of applied behavior analysis while exploring deeper topics such as ABA experimental design, ethical and professional conduct, and multicultural counseling.

The online program can be completed in 15–21 months.

ABA Online Program Courses

The following list is a sample of ABA course topics you will study in the online master’s in applied behavior analysis program:

  • concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis.
  • autism spectrum disorders.
  • selecting and implementing interventions in ABA.

Course Spotlight: Multiculturalism and Diversity in Applied Behaior Analysis

Prepare to work with diverse populations by learning how gender, trauma, ethnicity and race, belief systems, and socioeconomic backgrounds factor into your practice.

Course Spotlight: Assessment Procedures for ABA

Learn to identify client problems, communicate concepts in nontechnical language, collaborate with other client providers, design assessment procedures, and interpret data. 

In addition to the ABAI-verified courses, you will have the opportunity to take one out of six offered elective courses. The following list is a sample of ABA electives:

  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Psychopathology
  • Individual, Couple, and Family Development: A Life Cycle Approach
  • Physiological Psychology

If you completed the listed ABA elective courses at the undergraduate level from a regionally accredited institution within the last seven years, you may be eligible to have up to three semester units, or one elective course, waived. You must have earned a grade of B or better in the course. We will evaluate the transcripts you submit as part of your application to determine if you qualify for waivers.

Read course descriptions for the classes you will take in the online master’s in applied behavior analysis program.

Curious to know what your schedule might look like? Check out a sample course sequence (PDF).

Clinical Training

Pepperdine’s clinical practica are focused on helping you develop your skills through mentorship from a BCBA at your fieldwork site. Clinical training focuses on the practitioner-client relationship, diversity, and multicultural considerations, enabling you to gain real-world experience at a Pepperdine-approved agency in your community.

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) has updated its fieldwork experience and supervision requirements for any individual wishing to take the BCBA exam beginning in 2022. New requirements include additional fieldwork hours that must be obtained following program completion.

We highly recommend you begin looking for employment at an ABA site as soon as you apply to the program. Our placement team can advise you as you search for a Pepperdine-approved ABA agency in your community; however, it is ultimately up to each student to secure employment in a behavioral health site.

While enrolled in PSY 620 Practicum in ABA, you must complete a minimum of 20 hours of BCBA-supervised clinical training per month (i.e., a minimum of approximately 165 hours over three terms) in order to graduate from the program. You must continue your fieldwork experience independently until you accrue the hour requirement listed in the BACB’s fieldwork standards to qualify to take the BCBA exam.

To learn more about clinical training requirements, read our FAQs.

Antiracism and Antidiscrimination Statement

The MA in Applied Behavior Analysis program and GSEP psychology division stand in solidarity against racial inequities and injustice and other forms of discrimination and oppression. We are committed to fostering an inclusive learning environment that is enriched and strengthened by diversity, including but not limited to race, ethnicity and national origin, gender and gender identity, sexuality, class, age, ability status, and religion. GSEP also encourages all community members to engage in critical learning and reflection to strengthen our capacity for being effective, active, and outspoken against all forms of racism and intersectional oppression.

Passionate and Purpose-Driven Faculty

GSEP faculty are active practitioners and experts who are dedicated to helping you grow. The practitioners and professors who you will collaborate with have a deep passion for inspiring future leaders. During your study, you’ll be exposed to a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences from professionals who work in all segments of the ABA landscape.

Mentorship is a key component of the ABA master’s online program. Pepperdine faculty will teach you how to design programs, conduct data analysis, and discern multicultural considerations as an ABA practitioner.

Learn more on the Meet Our Faculty page.

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Careers for ABA Online Program Graduates

By applying scientifically validated principles and techniques of learning, BCBAs help children and adults with disabilities develop the adaptive skills needed to function in educational, social, family, and occupational settings.

When you become a certified behavior analyst, you can work in a range of professional settings, including government entities, education settings, hospitals, and mental health facilities.

After completing all courses and necessary experience hours, and passing the BCBA exam, you can pursue certification and employment in a variety of roles, such as:

  • behavior analyst/coach/specialist
  • clinical supervisor/manager/director
  • behavioral consultant
  • educational consultant
  • organizational consultant

People diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disabilities need evidence-based treatments that allow them to reestablish positive behaviors and improve their potential for a better future. BCBAs work in a variety of settings; however, most fall into three categories: health care, education, and social assistance.

After you graduate Pepperdine’s online ABA program, you’ll be equipped to enter numerous career settings, including:

  • treatment planning
  • case management
  • human development
  • data collection
  • employee training

Applied behavior analysts are renowned for advances in autism treatment and support. They use evidence-based treatments in response to human behavioral or societal needs. Other applications of ABA include behavioral parent training, organizational behavior management, and behavioral gerontology.

When you become a BCBA, you will conduct a number of processes used to:

  • Determine patient behaviors.
  • Understand and control patient environments.
  • Establish achievable strategies over time.
  • Promote independence and self-capability.
  • Modify behavioral variables.
  • Evaluate goals and expected outcomes.

BCBA Online Program Certification

To become eligible to take the BCBA certification exam, you must:

  1. Earn a master’s or doctoral degree in an acceptable field of study.
  2. Complete course work that covers the required content from the BACB.
  3. Complete the BACB’s monthly minimum fieldwork requirements (i.e., 20 hours of supervised clinical training per month with an appropriate supervision frequency and intensity) while enrolled in PSY 620 Practicum in ABA.
  4. Complete the required fieldwork hours that comply with the BACB’s fieldwork standards following graduation.
  5. Take and pass the BCBA examination.

Earning your Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis degree is the first step to becoming a BCBA. Pepperdine’s ABAI-verified course sequence will provide you with the course work required to sit for the BCBA exam, once all necessary experience hours are completed.

The BCBA exam pass-rate data can be found here. Pass-rate data are not published for verified course sequences within their first four years of operation.

Earn Your Master’s. Enrich Lives.

Learn more about earning your ABA master’s online from Pepperdine University.

Access Your Application

Now is the time. Advance your career with Pepperdine. Take the next step today.