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Survey ranking of top universities in field cites Western’s ABA master’s degree as nation’s best: WCSU ranks No. 1 among online Applied Behavior Analysis programs

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University has earned recognition from the Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide for offering the nation’s best master’s degree program in applied behavior analysis, a growing field where employment is projected to increase by one-third nationwide by 2020 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The 2018 ABA Programs Guide survey released in December ranked WCSU at No. 1 among higher education institutions nationwide that offer an online master’s degree in applied behavior analysis. The ABA Programs Guide profile of WCSU noted that the university’s fully online instructional program prepares students “to effectively quantify and measure behavior in order to make effective changes that will improve overall behavior of an individual, group or organization.” The guide noted students in the WCSU program learn how to measure behavior, collect and analyze data, and make suitable modifications to increase appropriate behavior and decrease inappropriate behavior.

The WCSU Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis, housed in the Education and Educational Psychology Department, is achieved through completion of a rigorous curriculum of nine courses for a total of 30 credit hours. The M.S. program includes 19 credits of core coursework designed to qualify graduates to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Examination sponsored by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Dr. Janet Burke, coordinator of the WCSU graduate program in applied behavior analysis, has created a required course in Assistive Technology for Applied Behavior Analysis, an area of study with important applications in the profession that sets Western apart from other programs in its field.

“The top ranking of the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program is due to the tireless efforts of Dr. Burke and (Assistant Professor of Education and Educational Psychology) Dr. Stephanie Kuhn to maintain a quality program,” Department Chair Dr. Catherine O’Callaghan remarked. “Demand for the program is so great that WCSU now has a waiting list” for applicants seeking admission to the ABA master’s cohort, she said.

The ABA Programs Guide survey criteria for online master’s program rankings included affordability in tuition costs, a low student-faculty ratio and availability of a program concentration, as well as verification that the university offers the approved course sequence to sit for the BCBA exam. The Programs Guide noted that Board Certified Behavior Analysts are in especially high demand from employers specializing in work with individuals with autism and developmental disabilities, as well as for a diverse range of positions in areas ranging from treatment planning and therapy to school psychology and employee training in the health care, educational and social service sectors.

The mission statement for Western’s M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis program establishes the goal “to provide high-quality behavior analytic instruction to practitioners, offering courses with advanced online technology in an academic environment dedicated to education and research.” Specific learning objectives seek to prepare students to measure and interpret behavior, design and implement assessment procedures, and use data collection and analysis as a basis for maintaining or modifying behavior.

A separate ABA Programs Guide 2018 survey ranking of universities offering the applied behavior analysis graduate study certificate online placed WCSU at No. 3 among all institutions nationwide. The survey introduction noted that top rankings for certificate programs were based on relatively low student-faculty ratios, affordable tuition levels and high BCBA examination pass rates.

The online Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate option offered by the Education and Educational Psychology Department features a five-course, 19-credit curriculum qualifying candidates who have completed an accredited graduate degree to take the BCBA certification exam, and a four-course, 16-credit curriculum qualifying candidates who have completed an accredited bachelor’s degree to take the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) certification exam. Both certificate programs are approved by the BACB.

A comprehensive description of the WCSU applied behavior analysis program is available online at

For information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.