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Applied Behavior Analysis, M.S.

Saint Louis University’s School of Social Work offers a Master of Science and a post-master’s certificate in applied behavior analysis, both of which allow you to become a board-certified behavior analyst.

About the Program

Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

Learn to apply behavioral principles to produce socially significant changes in behavior in work with a variety of populations. Board-certified behavior analysts work with individuals with intellectual disabilities, mental health difficulties, substance abuse problems and others in homes, public or private schools, agencies, or organizations. The curriculum in SLU’s applied behavior analysis program includes six three-credit-hour courses and three practica.

Post-Master’s Certificate

SLU’s post-master's certificate in applied behavior analysis is for students who have already earned a master’s degree in behavior analysis, education or psychology. It includes six courses (three credit hours each) and an optional nine credit hours of supervised field education. Students must start this program in the fall semester and take one or two courses per semester.


Program Highlights

Saint Louis University offers the only applied behavior analysis program within a School of Social Work. This unique program is also the first in the nation to offer a Master of Social Work program with an applied behavior analysis concentration.

M.S. Curriculum and Program Details

Full-time students can complete the M.S. in six semesters; part-time students usually complete the program in seven to nine semesters. Completion of the degree is also based upon the needs of the student and thesis project.

Certificate Curriculum and Program Details

The post-master certificate program consists of 18 credit hours, as follows:

  • Principles and Concepts in Behavior Analysis
  • Measurement and Experimental Design
  • Assessment and Selecting Interventions
  • Behavior Change and Processes
  • Behavior Change and Ethics
  • Special Topics I

You'll also have the option to complete nine credit hours of practicum (1,000 total across three semesters).

Students can complete the certificate in three semesters (full-time plan with or without practicum) and six semesters (part-time plan with or without practicum). Completion of the certificate is also based upon the needs of the student and thesis project.

Students who complete SLU’s applied behavior analysis coursework and practicum experience will be eligible to sit for the national examination to become a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA). You will also be prepared for doctoral programs in behavior analysis.
Tuition and Fees

Saint Louis University takes pride in being one of Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges.

For information regarding the upcoming academic year’s tuition rate, fees and financial aid, visit SLU Financial Services.

2018-2019 Tuition and Fees
Cost Calculator
Financial Aid

Scholarships and Financial Aid

We recognize that when choosing to continue your education, cost can be a concern. To help ease that decision, we have identified the following financial aid resources.

FASFA 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.

The Office Student Financial Services at Saint Louis University 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:


New and continuing students are eligible for merit-based scholarships. Prospective students who apply for admission by the priority deadline are automatically screened for scholarship eligibility. No additional application is required; awards are based on information provided in the admission application.

Priority Deadlines

  • October 1, 2018, for applicants who wish to start in spring 2019

Please note that the terms of scholarship are subject to change if you petition for a degree transfer or fail to remain in good academic standing.


Newly accepted master's or doctoral students and students in the first year of a program are eligible to apply for the Diversity, Dissertation and Presidential university-funded fellowships. The 2017-2018 deadline has passed; email Kristi Richter, Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admission, for information about  next year's deadline.

Other university scholarships that do not require nomination by a department/school are also available.

Graduate Assistantships

You can apply for a full or partial graduate assistantship with the School of Social Work. The application period for 2017-2018 is closed.

Current Students

Current students are eligible for full-tuition scholarships, conference/training funding and graduate assistantships. For more information and applications, visit the School of Social Work's Google Site.

Certification and Program Outcomes

Because SLU's ABA course sequence is board certified, our students are eligible to take the certification exam immediately upon graduation.

In 2017, SLU's ABA program yielded a 100 percent pass rate for the credentialing examination. Learn more about SLU's pass rates.

Logo for the verified course sequence with experience from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board

Applicant Criteria

Successful applicants should possess bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.

Candidates for the post-master's certificate should possess a master's degree in behavior analysis, education, psychology or a degree program where the you have completed a BACB-approved course sequence.

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

To apply, you’ll need:

Application Requirements

Application form and fee
Three letters of recommendation (two academic, one professional)
Professional statement

Requirements for International Students

Application Deadlines

All applicants who apply by the priority deadline of Feb. 1 are reviewed for merit-based scholarships. Applications will continue to be accepted and reviewed for admissions July 1. To be considered for a graduate assistantship, you must fill out the GA application by March 1.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. As soon as an application is complete, it is reviewed.

Admission decisions are based upon your overall application. Clinical experience in behavior analysis, potential or demonstrated leadership, and some background in research are important factors that are taken into consideration.