What you can earn

Duration

2 years

Credits earned

45

Format

Online

Time commitment

Part-time

Upcoming deadline

March 3, 2025

Join a rewarding career that creates positive change 

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an expanding discipline dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities. Behavior analysts make a tangible difference by applying behavioral principles to bring about meaningful transformations for individuals and organizations.

Our online Applied Behavior Analysis program is designed with the needs of working students in mind. Enjoy the flexibility of synchronous online classes, allowing you to learn from the comfort of your preferred learning environment. Our state-of-the-art interactive learning technology ensures that you stay engaged with your professors and collaborate effectively with your cohort.

Upon completion of the program, you will earn your Master of Education (M.Ed.) in special education and will have completed the coursework requirements for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) exam. By becoming a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), you will unlock a world of professional opportunities in this rapidly growing field!

What you'll learn

  • Practical application of ABA principles in real-world scenarios
  • Selection and implementation process of evidence-based interventions that are effective
  • Data collection, analysis and interpretation to assess intervention effectiveness
  • Collaborative skills for working with individuals, families, school staff and care teams
  • An understanding of the critical role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in providing culturally responsive services

After graduation

The demand for highly qualified BCBAs is continuously rising across the nation. Graduates of our program will have a wealth of career options, such as:

  • Providing support to educators, students, and families within educational settings
  • Delivering in-home services to individuals and families
  • Becoming esteemed members of healthcare teams
  • Establishing inclusive and culturally responsive services within community organizations

What's next? After working for a few years as a BCBA, you might want to consider our PhD in Special Education program.

Let's connect

We're excited that you're interested in ABA! By joining our mailing list, you can receive updates on info sessions, deadlines and more!

Connect with us

Curriculum

    • Begin and finish the program in a supportive cohort
    • Graduate in two years
    • 2-4 courses each quarter in autumn, winter and spring
    • 1 summer course
    • Synchronous online classes in the evening

    You will begin the program alongside your fellow student cohort and progress through the courses together. You can complete your degree in two years by taking multiple courses in autumn, winter and spring quarters, along with one course in the summer. Need a slower pace? We can adjust the course sequence to take three years for completion.

    Our synchronous online classes use cutting-edge learning technology, facilitating interactive lectures, thought-provoking discussions, collaborative group activities, and quizzes. You'll actively take part in real-time, ensuring an engaging and immersive educational experience.

    To support working professionals, our classes are conducted in the evening, typically starting at 5 p.m. PST.

    Technical requirements: To make the most of our program, ensure that you have a reliable internet connection, a computer or laptop, a video camera for effective communication, a high-quality headset for clear audio, and a quiet location that fosters focused learning.

    Verified course sequence

    The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified the following courses toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination (via Pathway 2). Applicants will need to meet additional BACB® eligibility requirements, including evidence of residency in an authorized country, before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination.

    • EDSPE 533 Concepts and Principles of ABA-A (3 credits)
    • EDSPE 534 Concepts and Principles of ABA-B (3 credits)
    • EDSPE 535 History and Philosophy of ABA (3 credits)
    • EDSPE 571 Measurement in ABA (3 credits)
    • EDSPE 536 Assessment in ABA-A (3 credits)
    • EDSPE 537 Assessment in ABA-B (3 credits)
    • EDSPE 552 Evidence-Based Instructional Strategies in ABA (3 credits)
    • EDSPE 531 Designing Comprehensive Behavioral Interventions (3 credits)
    • EDSPE 511 Methods of ABA Research (3 credits)
    • EDSPE 529 Ethics and Professionalism in ABA (5 credits)
    • EDSPE 553 Supervision in ABA (3 credits)

    The following courses are required to earn your masters degree in special education.

    • EDSPE 525 Autism (3 credits)
    • EDSPE 554 Behavior Analysts in Schools (3 credits)
    • EDSPE 530 Readings in Applied Behavior Analysis (4 credits)
    • Supervised fieldwork is required for BACB exam
    • Supervision of fieldwork hours can be obtained through this program
    • Living near Seattle is not required for supervision of fieldwork hours
    • Receiving supervision through UW is not required

    Supervised fieldwork is a crucial requirement to sit for the BACB exam. It provides you with hands-on experience to apply the strategies and skills learned during your coursework, ultimately preparing you for success as a BCBA.

    You can obtain supervision for your fieldwork hours through this program. It is not mandatory to receive your fieldwork supervision through the University of Washington, and you do not need to live near Seattle to receive supervision from the program. For more information about supervision packages, please reach out to us at abainfo@uw.edu.

