Applied Behavior Analysis

Graduate Program HeadRaffy Luquis
Program CodeABA
Campus(es)Harrisburg (M.A.)
Degrees ConferredMaster of Arts (M.A.)
The Graduate Faculty


Human behavior contributes to many problems humans face. Adults disposing of trash along the road, children engaging in behaviors impeding learning, or people with diabetes not taking insulin or following diet plans – all human behaviors. The Penn State Harrisburg Applied Behavior Analysis program uses the science-practitioner model to prepare students to apply the core areas of behavior analysis to a variety of individual and social problems in a variety of settings. The ABA program represents a discipline that can be applied in a number of fields (e.g., autism, education, health, psychology, medicine, business).

The Verified Course Sequence was designed to provide an in-depth understanding of behavioral research and intervention, the foundations of the science of behavior, ethical research and practice, and behavioral skill application across behaviors and environments. The courses sequence meets the course and experience requirements according to the national certification board and promotes research in the field. Students who successfully complete the program will be expected to possess the skills and abilities of an emerging expert in ABA. Graduates of the Penn State Harrisburg ABA program provide this expertise to a wide range of individuals across a multitude of settings within the region and across the globe.

The program is intended for both part- and full-time students. Courses will be scheduled for fall, spring, and summer semesters. Admission is in the fall and spring semesters only. However, the program encourages fall admission and typically reserves spring admission for exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

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 including the following:

The program prefers that applicants have at least 18 credit hours in education, psychology, ABA, or a 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. Applications will be reviewed only after a complete application has been received. A complete application and meeting of minimal requirements does not ensure admission into this competitive program. 

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 Verified 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 Verified Course Sequence Requirements can be obtained 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 Behaviorism3
ABA 510Behavioral Assessment and Intervention: Functional Skills3
ABA 512Behavioral Assessment and Intervention: Problem Behavior3
ABA 522Behavioral Research Methods3
ABA 533Principles of Behavior Analysis3
ABA 534Advanced Principles of Behavior Analysis3
ABA 544Behavioral Systems Support3
ABA 588Ethics in Research and Professional Practice3
ABA 595Internship9
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

The culminating experience for the degree requires the completion of a scholarly paper. Examples of scholarly papers can include empirical research, training and manual construction, publication style literature reviews, etc. All scholarly papers must relate to Applied Behavior Analysis and illustrate advanced knowledge of the research or concepts. Type and scope of the scholarly paper is agreed upon by the student's research chair and second reader.


A graduate minor is available in any approved graduate major or dual-title program. The default requirements for a graduate minor are stated in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies, depending on the type of degree the student is pursuing:

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

Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop a comprehensive and scientifically rigorous single-case design research study that conforms to the standards of the discipline.
  2. Critically evaluate research and clinical practice and apply the ethical guidelines and practice standards outlined by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board.
  3. Describe the influence and relation of EAB and behaviorism to ABA and clinical practice/research.
  4. Critically evaluate and apply basic and complex principles of behavior analysis.
  5. Conduct a comprehensive functional behavior assessment. The assessment should conform to discipline standards.
  6. Develop a comprehensive treatment plan. The treatment plan should conform to discipline standards.
  7. Critically evaluate basic, applied, and translational research, and identify the implications for research and clinical practice.

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 Raffy Reinaldo Luquis
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Jonathan William Ivy
Program Contact

Jeri S. Fisher
Penn State Harrisburg, W311
777 W. Harrisburg Pike
Middletown PA 17057-489
(717) 948-6034

Program Website View