Earn Your Master of Science Degree in Behavior Analysis from Simmons University

Simmons University's Master of Science in Behavior Analysis campus-based program is perfect for students looking to enter the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), become Board Certified Behavior Analysts® (BCBAs®) and make a difference in the lives of others. BCBAs® are known for their work in improving quality of life, communication, and learning outcomes, particularly for neurodivergent individuals. However, BCBAs® may also practice in the other areas, including animal training, organizational behavior management, higher education, and behavioral medicine, among others.

Our campus-based Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program is one of the few master’s programs across the world that are accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI),and was the first master's program in New England to be accredited by ABAI. Our program outcome data are reported annually. Our campus-based Master of Science program meets the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s degree and coursework requirements to apply for the BCBA® exam under Pathway 1 (accredited programs). Our curriculum offers exceptional preparation for the BCBA® exam — with on-campus students achieving a first-attempt pass rate of 75% in 2021, as compared to the national average of 60%.

Students sitting in the common area of the Main College Building

Why pursue a Behavior Analysis degree?

The need for behavior analysts has continued to increase across the nation since 2010. 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 of our Master’s in Behavior Analysis program work with individuals within the autism community, neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals, people with acquired brain injury, and individuals with mental health conditions.

Our Behavior Analysis degree students learn from faculty with expertise ranging from experimental behavior analysis and verbal behavior to behavioral medicine and organizational behavior management. You'll graduate with your Master’s degree in Behavior Analysis 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 Behavior Analysis degree students with an in-depth understanding of the basic principles of behavior, behavior change methodologies, and application of the science across a wide range of clinical practice and research domains.

Simmons University also offers a PhD in Behavior Analysis and an online Master of Science in Behavior Analysis.

Master of Science in Behavior Analysis admission requirements

Students interested in applying to our Master of Science in Behavior Analysis campus-based program should submit the following:

  • A $75 nonrefundable application fee
  • A completed online application
  • Current résumé or CV Statement of purpose
  • Two academic or professional letters of recommendation
  • Official college transcripts from every college or university attended. Must include degree conferral

Learn more about applying to our Master of Science in Behavior Analysis campus-based program.

Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarships ranging from $10,000 - $20,000 are available for qualified applicants. Because we value Behavior Analysis, we are investing in the next generation of leaders!*

*Applicants who work for an organization that has an agreement with Simmons are not eligible for scholarships, but do benefit from cost savings. If you are an employee at one of these organizations, please reach out to your organization representative for more information.

What will you learn in our Behavior Analysis Master's Program?

Simmons’s Behavior Analysis Master’s program prepares students for the BCBA® exam, and for leadership roles in the implementation, evaluation, and administration of applied behavior analytic principles and methods. Our rigorous, practice-based curriculum focuses on contemporary research and the full range of applications of behavior analytic principles, across various domains, populations, and clinical practice. Throughout the program, students will examine the concepts and methods of applied behavior analysis within the following areas: functional assessment and analysis, ethics, evidence-based instructional methods, verbal behavior, experimental analysis of behavior, experimental design and research, and supervision.

What can you do with a Behavior Analysis degree?

The U.S. demand from 2021-2022 for employees credentialed as a BCBA® or BCBA-D® rose 23%, with Massachusetts ranking second nationwide amongst states with the highest demand.Those who relocate to pursue graduate studies at Simmons benefit from a robust job market in Massachusetts with many providers of ABA services.

Upon completing the Simmons Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program and earning BCBA® certification, many of our graduates advance their careers by pursuing supervisory, consultative, and leadership roles in the field. However, with wide practice and research opportunities in both experimental and applied settings, graduates may go on to open a clinical practice or focus their career on a specialized area of practice, such as behavioral medicine, organizational behavior management, animal training, instructional design, or a related field. Graduates may also choose to 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 in higher education. 

Learn more about our Master’s in Behavior Analysis!

Simmons University’s Behavior Analysis campus-based master’s program can be completed as a Master of Science (MS) or Educational Specialist (EdS) degree, and prepares students to sit for the BCBA® exam. Our Behavior Analysis degree program is completed part-time, with classes available in the evenings to allow flexibility for students working in the field. To earn either the MS or EdS degree, students must complete 40 credits.

Interested in learning more about our program? Apply or request more information today!

Department of Behavior Analysis Mission Statement

  1. To make the philosophy, theory, and science of behavior analysis explicable and accessible to individuals in an optimal position to affect meaningful educational, social, and behavioral changes.
  2. To generate and publish innovative research by fusing behavior analysis with relevant findings from other scientific discipline.
  3. To include, whenever possible, students as authors on presentations and publications.
  4. To demonstrate how behavior analysis can influence the breadth and depth of issues centered on the human condition.
  5. To prepare students to pass the Behavior Analysis Certification Board’s examination to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

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 the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination. Applicants will need to meet additional eligibility requirements and demonstrate they reside in an authorized country before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination.

Students complete two 4-credit Practicum courses during the 4th and 5th semester of the program to meet the experiential learning requirements to graduate. Students must secure a worksite that satisfies the program standards and the Association for Behavior Analysis International accreditation standards for experiential learning. The worksite and worksite clinical supervisors are vetted and approved by Simmons University faculty, at the discretion of the faculty, before a student may begin Practicum.

  • The Practicum courses are 4 credit hours each term, for a total of 8 credit hours. Students must work at a University-approved site completing behavior analytic activities under the supervision of a University-approved clinical supervisor for a minimum of 20 hours per month (45 hours per semester). Students must complete 90 behavior analytic experience hours to be eligible to graduate.
  • Students meet weekly with their practicum instructor, and complete experiential learning activities and projects to develop clinical and research skills. Across the two Practicum courses, students will also complete a thesis equivalent research project.
  • Prior to registering for Practicum courses, MS or EdS Campus Program students complete a 0-credit Practicum Orientation course during term 3 of the program. The Orientation helps prepare students for the Practicum experience and familiarizes students with program requirements.
  • Note: Practicum experiential learning requirements are not the same as the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) supervised fieldwork requirements. A site and/or supervisor may meet BACB standards, but not meet the Practicum requirements.

Students who are currently working in the field at a site that meets BACB fieldwork standards under supervision of a worksite BCBA who meet BACB supervision standards may begin accruing BACB fieldwork hours at their worksite during term 1 of the program.

  • In term 1, MS or EdS Campus Program students will receive orientation materials and tools that help familiarize students with BACB Fieldwork Standards, and help prepare students to begin accruing supervised fieldwork hours with their worksite supervisor(s).
  • Students who begin accruing supervised fieldwork hours with their worksite supervisor during term 1, and accrue 130 hours per month, may accrue 2,000 experience hours by the end of the 4th term in the program. (Note: students who accrue 2,000 BACB experience hours must still accrue the minimum required Practicum hours when enrolled in Practicum courses).

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.

Apply to Simmons’ Behavior Analysis Master’s Program

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.

Graduate Program Videos

Our Faculty

Ronald Allen photo

Ronald Allen

  • Professor of Practice and Director of the Doctoral Program for Behavior Analysis
Gretchen Dittrich photo

Gretchen Dittrich

  • Professor of Practice, Chair of the Behavior Analysis Department and Director of the Master's Program
Photo of Emily Perry

Emily Perry

  • Assistant Professor of Practice/Mentoring and Supervision Faculty and Interim Director of Supervised Fieldwork
Kylan Turner photo

Kylan Turner

  • Associate Professor of Practice and Director of the BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons Program