students walking through campus (c) UCR/Stan Lim

Applied Behavior Analysis


No admission Fall 2023

Applied Behavior Analysis M.Ed. Program 

ABAI VCS Program logo

There is a great need for professionals with training in applied behavior analysis (ABA), and the number of open positions is quickly outpacing the number of credentialed professionals that are able to fill them.

Ranked No. 9 in the state by the Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide, UCR’s graduate program provides intensive instruction and supervised concentrated fieldwork in the use of behavior principles to support the behavioral health of children and adults. Taught by faculty with backgrounds in ABA, education, and psychology, the courses are aimed at individuals who wish to provide behavioral support services to students in educational and clinical settings, including special educators, school psychologists, paraprofessionals, and other behavioral health providers.

Program Distinctions

While there are many master's programs in ABA to choose from, UCR’s program offers unique distinctions that give our graduates a competitive advantage in the field:

  • In-person instruction
  • Community building with future colleagues
  • Practicum – real world experience in field – required for professional certification
  • An emphasis on application in both clinical AND educational settings
  • Unparalleled access to resources and opportunities offered in the UC system

Specialization Overview


Program Overview

  • Start Term: Fall only
  • Program Length: 1.25 years/4 quarters; cohort model
  • Instruction: In-person on Riverside campus
  • Complete Board Verified Course Sequence
  • 450 hours of supervised practicum

Program Cost

Estimated program cost is $23,240  (in-state)

Out-of-state/international tuition is an additional cost. See the fee schedule here.


  • Students will complete 450 hours of fieldwork (10 hours of fieldwork per week during the first three quarters and 15 hours per week during the fourth quarter).
  • Students can be assigned a fieldwork placement through the program or seek out their own independent fieldwork placement. Any independently identified fieldwork placement must be approved by program faculty and provide the appropriate supervision and experience (consistent with the BCBA Fieldwork Requirements set forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board).
  • Fieldwork requirements align with the "Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork" experience option of the BCBA Fieldwork Requirements scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2022.


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. 

Certification examination pass rates are published annually by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (available at However, data are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of operation.

Frequently Asked Questions for Applied Behavior Analysis program

Do I need a bachelor’s degree in psychology or prior coursework in applied behavior analysis (ABA) to apply to the program?

No. It may be helpful, especially if you have had undergraduate coursework in behavior analysis, but it is not required.

What do graduates with a master’s in ABA degree end up doing?

Graduates with expertise in ABA are in high demand. Various industries including healthcare, education, and social services continue to seek qualified individuals with training in ABA.

Does this program offer a Verified Course Sequence?

Yes! The Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has verified course sequence. Successful completion of the program meets the coursework requirements for certification as a behavior analyst. Required content hours for each course in the program can be found at

Can I enroll in specific courses without applying to the master’s program?

No. We do not offer individual courses in Applied Behavior Analysis to those who are not degree candidates in the UCR Graduate School of Education.

When and where are classes taught?

Classes are taught on weekdays, typically in the afternoon. Each class meets once a week and last 2-3 hours. Currently, all classes are taught on the UCR campus; no online/distance courses are available.

Can I transfer credits from another institution?

No. The Applied Behavior Analysis courses are designed to be taken in sequence and cover specific content.

What happens after I submit my application?

The admissions committee will be reviewing all applications after the deadline for submissions (March 31). All applicants are carefully considered across multiple domains to assess their qualifications and match for the program. Highly qualified applicants will be invited to an informational/interview session that is planned for sometime in May. If an applicant is unable to attend, another form of a meeting may be arranged. Final decisions will be made after this event, and decision letters will be sent out via email.

If admitted to the program, will I be able to get any experience applying the skills I learn from the coursework?

Yes. The program requires students to engage in fieldwork to gain experience applying the relevant concepts and skills taught in class. Students can independently obtain a fieldwork placement or choose to be assigned a fieldwork placement with a qualified supervisor and complete 450 fieldwork hours (10 per week during the first three quarters and 15 per week during the fourth quarter).

Are there opportunities to conduct research while in the program?

Currently, there are no pre-established opportunities for research for students in the M.Ed. in Applied Behavior Analysis program as its primary function is to prepare students to practice behavior analysis. However, if you should have a strong interest in a research project outside of program’s degree requirements, it is advised that you consult with your faculty advisor.

I'm not sure if this is the right program for me. Where can I get more information about ABA/careers/training?

A good place to start is the BACB website ( If you are wondering if this is really the right fit for you, we strongly encourage you to explore the BACB website, research other web-based resources, and even consult with an academic advisor or faculty member at your home university.


In addition to coursework, students will also be actively engaged in supervised fieldwork. This combination of coursework and supervised fieldwork training is designed to prepare students for the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination. The program begins in the fall quarter and can be completed in four quarters. See "fieldwork" tab for more information. Students admitted into the program must complete 60 required units plus a portfolio project.

This program is available for Fall only admission.

Career Outlook

There is a rising demand for board certified behavior analysts over the last decade, increasing 17% from 2019 to 2020. Demand is highest in California, which accounted for 23% of the total demand in 2020 (Burning Class Technologies). 

The average starting salary in CA is $79, 316. The majority of BCBA salaries currently range between $66,851 (25th percentile) to $95,852 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $132,719 annually in California. (

Graduates can work in the following fields:

  • Educational services: Schools and educational support services organizations
  • Healthcare: Ambulatory health care services, hospitals, and nursing facilities
  • Social Assistance: Child and family service organizations
  • Other settings





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