25 Best Online Masters in Behavioral Psychology

Behavior psychologists specialize in improving behaviors ranging from social and learning skills to communication. Individuals who complete specific coursework in applied behavior analysis can work in a variety of fields, including education, healthcare, and social services. Degrees in this field lead to a variety of professions. Careers include counselor, consultant, social worker, educator, organizational behavior management, and many others. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for those specializing in working with behavior disorders is supposed to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the national average.

Students thinking of studying behavior analysis must also take the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and its requirements into consideration. To take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam, students must complete a verified course sequence and the required fieldwork hours. Many online graduate programs offer opportunities for students to complete at least the verified coursework during their degree.

Methodology

Best College Reviews provides degree rankings, such as the Best Online Master's in Behavioral Psychology, from carefully researched data sets published from government and non-profit organizations across the United States. Five primary factors affect how we rank degrees:

25% – Student Satisfaction

30% – Earning Potential

15% – Retention Data

20% – Affordability

10% – Acceptance Rates

For an in-depth breakdown of how we calculate each ranking, check out our Methodology page.

 

#25 OREGON INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
KLAMATH FALLS, OR
MASTER IN EDUCATION PROGRAM WITH EMPHASIS IN ABA AND ASD
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Score: 78.57
Due to a collaboration between Oregon Institute of Technology and Southern Oregon University, students can earn a Master in Education with an Emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Students also receive a graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis as part of this degree track. In total, it is a 45-credit program, with courses including Behavioral Assessment and Professional Issues. Additionally, 27 credits in the program have been certified by the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board, Inc. as meeting the academic prerequisites for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam. Students also have the opportunity to do a practicum experience with approved ABA agencies.

 

#24 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON-VICTORIA
VICTORIA, TX
MASTER OF EDUCATION IN SPECIAL EDUCATION WITH A CONCENTRATION IN
APPLIED BEHAVIOUR ANALYSIS
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Score: 78.93
The University of Houston-Victoria offers educators and professionals the opportunity to complete a Master of Education in Special Education with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. The degree includes a verified course sequence that meets the requirements for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination. The program is specifically geared toward those who are working or have experience with disabilities in schools, service agencies, and other environments. The 39-credit program also requires students to pass a comprehensive exam. Courses include Principles of Curriculum Organization, Behavior Applications: Focus on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Appraisal, Instructional Coaching and Collaboration for Students with Disabilities, and Behavior Intervention Procedures for Educators.

 

#23 THE SAGE COLLEGES
TROY, NY
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS & AUTISM
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Score: 79.46
The Sage Colleges Best Small CollegesThe Sage Colleges emphasizes the "scientist-practitioner" model in the curriculum of the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program. Through the 42-credit program students not only complete a course sequence to prepare them for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination but also able to learn the importance of research in the field. The degree can be finished in two years with material delivered in a variety of digital formats. The online presentation of material offers students the opportunity to be part of an international community of learners who are committed to helping those with autism spectrum disorder. Courses include Behavioral Assessment, Ethical and Professional Conduct for Behavior Analysis, and Advanced Topics in Applied Behaviour Analysis. Students also have the option to complete a thesis.

 

#22 ST. CLOUD STATE UNIVERSITY
CLOUD, MN
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 79.64
Saint Cloud State University's Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis is the top ranked program when looking at the Board Certified Behavior Analyst pass rates for online degrees in the field. It is accredited by the the Association for Behavior Analysis International Accreditation Board. Students can also complete the verified course sequence for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination. The faculty members in the program are also connected to over 120 behavior analysis agencies, and all have a Ph.D. or other terminal degree, ensuring that students are learning from experts in their field. This has led to many students presenting at state, regional, and international conferences and to the excellent passage rates on the certification exam, as mentioned above. All together, students complete either 45 or 46 credits in the program, depending on whether they choose the thesis or comprehensive examination.

 

#21 UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS-DARTMOUTH
DARTMOUTH, MA
MASTER OF ARTS IN PSYCHOLOGY WITH AN APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
(ABA) FOCUS
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Score: 80.27
University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth offers a Master of Arts in Psychology with an Applied Behavior Analysis focus. This program is part-time and typically completed in three years. UMassD gives students the theoretical foundation and practical application needed to succeed in the applied behavior analysis field. It also allows students to gain experience working in a variety of settings, from clinics to community agencies. The 36-credit degree includes coursework such as Topics in Child Development, Supervision and Management, and Ethics and Professionalism in ABA while also giving credit for real world practicums.

