The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Autism Studies adopts the scientist-practitioner model to prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need to enter both applied professional and research positions, and be well-prepared for future matriculation into doctoral programs.

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The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Studies (ABAAS) adopts the scientist-practitioner model to prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need to enter both applied professional and research positions and be well-prepared for future matriculation into doctoral programs. Through the required and elective coursework as well as available research and clinical opportunities, students are exposed to a wide range of scientific perspectives within Psychology. The ABAAS Program at UMass Lowell welcomes, values, and respects all persons regardless of race, ethnicity, belief system, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, and (dis)ability. We are a community that thrives from our diversity. We encourage you to speak and listen in order to learn from other perspectives, as we believe this creates a more meaningful educational experience for students and faculty alike.

We offer two degree pathways: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Autism Studies (AS).

The ABA option is designed for students interested in the science of behavior analysis, sitting for the national Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification and obtaining licensure as an Applied Behavior Analyst (LABA) in the Commonwealth. Please see curriculum section for more details.

The AS option is designed for students interested in research careers in autism and related fields or preparing for doctoral-level study.

While most students in our program attend UMass Lowell for full-time study, part-time students are encouraged to apply. The program is a blend of online and campus courses, as well as concentrated supervised fieldwork to be completed at one of UMass Lowell's many affiliated fieldwork sites including but not limited to ABI New England, Melmark New England, TACT, and The May Institute. On-campus courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening hours to accommodate students who are employed. This is not a fully online program.

Program Objectives:

  • The program will train students to critically evaluate research, conduct their own applied research and quantitative analysis, and communicate findings to a range of audiences.
  • The program will prepare students to conduct behavioral assessments and design function-based interventions.
  • The program will prepare students to demonstrate proficiency in measuring and defining behavior; understanding the conceptual basis for interventions and how they do or do not work within various contexts; and disentangle and recombine components of interventions into innovative forms.
  • The program will educate students on personal and professional ethical standards and their distinctions and impacts in research and practice.
  • The program will prepare students to respect cultural differences and to be aware of their impacts on assessment and intervention, as well as be aware of power imbalances that may arise in various contexts.
  • The program will educate students on the foundations and philosophical basis for behavior analysis and to the wide application of behavior analysis.
  • The program will educate students on the full range of autism presentations across individuals and the lifespan including key diagnostic criteria, common co-occurring disorders, and how they are assessed.
  • The program will prepare students to seek continued education, professional growth, lifelong learning, and identify gaps in knowledge and areas that need remediation.

Master's students have access to UMass Lowell centers and labs. See a list of related resources.

    • A bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited college or university, with a GPA of at least 3.000.
    • Minimum of four courses in psychology and one course in statistics in your undergraduate coursework.
    • Some background in the psychology of child development. We are especially interested in coursework in some of the foundational areas of psychology (e.g., developmental, learning, behavior analysis, biological bases of behavior, research methods, cognitive psychology, etc.).
    • Two letters of recommendation. At least one, and preferably more than one, from recent or current instructors.
    • A personal statement that describes your background, your interests in our program and how our program will help you meet your career goals. Please indicate whether interested in the Applied Behavior Analysis or the Autism Studies track. If selecting Autism Studies, please identify faculty member with whom you would be interested in doing research. 
    • Applications for matriculation are accepted for fall admission. Application deadline is February 15th. Applications received after February 15th will be reviewed on a rolling basis and accepted as space allows. 

    Apply to the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Autism Studies.

    Learn more about the application process.

  • A total of 39 academic credits is required for the completion of the degree. At least 30 of these credits must be taken at UMass Lowell. No more than two courses (6 credits) may have an earned grade of less than B (3.000).

    For the most up-to-date information please visit the UMass Lowell Graduate Catalog.

  • UMass Lowell undergraduate students with a 3.000 GPA or better have the opportunity to save time and money by earning a bachelor's and a master's degree in a little as five years. Students can continue from bachelor’s to master’s level studies within their own department. Or students can apply to a program in a different department to create a set of skills to meet emerging needs in the workplace and their own academic interests.

    Learn more about the Bachelor's-to-Master's Programs.

  • Financial Aid and Scholarships 

    As a graduate student, you may qualify for federal student aid and other need-based scholarships. Learn more at UMass Lowell’s Solution Center.

Why UMass Lowell for ABA and Autism Studies?


Gain Hands-On Experience

UMass Lowell’s program in ABA and Autism Studies prepares students to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts® through board-approved coursework and field experience.

Make a Difference

Both the ABA and Autism Studies options address autism spectrum disorders within the context of developmental disabilities and psychopathology and provide an in-depth understanding of the major challenges facing families and communities, as well as what is required to practice as an ethical professional.

Expand Your Career Options

As a board certified behavior analyst, you can work with schools and other agencies to design and implement effective interventions for individuals with ASD as well as a variety of other populations. You can conduct research that could lead to new and effective interventions.
UML alumna Devon White profile photo

What Our Students Are Saying...

“The Autism Studies program has really allowed me to grow as a student, a clinician and a researcher. Even during my first year, I was conducting research in the department’s laboratory facilities on campus, as well as in local preschools. These experiences are really helping me prepare for a research career in the study of autism.”  -Devon White
Please consult any applicable licensure requirements for this program.

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