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Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Degrees

M.S. or Ed.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis

National Louis University’s advanced degrees in applied behavior analysis (ABA) are designed for students interested in behavioral analysis and pursuing a career as a professional behavior analyst. Through NLU’s master’s (M.S.) and post-master’s educational specialist (Ed.S.) degrees in ABA, students learn the fundamental underpinnings of behavioral learning theory and are trained in core practitioner skills, including assessment techniques, the design of skill acquisition and behavior reduction programming, and staff training and management strategies.

The master’s in applied behavior analysis' thoroughgoing curriculum and training experiences will equip students to work in multiple settings and across multiple client demographics, including, but not limited to, children with autism or related disorders and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Additionally, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® has verified the NLU course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®. Applicants will have to meet additional requirements to qualify. BCBA exam pass-rate data for all verified course sequences is available here.* (*Pass-rate data are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of operation.)


Consider getting your applied behavior analysis degree at NLU if you:

  • Are interested in expanding your knowledge of behavioral analysis, human behavior and the field of applied behavior analysis
  • Are interested in understanding the intersection of applied behavior analysis and other related fields, such as education and psychology
  • Are interested in working with a diverse population of clients in a wide range of clinical and educational settings


Students will learn about the historical and philosophical underpinnings of behavior analysis, in addition to its fundamental concepts and principles. In the classroom, students will learn core practitioner skills, including assessment techniques, the design of skill acquisition and behavior reduction programming, and staff training and management strategies. Students in the M.S. in ABA program will also be expected to design and conduct a behavior-analytic experimental thesis.

Master of Science (M.S.): The M.S. degree is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree who are looking for a program that focuses on training well-rounded behavior analysts in the professional practice of applied behavior analysis through an emphasis in the theoretical and scientific underpinnings of behaviorism.

Education Specialist (Ed.S.): The Ed.S. degree, as a post-master’s degree, is designed for individuals who already hold a master’s in education, counseling, psychology, social work, speech language pathology, rehabilitation sciences, or other related fields who wish to deepen their knowledge of ABA and integrate the professional practice of ABA into their current professional domains. 

Per the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) national workforce report, annual demand for individuals holding BCBA/BCBA-D certification has increased approximately 800% from 2010 to 2017. Increased demand is seen in almost every state, with Illinois ranking in the top 5 states in terms of demand.  Per the Association for Professional Behavior Analysts’ (APBA) 2015 Professional Employment Survey, nearly 80% of respondents reported working full time. Of the remainder, 17.1% indicated that they worked part time by choice, and only 2.8% worked part time because they could not find additional work.” The modal reported annual income was ranged between $65,000 and $75,000, with an additional 30.8% of respondents reporting salaries greater than $75,000.


*Behavior Analyst Certification Board report. Produced by Burning Glass Technologies on behalf of the BACB.

**Johnston, J.M. (2009). APBA 2009 professional survey results

  • Courses are taught in a blended model with weekly online programmed instruction modules and face-to-face class time. This allows students the opportunity to work at their own pace learning foundational knowledge each week before synthesizing and applying knowledge through discussion and activities in the classroom.
  • The practitioner-oriented curriculum focuses on helping students understand the field’s basic experimental beginnings and translating that science into the practice of behavior analysis.
  • M.S. program includes an experimental thesis with an applied focus, allowing students to bridge research and practice.

All applicants must meet NLU's general admission requirements, as well as additional requirements specific to an M.S. or Ed.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis. Refer to the appropriate application checklist available online at

Get more information today about enrolling in NLU's Applied Behavior Analysis degree programs. Connect with an Enrollment Specialist or call 888.NLU.TODAY (888-658-8632).

*You must maintain a 2.5 average GPA and be continuously enrolled through graduation. Applies to students who enroll in Fall 2017 through Summer 2018 terms.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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