 

#20 COLLEGE OF SAINT ELIZABETH
MORRISTOWN, NJ
MASTER OF ARTS IN APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 81.83
As a program that balances preparation for certification, theory, and practice, the College of Saint Elizabeth's Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis helps students to become certified behavior analysts. The curriculum requires 31 credits for completion, and content is based on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's Fifth Edition Task List. After finishing the degree and additional clinical experiences, students are able to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam. The program is best suited for graduate students wishing to further their studies or professionals who regularly work with those behavioral challenges. Courses include Writing for Publication and Presentation, Assessment and Strategic Design, and Analysis for Verbal Behavior.

 

#19 BAY PATH UNIVERSITY
LONG MEADOW, MA
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 81.88
Uniquely fulfilling the coursework and fieldwork experiences required for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam, Bay Path University's Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis is a 36-credit, 5-semester program. Students can begin in either February or October on a full-time or part-time basis. While at Bay Path University, they receive access to a variety of support services, including mentoring, tutoring, career services, and other academic resources. The university also offers assistance to those studying for the BACB exam. It is structured to help educators and practitioners to expand their knowledge of behavior analysis and its application. Courses include Behavior Assessment and On-Going Evaluation, Behavior Change Systems in Education, and Interventions and Behavior Change Procedures in ABA.

 

#18 THE UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA
PENSACOLA, FL
MASTER OF ARTS IN EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT EDUCATION WITH A
SPECIALIZATION IN APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 82.76
The University of West Florida gives students option to complete a special, education-oriented Master of Arts in Exceptional Student Education with a specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis. The program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education while also allowing students to complete the Board Certified Behavior Analyst courses required to sit for the exam. It is also focused on helping those with education experience for leadership roles in the field of special education. All students are assigned a faculty mentor in a cohort model, which leads to a community of learners working together. In total, the program requires 36-42 credit hours for completion.

 

#17 TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY
LUBBOCK, TX
MASTER OF EDUCATION IN SPECIAL EDUCATION WITH AN APPLIED BEHAVIOR
ANALYSIS CONCENTRATION
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Score: 84.44
Offering a 100 percent online curriculum, Texas Tech University has a Master of Education in Special Education with an Applied Behavior Analysis concentration. This 36-credit program has verified its coursework so that it can serve as a prerequisite for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Exam. With its focus on special education, students can explore the importance of behavior analysis in education, especially in working with children with learning differences. Students learn how to teach and communicate with the students, utilize intervention strategies, and track progress for students. The coursework also culminates in either a thesis or comprehensive exam, so students are able to grow their professional knowledge as practice for the certification test.

 

#16 BALL STATE UNIVERSITY
MUNCIE, IN
MASTER OF ARTS IN APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS WITH AN EMPHASIS IN
AUTISM
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Score: 84.61
Ball State University offers a Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis with an emphasis in Autism, the first school to do so. The university is accredited by the National Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the Higher Learning Commission, and the Indiana Teacher Training and Learning Commission. Not only that, but the M.A. is housed in the Teacher's College, a nationally recognized school of education. Furthermore, students can complete the program in less than two years, though the 30-credit program is purposely flexible. Courses include Professional Issues in Applied Behavior Analysis, Supervising Human Service Staff, and Intervention and Treatments for Persons with Autism.

 

#15 WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
MORGANTOWN, WV
MASTER OF ARTS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION WITH AN EMPHASIS IN APPLIED
BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 85.26
In West Virginia University's Master of Arts in Special Education with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis, students complete a Behavior Analyst Certification Board verified course sequence, preparing them for the exam to become a certified behavior analyst. The program is structured with three sets of courses: core, specialization, and degree-only classes. In total, students complete 36-credits. The final part of the degree requires students to finish a culminating project. Courses include Designing Single Case Research, Naturalistic & Functional Analyses of Behavior, Systems for Behavior Change, Team Building, & Case Management.

