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Master's degree in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Drexel University School of Education

Now, more than ever, schools are looking for highly trained professionals who can understand, analyze, and guide students with disabilities. The benefit of earning a master's degree in special education and applied behavior analysis is that it allows educators to lead welcoming classrooms where children with disabilities can thrive. Drexel’s online master’s degree program in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) combines two of Drexel master’s programs into a single degree that prepares students for two highly desirable credentials. Through our BACB-verified coursework, graduate students complete the coursework requirements for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) credential. The initial certification program prepares students to apply for Pennsylvania’s teaching certification in special education.


  • Earning one master’s degree in two relevant areas presents a great cost savings opportunity
  • Eligible for BACB certification and Pennsylvania teaching certification in special education
  • All courses are taught online in small cohorts, giving students flexibility in their studies
  • Students gain valuable experience in the field through partner locations

What can you do with a Master’s Degree in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Applied Behavior Analysis field has grown significantly and is expected to continue to grow over the next 5 years. Through the program, graduates will develop knowledge and skills to teach individuals, including children and youth with disabilities, with the goal to improve quality of life and foster independence. Students who choose the initial certification option will also be certified to teach and lead special education programs in schools.

Graduates of the Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis Master's degree program have boundless career opportunities, and a valuable skill set that affords them a competitive edge in the job market. Career opportunities include:

  • Special Education Teacher
  • Behavior Analyst
  • Behavior Support Specialist
  • Autism Support Specialist
  • Autism Support Teacher
  • Intervention Specialist

Upon completion of the coursework, Drexel University will recommend students for special education certification. Graduates will also be eligible to take the BACB exam, provided they have completed the necessary fieldwork hours. The program takes about two and a half years to complete.

Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis Master's Program Options

The Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis Master's program is a part-time program and is 100% online. Drexel is a pioneer in online education, offering students with BCBA accredited dual degree options and opportunities to work with students with disabilities first-hand in classroom settings. Our ABA and Special Education courses are flexible and tailored to meet the needs of today’s students. Graduates of the program earn the same high-quality degree as students who attend programs on-campus

Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis Master's Program Eligibility

Below are a list of requirements for students wishing to enroll in the program. Transfer credits are evaluated on a case by case basis by the program manager.

Admissions Criteria

  • Students must have a PA Instructional 1 teaching certification in order to earn special education certification
  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher (graduate GPA will be considered along with the undergraduate GPA)

Required Documents

  • A completed application
  • Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions (including trade schools) attended
  • Two professional letters of recommendation
  • Personal Essay that addresses the following:
    • Why you are interested in this field
    • Why you are interested in attending the program at Drexel University
    • What are your career goals and how will Drexel’s program help you achieve those goals?
    • How does this program relate to your previous education and/or work experience?
  • Additional requirements for International Students

Special Education/Applied Behavior Analysis Master's Courses and Curriculum

The courses for Drexel’s Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis MS degree program are separated into four 10-week terms per year. This allows students to complete more courses in a shorter period of time. The online master's degree curriculum incorporates cutting edge research and technology, with practical real-world experience to prepare students to be leaders in their field.

Our online Applied Behavior Analysis courses have been verified by the The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), an international non-profit organization responsible for outlining professional standards in the behavior analysis field.

The program consists of:

  • 24 Special Education credits
  • 31.5 Applied Behavior Analysis credits
  • 15 credits in a Concentration area
  • 6 capstone credits

Capstone Courses

Students in the Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis MS program complete a research capstone course where they are introduced to the research process and designs utilized in ABA. Following completion of the research course, students will complete a capstone experience. Capstone projects vary and can include design and completion of an action research project. Course descriptions may be found in the Drexel University Course Catalog.

How to Apply to the Special Education/Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s Degree

The Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis Degree program is offered 100% online. You can get started by filling out the Drexel Online application. Questions? You can request more information or schedule an appointment with a program manager here.