Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) / Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) Program

Program Description

The Interdisciplinary Master of Science in Education Program with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis is a joint program between the College of Education and the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts.

The program seeks to enable students to work proficiently with the coherent system of concepts and principles of behavior analysis, preparing them for professional careers as education professionals in a variety of environments. The core principles and techniques of applied behavior analysis are broadly applicable; hence, the interdisciplinary character of this program. The program provides competencies for diverse types of work, such as programming for people with disabilities, devising arrangements for more effective instruction and classroom management, teaching strategies for effective behavior management in home settings, and designing and improving performance, productivity, and safety in organizations.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

Students who have completed the Master’s program in ABA may become Board Certified Behavior Analysts. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board requires 18 credit hours of approved coursework, in addition to supervised experience, in order to qualify for the examination. The examination may also be taken by people who have graduate degrees in areas relevant to education and psychology and who take Temple’s six-course sequence. For more information on the examination, students should contact the Behavior Analyst Certification Board at www.bacb.com.

Temple’s ABA program has had its ABA courses pre-approved for students who wish to take the examination. Pre-approved courses are listed under Required Courses below.

Program Requirements

The program requires 33 semester hours and includes seven classroom courses, two practica, and a master's project. No comprehensive examination is required

Most students complete the program part time in two to three years. Full-time enrollment is also available and takes about one and a half to two years to complete.

Required Courses (18 Semester Hours)

  • Special Education 5103 – Ethics and Applied Behavior Analysis – Provides the student with an introduction to the concepts and principles of Behavior Analysis. Core concepts including motivation, reinforcement, punishment, extinction, and rule governed and verbal behavior will be covered, along with examples of behavior change techniques that employ these concepts. (3 S.H.)
  • Special Education 5302 – Teaching Students with ASD – The course overviews instructional, curricular and behavioral intervention strategies for students with autism spectrum disorder within inclusive classroom and other settings based on the science of applied behavior analysis. Strategies for successfully collaborating with diverse students, families, and professionals will be overviewed. (3 S.H.)
    OR
    Psychology 5151 - Direct Applications of Behavioral Principles - The course entails hands-on experience in the shaping of behavior through differential reinforcement; several field trips to sites where behavioral principles provide the basis for serving individuals with special needs (e.g., closed-head injury, autism, aggressive, and self-injurious behavior); and individual projects on behavior of personal concern to the course participants. (3 S.H.)
  • Special Education 5304 – Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis – Provides the student with an introduction to the concepts and principles of Behavior Analysis. Core concepts including motivation, reinforcement, punishment, extinction, and rule governed and verbal behavior will be covered, along with examples of behavior change techniques that employ these concepts. (3 S.H.)
    OR
    Psychology 5103 – Learning and Behavior Analysis -- This course offers a systematic introduction to the principles of behavior analysis with emphasis on their application as well as their origins in basic research. (3 S.H.)
  • Special Education 5305 – Single-Subject Research Design – Provides an overview of strategies for designing and conducting single-subject research in special education. Competencies include selection of independent and dependent variables for research, measurement tactics, research design, establishing generality of results, and ensuring the integrity of research procedures. (3 S.H.)
  • School Psychology 5676 – Applied Behavior Analysis -- Provides students with an understanding of behavioral processes and application of behavioral technology to problems of social significance. The course will focus on the basic principles of learning, functional behavior assessment, and effective and practical classroom management strategies. (3 S.H.)
  • School Psychology 8787 – Seminar in Verbal Behavior – An advanced course in behavior analysis with a focus on Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior. Topics include elementary and advanced verbal operants, functional analysis of verbal behavior, criticisms of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior, advanced theory and applications. (3 S.H.)