 

#14 SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO
MASTER OF ARTS IN APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 85.29
Southeast Missouri State University's Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis focuses on its students as they proceed from content to fieldwork in the 42-credit program. The first year is centered on content surrounding applied behavior analysis, and then the second year allows students to focus more on fieldwork. During fieldwork especially, students work closely with faculty members, who supervise them during their practicum experiences. The program also prepares students to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam. Electives for the program include Family and School Collaboration, Theories and Issues in Child Development, Environmental Design in Human Services, and Special Education and the Law.

 

#13 UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON-SEATTLE
SEATTLE, WA
MASTER OF EDUCATION IN SPECIAL EDUCATION: APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 87.29
Students can complete their graduate studies to receive a Master of Education in Special Education with an Applied Behavior Analysis course sequence at University of Washington-Seattle, which was ranked as U.S. News and World Report's 37th Most Innovative School. This course sequence meets the requirement to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam. The program typically takes 2 years, with the first focusing on the behavior analysis-specific courses. Additionally, students can complete an intensive practicum experience that is remotely supervised by a University of Washington faculty member. They also complete a comprehensive exam and capstone project, culminating in a student capstone conference.

 

#12 SIMMONS COLLEGE
BOSTON, MA
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 88.20
Simmons College, ranked #4 for Best Value Schools-Regional Universities North by U.S. News & World Report, offers students the opportunity to prepare for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam through a Master of Science in Behavior Analysis. Eighty-three percent of Simmons graduates pass the exam, 13 percent over the national average. The program involves weekly, live, online classes with both individual and group mentoring. It builds in the Behavior Analyst Certification Board coursework and practicum experiences as part of the program for all students, helping them complete these prerequisites for the exam. Additionally, students typically receive their 40-credit degree after 19 months.

 

#11 SAINT JOSEPH'S UNIVERSITY
PHILADELPHIA, PA
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE WITH A BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
CONCENTRATION
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Score: 88.29
A Catholic, Jesuit institution, Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree with a Behavior Analysis concentration. This concentration allows students to complement their coursework in the study of criminal justice with an understanding of the behaviors contributing to criminal activity and juvenile delinquency, as well as what practices are best to treating these behaviors. Students must have one year of experience with behavior analysis, either on a volunteer or professional basis. The program itself is 36-credits worth of classes. These courses include Concepts and Principles in Behavior Analysis, Behavior Change Procedures, and Collaboration, Supervision, and Management in Behavior Analysis.

 

#10 DREXEL UNIVERSITY
PHILADELPHIA, PA
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 88.45
Ranked #13 on U.S. News and World Report's Most Innovative Schools List, Drexel University offers an online Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis. This program is geared toward those working professionally in the special education, psychology, and social services fields who may wish to grow their knowledge of behavior analysis skills. It gives students the opportunity to work with the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute and to prepare research for publications. Classes are taught by the same faculty that teach on campus. Program is structured so that there are four 10-week quarters, and it requires 45 to 46.5 credits to complete.

 

#9 FLORIDA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
MELBOURNE, FL
MASTER OF ARTS IN PROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 88.75
Florida Institute of Technology's hybrid Master of Arts in Professional Behavior Analysis strives to prepare students for science-informed decisions as a professional in the field. Divided into two stages, students are required to complete 24 credits of online coursework and a practicum worth 21 credits at an ABA service agency anywhere in the U.S. Then, students must take a comprehensive final exam that is designed to help them practice for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam. The program offers four terms per year, allowing for a flexible start to the program. Courses include Coordinating Behavior Analysis with Psychiatric and Other Medical Services, Introduction to Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and Developing, Strengthening and Maintaining Behavior.

 

#8 UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI
CINCINNATI, OH
MASTER OF EDUCATION IN FOUNDATIONS IN BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 89.22
Structured so that students can immediately complete coursework required for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam, the University of Cincinnati offers a Master of Education in Foundation in Behavior Analysis. Because of its flexible online format, students can also be full-time professionals while completing the coursework. The program itself is 30-credits divided into 10 courses, allowing students to finish in as few as five semesters. Class materials are also available 24/7 online. Courses include Academic Assessment and Intervention, Functional Behavior Assessment, Working with Cultural & Linguistic Diversity in Schools, and Frameworks for Disabilities and Disorders in Childhood.

