Autism/Behavior Analyst

  • Credits: 38
  • Degree:
    Master of Education
  • Program Approved:
    Course sequence approved by Behavior Analyst Certification Board

Program Description

Autism is becoming more prevalent in our society and the need for specialists dedicated to serving this population is growing rapidly. This program provides knowledge of the autism spectrum and the skills necessary to meets the needs of individuals with autism. By completing the Behavior Analyst program, students meet the course requirements to sit for the BCBA examination, giving them the opportunity to earn a credential that is in high demand. The 2015 exam pass rate for our graduates was 88%, significantly higher than the national average of 65%.

It is essential that all candidates for the program have a current job in a setting that will enable them to meet the BACB’s supervised field work requirements. This includes having a BCBA who has agreed to provide supervision for the fieldwork. Accrual of supervision hours and applied projects requiring access to clients and supervision are essential components of the program.

Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate knowledge of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and associated scientific principles that govern human behavior and the treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Students will demonstrate knowledge of clinical, educational and ethical issues pertaining to the application of ABA across a broad range of treatment contexts and behaviors.


Graduates who also complete the supervised fieldwork requirements and successfully obtain and maintain BACB Certification, will be able to work in a wide range of educational and clinical treatment settings as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.


For more information, please contact Admissions at 1-800-829-4723.


Autism & Special Education Courses
Autism: History, Prevalence, Diagnosis and Characteristics
ESP 610 3 credit(s)
This course examines current research and theoretical models that focus on typical and atypical development of children. Emphasis is on understanding the child with autism in terms of psychological, intellectual, social, and physical development. The historical problem of biological versus psychological causation of autism will be examined along with trends in autism research that continue to this day. This course will focus on autism as a neurological developmental disorder characterized by an impairment in social interaction, communication skills, and in behavior. Autism is acknowledged as a "spectrum" disorder meaning that children with autism may range from extremely low cognitively to highly intelligent with little or no language to communicate to being highly verbal. The cause(s) of autism is not known at this time, with 9 out of 10, for whom the cause is idiopathic. Autism Spectrum Disorder is the fastest growing developmental disability with 1 in 150 children now being diagnosed with autism. It is more common than Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Childhood cancers combined.
Assessment and Appraisal Process -ASD
ESP 621 3 credit(s)
Effective instruction is difficult to implement in the absence of effective assessment and appraisal data. The goal of this course is to introduce candidates to several educational and functional assessments that are frequently used to establish skill strengths and deficits in children with autism spectrum disorders and diagnoses with similar characteristics. Such tools as the Psycho-educational Profile, 3rd edition (PEP-111), Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills Revised (ABLLS-R), and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, classroom edition, will be reviewed and interpreted. Along with an emphasis on these assessments, this course will stress considerations of student specific goals including variables such as, needs in the home setting, activities of daily living, vocational training, and an independent and self determined adult life.
Social and Psychological Perspectives in Autism Spectrum Disorders
ESP 630 3 credit(s)
Social deficits are one of the defining characteristics of autism, including Asperger’s syndrome, and most are almost always associated with other autism spectrum disorders and similar diagnoses. This course will introduce candidates to social skills intervention through a whole family approach focusing on both students with deficits associated with global delay as well as higher functioning students who demonstrate deficits primarily or exclusively in the area of social skills. This class will take into account the needs of not only the student, but also the siblings, parents, separated parents, extended family relationships, household economic needs, and culturally specific variables that make up the landscape of the dynamic American family.
Communication Disorders - ASD
ESP 616 3 credit(s)
Communication-based disabilities are a diagnosing criteria of Autism spectrum disorders, diagnoses with similar characteristics, and are commonly seen in severe levels of developmental delay. Not only do communication difficulties greatly impact life-long educational, social, and vocational opportunities, they are closely associated with the presence of challenging behaviors such as aggression and self-injury. Following a review of typical and atypical language development, physiological, environmental, and psychological theories of language development will be presented. This course will examine criterion-based and peer-normed communication assessments, effective language-based teaching strategies for children with severe disabilities, and alternative communication forms such as picture exchange communication system, sign language, and other non-vocal communication systems. In addition, students will be introduced to the following: Provision of family-centered services; impact of culture on work with individuals with disabilities and their families; and recommended practices/framework for assessment and facilitation of communication for individuals with ASD.
Supervised Learning Project
SSP 800B 3 credit(s)

The Supervised Learning Project is a culminating learning experience that helps educators/behavior analysts integrate their personal and formal learning, along with their extensive field work into a meaningful whole. Students will integrate their experiences into a field-based research document which reflects the area of study and of licensure. It is project-based and is combined with a poster demonstration.

