Ranking Top 10 Online Master’s on Behavioral Psychology Degree Programs

Why earn a graduate degree in behavioral psychology and become a behavioral psychologist? Behavioral psychology is a subfield of psychology that focuses on how people’s thoughts and experiences affect human behavior. Behavioral psychologists and mental health counselors do important work toward the mental health of our communities. There are lots of opportunities for behavioral psychologists in the behavioral psychology field. Many behavioral psychologist jobs in applied behavior analysis (ABA) then try to use that knowledge to help people change their human behavior for the better. Examples of behavioral psychology careers include:

  • cognitive behavioral therapist
  • special education teacher
  • school counselor
  • social worker
  • behavioral psychologist
  • marriage and family therapist
  • substance abuse counselor
  • mental health counselor
  • behavioral counselor

If becoming a behavioral psychologist or mental health counselor interests you and you already have a bachelor’s degree, then your next step is to earn a masters in behavioral psychology. There are BCBA programs online. You should check out some online behavioral analysis graduate programs to help you become a behavioral psychologist. Earning a behavioral psychology masters will open many doors in behavioral psychology careers, whether in private practice or in the public sector.

In particular, ABA masters online programs offer future behavioral psychologists a convenient way to earn their degree without sacrificing their quality of education. BCBA online programs are also an option. In BCBA online masters programs, you can take most, if not all, of your classes over the web and arrange to complete practicums (if required) in your local community. Of course, it’s important to research all your options before deciding where to earn your degree. That’s why we’ve created this ranking. Are you interested in a master’s program in behavioral psychology? Read below to find out about some of the top master’s in behavioral psychology online programs in applied behavior analysis.

Behavioral psychology majors study behavioral principles in undergraduate and graduate courses in order to prepare for their future careers. Behavioral psychologists can help with:

  • substance abuse
  • behavioral disorders
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • verbal behavior
  • behavior intervention procedures
  • mental health disorders
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • behavioral health
  • mental and emotional disorders
  • eating disorders

Behavioral psychologists:

  • conduct behavioral assessment
  • diagnose behavioral disorder
  • assist with mental health
  • implement behavioral interventions

Ranking Methodology

We created this ranking list to highlight the best online master’s degrees in behavioral psychology for future behavioral psychologists. These include programs* in:

  • applied behavior analysis
  • human behavior
  • special education
  • criminal justice

We also considered general psychology programs that offer a specialization in behavioral analysis. To determine the best schools for a behavioral psychology graduate degree, we rated graduate programs in five categories:

  • affordability (average tuition rate)
  • accreditation
  • accessibility
  • job training
  • coursework

For accreditations in a master’s degree/graduate degree program, we looked specifically for programs that are approved by the BACB (Behavior Analysis Certification Board), and/or are accredited by other subject-specific accrediting agencies – the ABAI (Association for Behavior Analysis International) or NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) for example.

In rating accessibility, we considered how many of the program’s classes are available online (not including practicums). Fortunately, most of the schools that made this ranking offer 100% online delivery.

Job training refers to any required practicums or internships that the program incorporates. Note that the Behavior Analyst Certification Board mandates that candidates complete a minimum number of hours in supervised field experience before they can become board certified behavior analyst-certified.

Lastly, we assessed coursework by looking at what percentage of the program’s classes focus specifically on behavioral psychology. This category mostly serves to differentiate full behavioral psychology degrees from those that only offer the subject as a specialization within a more general program.

After collecting all the data, we:

  • assigned points to each program in each category
  • tallied the totals
  • calculated the final scores

The highest possible score was 10 points. Scroll down to find out more about the top online master’s degrees in applied behavior analysis!

*Note that we did not consider private for-profit institutions in this ranking, although there are plenty of for-profit colleges that offer graduate programs in behavioral psychology.

Ranking Top 10 Master’s in Behavioral Analysis Online

#10. University of West Florida – Pensacola, FL

Online M.A. in Exceptional Student Education: Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Website
The University of West Florida is home to an M.A. in Exceptional Student Education with an ABA specialization. One of the biggest perks of this program is its impressively low average tuition rate. It is just under $10,000. This makes it one of the most affordable online master’s in behavioral psychology in the country. Its five annual start dates make it one of the country’s most flexible programs, too. That being said, you will need to attend some live/synchronous sessions, where you log on at a specific time with other students and your instructor, for some of the BCBA-approved online classes. While perhaps not the most convenient feature, this requirement helps build a sense of community and supports interactive learning among students.
Average Tuition & Fees: $24,894/yr
Score: 7.8

