Online MA in ABA

Program FAQs

General Questions

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

“Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the use of the principles and procedures of behavior analysis to better understand and improve lives. Treatment approaches based on ABA have been empirically shown to be effective in a wide variety of areas. However, because ABA was first applied to the treatment of individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism, this practice area has the largest evidence base and has received the most recognition.” – Behavior Analysis Certification Board Website

Where can I learn more about Applied Behavior Analysis?

What type of student is this program designed for?

This program is designed for current ABA professionals who are looking to advance their career.

How does the program prepare you to become a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)?

The program is designed around the “Option 1 Eligibility Requirements” as laid out by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. You will earn a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from an ABAI Verified Course Sequence (VCS) that covers all the required content from the BACB Fifth Edition Task List. Our program fulfills the BACB Experience requirement by overseeing your Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork of 1,500 experience hours. Students enroll in the Practicum Seminar each semester, which works hand-in-hand with your practicum site. Practicum Seminar includes reading and lecture material related to clinical issues as well as presenting a case study and submitting documentation of experience hours accrued. In their final semester, students participate in a BCBA Exam Preparation course.

What is the BCBA Exam Pass Rate for University of South Florida?

In 2018, 92% of USF students who took the BCBA exam passed.

If I don’t already have the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) certification, can I earn it during this Master’s degree?

Yes, the BCaBA credential could be earned after completing the first three semesters of coursework and 1,000 hours of Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork hours.

Can I transfer credits into this program?

Students can transfer up to six credit hours of graduate Applied Behavior Analysis coursework. However, when students transfer courses, they are no longer part of the Verified Course Sequence and would have to submit all syllabi and transcripts from all universities to the Board when applying to take the BCBA Exam. This includes a coursework evaluation application and a fee of $100. To determine if coursework aligns with the USF program and BACB content hours, the program coordinator and program director will evaluate the syllabi and transcript to determine if you will meet the required content hours to sit for the BCBA exam.

How long does the program take? Can I pursue it at a faster or slower rate?

This program uses a cohort model and course sequence so that students go through the program together. The course sequence is five semesters, including the summer, and can be completed in 1.5 years.

If I already have a master’s degree, can I pursue the course sequencing as a non-degree or graduate certificate student?

No, our master’s program is designed for individuals looking to take the BCBA certification exam by earning a master’s degree. It provides students ABAI verified course sequence (VCS) and the concentrated supervised fieldwork requirement needed to be eligible to take the exam.

What is the difference between the M.S. and the M.A. in ABA?

At USF we offer both the M.S. and the M.A. The M.S. or Masters of Science is our classroom-based program and although it has the same curriculum and requirements as the online program (M.A.), it includes a thesis. The M.A. is our fully online program and incorporates a similar research aspect, but by conducting a literature review and research proposal in place of a thesis project. Both programs share the same courses content, admission requirements, and fieldwork requirements. They also share the same ABAI VCS verification. Both will equally prepare you to meet the BCBA license requirements and will set you up for success.


What are the requirements to be considered for admission to this program?

Visit the USF 2022-2023 Academic Catalog to learn more about the program requirements.

What qualifies as “ABA Experience”?

Applicants to the program should have professional ABA work experience in a clinical setting in a position such as behavior therapist, Registered Behavior Technician, or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst. Individuals
who have completed an RBT Training program or undergraduate level coursework where the courses have “Applied Behavior Analysis” in the course title may also be good candidates for the program.

I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology, Education, or Special Education. Do I qualify for this program?

While having an undergraduate degree is a good start, the program is designed for people who already have entry-level experience in the ABA field. Applicants can increase their likelihood of admission by completing USF’s online 40 hour RBT Training course, earning their RBT credential, and starting an entry-level position in the field.

Does working alongside ABA professionals help me qualify?

No, we are looking for applicants to have direct ABA experience.

I am a caregiver for someone who receives ABA services and I’m interested in learning more about ABA. Is this the program for me?

This masters-level program is intended for professionals in the ABA field. However, USF’s ABA Program offers Continuing Education Modules specifically for training caregivers on ABA techniques. These modules are a low-cost way to learn about ABA and determine whether you may want to pursue a career in ABA.

Does working as a teacher or special education teacher qualify me?

