Applied Behavior Analysis

M.Ed. and Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Offered BLENDED at King of Prussia Campus and FULLY ONLINE.

FAQs | AdmissionM.Ed. Reqs.| Certificate Reqs. | Courses | BACB/BCBA

Behavior analysis is a specific approach to the understanding of human behavior. An applied behavior analyst is someone who has in-depth knowledge of the field and methods of the study of the science of behavior and technology of behavior derived from this science.

Behavior analysts use environmental change procedures to improve the lives of people. Behavior analysis services help people learn new and relevant behaviors and it has been successful at many levels, from interventions with individuals to improvements at an organizational level. Examples of these services include the development of training procedures that build verbal skills in children with autism, helping teachers to work with students in inclusive settings, and improving academic outcomes in schools.

About Arcadia’s M.Ed. in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

The M.Ed. in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a 36-credit program which will provide students with specialized knowledge of the application of behavioral principles. The program is designed to develop and enhance the comprehension and use of effective evidence-based practices to support professionals who require expertise in the understanding of behavior and the utilization of intervention strategies.

Students completing this program will also earn the Certificate in ABA.

About Arcadia’s Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

The Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a 18-credit program that includes courses in behavior principles, data analysis, applications with children and youth with behavior problems, ethics and consultation skills necessary to work with other professionals and important adults in schools, homes and communities.

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® has approved this course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®. Applicants will have to meet additional requirements to qualify to take the exam.

IMPORTANT: Students starting the program in the Summer of 2013 will start in the new course sequence that incorporates changes required by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board. These changes respond to the publication of the 4th Edition Task List and include

  • Increasing the coursework requirements by adding 45 hours of coursework for both levels of certification resulting in the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) requirement being increased from 225 to 270 contact hours (from 5 to 6 courses), and
  • Increasing the requirement for Ethics and Professional Conduct for BCBA from 15 to 45 contact hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I am not an educator, can I still apply for the Arcadia Graduate Certificate program?

Yes, as long as you have a bachelor's degree, you can qualify for admission to the Arcadia Graduate Certificate Program.

Can I enroll in a course if I do not have a bachelor’s degree?
No, the courses offered in this certificate require a bachelor’s degree.

What is the cost of the program?
Courses offered will be billed at the prevailing Arcadia University part-time graduate course rate.

How long will it take me to obtain the Graduate Certificate in ABA?
The program consists of five courses (six courses starting in the summer of 2013), and it will take a minimum of one year to complete the Graduate Certificate. One or two courses will be offered each semester (Summer, Fall, Spring,). Students will be allowed to take up to two courses per semester.

Are all four of the classes needed for the Graduate Certificate offered online?
Yes, all courses must be completed with a grade of “B” or better to earn the certificate.

Are courses offered online or face-to-face?
All courses are offered fully online or in a blended format at the King of Prussia campus which includes an online component in addition to monthly face-to-face classes offered in the evening.

What core skills will I acquire in Behavior Analysis?
In this program, students develop solid skills in the basic principles of behavior analysis and the skills to transfer basic principles into comprehensive functional behavioral assessments, behavioral interventions, and program evaluation. This program offers training in a breath of assessment and intervention techniques with a positive behavioral support and behavioral treatment focus. Additionally, Arcadia’s program stresses the consultative skills that graduates will need to work effectively with educators and parents.

Why study at Arcadia?
All of Arcadia’s instructors have extensive experience working as certified behavior analysts in the field as well as teaching at the university level. Arcadia’s program is designed to develop professional expertise in behavior analysis and the consultative skills necessary to affect real change in schools, homes, and community settings. All instructors are Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA).

Arcadia University offers a BACB-approved sequence of courses in ABA, which can be applied towards masters programs in Applied Behavior Analysis, Special Education or Counseling, with approval and advising from each individual program.

An additional option of two internship courses will help prospective applicants to meet the requirements for the 750 intensive supervision hours needed for board certification. The purpose of these courses is to help the student to apply information learned in coursework from theory to practice. Students will be required to apply to this program separately.

Academic Policies

Students in Arcadia University Graduate Certificate programs are subject to the academic policies of the College of Graduate Studies. Grades of “B” or better in every class are required to qualify for the Certificate.

