Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Description

The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (MS in ABA) is an on-campus only degree program that will train graduate students to provide behavior analytic services to individuals with challenging behavior and/or skill deficits. These services are provided through direct care, consultation, support, and training to teachers, staff, parents, and clients. The MS in ABA provides opportunities for graduate students to work within schools, homes, and/or other facilities that house individuals with challenging behaviors and/or skill deficits. In addition, graduate students will be exposed to individuals from diverse backgrounds including, ethnic, socioeconomic, cultural, and disability.

The program at the University of Kentucky (UK) will focus on children and youth with challenging behaviors and/or skill deficits from 2 years of age through 21 years of age. In addition, our focus will be on children and youth identified with Emotional and/or Behavioral Disorders (e.g., Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Developmental Delays, Intellectual Disabilities, as well as other academic or mental health issues that affect the child’s or youth’s behavior.

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) has accepted courses within the MS in ABA program as a “verified course sequence.” In addition, students in the MS in ABA program will receive required supervision within the practicum setting. The verified course sequence and practicum/supervision requirements will prepare completers of the MS in ABA to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination. More information regarding the BCBA examination and requirements can be found at www.bacb.com.


Admission Requirements

  1. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology, education, special education, social work, communication disorders, or a closely related field.
  2. Applicants must have a minimum of a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average or a minimum of 3.25 graduate grade point average.
  3. Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and submit scores to the Graduate School; the Institution Code for the GRE for UK Graduate School is R1837. There are no specific GRE subtests required.
  4. Applicants must secure three (3) letters of recommendations with one related to academic performance (e.g., from professor, advisor) and two related to the applicant’s work with children and youth (e.g., from practicum supervisor, research supervisor).
  5. Applicants must submit a writing sample of a scholarly paper (e.g., research paper, literature review completed in APA formatting).
  6. Applicants must participate in an interview with program faculty.
  7. Upon acceptance, applicants must satisfactorily pass a criminal background check (due to the nature of the work performed by behavior analysts).

*Deadline for applications is the last business day of January each year.

Retention Requirements

  1. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA on all program coursework.
  2. Earning a C or lower on any program coursework results in academic probation and the student must retake the course; if a student earns a second grade of C or lower, the student may be dismissed from program.
  3. Students must demonstrate professional behaviors throughout the program in accordance with the Behavior Analysts Certification Board (BACB, 2017) ethical guidelines.
  4. Per practicum observation or report from practicum supervisors, students may be placed on academic probation or may be dismissed from the program for violations of the BACB (2017) ethical guidelines. This would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with the level of violation being taken into account.