Online MA in ABA
“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
This program is designed for current ABA professionals who are looking to advance their career.
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.
In 2018, 92% of USF students who took the BCBA exam passed.
Yes, the BCaBA credential could be earned after completing the first three semesters of coursework and 1,000 hours of Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork hours.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Visit the USF 2022-2023 Academic Catalog to learn more about the program requirements.
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.
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.
No, we are looking for applicants to have direct ABA experience.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You may request to waive the GRE by contacting ABA@usf.edu.
Application Process & 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.
In addition to the requirements found in the USF 2022-2023 Graduate Catalog, please complete the Practicum Supervisor Form.
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.
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.
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 GradAdmissions@usf.edu AND firstname.lastname@example.org to their “whitelist” to ensure that the emails do not get routed to a junk or spam folder.
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.
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)
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 ABA@usf.edu.
The cost per credit hour is $600. The program has a total of 41 credit hours. The total program cost is $24,600.
You should set aside $1,000 for textbooks and the BCBA exam preparation software.
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
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.
USF's Online MA in Applied Behavior analysis's Verified Course Sequence number is 51420.