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Pepperdine University Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis (MS in ABA) online

Master applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques and gain an in-depth understanding of how to enrich lives using them, with an MS in ABA from Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology.

About the program

  • BCBA preparation: Prepare to sit for the BCBA exam to become a behavior analyst through the ABA online program and completing necessary experience hours.
  • Top-quality learning: Follow the same curriculum as in-person learners, experience clinical work near you, and attend face-to-face online classes.
  • Help clients: Assist clients as they develop the adaptive skills they need to function optimally in different settings.

About Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) is a catalyst for inspiration and change. The school has been serving learners from diverse perspectives since 1971, and fosters academic excellence, meaningful service, personal fulfillment, and social purpose through collaborative work. Located in Malibu, Pepperdine University is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence, combined with Christian values, and its learners are inspired as they learn to inspire others.

Tuition and fees

Tuition and fees are subject to change and may increase each academic year. Tuition does not include student fees, technology platform licensing, or support services. Learners are also responsible for travel and accommodation costs related to any in-person immersions or residentials.

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Featured courses

The Master of Science in ABA program utilizes an evidence-based, data-driven perspective for understanding behavioral psychology. Learners explore principles and techniques of applied behavior analysis through assessing behavior patterns, selecting strategies to promote change, and determining target behaviors for clients diagnosed with impairments such as traumatic brain injury, developmental disabilities, or autism. Below are two of the program’s featured courses:

  • Multiculturalism and Diversity in Applied Behavior Analysis: Delve into discovering how socioeconomic backgrounds, gender, belief systems, ethnicity, and race affect working with diverse populations.
  • Assessment Procedures for ABA: Collaborate with providers, determine assessments, interpret data while identifying client difficulties, and convey concepts in nontechnical language.
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Applicants to Pepperdine’s online program are accepted on a rolling basis, with the opportunity to begin studying in either January, April, July, or October. Learners are eligible for an application fee waiver if applying prior to the priority deadline. GRE scores are not required to apply. To complete an application, you will need:

  • Official transcripts

  • Letters of recommendation

  • Statement of Purpose

Clinical training


Learners must take part in at least 20 hours of BCBA-supervised clinical training a month while enrolled in PSY 620 Practicum in ABA. Afterward, they must complete the hour requirement in the BACB’s fieldwork standards to qualify to take the BCBA exam independently. 

While taking part in fieldwork, learners gain real-world experience at an agency approved by Pepperdine University in or near their community. They focus on diversity, multicultural considerations, and the practitioner-client relationship.

Frequently asked questions

After completing all courses and necessary experience hours — and passing the BCBA exam — you can pursue work in a variety of settings as a behavior analyst or behavior coach. You can help children and adults with disabilities to develop adaptive skills, for example. Graduates might also pursue work as educational or organizational consultants, sharing their expertise to promote and help advance evidence-based behavioral treatments.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) focuses on improving targeted behaviors. By identifying goal behaviors, using positive reinforcement, and measuring outcomes, they help individuals develop skills they need in everyday life, such as communicating effectively, fine motor dexterity, increasing attention, social skills, and memory.

Yes. Earning your Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis is the first step to becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Pepperdine’s course sequence is Association for Behavioral Analysis International (ABAI) verified, which confirms the program coursework makes learners eligible for the BCBA exam. The program’s clinical practicums and mentorship from an experienced BCBA will help you develop skills and the confidence you need to succeed in a real-world setting. Once you complete the program, and complete all necessary experience hours, you will be ready to sit for the BCBA exam.

No, a bachelor’s degree in psychology is not required to apply to the MS in ABA. In fact, candidates with any bachelor’s degree are welcome to apply to the program. Throughout the course sequence, learners gain the foundational knowledge, and practical, real-world experience necessary to be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam. 

Yes. Many students work while completing the program. The school offers a full-time option and a part-time one. Courses feature asynchronous coursework between live classes that you can complete on your own schedule.

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