Explore our MS in Psychology Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) specialization
Help people with autism and developmental disabilities engage more successfully with the world when you choose the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) specialization. ABA is an evidence-based therapy used with both adults and children, particularly those on the autism spectrum. Learn to use the principles of human behavior to transform problem behaviors, build positive social skills, and improve lives.
This specialization offers a course sequence verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), which meets the coursework requirements to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) exam.1 Graduates of this program who wish to pursue certification must also complete a period of supervised practical experience as defined by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board® (BACB®). Walden does not offer the fieldwork component required for the BCBA exam.
- 63 total quarter credits
This course sequence represents the minimum credit requirement for program completion. The number of credits for completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of credits required for program completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.
The 11-week courses must be taken in the prescribed sequence below.
Foundations of Graduate Study in Psychology
Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students build a foundation for academic and professional success as social change agents. They assess the relationship of Walden's mission and vision to professional goals. They establish connections with their peers and the broader Walden community. Students engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of scholarly writing, critical-thinking skills, academic integrity, ethics, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence within the field of psychology.
Themes and Theories of Psychology
In this course, students are introduced to theories, research, and themes that form the tenets of psychology. Basic theoretical models are reviewed, including psychodynamic, cognitive, developmental, social learning/sociocognitive, behaviorist, learning and motivation, systems, biopsychosocial, and gender theories. Theories encompassing diverse populations, including cross-cultural and feminist theories, are also covered. Students critically examine the strengths and limitations of these theories and their utility in the field of psychology. Contemporary themes in psychology are explored, with an emphasis on application of theories designed to effect positive social change.
In this course, students are provided with an advanced overview of development through the lifespan, including prenatal, childhood, adolescent, adult, and late adult phases. Basic developmental processes and theories are examined and applied to developmental milestones that occur within these phases of development. Themes of diversity are highlighted throughout the course. Additional topics include ethics, research, global perspectives, and social change.
Culture and Psychology
Students in this course explore the cultural components, research, and theory of cross-cultural psychology. In addition to the previously listed goals, students focus on the impact that culture has on the field of psychology around the world. The scope of this course is broad, with the core theme being cross-cultural psychology (focusing on cultures representing different parts of the world) and comparing cultural influence on human psychology. Many of the topics addressed are related to human development. Additionally, interactions among culture and social behaviors, health, mental health, and mental illnesses are emphasized throughout the duration of this course.
Research Theory, Design, and Methods
In this research course, students are provided with core knowledge and skills for understanding, analyzing, and designing research at the graduate level. Students explore the philosophy of science, the role of theory, and research processes. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research designs and data collection methods are introduced. The alignment of research components is emphasized. Students also explore ethical and social change implications of designing and conducting research. Students demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing an annotated bibliography.
Principles of Behavioral Analysis
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a set of skills used in the assessment and treatment of individuals with a variety of behavioral problems and developmental delays, including autism spectrum disorders. Students in this 45-hour course will explore the concepts and principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and gain an understanding of its applications in the treatment of behavior problems. Students will apply these concepts and principles to understand data-based decision making using a functional behavioral assessment approach with the ultimate goal of creating efficacious intervention procedures. (Note: Interventions to be covered in a future class). Techniques in observation, use of reinforcement, and repeated measures are explored.
Applied Psychology Research Methods
In this research course, students are provided with core knowledge and skills for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting quantitative data at the graduate level. Students are provided practical skills in conducting applied research activities including methodological approaches, data collection, and management. They also explore basic exploratory, descriptive, and inferential analyses and apply statistical techniques to analyze data.
Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Behavioral Analysis
With a focus on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's (BACB's) Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts, this 45 instructional hour course reviews responsible conduct of behavior analysts, ethical responsibilities to clients and their welfare, and ethical responsibilities to other individuals (e.g., colleagues) and the BACB. In addition, professional and legal issues involved in providing services in different contexts and with different client groups will be examined. This course meets the BCBA® requirements for 45 instructional hours and covers the BACB® Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts as well as other relevant ethical codes. (Prerequisite(s): PSYC 6731.)
Introduction to Behavioral Assessment and Intervention
With a focus on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's (BACB's) Fourth Edition Task List, this 45 instructional hour course covers the basic principles of behavioral assessment and applied behavior analysis. Course participants will explore fundamental techniques leading to the implementation of behavioral procedures and behavioral programs. More specifically, instruction focuses on conducting functional assessments and functional analyses; developing intervention procedures based on the outcome of these assessments and analyses; implementing these procedures; and data-based decision-making. (Prerequisite(s): PSYC 6731 and PSYC 6733.)
Research Methods for Behavioral Analysis
This course covers a variety of methods for data collection, measurement data collection, data analysis, and experimental designs that are common to applied behavior analysis. In addition to the theoretical background for single subject research, this course will also emphasize practical applications of research methods from baseline measurement to treatment evaluation. Advantages and limitations of various single subject research methods will be examined. Students will also design a small-n research study based on a research question developed from the applied behavior analysis literature. In addition, they will critically evaluate research studies for the appropriate research design and methodology. (Prerequisite(s): PSYC 6731, PSYC 6733, and PSYC 6734.)
Advanced Behavioral Assessment and Intervention
This course will extend students' knowledge of operationalizing behavior, behavioral assessment, developing interventions, functional analysis/assessment, and social validity concerns through the utilization of applied behavior analysis methodologies. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship between valid assessment data and socially relevant interventions. Students will also examine case management skills and supervision strategies. (Prerequisite(s): PSYC 6731, PSYC 6733, PSYC 6734, and PSYC 6735.)
Applications and Special Topics in Applied Behavioral Analysis
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with widely varying symptomatology that affects 1 in 68 children. It is also one of the primary client groups with whom behavior analysts provide services. Therefore, this course will include discussion of theory, research, and intervention in ASD. Topics will include the history of ASD, diagnostic issues, and treatment of autism. The emphasis will be on current approaches to evidence-based intervention. Research on identification and intervention of all aspects of ASD will be included. (Prerequisite(s): PSYC 6731, PSYC 6733, PSYC 6734, PSYC 6735, and PSYC 6736.)
MS in Psychology Capstone
Students are provided with the opportunity to synthesize knowledge and skills acquired throughout their program into a practical project designed to promote positive social change in a capstone project. During this course, students work on a capstone project in which they complete a major integrative paper on a topic related to their specialization, incorporating theoretical and practical knowledge as well as social scientific research skills acquired throughout the program. The instructor may approve other capstone projects presented by students.
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Tuition and Fees
|Curriculum Component||Requirements||Cost||Total *|
|Tuition||63 total quarter credit||$535 per quarter hour||$33,705|
|Technology Fee||Per quarter||$160||$1,120|
|Transfer up to 15 credits||$13,224|
|Total with Maximum Transfer Credits†||$21,601|
The tuition reflects the minimum credits to completion. Program completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.
*Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $2,500 to $3,500.
†Maximum transfer credit total includes reduction in technology fee as related to reduced number of courses over time
Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.
*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.Find Ways to Save
Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.
General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.
Earning my MS in Psychology and PhD in Psychology has provided me a greater understanding of several disciplines, including learning, human development, research and writing, education, and even business.
Theresa M. Bane MS in Psychology Graduate
Walden is an amazing university that offers around-the-clock support.
Lia Williams MS in Psychology Graduate
From the wonderful faculty members and students to the residencies and commencement experiences, I have truly enjoyed every moment of my time here.
Nickole Cottrill MS in Psychology Graduate