Applied Behavioral Analysis MS in Psychology

Master of Science in Psychology

Inspire positive change to improve people’s lives

Empower children and adults with autism and other behavioral disorders to lead more fulfilling lives. With an online master’s in applied behavior analysis from Capella University, you’ll learn the latest methods and techniques to help patients of all ages transform their behavior, develop their social skills, and reach their potential. The program’s approved course sequence fulfills the academic requirements necessary to earn Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification. 

Employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is projected to grow 23% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

At a Glance

  • 100% online
  • 4 Core courses
  • 7 Specialization courses
  • 1 Integrative project 
  • 58 Total credits (15 max transfer)

Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes, and Capella does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, or other career growth.

Classes Start November 9th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo FALL20).

Applied Behavior Analysis program highlights

Meet BCBA standards

Study in confidence with a program that meets the educational requirements for eligibility to take the BCBA exam.

BACB exam prep

Capstone courses integrate test prep software and resources to help you prepare to sit for the BACB exam.

Hone critical skills

Develop applied behavior analysis skills to address socially significant issues relating to behavior and learning, including behavior modification.

Broad, valuable application

The skills you develop in this program can be applied in a variety of settings, including schools, corporate environments, and hospitals.

87% of Psychology alumni are satisfied with their Capella education.

Source: Alumni Outcomes Survey 2018

Enhanced capstone

Prepare for success in your field with an ABA-specific capstone. Built-in exam-preparation software helps you assess the skills and knowledge you’ve gained in your program.

Meet our psychology faculty

Our distinguished faculty members hold top credentials in their fields. They’re here to teach you critical knowledge and skills and to help enrich your education and career by bringing real-world relevance to the courseroom.

Julianne Lasley, EdD, BCBA-D

Faculty Chair, Applied Behavior Analysis

Dana Reinecke, PhD, BCBA-D

Core Faculty

Lisa Sabato, MS, BCBA

Core Faculty

Get the support you need for success

Our dedicated support teams guide and advise you through every step of your educational journey. Here are some of the people you’ll work with:

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.


Advisors know the details of your program. Got questions about courses? Instructors? Resources? Advisors have answers.

Career center

For this team, it’s more than resumes and interview tips. It’s about thoughtful and strategic career planning—beyond graduation.

Cost & learning format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

A more structured learning format with an active peer community and faculty guidance. We’ll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$495 per credit, 58 total quarter credits, 15 max transfer credits

*This is only an estimate, using general program pricing, and it does not include fees (including application and resource kit fees).  Your price may be higher or lower depending on your specialization, transfer credits, and tuition discounts. If transfer credits are allowed in this offering, the prices above show what you would pay if you brought in the average number of transfer credits and the price if you brought in the maximum allowed transfer credits.  

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

"When I was 40, my son was diagnosed with Autism. I was a maniac, researching everything I could to help him. Soon I realized that if I got my master's degree, I could help my son and others like him."

Vickie Bradley
MS in Psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis
Actual Capella student who agreed to appear in our promotional materials.

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

10% military discount

If you're an active-duty military service member, spouse, or veteran, discounts may be available.

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.

$5K toward your master's

Apply for a $5K Capella Progress Reward, a scholarship to help fund your master’s degree.

Professionally aligned, BACB approved. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board® has verified a seven-course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam.

 See all BCBA exam pass-rate data.*

*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.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Understanding professional licensure

It is important to understand all educational and individual requirements for licensing. Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, certification, or endorsement. State regulations vary regarding professional licensure. It is your responsibility to understand and comply with requirements for your state.

Applied Behavior Analysis sample courses

Our online master's in applied behavior analysis program combines advanced psychology coursework with foundational knowledge of behavior analysis, including ethical and professional conduct, behavior analysis concepts/methods, and more.

