Skip to content
  • Print

Apply to graduate programs

Request information on graduate programs

Information sessions on graduate programs


Pam Sanocki
Psychology Department Secretary
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211

Applied Behavior Analysis Track

Our Applied Behavior Analysis course sequence has been approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)®. You can learn more about the certification process at

Behavior analysis is the experimental analysis of behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the design, implementation and evaluation of environmental modifications to produce socially significant improvements in behavior. ABA involves the direct observation, measurement and functional analysis of the relations between environment variables and behavior. ABA is based on sound scientific principles and has a solid research foundation that proves its effectiveness. Learn more about behavior analysis.

Students who choose the ABA track are interested in applied behavior analysis, and are either interested in becoming eligible to sit for the certification exam conducted by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) ®.

Students wishing to pursue a doctorate in behavior analysis should indicate in a cover letter that they ultimately wish to apply to a doctorate program in behavior analysis.

Practica and Internships

ABA track students are typically placed in practica and internship sites in which they will learn to apply methods of behavior observation, treatment design and implementation in a variety of settings.

ABA track students learn precise data observation and collection methodology, interobserver agreement techniques, single-subject design interventions, and generalization strategies in a variety of settings, including:

  1. Public schools
  2. The Department's Community Re-entry Program for the mentally disabled
  3. Valley Mountain Regional Center programs for the developmentally disabled
  4. Other behavior and medical/health care settings in the local community

The majority of ABA track students will work 20 hours per week in one or more of the following settings: the Community Re-entry program, Stockton Unified School District working with preschool children identified as having behavior problems, Valley Mountain Regional Center, and other similar settings; this work enables our students to receive substantial tuition remission as well as a paid stipend.  (See Cost of Tuition).

BACB Certification

Our program typically provides students with the BACB-required 1,500 hours of supervised ABA experience, along with the coursework required to become eligible to sit for the BACB exam. These steps allow an individual with a Masters degree in Psychology to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Becoming eligible to sit for the BACB certification exam in behavior analysis and becoming a Board Certified Behavior AnalystTM are beneficial to students for a number of reasons.

"The Board Certified Behavior AnalystTM (BCBA®):

  • Is an independent practitioner who also may work as an employee or independent contractor for an organization.
  • Conducts descriptive and systematic (e.g., analogue) behavior assessments, including functional analyses, and provides behavior analytic interpretations of the results.
  • Designs and supervises behavior analytic interventions.
  • Is able to effectively develop and implement appropriate assessment and intervention methods for use in unfamiliar situations and for a range of cases.
  • Seeks the consultation of more experienced practitioners when necessary.
  • Teaches others to carry out ethical and effective behavior analytic interventions based on published research and designs and delivers instruction in behavior analysis .

Students interested in applying to doctoral programs in ABA may wish to work as teaching assistants 20 hours per week instead. This enables them to receive the tuition remission and paid stipend while gaining teaching experience that may be highly desirable for doctoral programs. However, in doing this, they will likely not earn the 1,500 supervised hours required to sit for the BACB exam.