Earn Your Master's in Applied
Behavior Analysis
Online from Pepperdine

Pepperdine University’s online Master of Science in Behavioral Psychology program provides you with a thorough understanding of how to leverage applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques. Featuring online course work and in-person field experiences, students learn the skills necessary to improve behaviors of individuals diagnosed with impairments such as autism, developmental disabilities, or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Pepperdine is proud to offer its students a verified course sequence from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), which meets the course work requirement to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam.

Once you graduate from the ABA online program, and complete all necessary experience hours, you will be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam.


Online Master of Behavioral Psychology Program Highlights

As a student in the online applied behavior analysis master’s program, you will develop a deep understanding of analytical behavioral health and the modern techniques used to recognize, assess, and treat human behaviors. You will study concepts and principles of ABA, assessment procedures, and applications of ABA for behavior change.

The BACB-verified course sequence is designed to teach you foundational knowledge of a wide range of clinical interventions for children, adolescents, and adults. You will help patients develop adaptive skills for optimal functioning in educational, family, social, and occupational roles.

  • 6–7
    sessions
  • 32–38
    units
  • 6
    units of supervised
    field placement

Upon completion of the program’s 32-38 units and all necessary experience hours, you will be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam. Throughout the ABA program, you will have mentors that facilitate learning, positioning you to qualify for BCBA certification.

ABA Master’s Online Curriculum Overview

The applied behavior analysis master's program curriculum gives you the opportunity to understand behavioral psychology from an evidence-based, data driven perspective. Students learn to observe and assess behavior patterns, determine target behaviors, and select strategies to promote positive change.

As a student, you will learn the principles and techniques of applied behavior analysis while exploring deeper topics such as ABA experimental design, ethical and professional conduct, and multicultural counseling.

The online program can be completed in 15-20 months with the option of taking six or nine units per session.


ABA Online Program Courses

The following list is a sample of ABA course topics you will study in the online master’s in applied behavior analysis program:

  • Concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Selecting and implementing interventions in ABA
  • Assessment procedures for ABA
  • Applications of ABA for behavior change

In addition to the BACB-verified courses, you will have the opportunity to take three of the following four elective courses:

  • Multicultural counseling
  • Psychopathology
  • Individual, couple, and family development: a life cycle approach
  • Clinical interventions with children and adolescents

If you completed the above courses at the undergraduate level from a regionally accredited institution within the last seven years, you may be eligible to have up to six semester units, or two elective courses, waived. You must have earned a grade of “B” or better in each course. We will evaluate the transcripts you provide with your application for potential waivers.

Read course descriptions for the classes you will take in the online master’s in behavior analysis program.

Clinical Training

Pepperdine’s clinical experiences are focused on close mentorship, providing you with the opportunity to work with a BCBA and learn the skills necessary to treat clients. Clinical training focuses on the practitioner-client relationship, diversity, and multicultural considerations, enabling you to gain real-world experience while employed at a verified ABA agency in your community.

Beginning in 2022, the BACB is updating the experience and supervision requirements for those wishing to take the BCBA exam. This is to ensure that all new practitioners are prepared for success in the field. Additional experience hours, required to take the BCBA exam, must be obtained following program completion. Learn more about the changing requirements here.

You will be required to complete 600 hours of clinical training supervised by a BCBA in order to graduate from the program. Additional hours will need to be completed prior to taking the BCBA exam.

Once enrolled, our dedicated placement team will work with you to help find a Pepperdine-approved ABA agency in your community; however, we highly recommend you begin looking for employment as soon as you apply. By the fourth term, you will need to secure employment in a behavioral health site in order to take the practicum course. Finding your own employment helps ensure you can take the practicum course when it’s time.

Master of Science in Behavioral Psychology Online

Learn more about earning your Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis online from Pepperdine University.

Admissions Overview

OnlinePsychology@Pepperdine seeks students who are committed to cultivating a deep understanding of human behavior while advancing their capability to serve those in need. We accept applications on a rolling basis and offer you the option to start earning your behavioral psychology degree at various times throughout the year.

Cohorts start in:

Winter  |  Spring  |  Summer  |  Fall

To apply, you must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. You are not required to provide GRE scores as part of your application. Applicants who take advantage of the priority submit deadline will have their application fee waived.

Visit our Application Requirements page for further details.

