Applied Behavior Analysis

The Master of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis prepares students with training in the science of learning and behavior and prepares them to work as Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA).   Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to the study of behavior.  Behavior analysts work directly with individuals to improve their social, educational, health, adaptive skills, and behavioral outcomes through the development of programming based upon the principles of ABA.  Behavior analysts are trained to describe behavior, explain, predict, and analyze the occurrence and non-occurrence of behavior, and change behavior through the development of programming based on ABA principles.

Through coursework firmly grounded in theory, with an emphasis on application of theory to socially significant and effective practice, the M.S. in ABA program provides students with an excellent foundation to meet the proficiencies mandated by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).  Students will be prepared to complete the required supervised field work and sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination. Pass-rate data for University of Michigan-Dearborn candidates are not available at this time.  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. Pass-Rate Data is available at the BACB website.

BCBAs provide services within mental health, educational, and human services environments that may include collecting and analyzing data, writing and evaluating behavior intervention plans, training others to implement components of treatment plans, and overseeing the implementation of treatment plans.  BCBAs are qualified to provide services to individuals with a variety of needs such as academic performance, skill deficits (e.g., communication, adaptive behavior and functional skills), and problem behavior (e.g., aggression, self-injurious behavior), and social interactions.  BCBAs also provide supervision to Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT).

Admission Requirements

Students must submit the follow items with their application.

The GRE is not required for admission to this program. The Office of International Affairs lists additional admission requirements for international students.

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • 3.0 GPA or higher on submitted transcripts
  • Three professional letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement

Transfer of Credit

A limit of six (6) credit hours can be transferred from a non-University of Michigan school and 15 credit hours of University of Michigan credit that are applicable to the program of study and approved by the program coordinator. Only graduate course credit hours with a grade of B or better (3.0 on a 4.0 point scale) and earned in the five year period prior to acceptance into the program will be considered for transfer. Transfer credits may be requested only after admission to the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program and successful completion of eight (8) credit hours of letter-graded program coursework. A Request for Transfer of Credit form and official course descriptions and course syllabi must be submitted. Non-letter grades, e.g. pass-fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory are not eligible for transfer credit. Courses cannot be transferred for credit if: a) they were not graduate level courses; b) they were already applied in whole or in part toward a degree; c) they were taken more than five years before beginning the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis; or d) a grade below B  (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) was earned. Enrolled students must obtain prior approval of the program coordinator to elect classes off campus.

Time Limits

All coursework toward the master's degree must be completed within five (5) consecutive years from the date of first enrollment in the Graduate School.

Program of Study

The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis is a 30 credit hour degree program. A minimum cumulative GPA of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) must be maintained to continue enrollment in the program. The program requires successful completion of the following courses:

Core Coursework
EDC 506Applied Behavior Analysis I3
EDC 507Applied Behavior Analysis II3
EDC 622Science and Human Behavior3
Research and Assessment Coursework
EDC 516Research Methods Beh Analysis3
EDC 580Behavioral Assessment3
Advanced Coursework
EDC 623Ethics in ABA3
EDC 624Prog Develop, Super & Mgmt3
Elective Coursework (Select 3 courses)9
Intro to Dvlpmntl Disabilities
Early Child Ed Special Needs
Educating the Exceptional Chld
Child Maltreatment and Trauma
Mntl Hlth in Med, Hu Srv, Lrn
Adverse Childhood Experiences
Total Credit Hours30

Program Notes:

1. Students must complete program requirements with a minimum 3.0 gpa.

2. Completion of this degree leads to, but does not equate to certification through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

a. In order to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) a student must complete the required courses of this certificate, obtain supervision in an ABA setting, and successfully pass the BCBA exam.

i. ONSET OF EXPERIENCE: Supervisees may not start accumulating experience hours until they have done all of the following: • Started qualifying coursework (may begin accruing hours after attending first class meeting) • Passed the Experience Standards Training Module • Secured a qualified supervisor

ii. DURATION OF EXPERIENCE: The start and end dates of the experience may not be more than five years apart.

iii. ACCRUAL OF EXPERIENCE: For all categories, no fewer than 10 hours but no more than 30 hours, including supervision hours, may be accrued per week. Supervisees may accrue experience in only one category per supervisory period.

3. In order to be eligible to take the BCBA exam and complete practicum hours, a student must complete all the required courses with a C or better.

4. More information regarding Behavior Analyst Certification can be found at