Show course with description
Basic Foundations in Applied Behavior Analysis

In this course, learners gain an understanding of the basic foundations, philosophy, and concepts underlying the science of behavior analysis. Learners differentiate between therapeutic approaches that are behavior-analytic and those that are not. Learners acquire knowledge of the basic principles and analyze behavior and environmental events surrounding the occurrence of behavior. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits
PSY7710 *
Ethics in Applied Behavior Analysis

In this course, learners gain knowledge about the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts. Learners practice navigating ethical dilemmas commonly encountered in the practice of behavior analysis. Learners gain perspective on how to weight risks and benefits associated with the implementation of behavior change procedures. Prerequisite(s): Completion of or concurrent registration in PSY7709. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits
PSY7711 *
Measurement and Research in Applied Behavior Analysis

In this course, learners gain knowledge on measurement, data display, and experimental methods commonly used in applied behavior analysis. Learners distinguish the different types of measurement that may be used and determine the conditions under which certain types should be used. Learners gain knowledge about single-subject design as well as different types of research methods used in behavior analysis. Prerequisite(s): PSY7708, PSY7709, completion of or concurrent registration in PSY7710. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits
PSY7713 *
Behavior Analytic Interventions

In this course, learners apply techniques of behavior change to behaviors of social significance. Learners gain knowledge on how to design behavior change systems given results of behavior assessments. Learners also gain knowledge on how to design these systems to ensure continued maintenance and generalization of skills.  Prerequisite(s): PSY7711, completion of or concurrent registration in PSY7712. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits
PSY7714 *
Supervision and Management in Applied Behavior Analysis

In this course, learners apply evidenced-based supervision practices to the supervision of behavior-analytic programs. Learners gain knowledge on how to apply behavior change procedures. Learners apply Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior to create behavior change programs to address verbal behavior. Prerequisite(s): PSY7712, completion of or concurrent registration in PSY7713. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits

*Learners who may need additional support developing graduate-level academic and professional writing skills are placed in PSY5005.

Prepare for licensure

Our program features a rigorous combination of online coursework and face-to-face experiences that help you expand on what you’re learning in the courseroom, so you can hit the ground running in the real world.

Dedicated support

Our licensure team supports you through the license application process, and is here for you even beyond graduation. 

What you’ll learn

Whether you want to build the skills to help others or apply your knowledge to business or other settings, in our master’s in applied behavior analysis, you’ll gain the skills to:

  • Integrate techniques of behavioral measurements.
  • Employ behavioral assessment methods.
  • Use key principles to influence behavior.
  • Strengthen core knowledge of critical concepts.
  • Use research-based theories for evaluation.
  • Treat behavioral disorders.

Perspectives in psychology

What Is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Applied behavior analysis is a specialized field that offers a wide range of practice settings. 

Tips on How to Become a Behavior Analyst

A look at the education and certification needed for a position in this growing field.

Exploring 3 Growing Fields in Psychology

Here are three psychology fields to consider.

Applied Behavior Analysis professional paths

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our online master's in applied behavior analysis degree.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Behavior analyst
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
  • Clinical supervisor
  • Clinical manager
  • Program director

Employment settings to explore

  • Individual and Family Services
  • Offices of other health practitioners
  • Insurance Carriers
  • Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities)
  • Hospital
  • K-12 public or private school
  • Land-based or online college or university

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Three career paths to explore with a master’s in applied behavior analysis

While the applied behavior analysis field offers a variety of career paths and focus areas, here some of the more common paths:

Communicate concepts and principles of behavior analysis, including definitions and characteristics, using professional standards to identify behavioral problems.

Prepare for roles in hospitals or health organizations that focus on modifying behavior and developing and monitoring systems that support behavior change.

Deliver culturally sensitive counseling and therapy services, including assessment, diagnosis, and treatment to clients experiencing a broad range of mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.

Prepare for roles in private practice or community agencies that provide treatment and support to people who suffer from substance abuse, mental health issues, or intellectual disorders.

Explain the etiology, characteristics, diagnosis, assessment, and treatments of autism spectrum disorder.

Prepare for roles as a health practitioner and work to advance breakthroughs in autism research.

Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes, and Capella does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, or other career growth.

Looking to make a difference in children’s lives?

The K-12 Helping Professions Guide can help you find a path—and a degree program—that aligns with your goals for working in a school setting with children and adolescents, from preschool to high school.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the next step?

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