No, not unless you have earned your RBT and can secure your BCBA supervisor and site. Some teachers experience difficulty securing a satisfactory BCBA supervisor and site because most schools generally do not have dedicated ABA professionals on staff. Additionally, this master’s program requires students to complete 250 experience hours per semester at their practicum site. This presents challenges for full-time teachers due to the extra time commitment required outside of your job.

I only have an AA degree; how do I qualify?

In order to qualify for graduate admissions, you will need to go back to school for about two years to finish your bachelor’s degree. Visit the USF 2022-2023 Academic Catalog to learn more about the program requirements.

If I am not qualified, how do I become qualified?

One way is to complete USF’s Online 40 hour RBT Training course, follow the steps to earn your RBT credential, and start a job as a Registered Behavior Technician.

Is the GRE Required?

You may request to waive the GRE by contacting

 Application Process & Supplemental Documents

Do I have to wait to submit my application until I have gathered all the supplemental documents?

No, you should submit your application as soon as possible because you can still upload documents after submission. Your application is not considered complete until we receive your application, fee, and all required supplemental documents. Incomplete applications will not be considered for admissions.

What are the required supplemental documents?

In addition to the requirements found in the USF 2022-2023 Graduate Catalog, please complete the Practicum Supervisor Form.

How do I know that USF received my official transcripts or official GRE Score Report?

It can take up to six weeks for these documents to arrive at the university, input into the system and linked to your application. If you are admitted and your official transcript or GRE Score Report are missing, you will receive a provisional admission letter outlining the missing documentation. You will have until the end of your first semester to turn in these documents.

Recommendation Letters

Do I have to use the recommendation letter request on the application? If I already have recommendation letters in my possession from previous employers, can I upload them? If so, how?

Using the recommendation letter request assures USF that an applicant’s recommendation letters are legitimate. However, if an applicant has letters in their possession, they can upload them to their application utilizing the
“My Documents/Recommendations” or “My Workspace” section of the application.

For the letters of recommendation, would there be a template available to fill out or would it have to be an actual letter?

This program does not use a template, so recommenders can simply draft their own letter and upload it to the application portal utilizing the link sent via email. It is recommended that you have your recommenders add AND to their “whitelist” to ensure that the emails do not get routed to a junk or spam folder.


What is the difference between official and unofficial transcripts?

Official transcripts are ones sent directly from another institution to University of South Florida. Unofficial transcripts are any transcripts that the student has access to (i.e., the student ordered their own official transcript and opened it or they can access their unofficial transcripts online and create a PDF or image file of the transcript). The program accepts unofficial transcripts to expedite the decision process as official transcripts can take up to six weeks in transit and scanning into USF’s system. Applicants should upload their unofficial transcripts to their application and order official transcripts to be sent to USF.

If I am a USF Alumni, do I need to upload my transcripts?

No, transcripts for USF alumni can be accessed internally by the USF employee dedicated to the ABA Program. If an applicant has attended any institutions other than USF, those transcripts will need to be uploaded and sent to USF.

GRE (Not required)

What is the GRE?

GRE is an acronym for Graduate Record Examination. It is a standardized graduate admission entrance test. You may request to waive the GRE by contacting

Financial Information

What is the cost per credit hour and the total program cost?

The cost per credit hour is $600. The program has a total of 41 credit hours. The total program cost is $24,600.

How much can I expect to pay besides the tuition cost?

You should set aside $1,000 for textbooks and the BCBA exam preparation software.

Can I use tuition waivers for this program?

No, this is a Self-Funded program and cannot accept tuition waivers such as the State of Florida Employee Education Assistance Program, USF Employee Tuition Program, or the Homeless Tuition Waiver cannot be accepted for this program. For additional waivers not accepted visit: USF Tuition Waivers. However, you may use traditional financial aid to cover the cost of the program.

Course Sequence Number

What is the Online MA BCaBA 5th edition Verified Course Sequence (VCS) number?

Current students interested in applying for the BCaBA exam using the coursework and practicum experience within the MA program use the following Verified Course Sequence number: 51419.

What is the Online MA BCBA 5th edition Verified Course Sequence (VCS) number?

USF's Online MA in Applied Behavior analysis's Verified Course Sequence number is 51420.