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Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), M.A. 

Help better the lives of children and adults struggling with behaviors ranging from everyday social interactions to complex disorders such as autism spectrum disorder. Whitworth's BACB-verified course sequence can be completed by itself or as part of a master's degree in either behavior analysis or special education. 

  • Whitworth's ABA coursework and Intensive Practicum are verified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®.
  • ABA course-sequence-only option is available for those who already hold a master's degree in an approved area and are interested in behavior analyst certification.
  • Gain experience working with children with neurodevelopmental disabilities through many local agencies in the greater Spokane region.

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Degree Snapshot
Credits 37
Average Completion Time 2 years
Class Format Evening classes on campus; some online courses may be available
Cost Per Credit $665* per credit (financial aid & scholarships available)
Application Deadlines Fall Term Start | Apply by Aug. 1

*for the 2019-20 academic year

Convenient Schedule for Working Adults

Keep your daytime commitments with Whitworth's ABA program, designed specifically for those who work during the day. On-campus classes for this program meet during the late afternoon or in the evenings. 

Serve Your Community

Engage in social advocacy and public services that reinforce Whitworth's Christian call to serve humanity within our own community. Field experiences include working with children with neurodevelopmental disabilities through many local agencies in the greater Spokane region.

Enhance Your Career Opportunities

Whitworth's ABA degree program can open doors to new career opportunities and is often a good fit for those interested in teaching, social work, mental health and counseling programs, criminal justice, and other behavioral services. You'll obtain specialized training to address behavioral challenges in children and adults by applying a systematic scientific approach that addresses mild to severe disabilities, including everyday social interactions and more complex disorders such as autism spectrum disorder and substance abuse.

Where Behavior Analysts Work

Behavior analysts are best known for advances in autism treatment and support, but are also recognized for working as consultants and independent contractors, and as BCBA® professionals. Behavior analysts with ABA certification are well-qualified to work in a variety of environments in both the public and private sector, although the majority provide direct ABA services or work independently as consultants. Others are employed to implement administration or supervision directly related to providing ABA therapy or services.

Program Options

If you choose to complete the coursework as part of the ABA master's program, you can put what you've learned to practice working as you complete the Intensive Practicum requirements necessary to sit for the BCBA Exam.

M.A. in Behavior Analysis (37 credits)

Whitworth's 37-credit ABA degree program allows you to complete a BACB-verified course sequence, Intensive Practicum (supervised by a university-affiliated BCBA), and a Master of Arts in Behavior Analysis.

Completion of this program will equip you with the degree, coursework, and supervised BACB-approved fieldwork experience requirements to meet eligibility to apply to take the Board Certification Behavior Analysis Examination® to earn behavior analyst certification.

For course descriptions and learning outcomes of this major, please view the course catalog.

M.A.T. Special Education and Endorsement (37 credits)

Certified teachers can earn a special education endorsement and M.A.T. in special education simultaneously while completing the ABA course sequence. Please speak with an academic advisor for details.

Completion of this program will equip you with the degree, coursework, and supervised BACB-approved fieldwork experience requirements to meet eligibility to apply to take the BCBA Examination for behavior analyst certification.

BCBA Certification

In order to meet the requirements for eligibility to apply to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®, students must complete the following:

  • a graduate degree in an approved academic area from an accredited university;
  • a verified course sequence; and
  • supervised BACB-approved fieldwork experience.

At the end of Whitworth's 37-credit master's program, students will have completed the above requirements. Specific eligibility requirements to sit for the board examination are listed on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® website.

Candidates must apply to take the Behavior Analyst Certification Board Examination® and pass the exam to become certified. The BACB® is the only credentialing organization for professionals within the discipline.

Program Curriculum

ABA Course Sequence (22 credits)

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® has verified the following course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to apply take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®. Applicants must meet additional requirements to qualify.*

Students interested in earning a special education endorsement and/or master's degree while completing the ABA course sequence must meet additional program requirements.

NumberCourse TitleCredits
EDS 521 Intervention for Behavior and Motivation 3
EDS 522 Assessment and IEP Planning 3
EDS 526 Intervention for Severe Communication, Sensory and Physical Problems 3
EDS 530 Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder 3
EDS 536 Intervention through Positive Behavior Support 3
EDS 562 Ethical Research and Treatment Method 3
EDS 564 Advanced Readings in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
EDS 595 Exit Project 1

ABA training culminates in the successful completion of a capstone project. Capstone projects are socially significant, behavior-analytic projects that allow you to assume a leadership role while integrating the skills you acquired during field experiences with what you learned throughout the ABA coursework.

Fieldwork Experience (15 credits)

Whitworth's supervised BACB-approved fieldwork experience and ABA course sequence were designed to be closely integrated so you can apply the knowledge and skills you acquire to your practicum experience. We'll even match you with a university-affiliated BCBA supervisor and site placement.

Department-facilitated field experiences include a combination of ABA-related research opportunities and internship experiences, and meet BACB requirements for an "Intensive Practicum" experience.* (The Intensive Practicum requires 750 hours supervised experience, while the Practicum alone requires 1,000 supervised hours.)

The fieldwork experience requirements include 25 hours of work per week for three semesters, totaling 750 hours of experience supervised by a university-affiliated BCBA supervisor.

NumberCourse TitleCredits
EDU 585A Supervised Internship 5
EDU 585B Supervised Internship 5
EDU 585C Supervised Internship 5

*Requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination include a graduate degree in an approved field, successful completion of a BACB-verified course sequence, and supervised BACB-approved fieldwork experience. Please see the BACB website for more information regarding exam eligibility.

For course descriptions and learning outcomes of this major, please view the course catalog.