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Special Education Graduate Program in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis

Teacher with a student in a classroomThe Special Education Program at Texas State University offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA is the leading evidenced-based practice for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders and is endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Institutes of Health among others. After completing supervision requirements and passing an external certification exam, our graduates become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and obtain state licensure to practice behavior analysis. We are proud to report, the ABA concentration at Texas State has been awarded the Verified Course Sequence status by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and is ranked among the top ABA programs nationally.

Effective education for students with autism and related diagnoses requires professionals who are capable of delivering specialized behavior support and comprehensive instructional approaches.

Graduate students earning acceptance into our challenging program will acquire advanced knowledge and skills in both Special Education and ABA. Our university-based Clinic for Autism Research Evaluation and Support (CARES) provides students the opportunity to refine skills and improve competencies as they work directly with children and adults diagnosed with a range of developmental and intellectual disability in a carefully controlled and supervised clinical setting. While working in CARES, graduate students earn a portion of the clinical supervision required by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Our graduates are highly successful. They go onto to careers working in private clinical practice, public school systems, and other agencies concerned with the education, health and wellbeing of people with disabilities. Approximately 20% our graduates continue their education elsewhere to earn doctoral degrees and work as scientists, academics and researchers in the field. 

Graduates of this program will receive:

(1) Master’s of Education Degree (M.Ed.) with a concentration in ABA

(2) Coursework that meets the Behavior Analysts Certification Board’s VCS requirements

(3) Supervised practicum hours that count towards the supervision requirements for BCBAs

  • Students who have already earned a graduate degree in a qualifying field (i.e., Education, Psychology or Behavior Analysis) may apply to the program as a “non-degree-seeking student” and then take the seven courses in our Verified Course Sequence (VCS). This option will allow students with qualifying graduate degrees to complete the coursework requirements to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst without the additional courses required for the M.Ed. The applicants existing graduate degree does not need to have been awarded by Texas State.

  • The Behavior Analyst Certification Board requires applicants seeking Board Certification to pass a certifying exam. Students all over the world take the same (or similar) exams and the average pass rate varies. However, the graduates of our program consistently outperformed the average exam pass rate.

  • Entry into this concentration is competitive and not every applicant can be accepted. Applicants with the following qualifications are encouraged to apply (a) strong undergraduate GPAs, (b) experience as a teacher, clinician, and/or Registered Behavior Technician (RBT); and (c) experience with people with intellectual and/or developmental disorders. However, we also place a notable amount of emphasis on applicants’ statement of purpose. We are looking for intelligent individuals who are determined to improve the educational outcomes and quality of life of their students, clients and patients.