Transfer Credit
Transfer credit is not permitted in the Certificate program.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the M.Ed. Program

  • A graduate application, including personal statements, to be completed online at www.arcadia.edu/gradapp.
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a recommended GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • One official transcript from each college, university or professional school attended. Transfer credits included on a transcript must include grades earned; if not, an official transcript from the original school must be submitted. Transcripts must be sent from the issuing school in a sealed envelope and contain the appropriate signatures and seals to be considered official.
  • Two letters of recommendation. The letters must be of a professional not personal nature. If the student has been out of school five years or fewer, the letter must come from a professor.
  • Must have experience in education, psychology, communication disorders, or another related discipline.
  • A phone interview with the program coordinator.
  • International applicants should visit www.arcadia.edu/international for detailed information on admission requirements and application procedures. Official results from the TOEFL or IELTS are required for all students for whom English is a second language except for non-native speakers of English who hold degrees or diplomas from post-secondary institutions in English-speaking countries (e.g. the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand). A course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts by an independent evaluation service based in the United States also is required.

Admissions to the Graduate Certificate Program

  • A graduate application, including personal statements, to be completed online at www.arcadia.edu/gradapp.
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a recommended GPA of 2.8 or better.
  • One official transcript from each college, university or professional school attended. Transfer credits included on a transcript must include grades earned; if not, an official transcript from the original school must be submitted. Transcripts must be sent from the issuing school in a sealed envelope and contain the appropriate signatures and seals to be considered official.
  • One letter of recommendation. The letter must be of a professional not personal nature. If the student has been out of school five years or fewer, the letter must come from a professor.
  • An interview with a program coordinator.
  • International applicants should visit www.arcadia.edu/international for detailed information on admission requirements and application procedures. Official results from the TOEFL or IELTS are required for all students for whom English is a second language except for non-native speakers of English who hold degrees or diplomas from post-secondary institutions in English-speaking countries (e.g. the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand). A course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts by an independent evaluation service based in the United States also is required.
  • Students can take the first course (ED 661) before formal application and matriculation into the program, but they should apply for admission into the M.ED or the certificate program before taking a second course. Taking a course does not guarantee admission into the program.

Note: ABA courses (ED661, ED681, ED682, ED683, ED684) must be taken in sequence but students can take two courses at a time. All courses will be offered online and will be offered in a blended format at the King of Prussia campus.

Requirements for the M.Ed. in Applied Behavior Analysis

(36 credits) The following courses are required:

Foundation Courses: (18 credits)

  • ED 505 Multicultural Foundations of Education
  • ED 510 Interpreting Educational Research

Core Courses:

  • ED 661 ABA I: Behavior Principles and Teaching Strategies
  • ED 681 ABA II: Procedures for Behavior Change
  • ED 682 ABA III: Strategies for Youth with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
  • ED 683 ABA IV: Behavior Analysis and Child Development
  • ED 684 ABA V: Behavior Consultation in Homes, Schools and Communities
  • ED 685 Ethics and Professionalism

Elective Courses: (9 credits)

  • ED 585 Positive Behavior Supports
  • ED 581 Disabilities Studies and Special Ed Law
  • ED 660 Characteristics of Students with Autism Syndrome Disorder
  • ED 662 Teaching Strategies for Students with Autism Syndrome Disorder
  • ED 663 Special Topics in Autism
  • ED 518 Special Topics in Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Culminating Seminar: (3 credits)

  • Seminar focused on a culminating activity selected in collaboration with the course instructor.

Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis

(18 credits)

The following courses are required:

  • ED 661 ABA I: Principles and Teaching Strategies (3 credits)
  • ED 681 ABA II: Procedures for Behavior Change (3 credits)
  • ED 682 ABA III: Strategies for Youth with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (3 credits)
  • ED 683 ABA IV: Behavior Analysis of Child Development (3 credits)
  • ED 684 ABA V: Behavioral Consultation in Homes, Schools and Communities (3 credits)
  • ED 685 Ethics and Professionalism

Applied Behavior Analysis Course Descriptions (ED)

ED 661 Applied Behavior Analysis I: Principles and Teaching Strategies (3 credits) This seminar is designed to provide students with introductory knowledge of applied behavior analysis (ABA). Topics addressed include the history of ABA, principles of ABA, reinforcement, data collection, teaching procedures, teaching complex behaviors, generalization, and maintenance of skills. Readings, assignments, and participation in online coursework instructional activities offer an essential understanding of behavior analytic principles. Ethical considerations in the application of these principles are discussed. Challenging behaviors are studied from a learning perspective.