Cohorts start in:

Winter  |  Spring  |  Summer  |  Fall  

Financial Aid

Financial aid opportunities are available for Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology students. Students may utilize military education benefits, employer tuition assistance, federal student loans, private loans or scholarships to assist with program expenses. To gain a better understanding of the total cost of your degree, Pepperdine offers a calculator tool to approximate the cost of tuition.

Requirements for scholarships vary. For more information about scholarship opportunities please call our admissions team at Phone Number: +1-855-270-5431.

For more information, visit the Tuition and Financial Aid page.

Careers for ABA Online Program Graduates

By applying scientifically validated principles and techniques of learning, BCBAs help children and adults with disabilities develop the adaptive skills needed to function in educational, social, family, and occupational settings.

Certified behavior analysts can work in a range of professional settings, including, government entities, education settings, hospitals, and mental health facilities.

After completing all courses, necessary experience hours, and passing the BCBA exam, you can pursue certification and employment in a variety of roles, such as:

  • Behavior analyst/coach/specialist
  • Clinical supervisor/manager/director
  • Behavioral consultant
  • Educational consultant
  • Organizational consultant

People diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disabilities need evidence-based treatments that allow them to reestablish positive behaviors and improve their potential for a better future. BCBAs work in a variety of settings; however, most fall into three categories: health care, education, and social assistance.

After you graduate Pepperdine’s online ABA program, you’ll be equipped to enter numerous career settings, including:

  • Treatment planning
  • Case management
  • Human development
  • Data collection
  • Employee training

Applied behavior analysts are renowned for advances in autism treatment and support. They use evidence-based treatments in response to human behavioral or societal needs. Other applications of ABA include behavioral parent training, organizational behavior management, and behavioral gerontology.

When you become a BCBA, you will conduct a number of processes used to:

  • Determine patient behaviors
  • Understand and control patient environments
  • Establish achievable strategies over time
  • Promote independence and self-capability
  • Modify behavioral variables
  • Evaluate goals and expected outcomes

BCBA Online Program Certification

To become eligible to take the BCBA certification exam, you must:

  1. Earn a masters or doctoral degree in an acceptable field of study.
  2. Complete coursework that covers the required content from the BCBA.
  3. Complete 600 hours of supervised clinical training.
  4. Complete the required experience hours that comply with the BCBAs experience standards following graduation.
  5. Take and pass the BCBA examination.

Earning your Master of Science in Behavioral Psychology degree is the first step to becoming a BCBA. Pepperdine’s BACB-verified course sequence will provide you with the course work required to sit for the BCBA exam, once all necessary experience hours are completed.

BCBA Online Program Certification

To become eligible to take the BCBA certification exam, you must:

  1. Earn a masters or doctoral degree in an acceptable field of study.
  2. Complete coursework that covers the required content from the BCBA.
  3. Complete 600 hours of supervised clinical training.
  4. Complete the required experience hours that comply with the BCBAs experience standards following graduation.
  5. Take and pass the BCBA examination.

Earning your Master of Science in Behavioral Psychology degree is the first step to becoming a BCBA. Pepperdine’s BACB-verified course sequence will provide you with the course work required to sit for the BCBA exam, once all necessary experience hours are completed.


Pepperdine’s Professors and Clinicians at Your Service

Master’s degree students no longer have to relocate to become highly educated in the specific discipline that most interests them. Pepperdine’s faculty and virtual tools are at your disposal around the clock.

Robust Online Campus

As a student in the online ABA program, you will attend seminar-style sessions in a virtual classroom where you will collaborate with approximately 12 other students. Classes are not lectures, but an active learning environment, where you and your peers come together to explore concepts, ideas, and questions. These weekly classes are taught by Pepperdine professors, who provide mentorship and tie in real-world experiences to link classroom learnings to clinical practice.

Self-paced video lectures can be downloaded for offline use via our mobile application or viewed anywhere with an internet connection. At your convenience, you will analyze case studies, clinical assessment tools, and treatment approaches. Technical and academic support is accessible throughout your time as a student.

Engaging Faculty & Mentorship

The faculty at the Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) are active practitioners and experts in their disciplines who are dedicated to helping you grow as you pursue your master’s education. The practitioners and professors who you’ll collaborate with have a deep passion for inspiring future leaders in the field. During your study, you’ll be exposed to a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences from professionals who work in all segments of the behavior analysis landscape.

Mentorship is a key component of the ABA master’s online program. Pepperdine faculty will teach you how to design programs, conduct data analysis, and discern multicultural considerations for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.

The BACB exam pass-rate data can be found here. Pass-rate data are not published for verified course sequences within their first four years of operation.