Applied behavioral scientists and researchers impact our society and culture in a variety of areas, including social work, public health, law enforcement, special and regular education, medicine, and psychology. Practitioners in this field improve how people learn, work and live. As a pioneering institution in behavioral research and practice, the University of Kansas is an ideal place to further your studies in this field and prepare you for a career of helping others. The KU Department of Applied Behavioral Science offers a Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science, with all-online courses designed for busy professionals and students. You’ll receive high-quality education and training on a schedule that fits your needs, and are thoroughly committed to training the next generation of behavior analysts.  

Program Requirements

We seek students who have backgrounds in psychology or education, with some clinical experience, who are interested in learning about the science of behavior and the field of behavior analysis. The online master’s program will include educational preparation required by the BACB for BCBA certification. An empirical master’s thesis is required with a defense scheduled on campus in Lawrence.

Program Format

This program consists of online classes that incorporate both synchronous and asynchronous delivery. Complete coursework at your own pace and discuss content with fellow students whenever and wherever you want.

Unique Practicum Opportunities

KU offers unique practicums in collaboration with a prominent behavioral health service provider. Behavioral Health Holdings, a leader in serving children with autism spectrum disorder, and KU recently joined forces to provide an exciting opportunity for online students to gain experience in the field. This new collaboration may save you time and money as it helps you streamline your required field experience for the BACB.

More Information

For more information on this degree program, please visit the details page here and complete the form in the top right corner of that page. Select “MA in Applied Behavioral Science” as your academic interest..

KU also offers a BACB-verified online graduate certificate in Behavior Analysis and online Registered Behavior Technician exam preparation.

Curriculum Requirements

The coursework accompanying the online master's degree has been submitted for approval to Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) for BCBA certification. Approval should be in place by fall 2018. In addition, the program is accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

M.A. in Applied Behavioral Science

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) accredited master's program trains highly competent scientist-practitioners in applied behavioral science. The program offers courses on the empirical and conceptual foundations of behavioral science and its research methods, but emphasizes coursework and supervised experience in behavioral assessment, analysis, intervention and evaluation. Its mission is to advance empirically based solutions to problems of societal importance.

Course Requirements

This degree requires a total of 30 credit hours, including 12 hours of content coursework, 3 hours of research or practicum, and 9-12 thesis hours. Students must also conduct, write and orally defend an empirically based thesis. You can see the entire course requirements here. Inquire today to receive more information on the program's courses.

When is the application deadline?

  • KU accepts applications to the M.A. in Applied Behavioral Science for Fall of 2019 on a rolling basis until July 1 2019, with initial reviews beginning on Dec. 15 2018. To find out if any positions are still available, please contact Liz Barton, Academic Success Coach at 

Where do I send my application materials?

Is the GRE required?

  • While students are not required to take the GRE, students who have done well on it may be at an advantage compared with others who have not taken the exam
  • The Department considers students who may have less than perfect verbal or quantitative scores and they may still be strong candidates for graduate study. Students scoring less than 500 on both quantitative and verbal are, needless to say, at a competitive disadvantage.

Is there a minimum undergraduate GPA, below which my application will not be considered?

  • No, but you must keep in mind that admission to graduate school is a competition.
  • The most qualified applicant will be the one accepted. Having said that, we recognize that many students do poorly in their first year or two of undergraduate study.
  • We also recognize that students with extensive math and/or physical science coursework on their transcripts may have lower GPA's than more traditionally trained undergraduate psychology majors.
  • With respect to your academic record, we tend to look for students who posted a high GPA in their last two years and have taken (and done well in) coursework relevant to behavioral science.

Who reviews my application?

  • On the departmental application you will indicate the faculty members with whom you would like to work. These faculty members will conduct the initial review of your application. From there, if a faculty member is interested in your application, he/she must obtain consent of three other faculty members and the department's director of graduate training before your name can be forwarded to the KU Graduate School with our recommendation to accept.

What happens after I submit my application?

  • Shortly after the application deadline, the Program Director will review all completed applications. This process may take several weeks to complete as it must be coordinated with the KU Graduate School.

When do you typically know if you will be accepted to the program?

  • First, applicants should know that each applicant must be accepted by the program director and the KU Graduate School (a separate entity). If both of these requirements are met, only then will the student be admitted into the ABS program.
  • Shortly after the application deadline, the Program Director will review all completed applications. This process may take several weeks to complete as it must be coordinated with the KU Graduate School. If you have strong credentials, the Program Director will contact you and invite you to an interview. The Program Director will discuss how your career goals may be compatible with the activities of the program. Applicants are strongly encouraged to visit KU if invited to do so.

Does the graduate program offer funding and/or tuition waivers or reimbursement?

  • No except under extreme circumstances.
  • While some faculty can offer graduate teaching or research assistantships, the department does not guarantee funding.

How long does does it typically take to complete the program?

  • Generally, students complete all requirements for the MA degree in 2 to 3 years.

Does the ABS department offer courses and supervision that fulfill requirements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)?

  • The ABS online program has applied for course verification; acceptance should occur prior to fall 2019 semester. The ABS online program does not programmatically offer supervision.
  • You may visit the BACB website at for eligibility and exam information.

Is the ABS online program accredited through the Behavior Analysis Accreditation Board (BACB)?

  • Yes, the master’s and doctoral programs are currently accredited by the BACB through 2019.

My question didn't appear in this list.

  • Contact Liz Barton, Academic Success Coach at with your question.


Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)


The Department has applied to the BACB for course verification approval, and acceptance is assumed to be in place prior to the fall 2018 semester.

The Department offers a program that allows students to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts® (BCBAs®). For this, they (a) take 315 content hours in areas such as basic principles, research design, assessment, application and ethics in 8 courses pre-approved by the BACB®; (b) complete 1500-2000 hours of field experience supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (e.g., faculty member, doctoral student); and (c) complete the Master’s degree program. They may then take the examination. Students interested in pursuing this certification should discuss this path with their advisor. Students interested in pursuing this certification should speak with Liz Barton, Academic Success Coach at .

The online MA program helps meet the educational requirements for licensure in the state of Kansas. If you plan to obtain a license or certification in a state other than Kansas or a US territory after completion of your program, it is highly recommended you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency BEFORE beginning the academic program to ensure you can obtain a license or certification in your home state or territory. The website provides resources for licensure and certification boards outside of Kansas.

KU also offers an online Graduate Certificate in Applied Community Health & Development. Learn more here.


Thomas Zane
Director of Online Behavior Analysis Programs, Board Certified Behavior Analyst
4029 Dole Human Development Center

Jessica Juanico
Assistant Professor of Practice
4054 Dole Human Development Center

Robin Kuhn
Assistant Professor of Practice

         Liz Barton
         Academic Success Coach

         Edwards Campus, Regents Center – Suite 210




Questions about the Graduate Program?

If you have questions about our graduate program, please contact Dr. Derek Reed, Director of Graduate Studies, at

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