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Applied Behavior Analysis, Post-Master's Certificate

Woman observing man and woman in gambling lab

Saint Louis University's applied behavior analysis (ABA) certificate program involves the application of behavioral principles to produce socially significant changes in behavior. The curriculum includes seven 3-credit courses, with the option to complete five 2- or 3-credit practicum courses.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) explores how and why human behavior occurs. ABA practitioners work in a variety of fields and use direct assessments, research, and foundational principles and concepts of behavior to design and evaluate interventions. SLU’s ABA programs focus on providing students with a diverse set of experiences in the many applications of ABA while ensuring a focus on providing a safe and culturally humble space for students to develop their cultural humility so they can effectively work with a diverse client population.

Three things set SLU’s master's ABA program apart from other programs. First, we are dedicated to creating a culturally humble environment where students will explore their own biases and develop the skills necessary to serve clients across all settings. Second, students are provided a flat fee for their education, ensuring there are no unforeseen expenses or unplanned cost increases in tuition. Third, students complete their required fieldwork experience as part of the program, providing additional guidance and oversight as they practice their skills and ensuring they do not have to seek out fieldwork experiences on their own.

SLU’s ABA program provides state-of-the-art in-person and online learning that prepares students for a successful career. The program has a strong focus on diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure students are prepared to provide the best services possible to a variety of clients across settings. Graduates of SLU’s ABA program are well-positioned to apply to Ph.D. programs around the country in behavior analysis and other fields. Students who complete a thesis often gain opportunities to present their research at local and national conferences and gain publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Curriculum Overview

SLU’s post-master’s certificate program includes seven 3-credit-hour courses, an optional 3-credit-hour course, and five optional practica. Courses are offered either online or in person and students have the option of selecting which format they would like to complete the certificate program.

The program requires 21 credits, as follows:

  • Principles and Concepts in Behavior Analysis
  • Measurement and Experimental Design
  • Behavioral Assessment
  • Behavior Change and Process
  • Supervision and Organizational Behavior Management
  • Philosophy of Behavioral Science
  • Behavior Change and Ethics
  • **Basic Behavior Analysis (optional course)

Student Handbook  Field Education Policy and Procedures Manual

Applied Behavior Analysis Field and Research Opportunities

SLU’s applied behavior analysis program offers students a practice-integrated education. Students who elect to complete the five practica courses as part of their coursework will complete 1,500 fieldwork hours, which meets the requirements set forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® to sit for the BCBA® exam.

Careers in Applied Behavior Analysis

Alumni from this program have worked in a wide range of fields, including serving those diagnosed with autism and their families, adults with challenging behavior and developmental disabilities, job training sites, schools, health care agencies and more. They have also gone on to lead state education initiatives and advocacy projects.

Those in ABA also practice in a variety of other fields, including:

  • Sports, health and fitness
  • Organizational behavior management
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion and access
  • Gerontology
  • Criminal justice
  • Mental health

Admission Requirements

Successful applicants should possess a master's degree from an accredited college or university.

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

Application Requirements

  • Application form
  • Official transcript(s)
  • Two letters of recommendation (one academic, one professional)
    • One academic letter of recommendation from a professor who has evaluated your academic performance in the classroom
    • One professional letter of recommendation from a supervisor who has evaluated your work in the field or related volunteer experience
    • If you have been out of school five or more years, you may submit two professional letters
    • If you are entering the program directly from an undergraduate program, you may submit two academic letters
    • If you have been out of school and the workforce for five or more years, please contact us to determine the best individuals to provide your letters of recommendation
  • Resume or academic vita
  • Professional statement
  • Interviews may be requested

Requirements for International Studies

ABA requires a TOEFEL score of 92 or higher.

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students. International students must also meet the following additional requirements:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Financial documents are required to complete an application for admission and be reviewed for admission and merit scholarships. 
  • Proof of financial support that must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the student's time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of the student's study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include:
    • Courses taken and/or lectures attended
    • Practical laboratory work
    • The maximum and minimum grades attainable
    • The grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations
    • Any honors or degrees received.

WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Application Deadlines

August 1 is the application deadline for students each year.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The admissions committee considers several factors to determine a candidate's eligibility:

  • Strength of the undergraduate program
  • Application information
  • Professional statement
  • Work experience
  • Any graduate degrees earned
  • Motivation, leadership and service
  • Undergraduate GPA
  • Clinical experience in behavior analysis


Tuition Cost Per Credit
School of Social Work Graduate Certificates $1,120

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

Net Price Calculator

Information on Tuition and Fees

Miscellaneous Fees

Information on Summer Tuition

Financial Aid

We recognize that cost can be a concern when choosing to continue your education and have identified the following financial aid resources to assist you.

FAFSA and Other Resources

All incoming students should complete the application for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A step-by-step guide to submitting your FAFSA is available online.

Saint Louis University Student Financial Services provides a Graduate Financial Aid Handbook that outlines the process of financing your graduate education. The following links to resources in Saint Louis University Student Financial Services may also be helpful:

Other Funding

Certificate students are not eligible for scholarships or graduate assistantships.


VCS Program

Saint Louis University’s ABA program is currently a Verified Course Sequence (VCS). Students who graduate from the MS ABA program will have completed all requirements necessary to sit for the BCBA® exam.

  1. Graduates will be able to assess relevant behavior analysis literature/scholarly contributions.
  2. Graduates will be able to apply behavioral theories, practices, policies, or research methodologies.
  3. Graduates will be able to apply knowledge from applied behavior analysis to address problems in broader contexts.
  4. Graduates will be able to articulate applied behavior analysis explanations/arguments to a disciplinary/professional audience in both written and oral formats.
  5. Graduates will be able to evidence scholarly/professional integrity (ethics) in behavior analysis.
Required Courses
ABA 5746Principles & Concepts in Behavior Analysis3
ABA 5774Measurement & Experimental Design3
ABA 5747Behavioral Assessment3
ABA 5748Behavior Change and Process3
ABA 5749Ethics in Behavior Analysis3
ABA 5001Supervision and Organizational Behavior Management3
ABA 5002Philosophy of Behavioral Science3
Optional course:
ABA 5775
Basic Behavior Analysis
Total Credits21

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses. Any course with a letter grade B- or below will have to be retaken.

Non-Course Requirements

Students seeking BACB certification must complete 1,500-2,000 clock hours of ABA field practicum under the supervision of a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA). Students may choose to complete their practice experience independently or take up to 14 credits of practicum through SLU's ABA program.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
ABA 5746 Principles & Concepts in Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 5774 Measurement & Experimental Design 3
ABA 5747 Behavioral Assessment 3
ABA 5748 Behavior Change and Process 3
ABA 5749 Ethics in Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 5001 Supervision and Organizational Behavior Management 3
ABA 5775 Basic Behavior Analysis (optional) 3
Year Two
ABA 5002 Philosophy of Behavioral Science 3
 Total Credits21-24

Apply for Admission

For admission questions contact:

Social Work School Graduate Admissions Office

For program questions contact:

Natalie Parks, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA
Director of the Applied Behavior Analysis Program
Associate Clinical Professor