#9. University of Washington-Seattle – Seattle, WA

Online MEd in Special Education: Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Website
University of Washington Seattle offers one of the top online behavioral psychology degrees. UW – Seattle’s accredited online behavior analysis graduate program features a strategically designed curriculum that helps you develop specific skills over time. This habit of thoughtful preparation also manifests in the program’s practicum component. The degree plan seamlessly integrate aspects of the practicum into its broader curriculum. It also offers a pre-approved selection of internship sites for local students. Of course, if you live outside of Seattle you are still free to choose a location closer to home. You can even apply to use your current site of employment! After completing the BACB-approved coursework and intensive practicum requirements, you’ll officially qualify to sit for the certification exam.
Average Tuition & Fees: $31,530/yr
Score: 7.83

#8. Bay Path University – Longmeadow, MA

Online MS in Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Website
Bay Path University’s master in ABA offers a top behavioral psychology program. As you pursue your top master’s in behavior analysis online at Bay Path, you can choose between two options: a fully online or blended program. The latter incorporates a few on-campus classes, which you can complete at any of the school’s campuses. The campuses are located in Concord, East Longmeadow, and Sturbridge, Massachusetts. This could be a great option if you:

  • have flexibility
  • live locally
  • enjoy meeting classmates in person

You’ll also appreciate the twice-yearly start dates and the ability to apply without completing the GRE or GMAT. Plus, the curriculum is BACB-verified and even includes optional instructor-led study sessions to prepare you for the certification exam.
Average Tuition & Fees: $19,235/yr
Score: 8

#7. Simmons College – Boston, MA

Online Master of Science in Behavior Analysis

Program Website
On average, an impressive 81% of Simmons grads pass the BCBA exam. That’s a far cry from the national average of 66%. How does Simmons do it? Perhaps most significant is the college’s intensive ABA curriculum, which meets all BACB requirements. This includes supervision and mentoring hours, while incorporating all the latest research in the field. One of the best online master’s degrees in applied behavior analysis in the country, this program emphasizes comprehensive skill development (e.g. communication and writing) and even provides group and individual mentoring opportunities. To help the curriculum stand out even further, Simmons also hosts classes in unique topics like animal training.
Average Tuition & Fees: $27,314/yr
Score: 8.1

#6. The Sage Colleges – Troy, NY

Online M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis & Autism

Program Website
The Sage Colleges offers one of the top behavioral psychology programs. Students who earn an accredited master’s in behavioral psychology online through The Sage Colleges benefit from the school’s “scientist-practitioner” model, which centers around:

  • empirical evidence
  • experimentation
  • research

But this autism-focused degree isn’t purely theoretical. Sage also incorporates a practicum track that satisfies the BACB’s experiential requirements. While you will need to identify your practicum location before the school will accept you into this track, Sage provides advisors who can help you find and secure a suitable placement. Combined with the program’s approved course sequence, the practicum leaves you well-prepared to sit for the BCBA exam.
Average Tuition & Fees: $13,140/yr
Score: 8.2

#5. University of South Florida – Tampa, FL

Online Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Website
University of South Florida packs quite a lot into the eight-week courses that comprise its affordable online master’s degree in applied behavior analysis. Not only does the program meet all BCBA requirements (including the supervised experience), but it also includes an independent research project. The latter gives you a unique opportunity to showcase your skills. You’ll need to:

  • delve into literature review
  • write a proposal
  • perform an intervention
  • write about the results

What’s more, the comprehensive curriculum doesn’t shy away from complicated issues. For example, a required “ABA in Complex Community Environments” class helps you navigate how a patient’s community and setting might guide the care they receive.
Average Tuition & Fees: $21,126/yr
Score: 8.6

#4. Oregon Institute of Technology – Wilsonville, OR

Online Master Degree in Education Program with Emphasis in ABA and ASD

Program Website
After designing an on-campus applied behavior analysis program that caters to working adults, Oregon Tech went even further, creating an online version that is a paragon of accessibility and flexibility. For example, students who earn this accredited master’s in behavior analysis online participate in live video conferences that mimic face-to-face interactions and foster connections between classmates and instructors. You also have the option to attend classes on the school’s various campuses. But no matter how you complete your coursework, you can rest assured that your training is BACB-approved.

