Program Overview

NMU's Applied Behavior Analysis Master's of Science program meets all educational requirements for licensure and helps students obtain the practicum hours many states require for eligibility to sit for the certification exam. 

This two-year full-time program focuses on providing the educational requirements for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential.  BCBAs seek to increase, decrease, modify, or maintain socially significant behaviors by studying how behaviors interact with the environment.  BCBAs then help to develop strategies for promoting successful behaviors while addressing issues that might maintain less adaptive behaviors.  BCBAs work in many settings including mental health, schools, hospitals, residence facilities, and other human service settings. 

The Master's Program in Applied Behavior Analysis contains a 5th edition Verified Course Sequence (VCS- 50160) and provides opportunities for meeting a portion of the 2,000 Supervised Fieldwork hours required by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Remaining Supervised Fieldwork hours may be necessary following completion of the degree in order to qualify to take the certification exam from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Program Mission

Analysis Master's of Science program is to support the graduate training of professional behavior analysts through the provision of comprehensive coursework, high-quality supervision and experiential training, and the production and dissemination of behavior analytic research. 


studemt working with a child

Admissions Requirements

Applications for admission to the master of science program in Applied Behavior Analysis at NMU, on a full-time basis will be accepted from students holding a BA or BS degree. Students must also meet the Graduate Education and Research Office admission requirements consisting of a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Candidates must submit an authorized transcript of their BA- or BS-level work (must include a course in Introductory Psychology and a course in Statistics), a personal statement (outlining their interest in the program, expectations for the program, and career goals), a curriculum vitae, and three letters of reference from individuals who know the candidate personally. Review of fully complete applications will begin after February 1 for Fall enrollment and be considered on a rolling basis after this date. Applicants will be selected by the department faculty based on the merit of the overall application, and the number of applicants accepted will depend upon the program’s current capacity. The program does not accept applications for the Winter or Summer terms.

The graduate admissions committee of the Department of Psychological Science will review all applications. 

The Master of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis provides: (a) coursework meeting the 5th edition requirements for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification as approved Behavior Analyst Certification Board, (b) support in obtaining the experience required for Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification, and (c) opportunities for independent research.

Graduates of this program will be prepared to work in applied settings such as schools, hospitals, and other organizations as Applied Behavior Analysts.

Students will be required to complete 45 hours of designated course and practicum work including 10 hours of an intensive practicum experience and a Thesis (2 credits).

Students in this program take the following courses: 

Total Credits Required for Degree                                                                                                                            45

Core Requirements                                                                                                                                   24

  • ABA 501 Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis                                 3
  • ABA 502 Research Methods in Applied Behavior Analysis                            3
  • ABA 503 Behavior Assessment Behavior-Change Procedures                      3
  • ABA 504 Behavior-Change Procedures                                                             3
  • ABA 505 Conceptual Analysis of Behavior                                                       3
  • ABA 506 Practice and Ethics in Behavior Analysis                                          3
  • ABA 507 Personnel Supervision and Management in Behavior Services   3
  • ABA 508 Experimental Analysis of Behavior 1                                                 3


Practicum (9 credits of ABA 581, 6 credits of ABA 582 for a total of 15 credits)                                  15 

  • ABA 581 Behavior Analysis Practicum                                                               9
  • ABA 582 Advanced Behavior Analysis Practicum                                            6


Thesis & Research                                                                                                                                      6

  • ABA 589 Research in Behavior Analysis (offered at 2cr., total of 4 cr.)        4
  • ABA 599 Thesis                                                                                                      2


The typical course of studies is as follows:

Fall Courses

Winter Courses

Summer Courses

1st Year

ABA 501    ABA 502

ABA 503    ABA 581

Total Credits: 12

1st Year

ABA 504   ABA 505

ABA 506   ABA 581

Total Credits: 12

1st Year

ABA 507   ABA 589

ABA 581

Total Credits: 8

2nd Year

ABA 508    ABA 589

ABA 582

Total Credits: 8

2nd Year

ABA 599    ABA 582



Total Credits: 5

2nd Year





Total Credits: 0

Individuals trained in applied behavior analysis at the master's level are in demand nationwide. Many careers in behavior analysis require a master's degree in psychology, behavior analysis or related field. 

In Michigan, the demand is also high. Michigan's Autism Insurance Reform legislation went into effect in 2012. The new law requires health carriers to provide coverage for diagnoses and treatments related to autism spectrum disorders. However, Michigan lacks enough providers to immediately serve the needs of all of the children in the state with autism. According to the Autism Alliance of Michigan, there are over 15,000 kids in Michigan and not enough Board Certified Behavior Analysts in Michigan to help those families.

This program is the first of its kind in the Upper Peninsula, where demand is especially high for behavior analysts.  

Where you might work: 

  • Schools
  • Outpatient mental health facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Clinics
  • In an industry trying to improve worker efficiency

Salary range: Typically, applied behavior analysts earn between $60,000-80,000 a year. 

In U.S. states (including districts and territories) that have licensing for behavior analysts, a BCBA is required. The NMU degree meets this educational requirement. States that currently require licensure for behavior analysts are listed below (4/8/21).


New Jersey

Rhode Island
South Dakota

More information on state licensure requirements, including links to state licensing information, can be found here.

Contact Information

Dr. Jacob Daar, BCBA-D
1131 New Science

*Pass-rate data for VCS programs can be found here. Pass-rates are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of Operation.