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California State University, Sacramento

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Psychology College of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies

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MS in Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the field of Psychology concerned with understanding the environmental variables that reliably influence human behavior, as well as developing procedures to modify socially significant behavior.

The ABA program prepares students to work as behavior analysts in a variety of settings including schools and agencies providing services to individuals with disabilities. The ABA program coursework fulfills the requirements to sit for the national certification exam in Behavior Analysis (BCBA). Students should note that this degree option is also appropriate for those planning to enter doctoral programs in Applied Behavior Analysis, Experimental Analysis of Behavior, or Special Education.

The Behavior Analysis Program at Sacramento State has 3 goals:

  1. To teach students to think critically and scientifically about behavioral processes;
  2. To enable students to enter doctoral programs in behavior analysis;
  3. To prepare students for careers in applied behavior analysis by passing the national certification examination (BCABA and BCBA).

Research & Clinical Opportunities

Students in the ABA Program have the opportunity to engage in state of the art research on a variety of applied and basic topics. Our research facilities include human and animal (rat) operant laboratories and research rooms for data collection with children and adults. We have also established research partnerships with different agencies in the region.

Clinical training is an integral part of our program. There are numerous funded internships and job opportunities for behavior analysis students in sacramento to obtain clinical experience working under the direction of Board Certified Behavior Analysts. Examples of internships* include:

  • B.E.S.T Consulting, LLC – Off-campus program providing in-home behavioral intervention services for children diagnosed with autism.
  • H.O.P.E Consulting, LLC – Off-campus program providing in-home and center-based behavioral intervention services for children and adults diagnosed with autism.
  • Therapeutic Pathways - Off-campus program providing center-based and in-home behavioral intervention and language therapy services for children diagnosed with autism.

*Assistantships and stipends are available for these positions.

MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Coursework

Banner: ABAI Verified Course SequencesThe Behavior Analysis course sequence at Sacramento State has been approved by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) as well as the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

MS in ABA Program Catalog Information

Student Association for Applied Behavior Analysis (SAABA)

Banner: Student Association for Applied Behavior Analysis

SAABA’s mission is to promote the study of Applied Behavior Analysis by providing its members with opportunities in the field through social networking, workshops, conferences, and guest lecturer events.

Behavior Analysis Faculty

Sacramento State's ABA Faculty
From Left to Right: Dr. Caio Miguel, Dr. Megan Heinicke, Dr. Becky Penrod and Dr. Denys Brand

Contacting ABA Faculty

Name Research Interests
Denys Brand, Ph.D. (University of Auckland, New Zealand)E-Mail: denys.brand@csus.edu Lab Website: Performance Improvement Lab Performance feedback, performance management, sequential analysis, procedural integrity, three-alternative choice
Megan Heinicke, Ph.D. (Auburn University)E-Mail: megan.heinicke@csus.edu Lab Website: Heinicke Research Lab Stimulus Preference Assessments, Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation, Developmental Disabilities, Verbal Behavior, Teaching of Behavior Analysis
Caio Miguel, Ph.D. (Western Michigan University)E-Mail: miguel@csus.edu Lab Website: Verbal Behavior Lab Verbal Behavior, Stimulus Control/Equivalence, Autism Treatment, Applied Animal Behavior
Becky Penrod, Ph.D. (University of Nevada, Reno). E-Mail: penrodb@csus.edu Lab Website: Pediatric Behavior Research Lab Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Pediatric Feeding Disorders, Assessment and Treatment of Problem Behavior, and Behavioral Health