Online MA in ABA

Admission Requirements


Erin Nolan

Erin Nolan
Admission Coordinator

Have questions? We have answers! Erin Nolan can assist applicants with every step of the application process. Contact our admissions coordinator today by scheduling a call or emailing or request more information and a brochure.


  1. A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university
    1. No specific undergraduate major is required. Most applicants enter the program with degrees in psychology, behavioral health, sociology, speech language pathology, business, criminology, behavior analysis, and other related health disciplines.
  2. At least a 3.0 GPA* on a 4.0 Scale reported in upper division coursework
  3. Three letters of Recommendation
  4. Personal Statement
  5. BCBA supervisor support form**

*Applicants with less than a 3.0 GPA are encouraged to apply. A lower GPA may be waived for exceptional candidates with experience in behavior analysis, BCaBAs, and/or coursework in behavior analysis at the undergraduate or graduate level.

A GRE score is not required for admission. GRE scores are not reliable predictors for student success in masters level behavior analysis programs.

** BCBA supervisors must have at least 1 year of experience to supervise BACB trainees. This form should be completed by the applicant not a BCBA.

Applicants will be selected for admission on a competitive basis based on the following: 

  1. GPA on all work as an upper division student seeking a bachelor's degree.  
  2. Three letters of recommendation addressing applicant's ability to complete graduate work and potential for clinical excellence in the field of applied behavior analysis.
    1. Letters from past professors and current BCBAs are preferred, but not required.
  3. A statement of purpose highlighting the applicant's credentials, relevant experiences, and indicating reason(s) for seeking a graduate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, acknowledging any deficits and/or strengths of their application.
  4. Quality and duration of experience in the field of applied behavior analysis (this experience may include research, practice, or a combination of settings).



1. Start a Graduate Application

  • Start a graduation application here.
  • All graduate applications to USF must be submitted online
  • There is a one time $30 application fee

2. Submit transcripts

One transcript from every institution of higher learning attended. This includes any previous graduate school degrees you may have.

3. Submit supporting documents

Upload the following documents through the online application site.

  1. BCBA Supervisor Support Form
    - Completed by applicant not the BCBA supervisor
  2. Updated Professional Résumé or CV 
    - What is a Resume or CV?
  3. Personal Statement

    Advice for Personal statements

    There is no specific format or questions applicants must follow when writing their purpose statement. A general strategy is to write a 1 to 2 page narrative describing your academic and work experiences, why you would like to earn your graduate degree at USF, and your plans for after you earn the degree.

    Here are some additional tips for writing a personal statement:

    - Be honest!
    - Focus on your journey. Try not to reflect on others’ experiences in your statement. It's all about you.
    - Start brainstorming early!  It takes time to write a great personal statement and you may have to write a few drafts before you have a final product. Do not wait until the last minute to start working on drafts
    - Don’t have “too many cooks in the kitchen”! While having others critique your personal statement is important, do not try to get an opinion from everyone. - Narrow it down to 2-3 people that you trust to give you an honest and helpful opinion.
    - Be concise! Most statements are no more than three pages in length.
    - Remember your audience. Your applying to an academic graduate program. What information is most relevant to the program you're applying to?

  4. Unofficial Transcripts may be submitted lieu of official transcripts
    - Official transcripts are required within the first semester of the program.
  5. Three recommendation letters

    Advice for Letters of Recommendation

    Letters of recommendation are an important part of applying to graduate school. 

    Examples of possible recommenders include:

    • Professors
    • Managers/supervisors (BCBAs)
    • Volunteer organization supervisor
    • Student organization advisor
    • Academic advisor
    • Research coordinator (if you were involved with research during undergrad)

    Remember to give your letter writers plenty of time to write your recommendations and provide them a copy of your CV/Resume and any other information that may help them write your letter.



International students should be aware the Department of Child & Family Studies requires a course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts. Details can be found here.

International students from non-English speaking countries must demonstrate proof of English language proficiency. Click here for details.

application deadlines

Cohorts are admitted to the program each Fall and Spring semester as full-time students.

  • Application deadline for Fall (August) admission is June 1st of each year.
  • Application deadline for Spring (January) admission is October 15th of each year.


Who should I ask for letters of recommendation?

Applicants should ask for letters of recommendation from individuals they trust can describe their ability to excel in graduate school and clinical fieldwork. Most commonly these include BCBA supervisors and past professors. 

When will I find out if I am admitted?

Admission deadlines are June 1st for Fall admission and October 15th for Spring admission. The admission committee typically completes admission decisions within 7 to 14 days following the deadline. Highly qualified applicants may receive an admission decision prior to the deadline.

If I am not admitted to the program can I apply again?

Yes, applicants may reapply for the next admission cycle. There is no limit to the number of times applicants may apply.

What are some reasons applicants are not admitted?

Applicants are often denied because of our small cohort sizes and competitive applications. This is not an indication of the caliber of any individual applicant, it is simply an indication of the high number of applications we receive.

I don't think I meet one of the minimum requirements, can I still apply?

Yes, you are still encouraged to apply! The admission committee reviews all completed applicants and no singular component of an application will result in an automatic denial. We understand many applicants may have found behavior analysis later in life, did not experience behavior analysis during their undergraduate program, or have attained experiences that can't be quantified in a GPA. We value applicants holistically rather than focusing on any single metric.

I've been admitted to the program! What can I do next?

Congratulations! You will receive a series of emails from the program chair and practicum coordinator throughout the next several weeks to prepare you for your first semester. This will include course registration, orientation, fieldwork preparation, and more. Please be patient as admissions are likely still being finalized. Please reach out to the program chair or practicum coordinator if you have any questions.

I've been admitted to the program but am no longer able to attend. What should I do?

Applicants may request to defer admission or move their application to a future admission cycle. Applicants must request deferral as early as possible in the admission cycle.

Please note that once the application deadline closes we are unable to offer your seat to another qualified applicant. Out of courtesy to the high number of qualified applications we receive; please inform us if you are requesting a deferral at your earliest convenience. 

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Don't forget! In addition to the required steps and deadlines to apply found at the USF 2023-2024 Academic Catalog, applicants will also need to fill out the BCBA Supervisor Support Form.