The Applied Behavior Analysis Master of Science online program offers candidates a pathway to becoming a board certified behavior analyst.

Behavior analysts assess challenging behavior using research-based functional behavior assessment methods. They develop function-based interventions and prevent and replace challenging behavior.

Behavior analysts also focus on the learning process and on increasing student achievement across all areas of education and social/emotional learning.

Behavior analysts may work in center, clinic or home-based settings. Behavior analysts also work with adolescents and adults with autism and related disorders with a focus on increasing functional skills as appropriate.

Behavior analysts develop learning plans and behavior intervention plans that are based in evidence-based methods and have continuous data collection and monitoring. Behavior analysis is an evidence-based and data driven field that uses empirically supported methods to make socially significant changes.

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Career Outlook and Skills of a Behavior Analyst

With increased screening and resources made available, patients and families are seeing an increased demand for professionals trained in successful strategies and treatments utilizing applied behavior analysis. Board-Certified Behavior Analyst's (BCBA) will utilize research-based functional behavior assessment methods to treat various populations in areas of education, social/emotional learning, substance abuse treatments, and more.

Potential employers will seek candidates with training in:

  • Evaluating environmental variables that contribute to challenging behaviors
  • Using evidence-based data to implement treatment
  • Providing caregiver training
  • Progressively aims to build independence and social/emotional skills

Settings and services in which ABA would be utilized include:

  • Educational settings, working in both public and private schools
  • Home- and community-based settings where treatment can utilize the natural environment
  • Clinic-based centers which provide opportunities to focus on group or social skills as well as increase opportunity for team collaboration
  • Residential-based treatment centers

Check out the BACB US Employment Demand Report for Behavior Analysts!

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I start the program?
Applications are being accepted currently for Summer and Fall 2023, with decisions being made on a rolling basis.
How is the program delivered?
The Applied Behavioral Analysis MS and Advanced Certificate are delivered fully online, asynchronous. The MSEd for Special Education with Early Intervention is hybrid, with a mix of both in-person and online classes.
How long does it take to complete the program?
The MS program is 37 credits in length, and depending on your pursuit of either part time or full time, could be completed in 2 years or less. Please note that additional fieldwork is required upon completion of the program in order to meet NYS requirements for licensure.
Does this program lead to certification and licensure?
Upon the successful completion of a Hofstra state-approved behavior analyst program, the MS in Applied Behavioral Analysis students are eligible for New York State licensure. Students completing this online program or the Adv. Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis are eligible to sit for the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) examination if they meet the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) requirements. Behavior Analysis license applicants must also meet additional requirements as outlined by NYS Education Department.
How much fieldwork is required to complete the program?
In order to complete the MS program, students will be expected to complete a 150-hour practicum facilitated by the program and the Office of Field Placement. To meet additional regulations for the BACB and NYS LBA, students will need to complete additional hours outside of the program after they have graduated. For the BCBA certification, a total of 2,000 hours are needed, 1,500 hours towards the LBA.

Meet the Program Director

Dr. Mary E. McDonald is an expert in autism and applied behavior analysis and a professor in the Special Education Department at Hofstra University. She directs the Applied Behavior Analysis, including the Master of Science and Advanced Certificate programs. Dr. McDonald serves as the associate executive director of Long Island Programs for Eden II/Genesis Programs. She has more than 30 years’ experience directing programs for students with autism from early intervention through adulthood. She completed her PhD in Learning Theory at the CUNY Graduate Center and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst - Doctoral Level and a licensed behavior analyst in New York and Connecticut. Dr. McDonald serves on a number of advisory boards and journal editorial boards.

Program Director for MSEd Special Education Intervention (Birth-2)

Dr. Stephen Hernandez
Associate Professor Specialized Programs in Education oversees both Elementary and Early Childhood SPED
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Program Director for ABA MS & AC

Dr. Mary McDonald
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