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Behavior Analysis Program

Master of Science in Behavior Analysis — Program Overview

The Master of Science program in Behavior Analysis prepares you to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). The graduate degree program emphasizes autism spectrum disorders, although as a BCBA, you can work with individuals with any number of challenging behaviors and conditions including intellectual disabilities and drug and alcohol addiction.

We partner with regional organizations like the Pier Center for Autism to provide you with practicum experiences working with individuals on the autism spectrum, people with other challenging behaviors, and their families.

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® has approved the following course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination® (Applicants will have to meet additional requirements to qualify). Six courses, listed in our Core Courses, make up this sequence: PSYC 500, 510, 520, 600, 610 and 620.

How long does the program take?

The Master of Science in Behavior Analysis is a two-year program with all coursework and practicum hours offered in a face-to-face format. You complete 24 credit hours of coursework and 16 credit hours of practicum.

Core Behavior Analysis Program Courses

PSYC 500 - Behavior Principles

This course will examine the history and theory of the psychology of learning. This course will focus on classical conditioning as well as the behavior analytic approach to studying reinforcement, punishment, avoidance, stimulus control, and choice behavior. Read more »

PSYC 510 - Applied Behavior Analysis

This course will consider the application of basic research in behavior analysis to problems of social significance. The core elements of behavioral principles, processes, and procedures of behavior change as well as specific procedures for inducing behavior change will be emphasized. Read more »

PSYC 520 - Ethical and Professional Conduct in Behavior Analysis

This course will consider the ethical standards for psychologists (APA) as applied to research and clinical problems. The focus will be on examples relevant to the practice of behavior analysis. Read more »

PSYC 575 - Advanced Topics in Behavior Analysis I

In this first of a two-series course, students will explore advanced topics in one of three broad areas of behavior analysis: applied, basic, or conceptual. Read more »

PSYC 590 - Graduate Practicum

Students will participate in a supervised practicum experience (1000 hours) working with individuals with autism. This experience will last throughout the certificate program, with credit hours similarly distributed across the program duration. Students will be supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Read more »

PSYC 600 - Single-Case Design

This course will evaluate single subject designs in both basic and applied research as well as how these designs can be used to evaluate behavior change in intervention programs. Areas of emphasis include methodology, data analysis, historical and conceptual bases, and its role in behavioral psychology. Read more »

PSYC 610 - Functional Behavior Assessment

This course will examine how behavior analysts assess behavior and select appropriate intervention outcomes and strategies. The course focuses on training individuals to recognize the functional relation between behavior and the antecedent events and consequences that surround it. Students will learn how to conduct functional behavior assessments, how to analyze the data obtained from such assessments, and then be able to make specific behavioral and environmental recommendations based on the assessments. Read more »

PSYC 620 - Behavior Intervention & Planning

This course will expand on the content discussed in Applied Behavior Analysis and Functional Behavior Assessment by focusing on the planning and implementation of behavior change procedures. Design and communication of behavior intervention plans will be the primary focus of the course. Additional topics of special concern will include systems of maintaining behavior, supervision and monitoring of plan implementation, and analysis of behavior change agents both within and outside of a clinic setting. Read more »

PSYC 675 - Advanced Topics in Behavior Analysis II

In this second of a two-series course, students will explore advanced topics in one of three broad areas of behavior analysis: applied, basic, or conceptual. Read more »

Additional Program Requirements

Before enrolling, students must prove completion of at least the equivalent of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, and GPA for the most recent 60 credit hours of undergraduate work must be at least 2.7 on a 4.0 scale. GRE scores are also required. For more information, see the M.S. in Behavior Analysis admissions checklist.


Iowa Association of Behavior Analysts

Association for Behavior Analysis International

Behavior Analyst Certification Board

Pier Center for Autism