    Earning your master's degree and BCBA certification involves two separate examinations:

    Board Certified Behavior Analyst examination

    After finishing this program, you will have met all requirements to sit for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) exam. Our faculty and advisors will help you navigate BACB exam process.

    It is important to note that while the BCBA certification is valid in all 50 states, many states also require behavior analysts to be licensed. State laws related to licensure of behavior analysts vary and do not necessarily reflect the same requirements as the BCBA certification. Please research the requirements for the state you plan to apply for licensure in. For more information, visit BACB's page on state licensure.

    IMPORTANT: Only individuals residing in the United States, Canada and UK may apply for BACB certification. Visit BACB's page on international development.

    Master’s examination

    During your final quarter, you will need to pass a comprehensive master's examination that covers all ABA content covered throughout the program. This examination is a University of Washington requirement.

    Admission requirements and process

      We expect our candidates to have practical experience in working with people who have disabilities. This could include experience as a tutor, paraeducator, or teacher in a program that uses ABA strategies and methodologies. Your hands-on experience in this field shows your commitment and understanding of the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities.

      To strengthen your application, we prefer candidates who have at least one year of direct applied behavior analysis experience. This experience could be gained through working in roles that involve applying ABA principles and techniques.

      While we do not impose specific requirements about the field of your bachelor's degree, we highly value any related experiences you may have. Your experiences, regardless of study field, contribute to your understanding and perspective, making you a well-rounded candidate.

      Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution

      Your degree can be in-progress when applying but must be completed before the program starts.

      Unofficial transcript(s) with minimum 3.0 GPA
      • Include one from each institution from which you've earned a degree and one from every institution you have attended in the previous 5 years.
      • Your transcripts must include your name, coursework and degree (if completed)
      • If you are offered admission, the UW Graduate School will request an official transcript from your most recent degree earned

      The UW Graduate School requires a cumulative GPA of 3.0, or 3.0 for your most recent 90 graded quarter credits (60 semester credits). However, we review your application holistically. If your GPA is below 3.0, contact us at edinfo@uw.edu for advice on how to strengthen your overall application.

      Two letters of recommendation

      At least one letter should speak to your work experience in applied behavior analysis. During the online application process, you will be given instructions for adding your recommenders and getting their letters submitted electronically. All recommenders must submit their letters online.

      Resume/vita

      A current academic and professional resume or vita is required. In addition to educational degrees and professional experience, you should include a listing of all relevant awards, publications, presentations or other achievements that will help us evaluate your application. We are looking for at least one year of experience with applied behavior analysis

      Statement of Purpose

      The admissions committee uses your statement of purpose, along with other evidence, to determine whether your goals are well-matched with our programs. Your statement should answer the following questions:

      • What in your past experience has influenced your interest in applied behavior analysis?  
      • What in your academic and work experience has prepared you for graduate school in ABA?
      • Why is the program at the University of Washington a good match for your academic and career goals?
      • Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important to our ABA program. Please speak to the unique experiences and perspectives you would bring to our program.

      Your statement should be 2 pages, double-spaced.

      Personal history statement (optional)

      While optional, you can add to your application by submitting a personal history statement with each application. This statement should address your intellectual growth and development, inclusive of and beyond your academic goals. Speak to topics like:

      • Educational, cultural and economic opportunities and disadvantages you've experienced
      • Ways these experiences affected the development of your special interests, career plans and future goals.
      • Any additional topics requested on a specific program's page

      Statements should be no longer than two pages long. And while there are no standard formatting requirements, we encourage double-spaced text with a legible font.

      1. Gather all required documents
      2. Visit the Graduate School website
      3. Log into your account or create a new profile if you are a first-time applicant
      4. Complete all steps in application process and upload your documents
      5. Pay the nonrefundable $90 application fee
        • You may request a fee waiver during the application process
      6. Submit your application

      When completing your application, you will select the following options:

      • Graduate type:
        • Graduate if you want to earn your master’s degree
        • Program:
          • Education - Seattle (MEd - Special Education - Applied Behavior Analysis Online Education)

      Here is our general timeline for decisions. Have questions about the process? Visit our graduate admissions page.

