Applied Behavior Analysis, M.A.

Graduate student smiling outside of Horace Mann Center

Expand your opportunities to help others with a master’s in applied behavior analysis (ABA).

Prepare for a rewarding career helping to improve people’s lives across a wide variety of areas. The applied behavior analysis degree at Westfield State is a BACB-approved master's-level program designed to prepare you for work as a board certified behavior analyst. You’ll study the three main areas of behavior analysis—applied, experimental, and philosophical—as you develop a well-rounded basis for your future career.

The ABA program helps you learn in a variety of settings, including schools and home, working directly with clients under the guidance of a supervisor. With a master’s in ABA, you’ll develop the skills you need to support children in special education programs and provide in-home services to families, interventional therapy for people struggling with substance abuse, and treatments for individuals who display inappropriate sexual behavior. You can also specialize in the area of behavioral gerontology, helping clients who struggle with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. You’ll get the training you need for the fulfilling career you want.

Program Highlights

  • 48 credit program
  • Coursework meets the requirements to take the Behavior Analysis Certification Exam
  • Gain on-the-job experience through fieldwork
  • Complete in two years full-time

Develop the skills you need for a career you’ll love.

Become a positive agent of change for those in need.

Make an impact with a master’s in ABA.

  • ABA student smiling in campus library

    Flexible program

    All courses are offered on weekdays during the evening, making the program flexible and accommodating. Our program allows you to complete the curriculum on a full- or part-time basis, with classes being offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer sessions.

  • Campus in the Fall

    100% employment

    An applied behavior analysis degree sets you up for a career in one of the fastest-growing areas of psychology. As a Westfield State University graduate, you’ll have a respected degree and a wide range of opportunities available to you. Your skills will be in high demand.

  • ABA student studying in library with laptop

    Personalized attention

    As a graduate student, you'll benefit from individualized attention and group supervision throughout your educational journey. Collaborate with classmates in fieldwork settings. Share ideas, discuss what you’ve been doing in the field, and grow in your skills and knowledge.

Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate

Explore our 21-credit non-degree graduate certificate program. Tailored for those seeking certification in ABA, this unique offering allows individuals to enroll in the core curriculum. Pursuing this option entails meeting additional supervisory experience requirements for the BACB, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience. To apply, candidates should possess a graduate degree in a related field. Elevate your expertise and career potential with us!

Learn more about the graduate certificate program

What can you do with a master’s in ABA?

Applied behavior analysis entails a unique approach to helping individuals across a wide variety of fields. By completing your master’s degree in ABA, along with the required fieldwork experience, you will meet the qualifications to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Having your BCBA leads to boundless opportunities, including:

  • Behavioral therapist
  • School district behavior specialist
  • Clinical director
  • Clinical behavior analyst
  • Animal training
  • Organizational behavior management
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Behavioral gerontology
  • Behavioral medicine
Student at Graduate Commencement wearing cap and gown

Our services are in high demand, and there is 100% employment for our students, as ABA is one of the fastest growing areas of psychology. Individuals who want to pursue this career have a wide range of opportunities available to them, especially because our students are highly sought after by local recruiters.

Dr. Jorge Reyes, ABA Program Director

Course Requirements

Program Description

The Department of Psychology offers a 48-credit graduate program designed to be completed in 2 years although an extended part-time option is available. Fulfillment of the requirements of the M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis entails completion of academic requirements as well as successful completion of a comprehensive examination or experimental thesis. Students who successfully complete the program of study as well as the fieldwork experience requirements are then eligible to apply for certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board at http://www.bacb.com.

Requirements include completion of the ABA Core Curriculum (30 credits); the Practicum series in Applied Behavior Analysis(12 credits); elective courses (6 credits non-thesis option or 6 credit thesis option). All students must complete a comprehensive examination or thesis at the end of their program of study.

Program Policies

The M.A. program must be completed within seven years of the first course counted toward the degree. Since courses are offered in a sequence rather than each semester, planning with advisors is imperative. Upon acceptance into the program, the student is assigned an advisor who will assist in planning a program to fit individual needs. There will be continual evaluation during the course of study with students apprised of their progress. A favorable evaluation is necessary for continuation in the program. The granting of the degree is based on professional competence, completion of the program of study, and satisfactory performance in a comprehensive exam or professional portfolio.

To accommodate students who work and/or have other substantial demands placed upon their time, courses are offered during the evenings and/or late afternoon. Important exceptions to this schedule are the Pre-practicum, Practicum and Internship experiences. While some placements permit flexible scheduling, many place restrictions on scheduling. Since these experiences are an essential component of counselor training, students must plan for the flexibility that will allow them to complete these requirements.

Admission Requirements

Admissions requirements for Applied Behavior Analysis are:

Official transcripts indicating a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

Applicants with a firm foundation in psychology, education, or related field are highly preferred.

A 3.0 overall undergraduate GPA.

Applicants must submit the Graduate Admissions application specifying whether they would like to attend full-time or part-time.

Applicants must submit three letters of reference, including at least one academic reference.

Applicants must submit a personal statement that describes (1) reason for interest in the field, (2) assessment of personal strengths and limitations, and (3) goals of graduate study.

Applicants must submit a professional vitae or resume, including information on prior and/or current volunteer and /or employment positions. Applicants to the ABA program should indicate whether or not BCBA supervision is available in their current employment setting.

