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Applied Behavior Analysis

Master of Arts in Education — Program Overview

Nearly 1 in 88 American children are diagnosed with autism — meaning now, more than ever, our schools need qualified educators capable of helping these children adjust to life inside and outside of the classroom.

Our Master of Arts in Education program specializing in "Applied Behavior Analysis" will prepare you to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) — an important credential for anyone pursuing a career in special education. A BCBA is qualified to help individuals with autism and other challenging behaviors adjust to school, jobs and other areas of life.

We partner with regional organizations like the Pier Center for Autism to provide you with practicum experiences working with individuals on the autism spectrum, people with other challenging behaviors, and their families. By the time you finish the program, you'll be eligible — and prepared — to sit for the national BCBA examination.  

How long does the program take?

The MAE can be earned in a few as 17 months for students who wish to pursue graduate study on a full-time basis; two-year and three-year programs of study are also available.

Are classes online or in person?

Both. All education-oriented classes are offered online, while all psychology-oriented courses are held on the Briar Cliff University campus.

What if you already have a Master's Degree?

For students pursuing a graduate degree in another area of study, or who already have a graduate degree but wish to qualify for BCBA certification, a Graduate Certificate in Behavior Analysis program is also available.

Core Courses

EDUC 500 - Research for School Leaders
EDUC 501 - Learning and Learners
EDUC 502 - Literacy, STEAM, and Turn-Around Schools
EDUC 503 - Systems Change in Organizations
EDUC 504 - Instructional Design and Assessment
PSYC 500 - Behavior Principles
PSYC 510 - Applied Behavior Analysis
PSYC 520 - Ethical and Professional Conduct in Behavior Analysis
PSYC 590 - Graduate Practicum
PSYC 600 - Single-Case Design
PSYC 610 - Functional Behavior Assessment
PSYC 620 - Behavior Intervention & Planning

Additional Program Requirements

Before enrolling, students must prove completion of at least the equivalent of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, and GPA for the most recent 60 credit hours of undergraduate work must be at least 2.7 on a 4.0 scale. For more info, see the MAE admissions checklist.


The EDUC courses are offered online, while all PSYC courses are offered on campus.