      Step 1: Application processing

      • Within 7 business days after the deadline, we will check if your application if fully complete
      • We will email you whether your application is complete or incomplete
      • If your application is missing anything, you will have a short amount of time submit these items
      • You can also log into the online application and check your status and see any missing items

      Step 2: Application review

      • Committees begin reviewing applications about three weeks after the deadline
      • You will receiving an email when your application has entered the review phase

      Step 3: Decision notification

      • The final decision will be emailed to you
      • Your status will also be updated in the online application
      • You may be able to transfer up to six credits toward your UW masters in special education
      • You must petition the BACB to substitute courses toward BCBA exam requirements

      If you have previously taken similar courses at another university, you may be eligible to transfer up to six credits toward your UW master's degree. The acceptance of transferred credits is subject to advisor approval in compliance with the Graduate School's policies.

      Please note that the University of Washington is not authorized to approve course substitutions that fulfill the BACB's requirements for the BCBA exam. If you believe you have completed a course that adequately substitutes for the BACB's requirements, you must petition the certification board directly.

      Costs and funding

        The online ABA program is a self-sustaining, fee-based program. Course fees are charged on a per-credit basis and are the same for Washington residents and non-residents. The current estimated cost is: 

        • $589 per credit 
        • $37,696 total

        Estimates are subject to change due and may differ due to additional UW fees, course load, etc.

        ABA Online Program General Scholarship

        The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) General Scholarship consists of awards up to $8,000. Students in the ABA online program will be invited to apply for the scholarship after they are admitted to the program. The selection process is based on academic merit and financial need. Additional scholarships may be awarded to fund students' supervised fieldwork.

        ABA Online Program Diversity Scholarship

        The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Diversity Scholarship consists of awards up to $8,000. Students in the ABA online program will be invited to apply for the scholarship after they are admitted to the program. We value diversity and equity within our program and the ABA field, and the selection process is based on admission materials and a personal essay. Students from underrepresented racial and ethnic communities are given preference during the selection process.

        ABA program mission statement

        Our goal is to prepare students to be competent, inclusive, ethical, and professional behavior analysts who work with persons with developmental disabilities and their families.

        Students coming out of our program will:

        • Understand and fluently apply the principles of behavior analysis.
        • Have a working knowledge of current evidence-based practices for individuals with developmental disabilities.
        • Select or create contextually appropriate, evidence-based interventions for individuals with whom they work and critically analyze and evaluate the effects of those interventions.
        • Work collaboratively and openly with schools, families and other community stakeholders, always with an understanding of how culture and equity impact service delivery.
        • Ensure that the primary outcome of their work is to improve the quality of life for the individual and their family.

        Our ABA Program is guided by five core ethical principles.

        Beneficence

        Behavior analysts have a responsibility to engage in practices that maximize their clients' well-being and avoid those that cause harm. We understand that behavior analytic services are most likely to benefit our clients when they are provided in the context of a trusting and compassionate relationship. Where conflicts of interest arise between consumers of behavior analysis, we prioritize outcomes for the most vulnerable clients.

        Inclusion

        Behavior analysts have a responsibility to provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities access to and authentic participation in meaningful activities that promote relationships, a sense of community, and an improved quality of life.

        Professional excellence

        Behavior analysts have a responsibility to be honest and transparent. We engage in ongoing professional development and analyze our own practices. Professional excellence requires respectful and effective collaboration with individuals from other disciplines while maintaining a commitment to data-based decision-making. Analyzing evidence from different methodologies is encouraged as a way of collaborating with others and improving practice.

        Self-determination

        Behavior analysts respect clients’ rights and promote client dignity, privacy, and autonomy. We assist clients to set and achieve their own goals, develop their own agency, and make decisions about their own lives.

        Social justice

        Behavior analysts have a responsibility to attend to injustice where they see it, avoid perpetuating inequitable systems, and advocate for equitable systems change. We are uniquely qualified to identify controlling and contextual variables that contribute to inequitable educational and service-delivery systems and develop solutions to supplant them.

        ABA student working with preschool students

        ABA online program student data

        The following data is from the 2022-23 annual reporting period

        Reporting categoryResult
        Number of students whose degrees were conferred by the program31
        Median years until graduation for students whose degrees were conferred by the program1.7
        Number of students enrolled in the program on January 1st of the reporting year58
        Number of students no longer enrolled for any reason other than conferral of degree0
        Number of completed applications received72
        Number of students admitted38
        Percentage of first-time candidates passing the BCBA certification examination83.72%*

        *2021 data, most recently available per the BACB

        Miller Hall on the UW campus

        Program Faculty

        Assistant Teaching Professor
        Associate Teaching Professor
        Professor
        Associate Teaching Professor

        Program Affiliated Faculty

        Teaching Associate
        Teaching Associate
        Teaching Associate
        Teaching Associate