Applicants selected for interviews must attend a formal interview with members of the graduate admissions committee.

Applicants may transfer in up to 6 graduate credits toward their degree program, assessed following successful matriculation. These transferred courses may not count toward BACB-approved core courses in the ABA program.

In extraordinary circumstances, one or more of the above requirements may be waived by the graduate admissions committee.

The closing date for receipt of all admissions materials is February 1st.

Notice of acceptance will occur on or about April 15th for study beginning the following September.

Due to the competitive natures of these programs, we require a nonrefundable program deposit of $150.00 within 10 days of acceptance. This deposit is used to ensure your space in the program. The deposit is applied to your first registration as a matriculated student in the Fall semester immediately following your acceptance. If we do not hear from you within 10 days, we will assume you have selected an alternative direction, and we will close your matriculation.

Applied Behavior Analysis - 48 Credits

Navigate your path to success with our detailed course plan.

Get big school features with small school advantages.  

We offer high-quality academics, unique learning opportunities, and a gorgeous campus—and we have small classes, accessible faculty, and one-on-one support. 

You'll join fellow motivated graduate students ready to make the most of the college experience through active participation. Become part of a caring and committed community that understands and embraces the bridge between academic study and civic responsibility.

  • Hands on

    experience to earn Board Certification

  • February 1

    application deadline for fall admission

  • Complete

    a thesis or comprehensive exam

Talented and dedicated faculty

Our faculty share a commitment to scientific inquiry and a passion to provide a learning environment that explores diverse viewpoints. With expertise in disciplines including neuroscience, social behavior, animal behavior, human development, applied counseling, behavior analysis, and more, our faculty challenge you to explore different perspectives and ideas as you develop sound critical-thinking skills.

ABA Program Director Dr. Jorge Reyes smiling wearing blue shirt.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take me to complete the master’s degree?

Full-time students typically complete the program in two years, while part-time students take about three years, offering flexibility to accommodate diverse schedules. It's important to note that all students must fulfill degree requirements within a maximum timeframe of six years.

What are the application requirements?

Prospective students should access the graduate application online at connect.westfield.ma.edu/apply/

The following material must be received for an application to be reviewed:

  1. Completed graduate application and $50 application fee
  2. Official transcripts indicating a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. 
  3. Submit three letters of reference, including at least one academic reference. 
  4. Submit a personal statement that describes (1) reason for interest in the field, (2) assessment of personal strengths and limitations, and (3) goals of graduate study. 
  5. Submit a professional vitae or resume, including information on prior and/or current volunteer and/or employment positions. Applicants to the ABA program should indicate whether or not BCBA supervision is available in their current employment setting. 

Applicants selected for interviews must attend a formal interview with members of the graduate admissions committee. The closing date for receipt of all admissions materials is February 1

Notice of acceptance will occur on or about April 15 for study beginning the following September. Due to the competitive nature of these programs, we require a nonrefundable program deposit of $150.00 within 10 days of acceptance. This deposit is used to ensure your space in the program. The deposit is applied to your first registration as a matriculated student in the Fall semester immediately following your acceptance. If we do not hear from you within 10 days, we will assume you have selected an alternative direction, and we will close your matriculation. 

Do I have to submit GRE/MAT scores when I apply?

No, we do not require a GRE or MAT.

How are courses offered?

Most courses are offered in-person during the evening on campus with the exception of three courses offered online, providing a convenient schedule for our students. It's essential to note that an exception to this is the flexibility required to complete practicum hours during the daytime.

How much does Westfield State University cost?

Westfield State University offers a comprehensive university experience at an affordable cost—with many options for financial aid. Visit our Cost and Aid page to learn more.

Will I receive academic support?

Yes, students have a dedicated advisor – your compass through class choices and beyond. Beyond academics, your advisor becomes a mentor, guiding you on further education and career paths. We're not just about classes; we connect you to resources like the Banacos Center and the Reading & Writing Center. At every step, we're here to ensure your success is our priority.

Is graduate housing available?

Discover graduate living at Welch Hall Apartments – your gateway to a vibrant community and tailored amenities. Choose from four-person apartments featuring single and premium single rooms, all inclusive of utilities and internet. Make connections by signing up as a group or embark on an individual adventure with like-minded roommates. Revel in the comfort of fully furnished apartments, boasting a well-equipped kitchen with a breakfast bar, cozy bathrooms, and inviting shared living spaces.

Your convenience is our priority – enjoy free laundry facilities on campus and parking at an affordable rate. Immerse yourself in academic pursuits with easy access to the campus library or prioritize your well-being at our fitness centers.

Whether you prefer cooking with your roommates or opting for a meal plan, relish access to an array of campus dining options, including late-night and takeaway choices. Elevate your graduate experience with Welch Hall Apartments – where living meets exceptional comfort and convenience.

For more information contact housing@westfield.ma.edu or 413-572-5402.

Do you offer graduate assistantships?

Yes, a limited number of graduate assistantships are available each year for graduate students. These opportunities are competitive and are awarded to students with excellent academic records who are enrolled in a graduate degree program.

This valuable opportunity can enhance your academic journey and provide valuable experience. Don't miss out on the chance to be part of this enriching program!

Learn more about graduate assistantships 

Request Information

We’re here to answer your questions and deliver the support you need along your academic journey. Please provide your contact information and area of interest, and we’ll be in touch shortly.

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Applied Behavior Analysis, M.A.