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Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Master of Science in Behavioral Psychology

Program Overview

School: Graduate School of Education and Psychology
Cost: Summer 2019: $1,225 per unit; Fall 2019: $1,270 per unit
Units: 38 units
Terms: Fall, Spring, Summer
Length: 1.5-2 years
Location(s): West Los Angeles*
Format: Evening
  • Fall 2019: To be considered for a $1,000 scholarship apply by 11:59 PM PST on July 8th, 2019.
*Please note that your campus of choice cannot be guaranteed. Campus offerings are contingent upon availability and subject to change.

The Master of Science in Behavioral Psychology 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. This coursework has been verified to meet the academic requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®.

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.

Program Overview

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.

Application Deadlines

Summer 2019 Application Deadline

We are no longer accepting applications for Summer 2019.

Fall 2019 Application Deadline

July 8 Countdown Timer

To be considered for a $1,000 scholarship apply by 11:59 PM PST on July 8th, 2019.

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Quick Facts

  • 1.5yrProgram Completion
  • 130+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 ABA 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 Behavioral Sciences/Applied Behavioral Analysis is expected to grow 18.5% in California*
  • The average salary in California for graduates of Behavioral Sciences/Applied Behavioral Analysis master's programs is $62,732*
  • California has the nation's highest employment demand for graduates of Behavioral Sciences/Applied Behavioral Analysis master's programs*

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

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I am interested in the Master's in Behavioral Psychology 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: /masters-psychology/information-meetings/.
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 Master's in Behavioral Psychology program? When will I know if I am accepted?

For the master's 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 more than three years may use either academic or professional recommendations. Letters can be sent in lieu of the forms provided in the application booklet.

Can foundation classes 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 course work (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

Are there additional requirements for international applicants? 

You'll need to:

1. Send all international transcripts to be evaluated by either the International Education Research Foundation (www.ierf.org) or World Education Services, Inc. (www.wes.org) for a comprehensive report that they will send directly to Pepperdine. This process can take a few weeks.

2. Submit all original certified transcripts in English to Pepperdine directly.

3. If your first language is not English, you must submit a minimum score of 550 on the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL). If taking the computer-based TOEFL test, you will need a minimum score of 220. If taking the Internet-based TOEFL test, you will need a minimum score of 80. Information concerning the availability of this test outside of the US 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.

How long does the Master's in Behavioral Psychology program take to complete?

All Pepperdine's evening-format master's in psychology programs offer great flexibility. Each student can progress at his or her own pace, taking fewer or more courses each term, depending on each individual's preference. Part-time students may take as few as 3 units per term and full-time students may take as many as 12 units or more per term.

As a full-time student taking 6 units each semester, one can complete the MS in Behavioral Psychology program in less than 2 years.

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 Master's in Behavioral Psychology program offered?

Behavioral Psychology 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 placement?

Students currently working in ABA 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

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