FAQs for the MS ABA Program

IMPORTANT: To be considered for MSABA program, you must complete two applications. See the MS ABA Admission Requirements page for full details.

Frequently asked questions about Psychology's MS ABA program


Will this program allow me to specialize in autism spectrum disorder?

Our program is specifically designed for our students to graduate as practitioner-scientists capable of providing interventions and treatments across a range of disorders in a variety of settings or modalities. Over the course of their practicum placements, students are required to have gained training and experience with more than one type of disorder. A student can request that most of their practicum training be focused on a single disorder and of course, a student can complete their Capstone project on a specific disorder with approval by their graduate advisor/mentor. 

Psychology's MS ABA program does not provide specialist training; prospective students who wish to only specialize in autism are encouraged to apply to programs that are designed for that career path such as ASU's MA in Special Education (Applied Behavior Analysis) online program offered through the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

I'm not sure if this is the right field for me. Where can I get more info about Applied Behavior Analysis?

A good place to get started is the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) website. Like most major universities, we unfortunately don’t have a graduate advising program for post-bacs and can only offer career counseling services to our current psychology majors through our undergraduate advising office. We strongly encourage you to explore the internet to conduct this type of research or to meet with an academic advisor or faculty member at your home university.

What's the difference between a MS ABA degree and a master’s degree in Psychology?

Depending on the university or the department offering the graduate program, a master’s degree in Psychology can cover a range of topics within the discipline of psychology. Some MA/MS Psychology programs are designed to be a jumping off point for doctoral degrees in psychology. Other MA/MS programs may offer degrees in applied psychology, human factors, counseling, family therapy or school psychology. It's important to carefully read master’s program descriptions to determine if the program's curriculum and focus match your career desires. Our MS ABA program is solely focused on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which is a field that began in Psychology and is based on the scientific principles of learning and behavior. For more information about ABA, please visit the BACB website.

What classes are required for this program?

Please review the MS ABA Curriculum Sheet for the entire program. Students will take these classes in the semester lists, for the credits listed. Flexibility exists only in fall of year two for the PSB 598 Special Topics course, based on options offered during that semester.

Note: students in this program must register for five semesters in a row: fall, spring, summer, fall, and spring.

What time of day are the courses?

In general, classes will start either in the morning around 8:00 am, or in the late afternoon around 4:30pm or 5:00pm and run approximately 3 hours, Monday through Thursday. Both summer sessions will primarily be devoted to your full-time practicum placement (PSB 583) and you will also need to enroll in the Capstone course (PSB 593) for both summer sessions.

Will I be able to work full-time while I'm a graduate student in this program?

The Department of Psychology's MS ABA program at ASU is most likely the only ABA program in the country at a Research I institution psychology department that offers classroom-based courses AND provides its students with over 2000 hours of practicum fieldwork. As such, it is a very intensive, full-time endeavor. It would be extremely difficult for a graduate student in our program to be able to maintain a typical, 40-hour week position or even a part-time job. Students need to work at their practicum sites during normal office in addition to taking classes in the late afternoon/early evening Mon through Thursday.

Can I take any of the courses online?

No. Psychology's MS ABA program is classroom-based only and online courses will not be offered nor accepted as substitute coursework toward the degree. However, we offer a synchronous attendance option, in which students meet during the scheduled class times virtually through simulcast (ASU Sync).

See the Virtual Option Questions section for more details

Can I transfer my course credits from another master’s program?

In general, the program will not approve preadmission credits from other master's programs including online ABA programs. In extremely rare instances, it may be possible to transfer up to 12 graduate-level credits hours with grades of "B" or better that were not used towards a previous degree. Preadmission credits must have been taken within three years of admission to an ASU degree program.

I have questions about getting licensed in my state.

Please see the Licensure Questions section.

Can I use this master’s degree as a way to start a doctoral program in Clinical Psych at ASU?

No. The MS ABA is a professional degree intended for those who wish to become a certified, then licensed, ABA practitioner. ABA practitioners provide intervention/treatment services across a range of life span behavior disorders such as autism, traumatic brain injuries, eating disorders, addiction, and dementia. Behavior analysis is also used in industry as a human resource tool. This master’s degree is "terminal" – i.e., it will not allow you to continue your studies in one of the department’s doctoral programs such as clinical psychology. 

However, some students apply and attend doctoral programs after graduation.

What vaccinations am I required to have for this program?

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR): all students in this program are required to show proof of MMR immunization in order to register for classes in their first semester.

Tuberculosis (TB): Our practicum partner sites require the TB vaccination.

COVID-19: As of May 2021, ASU does not require the COVID-19 vaccination but strongly recommends it. 


I am an international student. Can I do the virtual option?

Please see the International Student Questions section related to visa types.

The virtual option means I am an Online student, right?

No, the virtual option means you will take classes remotely but must log into the class portal at the same time the in-person classes attend. This is a synchronous program, which means if the in-person class starts at 10am Arizona time and it is 3pm your time, you must log into the class and participate at 3pm.

ASU Online classes have an asynchronous structure where classes are pre-recorded. Also, the tuition model is different for ASU Online students than in-person students. Our virtual program codes students as in-person for tuition purposes. See the Funding and Tuition Questions section for more details. 

I chose the virtual option but I can’t register for my first classes because of the MMR immunization hold. Can I get that waived?

