Instructor with students

Special Education: Applied Behavior Analysis

Master of Arts

Learn to empower and educate individuals of all ages with disabilities by facilitating their education and development.

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16+ Months to Complete

No GMAT or GRE Exam Required

Zero Residency Requirement

Interested in working with people who need assistance to improve their communication, social and adaptive skills? This program will prepare you to provide evidence-based services in applied behavior analysis in clinical, school, and home settings.

You will also have the opportunity to complete an original applied project in your area of interest within behavior analysis. Projects are supervised by individual faculty and are conducted in lieu of a master’s thesis.

Program coursework has been verified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and includes all 6 courses required to take the BCBA (Board Certification Behavior Analyst) exam. The program also fulfills the master’s degree requirement for the exam.

You may choose to complete the degree in as little as 4 semesters or 16 months if you begin in the Fall semester.

Please contact Rebecca Hartzell, Ph.D, BCBA-D, Assistant Professor of Practice in the Special Education Program hartzell@email.arizona.edu with questions about the program.

Students will need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

View detailed program information

Career Level: Graduate
Degree: Master of Arts
College: College of Education

Cost & Eligibility

Per Unit Cost: $653
*Residents of some U.S. Territories may not be eligible. Please see our Eligibility & State Authorization page for more information.

Core Coursework 36 Units.  Program students must complete these 12 3-unit courses.

SERP 500 (or equivalent) - Foundations of Special Education and Rehabilitation (3 units)Provides beginning graduate students with an overview of issues surrounding the fields of special education and rehabilitation, including legal principles, concepts of assessment; and principles of teaching and counseling. Students will examine and develop their personal philosophies regarding assessment of, services to and intervention with individuals with exceptionalities.

SERP 502 - Behavior Principles and Disability:  Assessment and Intervention (3 units)Grounds participants in the basic behavioral principles and techniques needed to successfully complete effective Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA), function-based interventions, and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP).  Participants complete an FBA, develop an intervention based on the results, and design a BIP.

SERP 503 - Special Services in the Schools (3 units)Information to aid teachers in dealing with responsibilities and concerns in school settings with regard to P.L. 94-142. Education for All Handicapped Children Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, and other legal issues.

SERP 504 - Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Exceptional Learners (3 units)Provides a theoretical base and practical approach to the study of special needs of students with language and cultural differences; basic premises of bilingual special education and the interface of the two fields.

SERP 529A - Advanced Positive Behavioral Support I (3 units)Addresses environmental factors that affect student behavior and continues to develop competency in FBAs, function-based interventions, and effective BIPs.  Participants complete a second FBA, develop and test a function-based intervention, complete a BIP, implement and monitor the intervention, and make data-based decisions about whether to continue or revise the intervention based on their data.

SERP 529B - Advanced Positive Behavioral Support II (3 units)Addresses other factors that can affect development and implementation of interventions such as legal issues, crisis intervention, and teaming and collaboration issues.  Participants complete two FBAs and develop and monitor two function-based interventions and BIPs.  A certificate identifying skills learned is awarded at the end of the three course sequence.

SERP 552 - Issues in Applied Behavior Analysis (3 units)Addresses advanced skills and knowledge in applied behavior analysis and the factors that affect the application of behavior principles within school settings. Topics examined include reinforcement, punishment, extinction, stimulus control, self-management, verbal behavior, and functional analysis.

SERP 553 - Ethical Issues in Behavior Analysis (3 units)Enables students to explain the need for ethical guidelines, identify appropriate ethical standards and guidelines of behavior analysis and their own profession, if different, and apply the ethical guidelines to real-life situations.

SERP 555 - Applied Behavior Analysis: Personnel Supervision and Management (3 units)Basic concepts essential in applying applied behavior analysis in personnel supervision and management of employees, parents, and other professionals.

SERP 556 - Research Methods in Education (3 units)Basic concepts essential to the comprehension of research in education, including measurement principles and descriptive statistics.

SERP 590 - Single Subject Research Design (3 units)Addresses the advantages and disadvantages of various research designs and how to select a research design appropriate to a given scenario. Participants learn to critically evaluate professional research that incorporates single subject research designs, create data graphs, and develop a comprehensive research proposal.

SERP 909 - Master’s Project (3 units)An original applied project in an area of behavior analysis. Projects are supervised by individual faculty and are conducted in lieu of a master’s thesis.

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