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The Applied Behavior Analysis program is designed to teach students how to use the principles of learning to change behaviors of social significance and make a difference in the lives of others. This program provides students with necessary coursework to lead to certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) by offering classes that are approved as a Verified Course Sequence by the Association for Behavior Analysis International. Our program is designed to prepare students to become highly effective behavior analysts and leaders in the field of behavior analysis.

Program highlights:

  • Our program provides unique training experiences for students through the incorporation of university based and community practicum training sites.
  • Our program offers flexibility and options for students who are interested in being full-time or part-time students.
  • The job market for behavior analysts has never been better; studies indicated an 80% increase in job postings for BCBA’s from 2018-2019 alone.
  • The coursework is fully online.
  • Application Deadline: Fall semester: March 15
What are some potential careers?

Board Certified Behavior Analysts work in schools, center-based clinics, hospitals and residential treatment facilities. They work with children, adolescents and/or adults who may have varying clinical diagnoses (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, genetic disorders, intellectual disabilities) and functioning levels. Some behaviors BCBA’s may address include activities of daily living, adaptive skills, academic skills, language and communication, reduction of problem behavior and social skills. To learn more about the ABA Program, check out their website.

Who should pursue this degree?

Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career that allows them to help change the lives of others by implementing treatment strategies rooted in the principles of behavior and learning and driven by data should pursue this degree. If you are interested in becoming a BCBA, our program will provide you with the coursework, practicum experiences and supervision necessary to prepare you for the certification exam.

Program Structure

Degree Requirements

To graduate with a Master of Science in Educational Psychology degree with a concentration in ABA students must:

  • Complete a minimum of 31 hours
    • 10 core educational psychology hours
    • 21 ABA concentration hours
    • Optional practicum courses are offered each semester, but these hours are not required and are not included as part of the 31-hour degree
  • Students must pass a comprehensive master’s examination.

10 hours of core Educational Psychology courses + 21 Hours of ABA concentration courses = 31 credit hours; MS Degree in Educational Psychology with a concentration in ABA.

As mentioned above, practicum courses (each course equivalent to 3 credit hours) that provide students with approved clinical experiences in the field of ABA are optional for students in the program and can be taken each semester, if the student chooses.

Educational Psychology Core Curriculum: All students who enter MSU’s educational psychology masters program must meet the common core curriculum requirements.

  • EPY 6214 Educational & Psychological Statistics (4 hours)
  • EPY 8253 Child & Adolescent Development & Psychopathology (3 hours)
  • EPY 8263 Psychological Testing in Educational and Related Settings (3 hours)

Required ABA Concentration Curriculum:

  • EPY 6113 Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (3 hours)
  • EPY 6223 Applications of Behavior Analysis (3 hours)
  • EPY 8493 Social-Emotional and Behavioral Assessment (3 hours)
  • EPY 8763 Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis (3 hours)
  • EPY 9603 Legal and Ethical Issues in Behavior Analysis (3 hours)
  • EPY 9443 Single Subject Design (3 hours)
  • EPY 9613 Consultation, Supervision, and Personnel Management (3 hours)

Comprehensive Exam

All students in the ABA concentration will be required to take a written comprehensive exam during their final semester in the program. Students must pass the exam in order to be eligible for the degree. This exam will cover material presented throughout the course of the program and will map on to content areas that will be evaluated on the certification exam for the BCBA credential.

Admissions Process

Domestic/International Classified Admissions

  1. Submit online application. You will choose you will select Educational Psychology as your major and Online Education as your campus
  2. Statement of Purpose
  3. Three letters of recommendation
    • You will be asked to submit three names and three email addresses of individuals you are using as references. Once you click submit, these individuals will be sent an email from MSU, which will provide a link to an online form for completing their recommendations.
  4. TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for international students.
  5. One official transcript showing bachelor’s degree or progress toward degree. (For international students, please submit a copy in native language along with translated copies, if appropriate.)
  6. One official transcript showing ALL work after bachelor’s degree. (For international students, please submit a copy in native language along with translated copies, if appropriate.)
    • Electronic transcripts should be sent to: gradapps@grad.msstate.edu Mississippi State University, Graduate School. Only one copy of an electronic transcript is required.
    • Paper Transcripts Address (USPS):
      Mississippi State University
      The Office of the Graduate School
      P.O. Box G
      Mississippi State, MS 39762
    • Physical Street Address (for DHL, Fed Ex, UPS, DHS, etc.):
      Mississippi State University
      The Office of the Graduate School
      175 President Circle
      116 Allen Hall
      Mississippi State, MS 39762
  7. Payment of $60 non-refundable application processing fee for domestic students.
    Payment of $80 non-refundable application processing fee for international students.
  8. Once you are admitted, you will receive an email with complete instructions on registering for classes and contacting your advisor.

Academic Advising

After gaining admission to the university, you must contact your advisor to determine the courses that are most appropriate for you to take. Before the upcoming semester, your advisor will send an email to your MSU account, making course recommendations based on your program of study. Virtual individual and group advising sessions may also take place.

Mississippi State University uses email as its official means of communication with all MSU students. Please check your MSU email account (NetID@msstate.edu) daily. Information on setting up your MSU email can be found at the link for student services.

Courses in the ABA concentration have been developed and sequenced by program faculty. Students will be admitted into a cohort and the cohort will follow the pre-determined course sequence each semester.

If you choose to enroll in practicum courses, your advisor will need to approve and verify that your practicum site meets the necessary qualifications for providing appropriate clinical experiences in the field of behavior analysis as well as determining appropriate on-site supervisors for the site.

Halle Smith Headshot

Dr. Hallie Smith

Counseling, Educational Psychology & Foundations

  • Primary Advisor for ABA Concentration

Contact Information

Photo of Anusha Rijal

Anusha Rijal

Online Education

  • Coordinator
John Borgen Headshot

Dr. John Borgen

Counseling, Educational Psychology & Foundations

  • Assistant Professor
Daniel Gadke Headshot

Dr. Daniel Gadke

Counseling, Educational Psychology & Foundations

  • Department Head
Halle Smith Headshot

Dr. Hallie Smith

Counseling, Educational Psychology & Foundations

  • Primary Advisor for ABA Concentration