Special Education

Special Education Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) Applied Behavior Analysis - General Track

About Special Education Applied Behavior Analysis - General Track

Bring about meaningful changes in individuals' behavior with this online M.Ed.

PennWest California's fully online applied behavior analysis master's degree program focuses on approaches such as positive reinforcement and encouraging structured routines to address the behavioral and instructional needs of individuals in a wide variety of settings.

Applied behavior analysis is best known for its use with children with autism and other disabilities, but it can also be applied at large corporations in "organizational behavior management" to improve worker productivity.

PennWest California's applied behavior analysis M.Ed. will prepare you to take a certification exam to become a board-certified behavior analyst. You'll graduate prepared to: 

  • Design behavior plans, monitor their execution and supervise people providing behavioral therapy services.
  • Supervise teachers who work with children on the autism spectrum.
  • Provide support with school-wide behavior issues.
  • Work with children in foster care, adults in corporate and eldercare settings, and more.


Intensive Practicum: PennWest California's intensive practicum for the applied behavior analysis program will give you the opportunity to study under board-certified behavior analysts while applying the content you have covered during your courses. Upon completion, you'll be job-ready for a wide range of careers. 

BCBA Exam: PennWest California is one of a few universities In Pennsylvania that is recognized to provide the course sequence required to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam.

Top Accreditation: This  degree program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits PennWest California. CAEP promotes excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement. See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.



100% Online 
PennWest California's Global Online courses are asynchronous, so you can complete your classes anywhere and at any time.
Top Ranking 
U.S. News & World Report has listed PennWest California's graduate education program as a Best Online Program three years in a row and counting.
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Degree Benefits

As a master's degree student in applied behavior analysis you will:

  • Earn your master's degree while simultaneously becoming a board-certified behavior analyst.
  • Work with top faculty who have years of real-word experience in applied behavior analysis.
  • Get hands-on experience conducting behavioral assessments, designing education and behavioral programs, creating data collection procedures, and more.
  • Benefit from career support from faculty and PennWest California's Career and Professional Development Center.
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Graduate Outcomes

An online M.Ed. in applied behavior analysis from PennWest California will prepare you for a wide range of roles within private and publicly funded programs. PennWest California alumni who have BCBA certification are recruited to apply for a variety of behaviorally based positions throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. Top careers include:

  • Regular or special education
  • School counselor, school psychologist or behavior specialist consultant.
  • Mental health therapist, early intervention therapist and speech therapist.
  • Job coach or transition specialist.
  • Educational director.
  • Family therapist/counselor or psychologist.

Applied Behavior Analysis Online Master's Degree Courses

Applied behavior analysis degree courses are delivered 100% online. This program consists of 33 credits without the intensive practicum or 39 credits with the intensive practicum.


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.

Course Credits
Required Courses 12
ESP 603  Assessment and Prescriptive Teaching 3
ESP 610  Special Education Foundations and Collaboration  3
ESP 612  Evidence-Based Practices for PK-8 Inclusion  OR  ESP 613  Evidence-Based Practices for Secondary Inclusion 3
ESP 620  Special Education History, Theory and Exceptionality 3
Required Specialized Courses 18
ESP 700  Foundations of Measurement and Experimental Design in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
ESP 701  Introduction to Behavior Analysis 3
ESP 750  Concepts, Principles and Assessments 3
ESP 751  Applied Behavior Analysis Interventions 3
ESP 752  Behavioral Assessment, Intervention and Supervision in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
ESP 753  Professional Ethical Practice for the Behavior Analyst 3
Required Capstone Course 3
ESP 800  Seminar in Advanced Behavior Analysis and Research Design 3
Total 33

Course Options:

  • ESP 754 Applied Behavior Analysis Practicum Training (3 to 12 credits)

Individuals may choose to arrange for the accumulation of experience hours through enrollment in ESP 754. Students may only enroll in this course through department approval for 3 credits per semester. Individuals enrolled in ESP 754 must follow observation and supervision guidelines per the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB). Individuals are not required to enroll in ESP 754 to meet graduation requirements.


Admission Requirements


Regular Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.80 or a 3.00 in last 48 credits earned (Students with a GPA below 2.80 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst Prep Certificate Only: Master's degree in an area approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) with a GPA of 3.30 or higher (Students with a GPA below 3.30 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 2.80 will be reviewed for a decision

    • Behavior Analyst Prep Certificate Only: Master's degree with a GPA under 3.30 will be reviewed for a decision

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
PennWest California
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

For additional information:
Email GradAdmissions@pennwest.edu
Phone: 1.866.595.6348

Program Requirements

Out of State Students:
All students who will be seeking certification outside of Pennsylvania are responsible for securing and following the certification requirements in the state in which they intend to apply for certification.

Related Programs
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Top-Quality Online Courses

Online courses at PennWest California have the same objectives, content and learning outcomes as campus-based programs and are taught by the same expert professors.

Two PennWest California professors stand with their class.

Long-Standing Reputation

PennWest California has a 160-year reputation for producing top-quality educators in Pennsylvania and beyond. Special education at PennWest California has been rooted in applied behavior analysis for 50 years.

Dr. Peter Heh addresses the classroom.

Top Accreditation

PennWest California education programs have been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954, and we are continuing with the successor organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).





Special Education Faculty

Dr. James Burton
Associate Professor


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Dr. Peter Heh
Assistant Professor


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Dr. Jason Kight
Associate Professor and Chair


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Dr. Kalie Kossar
Associate Professor


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