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Graduate Certificate Program in Applied Behavior Analysis

Improve the future for yourself and others as a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) with UMass Lowell's online graduate certificate.

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Online Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis

Expand your career opportunities in applied behavior analysis from a leader in the field with UMass Lowell's Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis. This seven-course online program is designed for those interested in becoming a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). With this certificate, you will fulfill the required course work to sit for the BCBA certification exam fully prepared for success.

This graduate certificate was created in partnership with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center — a pioneer in research, education and service for people with developmental disabilities and their families. The program is designed to provide professionals in psychology, education, childcare and human services with an understanding of behavioral methods and how and where such methods can be used. You'll attain the knowledge necessary for practica and field experiences using behavior analysis. Graduates of the program work in various settings with a wide range of populations, including children and teachers in school systems, individuals with brain injuries in rehabilitation units, consultants to businesses and organizations, athletes and coaches and more. Since launching, thousands of students who have completed UMass Lowell's program have successfully passed the BCBA exam and found meaningful employment all over the world.

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Earn Your Certificate in as Little as 12 Months

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One of the Most Affordable Tuitions in the Nation

The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified that this program's courses meet the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® examination. In order to be eligible to take the BCBA certification exam, applicants must possess a minimum of a graduate degree. Additionally, applicants will need to demonstrate they reside in an authorized country before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination. For more details on eligibility requirements, please visit www.bacb.com.

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Career Outlook

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Source: Lightcast, 2022

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Among online graduate programs in behavior analysis, UMass Lowell has ranked in the top third of BCBA exam pass rates. For information about national pass rates please visit the BACB website.

One Success Leads to Another

Apply credits from lower credentials to higher ones. Our programs are designed to build upon themselves:

Some of the courses included in the Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis program can be counted towards UMass Lowell's Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis & Autism Studies. We also offer a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Applied Behavior Analysis and Education Option M.Ed. program, which can be completed entirely online. Learn more about UMass Lowell's ABA programs.

Curriculum Outline

- 7 Courses / 21 Credits

Required Courses (7 / 21cr)

Please note: PSYC.5810 is a prerequisite or co-requisite for PSYC.5820, and a prerequisite for PSYC.5830 and PSYC.5850. PSYC.5810, PSYC.5820 and PSYC.5840 are prerequisites for PSYC.5860 and PSYC.5870. The recommended sequence is: PSYC.5810 and PSYC.5820 together in one semester, then either two or all three of the following: PSYC.5830, PSYC.5840 and PSYC.5850, followed by the remaining two or three courses. Students taking one course at a time are urged to follow the numerical sequence.

Course Descriptions

PSYC.5810 Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis (3cr)

This course is designed to provide students with foundational knowledge regarding the basic concepts and principles of behavior analysis. Students will gain an introduction to what behavior analysis is and how it differs from other approaches that study behavior. Students will be asked to define and identify examples of the basic principles, then apply that knowledge to describe and diagram original, real-world examples. Students will look at how the environment promotes the development of both adaptive and maladaptive behaviors, shapes behavior over time, and how the environment can be modified to help change behavior.

PSYC.5820 Measurement and Experimental Design (3cr)

This course provides advanced coverage of the measurement methods that are important to the effective use of applied behavior analysis. It also offers in-depth coverage of the "within-subject: experimental designs commonly used in behavioral research and practice. Component analysis and parametric analysis methods, and social validity and generalization considerations in research, are also covered.

PSYC.5830 Philosophical Underpinnings of Behavior Analysis (3cr)

This course will focus on the scientific and philosophical underpinnings of behavior analysis. In this course, students will review basic assumptions about the nature of behavior, including comparison of the philosophical positions of free will and determinism. Emphasis will be placed on verbal behavior and the problems that can arise when practitioners are confronted wit mentalistic explanations of behavior. Students also will explore complex conceptual issues, such as knowledge and understanding, purpose and intention, problem-solving, reasoning, creativity, culture, ethics, and rights and values, in ways that illustrate how they are important to everyday life. The historical perspective of how radical behaviorism evolved, and how it compare to other conceptual systems will be reviewed.


PSYC.5810 Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis.

PSYC.5840 Behavioral Assessment (3cr)

This course covers the assessment of behaviors and skills. We will review many types of assessments used in applied behavior analysis and the reliability of these common assessments. Specific topics to be covered include functional behavior assessments, functional analysis, preference and reinforcement assessments, skill assessments, identification of goals, how to write goals, and the development of a treatment plan. Emphasis will be placed on the use of assessments to inform treatment.


PSYC.5810 Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis, and PSYC.5820 Measurement and Experimental Design.

PSYC.5850 Professional and Ethical Issues in Behavior Analysis (3cr)

This course will explore the legal and ethical issues facing professionals working with individuals diagnosed with disabilities, particularly those on the autism spectrum. The goal is to provide behavior analysts and other professionals the opportunity to develop skills in dealing with the complex legal and ethical issues that arise when working in human service fields.


PSYC.5810 Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis.

PSYC.5870 Behavior Change Procedures (3cr)

This course covers the design and application of behavior change procedures commonly used by behavior analysts. We will review the importance of cultural considerations and ongoing monitoring of progress. Specific topics to be covered include reinforcement, antecedent manipulations, transfer of stimulus control, and programming for maintenance and generalization. Emphasis will be placed on procedures used for skill acquisition including social, communication, self-help, and academic skills.


