Applied Behavior Analysis

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Students will be admitted on a competitive basis and must submit the online application submit including the following:

The program prefers that applicants have at least 18 credit hours in education, psychology, ABA, or related discipline with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or above. GRE scores are not required for admission, but students who do not submit GRE scores will not be eligible for most graduate assistantships and/or scholarships. A personal interview may be required. A complete application and meeting of minimal requirements does not ensure admission into this competitive program. Applications will be reviewed only after a complete application has been received.

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. English proficiency test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) may be required for international applicants. See GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

Transfer Credits

Credits earned at other institutions but not used to earn a degree may be applied toward the requirements for a graduate degree, subject to restrictions outlined in GCAC-309 Transfer Credit.

Review of classes taken at other institutions and their relationship to equivalent classes in the ABA program will be conducted by the ABA program faculty. Although classes from other institutions may be within the field of ABA, they may not directly transfer to the ABA program’s representation of classes within the national certification board’s course sequences. The ABA program cannot guarantee approval by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) of courses taken at other institutions, even those institutions that also have BACB University Approved Coursework. Relationships of the ABA program courses to the BACB Verified Course Sequence Requirements can be found at or from the ABA program Professor in Charge.

Degree Requirements

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

Requirements for the M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis include 36 credits in required course work, including the culminating experience and supervised internship experience, and at least 3 elective credits for a total of 39 credits.

ABA Core Courses (to be offered at least annually) are required for all students in the program.

Required Courses
ABA 500Science and Foundations of Behavior3
ABA 511Behavioral Assessment and Treatment3
ABA 522Behavioral Research Methods3
ABA 533Principles of Behavior Analysis3
ABA 544Behavioral Systems Support3
ABA 577Case Conceptualization and Development3
ABA 588Ethics in Research and Professional Practice3
ABA 595Internship12
Additional courses that will count as electives towards this degree can be chosen from a list of approved elective courses maintained by the graduate program office.3
Culminating Experience
Total Credits39

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Course List

Professional Licensure/Certification

Many U.S. states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.


Campus Harrisburg
Graduate Program Head Mark S Kiselica
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Jonathan William Ivy
Program Contact

Selena A Merrick
Penn State Harrisburg, W311
777 W. Harrisburg Pike
Middletown PA 17057-489
(717) 948-6034

Program Website View