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Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to the study of behavior that is concerned with describing, explaining, predicting, and changing behavior.

The 21-credit ABA graduate certificate is designed to increase the professional training of individuals responsible for designing, implementing, and monitoring behavioral treatment and verbal behavior training programs in schools, private practices, and community agencies. Please note this is not a teacher licensure program.

Students wishing to attain a master's degree in special education in conjunction with the ABA certificate complete an additional 9 credits of course work.

Fully Online Program

  • Not eligible for VA Educator Tuition Discount
  • 8 week modules
  • 100% online
  • Not eligible for in-state tuition pricing
  • Start in spring, summer or fall

Campus/Blended Program

  • Eligible for VA Educator Tuition Discount
  • Traditional Semester
  • Face-to-face interaction with faculty
  • Eligible for in-state tuition pricing
  • Certificate-only students start in fall or spring
  • MEd/ABA students start in spring, summer or fall

Program Format

Students can select between a 100% online, asynchronous format or a hybrid format in which ABA courses are completed face-to-face at the Fairfax Mason campus and additional courses for the MEd can be completed online or face-to-face. Face-to-face courses are offered in the afternoon and evening.

MEd Option

Students can combine the ABA coursework with an MEd and, with just a few additional courses, graduate with the ABA Certificate plus a Master's in Special Education. Students wishing to pursue the master's option should apply to the master's program and contact an advisor to add the certificate once enrolled.

BACB Verified Course Sequence (VCS)

  • Coursework is based on the standards of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. The Mason program is a BACB Verified Course Sequence (VCS).
  • Coursework is verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International as applicable toward requirements for eligibility to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® examination (additional requirements must also be met for full eligibility).
  • BCBA Examination Pass Rates
  • Dr. Ted Hoch, Verified Course Sequence Coordinator, liaises with BACB and can assist with questions related to Board regulations, evaluation of transfer credits, and the application process for the BACB exam. Questions about VCS and course attestation forms should be directed to Dr. Hoch at
  • If you are a current or prior student submitting an application to sit for the BCBA exam on the basis of combined 4th and 5th Edition coursework, please contact Dr. Hoch as you may need Mason to provide coursework attestation forms.
  • Dr. Christine Barthold is the Academic Program Coordinator and oversees instruction in the ABA program. She can be contacted at with questions related directly to courses and instruction.

Tuition Assistance and Experience

  • Virginia Educator Discount: A 15% discount off the university’s approved tuition rate is available for qualifying in-state graduate students who are educators in Virginia.
  • Mason LIFE: The Learning Into Future Environments (LIFE) Program is an innovative post-secondary program at Mason. Students focusing on special education have an opportunity to work as instructors, resident advisors and mentors in the LIFE program which provides them with field experience in a supportive, supervised setting.

Global Certification

  • Students residing outside of the United States, Canada, and Australia are encouraged to visit for further information about whether they will be eligible for BACB certification after January 1, 2023.
  • They are also encouraged to check with their local governing bodies to determine whether George Mason University’s coursework may satisfy requirements for credentialing in their country of residence.
  • Completion of the requirements for Mason’s ABA Graduate Certificate does not guarantee an individual’s eligibility to obtain certification.