PSYC.5810 Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis, and PSYC.5820 Measurement and Experimental Design, and PSYC.5840 Behavioral Assessment.

PSYC.5890 Implementation and Supervision Practices in Behavior Analysis (3cr)

This course covers implementation of simpler to more complex behavior change procedures and the management and supervision of the staff who implement those procedures. We will review the importance of ethical and safety considerations, data analysis to monitor progress and problem-solve any lack of progress, and initial staff training and ongoing supervision of staff. Specific topics to be covered include reinforcement procedures to impact behavior, positive and negative punishment, group contingencies and programming for maintenance and generalization of behavior changes, staff training and supervision effectiveness. Emphasis will be placed on procedures used for behavior reduction and socially-valid replacement behaviors as well as best practices in personnel management and supervision.


PSYC.5810 Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis, and PSYC.5820 Measurement and Experimental Design, and PSYC.5840 Behavioral Assessment.

Graduate Certificate Requirements

Students enrolled in graduate certificate programs through UMass Lowell must complete all courses indicated in the curriculum outline. Students may complete the certificate program at their own pace by registering for and successfully completing one or more courses each semester, depending upon his/her personal time constraints. Students are required to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.000 with no more than one course grade below B to receive the certificate.

Online courses meet throughout the year during the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters (see Calendar for details). Online students generally log into their online course website one or more times per week to retrieve lectures and assignments or to participate in a chat session. Online students should expect to spend 6 to 10 hours per week engaged in course-related activities for each course. For more information on online courses, visit our online program home page .

Completing a Graduate Certificate Program

Graduate certificate courses must be completed within a five-year period with a minimum 3.000 grade point average and no more than one course with a grade below B. Once all courses for a graduate certificate have been completed, students must complete and submit the Graduate Certificate Clearance Form. Students must submit their clearance form to their coordinator. The coordinator will apply them in SIS, Graduation Tracking.

Please Note: The certificate itself is not a credential or qualification to practice ABA independently; further credentialing is required. While these programs are approved as coursework preparation by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), they do not confer BCaBA or BCBA certification; students will need to fulfill other BACB requirements and must apply separately to BACB for the BCaBA and BCBA certification exams. Also, completion of this program does not guarantee any form of licensure in any state. Students should review their state government website to see what additional requirements may have to be met for licensure.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition at UMass Lowell is typically half the cost of private colleges, and our online tuition is among the lowest in the nation. Tuition for online programs offered through the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies is the same whether you live in-state, out-of-state or outside of the U.S.

Summer 2024 Tuition

Cost Per Credit Cost Per 3-Credit Course*


Online and Virtual $600 $1,800
Online Business1 $655 $1,965
Online Education2 $470 $1,410
Online 7000-Level Education $655 $1,965
Select Online Nursing M.S. courses3 $750 $2,250
Select On Campus courses4 $600 $1,800
All other On Campus courses5 View Here
*Tuition is priced on the listed credit hour unless the contact hour is different. Tuition is then based upon the listed contact hour.
1Applies to ACCT, BUSI, ENTR, FINA, MGMT, MKTG, MIST and POMS courses.
2Applies to EDUC courses excluding 7000-level courses.
3Applies to NURS.6510, NURS.6511, NURS.6512 and NURS.6513 courses.
5Applies to graduate on campus courses excluding select courses

Additional Costs

Term Registration Fee $30
Returned Check Fee $30
Graduate Degree and Certificate Application $50

Please note: Tuition and fees are subject to change.

Costs for Textbooks and Additional Materials

The total cost for required textbooks for students accepted into this program will be $600–$800 (depending on whether you buy books new or used). In addition, students will need to purchase a license for access to learning modules for a one-time fee.

Please note: Most of these costs will be incurred up front, when students enroll in their first course. Students will, however, continue to use the basic textbook, the digital textbook and the modules in all subsequent courses as they progress through the program.

Tuition Calculator

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Looking for Financial Assistance?

UMass Lowell offers a variety of financial aid and scholarship options.


For Graduate Certificate Programs, Please Submit:

  • An application
  • An application fee*
  • An official transcript indicating a completed bachelor's degree. If your bachelor's degree is from outside the United States, you may be required to take the TOEFL examination.
  • No Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required for graduate certificate programs

F1 student visas are not issued for this program. Applications can be completed and submitted at any time during the year. Your application will be processed as soon as all admission materials have been received. You may apply to more than one certificate program but can only take 12 credits maximum before enrolling in an advanced degree. Learn more about specific application requirements for your program of interest.

*There is a $50 application fee to apply to this graduate program.

Count Your Graduate Certificate Toward a Master's Degree

Credits earned from a graduate certificate may be used toward a related graduate degree.

Graduate Program Admissions Requirements

Admission to all graduate programs at UMass Lowell is contingent upon successful completion of a bachelor's degree. In many cases, applicants may register for a course before formally applying to the program; however, students requiring financial aid may want to wait until they have been formally accepted into the program to ensure that their course(s) will be covered. Contact UMass Lowell's Office of Graduate Admissions if you have questions about the application process.

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Questions Regarding Your Graduate Application?

Email Graduate_Admissions@uml.edu or call 800-656-4723 (for U.S. students) or 978-934-2390 (for international students).

For General Assistance:

For general questions about registering for courses or to find out who the advisor is for your graduate program, call 800-480-3190. Our admissions and advising teams are here to help!

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