Assistive Technology: Modifying the Curriculum for Diverse Learners
ESP 615 3 credit(s)
How do we as educators implement the mandated requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that calls for assistive technology to be considered in each Individualized Education Program (IEP)? Educators in this course examine assistive technologies and the federal laws affecting the education of students and children with disabilities. They look at assistive technologies addressing seating and positioning, access to the technology, augmentative and alternative communication (low-tech and high-tech). Educators will also look at curriculum modifications using technology, and software that addresses these modifications and individual learning styles. They will have a comprehensive understanding of the various augmentative and alternative communications (AAC) methodologies, including the appropriate use of aids and devises.
Collaboration and Consultation Techniques
ESP 594 2 credit(s)
The course explores the concept of school and community working together as partners to support each other in a strong coalition. A school district serves several smaller communities in one, and rarely does a community act as a single entity. To establish and sustain community and school linkage is critical to an effective partnership. The course explores the core mission of public schools and creates an environment that helps young people learn and achieve at high standards. The community school approach supports young people’s academic, social, and interpersonal goals by creating an effective learning atmosphere. Schools are a microcosm of societal values and community philosophy that daily affects students’ lives. The power structure of a community — its formal and informal networks and the people in them — that makes things happen is studied.
BCBA Course Sequence

Courses must be taken in sequence below.

Basic Applied Behavior Analysis -ASD
ESP 622 3 credit(s)
The basic principles of applied behavior analysis relevant to the design and implementation of behavioral interventions in educational and human service environments will be presented in this course. Behavioral principles such as schedules of reinforcement, measurement techniques, analysis and interpretation of behavioral data, ethical, and pragmatic issues will be covered. Students will critique the validity and usefulness of behavioral research to applied problems. The course will provide credit hours towards eligibility for the behavior analysis certification examination.
Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis ASD
ESP 726 3 credit(s)
Research Design in Applied Behavior Analysis-ASD
ESP 724 3 credit(s)
This course focuses on research design and study of human behavior. You will learn about the characteristics of science and the rationale for having behavior as the focus. You will be exposed to issues related to measurement, specific research designs, and the important issues (such as variability) associated with designs. You will learn how to accurately analyze and interpret research data from a variety of research experiments. Related issues relevant to identifying functional relations among environmental and behavioral variables in behavior analysis will also be explored. This course provides credit hours toward educational qualifications required to sit for the behavior analysis certification examination.
Ethics and Professionalism in Applied Behavior Analysis
ESP 704 3 credit(s)
This course prepares students for the ethical and professional practice of applied behavior analysis. Students will learn about the foundations of ethical and professional behavior to ensure a high quality of practice in both behavior analysis and education in general. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board Guidelines for Responsible Conduct will be reviewed in detail. Ethical dilemmas and case studies will be presented for behavior analysts working in a variety of educational and therapeutic settings. Professional issues such as representation of one’s self and the field of behavior analysis, collaboration with other professionals, relationships with colleagues and clients, the evaluation of treatment and instructional procedures, and interpersonal communication will be explored. Learning activities will include synchronous instruction (lectures, group exercises, role play), asynchronous instruction (video lecture, responding online to questions and peer review of responses) and project-based instruction (writing exercises or papers). Students will take an active part In forums and problem solving ethical issues.
Clinical Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis - ASD
ESP 722 3 credit(s)
Contemporary developments and issues in ABA including behavior change strategies, recent developments in ABA, generalization and ethical use of treatment methodologies are addressed. Part of the educational qualifications required to sit for the behavior analysis certification examination.
Implementing Behavior Analysis in Educational Settings - ASD
ESP 723 3 credit(s)
Focuses on the clinical practice of applied behavior analysis in a variety of settings. The application of the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in educational and treatment settings will be examined and the unique issues presented in these contexts will be reviewed and discussed. These issues include functional behavior assessments, ethics of practice, staff/parent training, and behavioral education in public schools.
Applied Behavior Analysis Fluency Seminar
ESP 705 1 credit(s)
This one-credit course is designed to strengthen students’ ability to demonstrate key core knowledge competencies in the field of applied behavior analysis. During the course of the semester students will engage in a number of fluency based instructional activities that will enable them to demonstrate knowledge in all of the BCBA task list content areas. Students will be required to practice these skills both during class sessions and via software specifically designed to support fluency training and competence demonstration. Students must demonstrate proficiency in each of the task list content areas in order to successfully pass this course.

Program Chair

Core Faculty

Senior Instructor



  • Admission Test:

    No standardized graduate school tests required for admission into non-licensure programs.

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application Form:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

School Requirements

See Admissions Requirements for School of Education


State Health Requirements

The Massachusetts Health Department and Cambridge College require the following of students in Massachusetts:

Immunizations – All students in Massachusetts are required to get certain immunizations before you can register for your first term. See form 

Health Insurance – In Massachusetts, undergraduate students taking nine or more credits/term and graduate students taking six or more credits/term must enroll in the College’s health insurance plan. Students who have insurance with comparable coverage may request a waiver. See information and enroll or waive.

International Students 

International students are accepted at Massachusetts location only, and need to provide supplemental documentation:

  • Official demonstration of English language proficiency
  • Supplemental documentation for issuance of I-20
  • International transcripts, evaluated by an accepted evaluation service

Transfer Credit

Graduate program applicants, please complete the transfer credit request form if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer. Learn more.

Undergraduate program applicants, once you are accepted, your official transcripts are evaluated for transfer credit.



  • Credits:
  • Cost per credit hour:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)
  • Health Insurance Fee:
    $1,995 - Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.

Note: Rates are as of September 2015, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students, unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

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