The UW ABA Program provides you with the skills and knowledge necessary to become a Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). At the end of this program, you will have met the coursework requirements to apply to sit for the BACB exam and will have earned a master's degree in special education. Students that do not wish to obtain the master's degree in special education are able to just take the ABA course sequence as graduate non-matriculated students. 

You will complete the program in two years by taking courses each quarter (Fall, Winter, Spring) and one course during the Summer. Students not needing a master's degree will also complete the program in two years, but will take fewer classes during some quarters. Students may also choose to complete the program at a slower pace, completing the program over three years. 

All classes meet in the late afternoon (typically, 5 pm PST) to accommodate teachers and others working full time. The ABA online program utilizes synchronous online learning technology to conduct classes. You will attend classes at the same time each week and participate in discussions, lectures, small and large group activities, and quizzes, just as with traditional face-to-face learning. You must have access to a reliable internet connection, a computer or laptop with a video camera, a high-quality headset, and a quiet location. 

ABAI Verified Course Sequence

Our program strives to prepare competent, inclusive, and professional behavior analysts who work with persons with developmental disabilities and their families. We encourage prospective students to read through the UW ABA Mission Statement for more information about our teaching approach to ABA. 

Content hours matrix

  • EDSPE 533 Concepts and Principles of ABA-A (3 credits)
  • EDSPE 534 Concepts and Principles of ABA-B (3 credits)
  • EDSPE 535 History and Philosophy of ABA (3 credits)
  • EDSPE 571 Measurement in ABA (3 credits)
  • EDSPE 536 Assessment in ABA-A (3 credits)
  • EDSPE 537 Assessment in ABA-B (3 credits)
  • EDSPE 552 Evidence-Based Instructional Strategies in ABA (3 credits)
  • EDSPE 531 Designing Comprehensive Behavioral Interventions (3 credits)
  • EDSPE 511 Methods of ABA Research (3 credits)
  • EDSPE 529 Ethics and Professionalism in ABA (5 credits)
  • EDSPE 553 Supervision in ABA (3 credits)

The Association for Behavior Analysis International has conditionally verified the following courses toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination.

Additional Coursework for M.Ed in Special Education

EDSPE 525 Autism (3 credits)
EDSPE 554 Behavior Analysts in Schools (3 credits)
EDSPE 530 Readings in Applied Behavior Analysis (4 credits)

If you already have a master's degree, you can apply to our program as a graduate non-matriculated (GNM) student. Students that are admitted as GNMs are not required to take the additional coursework required to obtain a master's degree in special education. 

Master's Examination

As partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master of education (M.Ed.) degree, students must pass a master's examination. This exam is a comprehensive examination covering all ABA content in the program. You will take the master’s exam during the last quarter of the program.  This exam is not the same as the BACB exam – the master’s exam is a University of Washington requirement fulfilling part of the requirements for a master’s degree.

Transferring From Other Universities

If you've already taken some of these courses at a different university, you may be able to substitute some courses to meet the requirements for the UW master's degree in special education; the University of Washington Graduate School allows you to transfer up to 6 credits, contingent on the approval of your advisor.

However, it is important to understand that the UW is not authorized to approve substitutions for courses when meeting the requirements of the BACB to sit for the BCBA exam. You will need to petition the certification board directly if you believe a course would be an adequate substitute for BACB content hour requirements.

COE Featured Stories

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education at the University of Washington announced that they are expanding their Inclusionary Practice Project (IPP) to include preschools across the state. Thi
As part of a statewide effort, the Haring Center has partnered with 16 Washington K-12 schools to highlight inclusive education best practices and assist more schools in adopting a culture of inclusion.