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Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis & Autism Studies

The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell 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 required and elective coursework, fieldwork experience, and available research opportunities, students are exposed to a wide range of scientific perspectives within Psychology.

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 BCBA certification and obtaining licensure as an Applied Behavior Analyst (LABA) in the Commonwealth. 

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. 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. 

Gain mastery of skills in:
  • Principles, processes, and concepts of applied behavior analysis
  • Methods of behavioral assessment and selection of intervention strategies
  • Measurement of behavior and techniques for displaying and interpreting data
  • Experimental evaluation of interventions
  • Legal and ethical aspects of intervention
  • Training and supervision of direct service providers
  • Coordination of programs and services with families, schools, and the community
  • Definitions and characteristics of autism and other developmental psychopathologies
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 3.0.
  • 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.).
  • Three letters of recommendation. At least 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.

Applications for matriculation are accepted for fall and spring admission. 

Visit Graduate Admissions for more information or apply to the Master of Science in ABA and Autism Studies.

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 (3.0).

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

UMass Lowell undergraduate students with a 3.0 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

Please refer to the UMass Lowell Graduate Catalog for the latest information about admission, courses, retention, degree and thesis requirements.

Laboratory for Autism Spectrum Disorders

The Laboratory for Autism Spectrum Disorders is led by Dr. Ashleigh Hillier. Dr. Hillier's research interests focus on adolescents and adults outcomes with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  She is interested in transition and adult outcomes including employment and college success. Dr. Hillier's applied research focuses on evaluating various program interventions for those with ASD including a college preparation mentoring program "Horizons", a social networking group "The Network", and the "Student to Student Mentoring Program" for UMass Lowell Students. She is also interested in financial literacy, gender identity, healthcare experiences, life skills coaching, and responses to music among those with ASD. She directs the Center for Autism Research and Education (CARE) and is also Coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Minor in Disability Studies.  

Language and Learning Lab

The Language and Laboratory Lab is led by Dr. Rocio Rosales. The research is this lab focuses on several avenues related to the application of behavior analysis. One area of interest is on the behavioral interpretation of language development (i.e., Skinner's analysis if verbal behavior), and evaluation of effective and efficient teaching procedures based on this interpretation to establish verbal repertoires of young children with autism spectrum disorder. (ASD), including those learning a second language. Prior projects have included evaluation of computer- based teaching strategies to help students and caregivers learn how to implement interventions with special needs populations; and evaluation of barriers that may impact access to service delivery for families that have a child with ASD that come from diverse cultural backgrounds. Students involved in the Laboratory for Language and Learning gain hands-on experience working with children with ASD via their involvement running a playgroup at a community center in downtown Lowell. This program provides an indispensable service to families in the Lowell community. 

The Center for Research and Community Engagement

The goal of The Center for Research and Community Engagement is to promote the mental health and well being of individuals, families, and communities through education, training, and consultation. Its aim is to provide opportunities for University of Massachusetts faculty, community members, and practicing professionals to work together to integrate theory, research, and practice. The Center sponsors community-based training, professional development workshops, consultation, and research.

Center for Women and Work

The Center for Women and Work is an interdisciplinary center at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Since the Center is designed to support a wide range of projects, there are exciting opportunities for student involvement in both research and community-based action projects relevant to the theme of women and work.

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.