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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.

Program Mission:

The mission of the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program is to prepare students to (a) think critically about behavioral processes across various socially meaningful issues, populations, and practice areas, (b) comprehend and contribute to behavior-analytic scholarship, (c) enter the ABA workforce by passing the necessary certification and/or licensure examinations to practice as a behavior analyst, (d) serve diverse communities as Master’s level scientist-practitioners, and (e) enter doctoral training programs in behavior analysis.

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).

Contacting ABA Faculty

Denys Brand Headshot

Denys Brand, Ph.D. (University of Auckland, New Zealand)


Lab Website: Performance Improvement Lab

Research Interests: Performance feedback, performance management, sequential analysis, procedural integrity, three-alternative choice

Megan Heinicke Headshot

Megan Heinicke, Ph.D. (Auburn University)


Lab Website: Heinicke Research Lab

Research Interests: Stimulus Preference Assessments, Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation, Developmental Disabilities, Verbal Behavior, Teaching of Behavior Analysis

Ciobha McKeown Headshot

Ciobha McKeown, Ph.D. (University of Nebraska Medical Center)


Research Interests: Autism, Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention, Infant/Toddler Development, Prevention, Social Skills, Verbal Behavior

Caio Miguel HeadshotCaio Miguel, Ph.D. (Western Michigan University)


Lab Website: Verbal Behavior Lab

Research Interests: Verbal Behavior, Stimulus Control/Equivalence, Autism Treatment, Applied Animal Behavior

Beecky Penrod Headshot

Becky Penrod, Ph.D. (University of Nevada, Reno)


Lab Website: Pediatric Behavior Research Lab

Research Interests: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Pediatric Feeding Disorders, Assessment and Treatment of Problem Behavior, and Behavioral Health

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.
  • ACES, Comprehensive Educational Services, Inc. - 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.

ABAI Accreditation

The Sacramento State ABA program submitted a formal request for a preliminary review to determine eligibility for ABAI accreditation. We are eligible and in the process of applying for accreditation status.

MS Program Outcome Data

Transfer Credit Policy (Graduate Courses)

Program Information

Program Expo Poster

Informational Flyer

MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Coursework

Banner: ABAI Verified Course Sequences

The M.S. in ABA program at Sacramento State has been verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International as meeting the coursework requirements for taking the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination.

MS in ABA Program Catalog Information

BCBA Pass Rates

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.

SAABA Website