ED 681 Applied Behavior Analysis II: Procedures for Behavior Change (3 credits) In this course, students focus on the methods of behavior analytic research. The topics covered are defining applied behavior analysis; selecting, defining and measuring behavior; constructing graphs to interpret behavior and analyze behavior change; research designs such as alternating treatments, reversal, multiple baseline; changing criteria designs; and planning and evaluating behavior analytic research.

ED 682 Applied Behavior Analysis III: Strategies for Youth with EBD (3 credits) This course analyzes the basic process of behavior change and demonstrates how behavior analysts serve as behavior analysts/specialists to the community. Topics build on the basic knowledge of ED 661 with more advanced learning in basic principles of behavior analysis; behavioral assessment; the application of those principles to children; intervention methodologies; writing of behavioral objectives to build self control; and programming for generalization. Special attention is paid to comprehensive programming and the use of multiple intervention methods. In addition, students will design behavioral intervention plans based on functional behavioral assessments. Prerequisites: Admission to the program and satisfactory completion of Applied Behavior Analysis I and II with a “B” or better.

ED 683 Behavior Analysis IV: Behavior Analysis of Child Development (3 credits) Conceptualization of behavioral problems and the origins of behavioral disorders are critical to treatment and to the functioning of people through the lifespan. This course focuses on basic principles in Behavior Analysis and how they shape the development of typical and atypical children. The role of these principles in normal development and developmental problems such as language delays, motor developmental delays, conduct and oppositional defiant disorder, childhood depression, problems of attachment, and autism are explored. The course reviews field applications including direct observations of children’s development; functional behavioral assessment; curriculum design; verbal behavior assessment and intervention; curriculum based-measures; and intervention strategies that involve both the school and the family. Prerequisites: Admission to the program and satisfactory completion of Applied Behavior Analysis I, II and III with a “B” or better.

ED 684 Behavior Analysis V: Behavioral Consultation in Homes, Schools and Communities (3 credits) This course focuses primarily on behavioral consultation skills needed to produce a strong behavior analytic case conceptualization and to link that conceptualization to intervention. This course uses online technology in combination with role plays and feedback to build behavior analytic case conceptualization and execute effective behavioral consultation. Behavioral case conceptualization is the integration of information from a functional assessment, complete with skills and adaptive behavior assessment, as well as ecological assessment. Special topics include behavior analytic models of teacher and parent resistance, as well as interventions for resistance. This course is an intensive lab course that focuses on the practical aspects of “how to” consulting (i.e., what is done each session, each step of the way). It is critical that students participate in each class to engage in the role-plays and get feedback from other students. Prerequisites: Admission to the program and satisfactory completion of Applied Behavior Analysis I, II , III and IV with a “B” or better.

ED685 Ethics and Professionalism (3 credits) This interactive course guides students through the analysis of definitions, philosophical foundations and applications of ethics in their professional life. Ethical dilemmas are common in helping professions, such as applied behavior analysis, teaching, counseling, social work, etc. From personal ethical stands to professional guidelines and established laws, students will learn how to analyze ethical questions involved in professional relationships. Students will review traditional ethical perspectives and specific professional guidelines, and they will create and discuss case studies that illustrate situations likely encountered in daily interactions. Students will also examine a conceptual framework for the use of evidence-based practices. This course fulfills the requirements of the Behavior Analysis Certification Board of 45 instructional hours in Ethics (approval from the BACB pending).

BACB-Approved Courses

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® (BACB) has approved the following course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®. Applicants will have to meet additional requirements to qualify.

  • ED 661 ABA I: Behavior Principles and Teaching Strategies
  • ED 681 ABA II: Procedures of Behavior Change
  • ED 682 ABA III: Strategies for Youth with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
  • ED 683 ABA IV: Behavior Analysis of Child Development
  • ED 684 ABA V: Behavioral Consultation in Homes, Schools, and Communities
  • ED 685: Ethics and professionalism

The BACB requires the completion of a master’s degree in a related field, as well as supervised internship hours, prior to applying for board certification.
The 18 credits earned in this certificate program may be applied to a M.Ed. in Special Education or a M.Ed. in ABA.

With departmental approval and advising, the first five courses can also be used as ABA concentration courses in the Counseling Psychology Master’s Program. Students interested in pursuing Behavior Analysis certification (BCBA) will need to take the additional course in Ethics and Professionalism (ED685). Special tuition rates apply to students who have completed their concentration courses and want to pursue Behavior Analysis Board Certification.


For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.arcadia.edu/gainful.

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School of Continuing Studies
King of Prussia Campus
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King of Prussia, PA 19406
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