Saint Louis University Menu Search

Applied Behavior Analysis

Saint Louis University’s School of Social Work offers a Master of Science and a post-master’s certificate in applied behavior analysis, both of which allow you to become a board-certified behavior analyst.

About the Program

Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

Learn to apply behavioral principles to produce socially significant changes in behavior in work with a variety of populations. Board-certified behavior analysts work with individuals with intellectual disabilities, mental health difficulties, substance abuse problems and others in homes, public or private schools, agencies, or organizations. The curriculum in SLU’s applied behavior analysis program includes six three-credit-hour courses and three practica.

Post-Master’s Certificate

SLU’s post-master's certificate in applied behavior analysis is for students who have already earned a master’s degree. It includes seven courses (three credit hours each) and an optional nine credit hours of supervised field education. Students must start this program in the fall semester and take one or two courses per semester.

Program Highlights

Saint Louis University offers the only applied behavior analysis program within a School of Social Work. This unique program is also the first in the nation to offer a Master of Social Work program with an applied behavior analysis concentration. Our graduates have board certification pass rates higher than the national average.

Curriculum and Program Details

SLU’s Master of Science in applied behavior analysis degree consists of 39 credit hours, as follows:

  • Principles and Concepts in Behavior Analysis
  • Measurement and Experimental Design
  • Assessment and Selecting Interventions
  • Behavior Change and Processes
  • Behavior Change and Ethics
  • Special Topics I
  • Mission and Practice for Global Public Health
  • Electives
  • Practicum, three each with an integrative seminar
  • Thesis

The curriculum includes eight three-credit-hour courses and three practica. Students must complete 1,000 hours of field practicum under the supervision of a board-certified behavior analyst and defend a thesis.

We offer this program in full-time and part-time formats. This program is also offered with a specialization in gerontology, which includes two additional three-credit-hour courses and requires that two of the practica focus on older adults. Students can complete the M.S. in either five semesters (full-time plan) or in six semesters (part-time plan) based upon the needs of the student and depending on their thesis.

  • Ashley Lugo, Ph.D.
  • Alyssa N. Wilson, Ph.D.
  • Heather L. Lewis
Students who complete SLU’s applied behavior analysis coursework and practicum experience will be eligible to sit for the national examination to become a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA). You will also be prepared for doctoral programs in behavior analysis. According to the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis (the national leader in BCBA certification), there are four BCBA jobs for every graduate with the certification.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
SLU’s School of Social Work offers new and continuing students partial tuition remission and merit-based scholarships. Applicants who do not initially meet the scholarship criteria or who do not receive an award after their first application may re-apply during their first semester in the program. Scholarship awards are made based on information in the admission application. Applicants who apply by the priority deadline can also apply for graduate assistantships.


Applicant Criteria

Successful applicants should possess bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and 24 credit hours in the liberal arts.

It is recommended that students have taken prior coursework in applied behavior analysis or have independently studied ABA texts.

To apply, you’ll need:

Application Requirements

Application form and fee
Three letters of recommendation
Professional statement

Requirements for International Students

Application Deadlines

The priority deadline for applying for the fall semester is March 1, though applications are considered until Aug. 1. To be considered for a scholarship, you should apply by March 1.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. As soon as an application is complete, it is reviewed.

Admission decisions are based upon your overall application. Clinical experience in behavior analysis, potential or demonstrated leadership, and some background in research are important factors that are taken into consideration.