No. ASU codes virtual students in this program as in-person students. The MMR hold is required of all in-person students. Even though you can participate in classes remotely, the MMR is still required based on how the program is set up with the university.

My friend is in the program too but doesn’t have to do the MMR immunization, doesn’t have to attend class when it happens live, and pays a different amount of tuition. Why is that?

It is likely that your friend is in the MA in Special Education (Applied Behavior Analysis) program offered through the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, which is an ASU Online program.

Our program is the MS in Applied Behavior Analysis offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which is an in-person or virtual option program, not an ASU Online program. 

See the Funding and Tuition Questions section for more details about program cost.

I’m enrolled in the MS ABA virtual option program but just realized I want to be in the MA Special Ed (ABA) online program. Can you change my major for me?

No. Graduate students cannot change their major; they need to apply to the other program and be admitted to change to the other program. This requires a new application, materials required for that other program, and a new application fee. Application deadlines vary by program.


Will the program's practicum hours allow me to get my license in another state?

Psychology's MS ABA program requires every student to participate in over 1500 hours of practicum experience in order to graduate. All of these hours are supervised by an Arizona-licensed behavior analyst. Once certified by BACB, a program graduate will be eligible to become licensed as a behavior analyst in Arizona. Behavior analyst licensing varies by state so prospective students should check the licensing requirements for other states.


Do I have to find my own practicum site?

In-person students will go through a matching process and be paired with one of our practicum partner sites in the Phoenix area. The department holds a Meet and Greet event a couple times a year as part of the matching process. Students are required to attend.


Virtual students outside the Phoenix metropolitan area are required to identify a supervisor and practicum site. The supervisor must be approved by the MS ABA program director.


What are the minimum required GRE scores? Do I need to take the GRE Psychology subject test?

The GRE is not required for fall 2021 applicants. Fall 2022 applicants need to check back in September 2021 to see if the GRE will be required or waived again for this program.

What are some of the closely related fields for a bachelor’s degree?

For this program, closely related fields to psychology include sociology, family studies, social and behavioral sciences, social work, public policy, special education and health care related fields such as kinesiology and speech/hearing sciences. Our primary concern is that applicants have familiarity with scientific methods and psychological/behavioral principles and theories.

What is the deadline for applying to this program?

See the Application Deadlines section.

I'm going to be graduating in December. Can I start the program in spring?

No. This program admits students to start in fall only. Spring and summer start dates are not an option.

I'm a senior this year and would like to apply for next year. Can I still apply this Fall?

Yes, you can still apply as long as the seats in the new cohort have not filled. Application reviews begin in February and continue until mid-July or until new admits have confirmed their spot in the program and all seats have filled.


How much will this program cost?

Use the Tuition and Cost Calculator tool. Choose the options in the drop down menus to see the annual rates based on your situation.


Choose the most current academic year, “graduate” for student status, your residency status, “Tempe” as the location (even if you want to attend virtually), “Liberal Arts and Sciences” as the college, and “Applied Behavior Analysis, MS” as the program. Then click the maroon “see your estimated cost breakdown” button.


Remember that summer registration is required. The tool may only list fall and spring costs.

What financial aid or scholarships are available to me?

Please review the ABA Financial Support page.

Will I have the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant (TA)?

The department fully funds its PhD students. After PhD funding has been sorted out for the semester, any extra TA positions go to ABA students. The ABA program director or staff will email current students the application information and eligibility requirements near the start of the semester. The number of open positions vary each semester. TA positions are not available in summer.

ABA students who work as a TA are limited to 10 hours a week, which comes with a stipend and 50% of the tuition waived. Program and student fees are not waived. Complete details are in the TA offer letter.

I am a virtual student. I pay “online student” rates, right?

No, MS ABA students who choose the virtual option are coded as in-person students on the Tempe campus for tuition purposes. They pay the same tuition and program fees as in-person students. Rates vary by residency (Arizona resident, non-resident, or international student). 


I have a 3-year bachelor’s degree. Can I still apply to grad school?

Visit the Graduate Admission Services webpage for international applicants for details on specific requirements by country or territory.

Do my transcripts have to go through a specific English translation company?

Please visit the Admission Services’ transcripts webpage for complete details.

Is this program considered a STEM program?

No, the MS ABA program is not considered a STEM program.

Do I have to do an English proficiency exam?

Visit the ASU English proficiency site for complete details.

I don’t have English proficiency test scores/ I don’t want to take the test. Can I meet the English requirement in another way?

Visit the ASU English proficiency site for complete details.

Can I participate in the virtual option as an international student?

International students holding an F type visa must attend in-person on the Tempe campus and cannot participate virtually. For questions about this, contact the International Students and Scholars Center (ISSC).

Can I work off-campus while in this program?

Yes, but international students must go through the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) approval process with the International Students and Scholars Center (ISSC) before starting their practicum training. 

The department will assist international students with the initial CPT process, shortly after the first semester begins.

After graduation, can I get certified anywhere in the world?

The BACB currently accepts certification applications from individuals regardless of their country of residence. Effective January 1, 2023, only individuals who reside in the US, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom* may apply for BACB certification. BACB certificants who obtained their certification before January 1, 2023, may maintain their certification indefinitely as long as they meet recertification requirements. The BACB’s original announcement from 2019, Recent Changes to the BACB’s International Focus, provides additional information about this change. For updates on the future availability of BACB certification in specific countries after December 30, 2019, refer to this web page. Please see https://www.bacb.com/global-certification/ for more information.