 

#7 UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS
LAWRENCE, KS
MASTER OF ARTS IN APPLIED BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE
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Score: 89.74
The University of Kansas' Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science seeks to grow knowledge for those who have some experience in psychology and/or education already. The program also supplies preparation for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam. As part of the 30-credit program, students complete a master's thesis in addition to the 12-credit hours of content coursework and three hours of research or practicum. Students are also required to present at a pro-seminar during the course of their studies. Courses for the program include: Behavior Analysis in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Organizational Behavioral Management, and Ethical, Legal, & Professional Issues in Applied Behavior Analysis.

 

#6 ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY-TEMPE
TEMPE, AZ
MASTER OF ARTS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION WITH A CONCENTRATION IN APPLIED
BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 90.34
Designed to provide students with foundations for evidence-based applied behavior analysis practices and supportive services for clients, Arizona State University-Tempe has a Master of Arts in Special Education with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. Students complete ten, 7.5 week classes for a total of 30 credits to finish their degree. The program itself is focused on these evidence-based practices and also offers a Behavior Analyst Certification Board-verified course sequence as a prerequisite for the exam. Courses have a foundation in education. Some examples include Behavior Change Systems, Applied Behavior Analysis in Inclusive Settings, Philosophical Foundations of Applied Behavior Analysis in Educational Settings, and Controversial Therapies, Fad and Pseudoscience in Education.

 

#5 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA
TAMPA, FL
MASTER OF ARTS IN APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 92.24
For individuals who have experience or interest in autism, education, mental health, and other human services-oriented fields, the University of South Florida offers a Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis. The program allows students to work while completing classes, and the degree can be earned in as few as five semesters. Students can opt to start in either the fall or the spring. As part of the 41-credit program, students also do a supervised practicum. Finally, the program has a verified course sequence for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam. Classes include Observational Methods and Functional Assessment, ABA in Complex Community Environments, and Behavior Analysis and Developmental Disabilities.

 

#4 FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
MIAMI, FL
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 92.69
Florida State University allows residents of either Panama City or Tallahassee to complete a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis online. It is one of only 24 universities accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International in the United States. Students are taught through the Interactive Television Network, and faculty members in both cities make themselves available to see students in-person as well. Typically, the 39-credit program is completed over the course of 5 semesters. The program also requires students to take a comprehensive exam, and all finish with a professional portfolio showcasing their skills and experience in applied behavior analysis. FSU also mandates that its students complete three semesters-worth of practicum experiences.

 

#3 TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY-COLLEGE STATION
COLLEGE STATION, TX
MASTER OF EDUCATION/MASTER OF SCIENCE IN SPECIAL EDUCATION
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Score: 94.18
Texas A&M University offers two options for students who wish to earn a graduate degree in special education with a verified course sequence in behavior analysis. They can choose to complete coursework for either a Master of Education or a Master of Science. The M.S. option requires a thesis. Both also allow for the option to complete a graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis. In total, the program is approximately 36 credits in addition to the 15 needed for the certificate. Students should have foundations in education, behavior, disability, or a related field. Classes are held at specified times online, and there is a designated academic advisor.

 

#2 GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
FAIRFAX, VA
MASTER OF EDUCATION IN SPECIAL EDUCATION WITH AN APPLIED BEHAVIOR
ANALYSIS CERTIFICATE
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Score: 94.30
George Mason University builds in a graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis into its Master of Education in Special Education curriculum in order to ground those wishing to expand their knowledge in this field. The certificate also meets the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam coursework prerequisite and offers information on the supervision requirement as well. Together, the certificate and the master's degree comprises 30 credits of coursework. Courses include Principles, Procedures, and Philosophy, Empirical Bases, Verbal Behavior, and Assessments and Interventions.

 

#1 NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
BOSTON, MA
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
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Score: 100.00
At the top of our list is Northeastern University's Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis. This 18-24 month program began in 1976, and alumni work in a variety of education, healthcare, and community organizations like Boston Children's Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. During the 30-credit program, students grow their clinical experience in functional assessment, discrimination, conditioned reinforcement and other areas that are put together in a professional portfolio as part of their capstone experience. The degree can also be completed part-time. The coursework prepares students for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam, and they can opt to complete their supervised experience hours through two elective practicum courses as well.