Elective Courses (3 Semester Hours)

  • Special Education 5109 - Classroom Management and Positive Behavior Support - The course provides an in-depth presentation of Positive Behavior Support (PBS) and its application in classroom systems to prevent challenging behavior and academic failure.  (3 S.H.)
  • Psychology 8210 - Topical Seminar in Functional Analysis – Focuses on conceptual and practical applications of functional analysis in experimental and applied domains. (3 S.H.)
  • Psychology 8610 - Topical Seminar in Human Performance Improvement – This course is an introduction to Human Performance Technology, a rapidly growing field that applies the principles, methods, and empirical generalizations of Behavior Analysis to improving human performance in organizations. (3 S.H.)
  • Other Course as Approved by Adviser

Practica (6 Semester Hours)

Students are required to take two 150-hour practica. The acceptable sites for practica are those that are engaged in applied behavior analysis practices or research and which can provide ongoing supervision to applied behavior analysis students. 

  • Special Education 9287 – Practicum in Special Education (3 S.H.)
  • Special Education 9387 – Practicum in Special Education  (3 S.H.)

Practicum Student Supervisor Evaluation form (online)

Master’s Project

  • Education 9282 – Graduate Independent Study (6 S.H.)
    For this project each student will conduct a rigorous behavior-analytic project, write a report in publication format, and present the project and its findings in a formal defense in front of the ABA faculty.

Students may earn no more than two grades of B- quality, nor more than one F, beginning with the semester during which they apply to the program. Students must achieve at least a 3.0 grade point average at graduation.

Admission Requirements

A completed application will include:

  1. Graduate School Online Application. When completing your online application, select "Education-MSED" under the "Application Type". Then, under "Planned Course of Study," select "Education-MSED" and indicate "Applied Behavior Analysis" as the concentration under "Other Majors, Minors, and Concentrations.".
  2. Two (2) professional letters of recommendation [pdf] are required. Letters of recommendation should be obtained from those who can provide insight into the applicant's academic competence, at least one of which should be authored by a superordinate/supervisor
  3. A Statement of Professional Plans and Goals. In the Statement of Goals, applicants should indicate their goals and objectives for obtaining a master's degree. The statement should be approximately 500-1,000 words in length and should include the following elements:  your specific interest in Temple’s program; your future career goals; any job-related experiences that are relevant to the program; and your academic and research achievements and interests.
  4. An official copy of undergraduate and graduate transcripts from all accredited colleges or universities attended. Applicants are expected to have a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (UGPA) of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0.
  5. GRE scores (current within five years of application date). Scores must be at or above the 50th percentile.
  6.  TOEFL examinations scores for non-native speakers of English. Non-native speakers of English must take the TOEFL examinations. TOFEL scores of at least 575 are necessary for admission to the program (230 on the computer based version). Students who score between 575 and 600 (230-250 on the computer-version) must take an English refresher course.
  7. A professional resume.
  8. Personal interview is required. Applicants will be contacted to schedule your interview.

Transferring Credits from a Certificate Program

Students who choose to matriculate into the M.S.Ed. program may transfer up to 12 semester hours from either the ABA/BACB Certificate or Autism Endorsement Certificate programs upon acceptance into the program. Completion of a certificate program does not guarantee admission into the master's program, and students who are accepted may have to complete more than 33 credit hours to meet all the requirements of the master's program. Students currently enrolled in a certificate program and considering matriculating into a master's program are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

Submitting Your Materials

See the Application Checklist for complete details on how to submit your application materials. Required supplemental materials should be sent attention to:

Office of Enrollment Management 
College of Education, Temple University
150 Ritter Annex (003-00)
1301 Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6091

Please allow delivery and processing time before your application will be reviewed. For faster service, the College of Education at Temple University also receives supporting application materials for graduate admissions electronically via the Interfolio service.

It is the student's responsibility to see that everything is completed by the deadline date.

Application deadlines:

To be considered for admission, your complete application, including all required supplemental materials must be post-marked no later than:

  • For Fall admission: April 1
  • For Spring admission: October 1

Completed applications received by the deadline are guaranteed a decision for the upcoming term. Applications received after the stated deadlines will be reviewed on a space available basis. Once an application is complete and all required materials have been received, students can expect to receive a decision within 30 days (excluding summer).

We strongly encourage applicants to apply early and to periodically check TUPortal (http://tuportal.temple.edu) as to the status of their materials.