Average Tuition & Fees: $25,275/yr
Score: 8.6

#3. Southeast Missouri State University – Cape Girardeau, MO

Online Masters of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Website
Southeast Missouri State University offers one of the top ABA master programs online. With an average tuition of around $7,500, Southeast Missouri State University stands out as one of the most affordable online behavior analysis graduate programs in the country. But a great price isn’t all it has to offer. The M.A. in ABA is fully BACB-approved, with the second year almost entirely devoted to completing the required practicum. Like some other top schools, Southeast Missouri State University even allows local students to accrue supervision hours through its autism research center. The center is located in Cape Girardeau. The program doesn’t require behavioral psychology students to perform original research. If a doctoral program is in your future, you can work with an advisor to incorporate a research opportunity instead of another advanced course.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,938/yr
Score: 9

#2. University of Kansas – Overland Park, KS

Online Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science

Program Website
If you’re looking for flexibility, make sure you check out the University of Kansas’s top online master’s in behavioral science. UK offers a top behavioral psychology program. UK’s applied behavioral science program incorporates both synchronous and asynchronous courses. It offers adjustable pacing that you can set to match your personal scheduling needs. The strong curriculum is both BACB-approved and accredited by the ABAI (Association for Behavior Analysis International). Coursework emphasizes the use of science-based interventions and incorporates both in-class and hands-on training opportunities. However, you will need to arrange your own supervised practicum experience if you plan to sit for the BCBA exam after graduation.
Average Tuition & Fees: $25,008/yr
Score: 9.2

#1. Saint Cloud State University – Saint Cloud, MN

Online Master’s Program in Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Website
Saint Cloud State University has the top behavioral psychology program with an online aba master’s programs option. SCSU boasts an extremely robust psychology ABA program. Saint Cloud State University graduates have high BCBA exam pass rates to show for it. The availability of both research and internship opportunities help it stand out on this master’s in behavioral psychology online ranking, as do the school’s three psychology-focused study abroad programs (in South Africa, Italy, and England) and its Student Organization of Behavior Analysis. The BCBA-approved curriculum also incorporates the required supervision hours. You can choose between a thesis or a comprehensive exam when it’s time to wrap up your studies.
Average Tuition & Fees: $14,637/yr
Score: 9.8

You’ve reached the end of our list of top master’s in behavioral psychology online. Are you looking for the cheapest BCBA online program? Now you can choose a graduate degree that works for you and maybe even pursue a doctoral degree.


The Chicago School of Professional Psychology-Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA

Online MA in Psychology: Applied Behavior Analysis Concentration

Program Website
As you pursue an accredited online master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from The Chicago School, you’ll work on an applied research project that demonstrates your mastery of the subject matter. You’ll complete the project instead of writing a thesis or completing an internship. This makes The Chicago School a particularly good choice if you eventually want to pursue a Ph.D. If BCBA certification is your goal, note that you’ll have to enroll in the complementary graduate certificate program in applied behavior analysis. This program includes four courses that work together with your concentration in the applied behavior analysis program to qualify you to sit for the BCBA exam.
Average Tuition & Fees: $24,894/yr
Score: 3.73

Texas Tech University – Lubbock, TX

Online Master of Education in Special Education: Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Website
The applied behavior analysis program at Texas Tech is technically a concentration within its Master of Education in Special Education program. The school also offers a graduate certificate that qualifies you for the BCBA exam. You can earn this certificate as a stand-alone option or as part of an affordable online behavior analysis graduate program. The master of education program is available 100% online. This makes it convenient for working adults. The master of education culminates in either a comprehensive exam or a written thesis. Whichever you choose, you’ll benefit from the low tuition rate (especially for in-state students) and an extremely comprehensive scholarship search tool that can help reduce the already affordable tuition.
Average Tuition & Fees: $17,698/yr
Score: 4.4

Arcadia University – Glenside, PA

Online MEd in Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Website
Arcadia University offers one of the top behavioral psychology programs. The broad curriculum at Arcadia University exposes graduate students to specific behavioral issues (such as autism). It also maintains a strong overarching focus on research and evidence-based practice. For example, you’ll take a required course in “Interpreting Educational Research” and complete a master’s project that incorporates a literature review. But this top online master’s degree in behavioral psychology also includes highly focused electives. These include:

  • Positive Behavioral Approaches
  • Teaching Methods for Students with Autism

These options let you customize your studies. You’ll also complete a six-course ABA concentration that ends with “Ethics and Professionalism.” This is a case study-driven class that explores tricky topics you’ll encounter in your career.
Average Tuition & Fees: $27,674/yr
Score: 4.7

University of Southern Maine – Portland, ME

Online MS in Educational Psychology with a Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis

Program Website
The University of Southern Maine offers an online master’s in educational psychology degree. Like some other programs on this master’s in behavior analysis online ranking, the University of Southern Maine does not provide the supervised experiences necessary to sit for the BCBA exam. However, it does enable you to work efficiently by allowing you to arrange for and complete your hands-on training while you’re enrolled in classes. This, along with the program’s twice-annual start dates, are benefits for adults who want to earn their degree as quickly as possible. You can also transfer in up to six graduate credits, cutting down the time you need to earn this 36-credit degree by a sizable amount.
Average Tuition & Fees: $23,706/yr
Score: 4.77