Behavior Analysis

Simmons University's Behavior Analysis MS and EdS program is perfect for students looking to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts® (BCBAs®) and make a difference in the lives of those with behavioral challenges. BCBAs® are known for their work in improving quality of life, communication, and learning outcomes, particularly for individuals with autism. This program is completed part-time, with classes available in the evenings. To earn either the master’s or educational specialist (EdS) degree, students must complete 42 credits.

Students sitting in the common area of the Main College Building

Our behavior analysis program is the only master's degree in New England that is accredited by the Behavior Analysis Accreditation Board (BAAB) of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). We offer a Verified Course Sequence and exceptional preparation for the BCBA® exam — with on-campus students achieving a first-time pass rate of 87% in 2019, as compared to the average of 63%.

Why study Behavior Analysis?

With the rate of autism diagnoses on the rise, the need for BCBA® trained professionals has never been greater. BCBAs® not only do well professionally, but they also do meaningful work, as recognized on the Payscale.com list of "Best Jobs for Do-Gooders", where Behavior Analyst appears in the top ten. Graduates have the skills to work with individuals with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury, and mental health conditions.

Our students learn from faculty with expertise ranging from experimental behavior analysis and verbal behavior to behavioral medicine and organizational behavior management. You'll graduate ready to pursue a career in a variety of traditional and emerging fields. With a focus on teaching the science of behavior, Simmons University provides students with an in-depth understanding of analytics, the history of the science, and opportunities to read and analyze research.

What will you learn?

To prepare students for the BCBA® exam, Simmons provides everything from introductory courses on research and analysis to 2,000 of supervised fieldwork. Classes in this program include Ethics and Legal Issues, Methodologies for Behavior Change, and Advanced Topics in Behavior Analysis.

In addition to learning from world-class faculty, students are mentored and partnered with BCBA® supervisors that oversee their supervised fieldwork and prepare them for the BCBA® exam, as well as for their future careers.

What can you do with a degree in Behavior Analysis?

Upon completing Simmons’ BCBA® program and earning certification, many of our graduates advance their careers by pursuing supervisory roles in their current fields. However, with wide potential uses for this degree in both experimental and applied settings, graduates may also choose to launch a career in a different field—such as behavioral education, behavioral medicine, consulting, organizational behavior management, instructional design, or animal training.

Other graduates will continue their studies at the doctoral level in order to contribute to the growing body of behavior-analytic research or to pursue opportunities to teach at the college level. Positions requiring BCBA® or BCBA-D certification increased by 1,942% throughout the U.S. between 2010 and 2018, and Massachusetts ranked second nationwide for job postings requiring one of these two credentials. Those who relocate to pursue graduate studies at Simmons benefit from a robust job market in Massachusetts with many providers of ABA services.

Learn more about our Behavior Analysis degree!

Our graduates have gone on to found schools, establish their own practices, pursue doctoral degrees, and assume leadership roles in schools and clinics throughout the region.

Simmons University’s Behavior Analysis program can be completed as an MS or EdS and opens the door for students to become BCBAs®. Interested in learning more about becoming a BCBA®Request more information today!

ABAI Accreditation Board Masters SealABAI Verified Course Sequences Seal

The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified the following courses toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination.

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has verified the course sequence from Simmons University as meeting the 5th Edition, 315-hour coursework requirement for students taking the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination.

Students fulfill the fieldwork requirements for BCBA® examination eligibility while registered in five consecutive semesters of Supervised Fieldwork. With the required hours of supervised experience included in our Supervised Fieldwork courses, the cost of BCBA® supervision is covered by your tuition at Simmons. While enrolled in the Supervised Fieldwork courses, which are completed during the final five semesters of study in the program, students receive weekly group supervision, as well as weekly one-on-one supervision from an Individual BCBA® Supervisor provided by Simmons. Students may complete the required hours of supervised fieldwork on the job if they are employed at an approved site. While beneficial throughout their studies, work in a related field is not required of students until the second semester when they enroll in the first of five Supervised Fieldwork courses; most students choose to work full-time in the field throughout the program. The Department of Behavior Analysis can provide students who are not yet working at an approved site with guidance in finding suitable employment during the Orientation to Supervised Fieldwork, which is required each semester prior to registering for the Supervised Fieldwork courses. Relevant jobs are widely available in Massachusetts, with ample opportunities to work with individuals with an autism diagnosis in home-based, school-based, or clinical settings, and most students easily identify suitable employment options. International students may apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) while enrolled in the Supervised Fieldwork courses. However, the number of hours of CPT that international students must complete for BCBA® examination eligibility will make them ineligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) following degree completion.

While enrolled at Simmons, students who wish to gain experience with research are encouraged to connect with faculty to discuss their interests. Our faculty and doctoral students are actively engaged in research, and welcome the participation of motivated master's and Ed.S. students.

This information is provided in good faith to applicants as of June 11, 2020.

The Behavior Analysis program leads to a Master of Science (MS) or Education Specialist (EdS) in Behavior Analysis. This program is intended to lead to exam eligibility for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination, and not an individual certificate or license. Some, but not all, states license Behavioral Analysts, with name of license and requirements varying by state. Generally granting of the degree, fulfilling the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) requirements to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and passage of a background check is sufficient for licensure in most states.

Here you can review a state by state breakdown of comparable requirements, including a determination of eligibility for the national certifying exam. This information provided is designed as a baseline determination of whether the program meets national exam eligibility requirements and not individual state specific requirements. Specific state licenses may be more applicable and/or require additional standards. Exam eligibility, licensure requirements, and appropriate pathways are subject to change and may differ based on individual student backgrounds, including coursework taken outside the scope of the program. Students should do their own due diligence and determine the appropriate pathway and license type for themselves.

Admission options and prerequisites vary by program. Learn more about the requirements for the MS or EdS in Behavior Analysis.

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Behavior Analysis at Simmons University

Our Behavior Analysis program prepares students for leadership roles in the implementation, evaluation and administration of applied behavioral analytic principles and methods.

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Ronald Allen

  • Assoc. Professor of Practice & Doctoral Program Director