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Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Overview

Cost: $1,320 per unit
Units: 37 units
Terms: Fall, Summer, Spring
Length: 1.5-2 years
Location(s): West Los Angeles
Format: Evening

The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program will prepare students to become board certified behavior analysts (BCBA®), working with individuals with impairments such as autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, or traumatic brain injury.

The BACB exam pass-rate data can be found here. Pass-rate data are not published for verified course sequences within their first four years of operation.

Designed for both working professionals and full-time students alike, this program provides a thorough understanding of the concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). Employing the practitioner-scholar model of professional training, a rigorous theoretical study is paired with in-depth clinical training where students will accrue experience hours working alongside professional behavior analysts, helping patients to develop adaptive skills for optimal functioning in educational, family, social, and occupational roles. Upon graduation and completion of all necessary experience hours, students will be eligible to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam.

To learn more about the online version of this program, please visit our Online Psychology Site.

*As of January 1, 2023, the BACB will no longer be providing certification outside of the U.S. and Canada. If you are considering certification outside of the U.S. or Canada, please see updates from the BACB here about global certification.

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Quick Facts

  • $6,500Scholarships Available
  • 50+Clinical Practicum Sites
  • VCSVerification
  • GRENot Required

Program Benefits

  • Nationally regarded graduate school of psychology with the #6-ranked Psy.D. program in the US*
  • Access to major-university resources at the #46-ranked university in the US**
  • Outstanding faculty, recognized experts, scholars, and clinicians
  • Supervised clinical experience
  • Dedicated placement team to help find and secure fieldwork placements
  • Small class sizes providing a supportive learning environment and meaningful student-faculty interactions
  • Convenient evening format class schedules to accommodate working professionals
  • Students currently working in an ABA-based setting can meet fieldwork requirements at the site of their current employment
  • Extensive networking opportunities through our alumni network with more than 20,000 professionals

*U.S. News & World Report, Best Grad School Rankings, Clinical Psychology
** U.S. News & Report, Best Colleges Rankings, National Universities


Career Outcomes

There is an increasingly high demand for behavior analysts with BCBA credentials, particularly in behavioral health care, educational services, and social services. After earning your degree, you may pursue certification and employment in a variety of roles, including:

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst
  • Clinical Director of ABA Services
  • Clinical Manager of ABA Services
  • Clinical Supervisor of ABA Services
  • Behavior Specialist
  • Behavioral Consultant

Employment Potential

  • The number of jobs in Behavior Sciences/Applied Behavior Analysis is expected to grow 18.5% in California*
  • The average salary in California for graduates of Behavior Sciences/Applied Behavior Analysis master's programs is $62,732*
  • California has the nation's highest employment demand for graduates of Behavior Sciences/Applied Behavior Analysis master's programs*

*2017-2018 Burning Glass Report on Employment Potential for Selected Programs


I am interested in the Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis program. Where should I begin?

The first step in the process and the best way to get all of your questions answered, is to attend an information session. For a schedule of upcoming sessions and to RSVP, please visit here.

If you are unable to attend, please contact us at 310.258.2850 to set up an appointment.

What are the admission periods for the Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis program? When will I know if I am accepted?

For the masters programs in psychology, the Graduate School of Education and Psychology operates on a "rolling admissions" basis. This means we review and accept applications as they are completed. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to submit their applications well in advance of the deadline. You will receive a decision via mail within three to four weeks after the submission of your completed application.

Do I have to send in all application materials at once?

No. You can send in different parts of your application as they are completed. We will hold any materials that arrive under your name, but will only begin tracking your application and corresponding with you when we receive your online application.

What are my chances of being accepted into the program?

At Pepperdine, we utilize a holistic approach in our thorough review of each and every application. This means that we do not disqualify applicants based on any one part of their application. The average cumulative undergraduate GPA is above 3.0.

What are the minimum admission requirements?

Admission requirements can be found here.

Will professional references be accepted?

References should come from individuals who are familiar with your professional and academic abilities. Recent college graduates should have at least one academic recommendation, while applicants who have been out of college for more than three years may use either academic or professional recommendations. It is highly recommended that letters be sent in lieu of the forms provided in the application booklet.

Can foundational courses be waived?

Students who have taken graduate-level courses judged to be equivalent in content to foundation level courses may petition to waive such courses. Previously taken courses will qualify for waiver consideration if they were taken no earlier than seven years prior to admission and a grade of "B" or better was earned. Applicants without recent coursework (within the last seven years) in psychology; however, will be required to complete foundational courses in preparation for the core curriculum. Foundational courses are offered as part of the master's program.

Where should I send my application materials?

All application materials should be sent to our West Los Angeles Graduate Campus. The admission address is:

Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology
Enrollment Services
6100 Center Drive – 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90045

I am an International Applicant. What additional admission requirements do I need to submit?

Spring 2020 Deadline

  • The Spring 2020 Application Deadline for International Students has passed

Summer 2020 Deadline

  • The Summer 2020 Application Deadline for International Students has passed

Fall 2020 Deadline

  • International Students must apply by 11:59 PM PST on June 1, 2020.
  • All supplemental materials must be submitted by this date

Applicants who attended schools outside the United States are required to submit certified transcripts in English. Submitted transcripts must include a cumulative grade point average (GPA on a 4.0 scale, A = 4.0) that has been evaluated by a NACES member credential service (www.naces.org) such as the World Education Services, Inc. (www.wes.org) or the International Education Research Foundation (www.ierf.org)

If you have not completed your bachelor's degree at the time of application, submit a current transcript. Upon degree completion, you are required to provide official transcripts in a sealed envelope prior to enrollment.

Mailing Address:
Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology Admissions
6100 Center Drive 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA

International applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit a minimum passing score of 550 on the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL). The computer-based TOEFL test requires a minimum passing score of 80. Information concerning the availability of this test in foreign countries can be obtained by contacting TOEFL, Educational Testing Services, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA or online at www.toefl.org. As an alternative to the TOEFL, you may submit a score of at least 6.5 on the IELTS exam. You can find out more at www.ielts.org

Is the Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis program offered on a semester basis?

The on-campus program offered at our West Los Angeles campus has two 15-week terms during Fall and Spring and two 7-week Summer sessions.

The online program has four 11-week terms (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer). To apply for the online program, please see the program's website.

Can the Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis program be completed in less than two years?

On average, the program is completed in two years. However, some students may complete the program in 1.5 years if they waive courses or have already been working in the field and are eligible to take the 4-term course sequence.

When are the classes offered?

Classes are offered in the late afternoon and evening. Each class meets once per week. Classes are offered Monday-Thursday. During the summer term, classes meet twice per week.

Where is the Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis program offered?

Applied Behavior Analysis courses are offered only at the West Los Angeles Graduate Campus.

Is funding available?

Yes. The best way to learn about opportunities for grants, loans, scholarships, and assistantship positions is to attend one of our Information Sessions, as most meetings include a Financial Aid presentation.

Does Pepperdine assist with fieldwork placements?

Students currently working in ABA-based settings can begin fieldwork and accrue hours in their first semester in the program. Students who are just entering this field will receive assistance in finding fieldwork placements once they have completed their first semester of foundational course work.

Contact Us

Gary Younger
Enrollment Officer
Recruitment and Admissions
Graduate School of Education and Psychology