Applied Behavior Analysis, MS

This new and highly anticipated graduate program, offered in conjunction with the Department of Counseling and Human Services, is designed to provide the educational and supervised fieldwork experiences necessary to achieve certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACBTM) and to meet the accreditation standards for academic programs set by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). The curriculum emphasizes content required by the BACBTM, such as conceptual underpinnings, assessment, research, management and ethics. 

Therapists working with individuals living with autism require specific, legally codified educational experiences and supervised fieldwork experiences. Courses in this Master’s program include content consistent with certification rules for individuals and accreditation standards for programs. Graduates will meet the eligibility requirements to sit for the national certification exam for Behavior Analysis, specified by BACBTM.

Certification is a necessary condition for working with individuals living with autism in Behavior Analysis in most states in the United States of America. It is also a prerequisite for licensing as a Behavior Analyst in 100% of states that have passed licensing laws (currently, 33 states have licensing laws; multiple states, including Pennsylvania, are in various stages of establishing licensing laws for Behavior Analysts).

Program Requirements

Applicants are likely to have completed courses in the following areas at the undergraduate level: psychology, sociology, social work, education, counseling and related areas. Students without those or similar educational background coursework can still be considered for admission, consistent with the certification policies published by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACBTM).

We are now accepting applications! Program directors review applications and pay particular attention to each applicant’s ability to address program specific professional goals and professional identity in the statement of intentions. Group and/or individual interviews with program faculty prior to acceptance are required.

For general application requirements, please visit our Graduate Admissions Webpage.


The Master of Science, Applied Behavior Analysis degree will be offered as a full-time, completely online, graduate program of study. This 42- credit hour graduate degree program may be completed in two years, but may be extended to three years for a part-time student.

Each student is required to complete (1) 30 credit hours of classroom-based didactic courses, (2) 6 credit hours of thesis or capstone and (3) 6 credits of a supervised fieldwork experience. Faculty will provide guidance and support in selection of a site for the supervised fieldwork experience who will work with the student to facilitate real-world experience in the application of Behavior Analytic principles, clinical services and research. The clinical site selection will be based on the student’s career goals.

The curriculum is based on the certification standards (for individuals) established by the BACBTM and the accreditation standards (for programs) set by the ABAI. Meeting the standards established by the BACBTM and the ABAI account for 30 out of the 42 proposed credits, and cannot be changed. The remaining 12 credits are dedicated to the thesis/capstone (6 credits) and electives (6 credits).

    Why Choose Scranton?

    Nationally Ranked

    US News & World Report rated us among the 10 top master’s universities in the North in its “America’s Best Colleges” ranking.

    Jesuit Education

    As one of the 27 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, we are dedicated to developing the whole person

    Faculty Engagement

    Work alongside faculty and distinguished executive alumni who will assist with personal academic planning throughout the program.

    Purpose of the Applied Behavior Analysis Program

    There is a critical shortage of skilled professionals who can offer behavioral intervention which is the proven key to the successful treatment of autism. Board Certified Behavioral Analysts are required to demonstrate a high level of understanding of behavioral principles and concepts that are scientific and evidence-based, not limited by their own clinical experience. Highly educated and skilled providers of autism services are needed to help our children and family members to reach their full potential.

    Beyond the Classroom

    A Welcoming Space photo

    A Welcoming Space

    The Center for Autism Education & Training assists individuals and families in navigating services throughout the region.

    Growing Need photo

    Growing Need

    Highly educated & skilled providers of autism services are needed to help children and family members reach their full potential

    Program Elements

    Supervised Field Work

    The 1,500-2,000 clock hour supervised fieldwork requirement will be based on the student’s career goals.

    Commitment to Community

    Our program addresses the growing need for highly educated and skilled clinicians who hold the BCBA credential.


    Certification standards, accreditation standards and established practice/educational benchmarks drove the majority of the educational and supervised fieldwork requirements.
    Certification as a behavior analyst is provided by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACBTM). Certification is necessary for practice, as it is required for licensing in at least 31/50 states, and is required for billing Medicaid and insurance companies in all 50 states. That is, one cannot bill for services in the United States without the certification. Thirty of the 42 credits in the proposed program are dedicated to meeting the certification standards set by the BACBTM.

    Meet the Faculty

    Michael E. Kelley, Ph.D., LP, BCBA-D



    Ph.D., Louisiana State University (2003) M.S., Louisiana State University (1999) B.S., Saint Joseph's University (1995)



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