Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

What can I do with ABA knowledge?

Applied Behavior Analysis is the preferred method for assessment and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), which include autism, Asperger's syndrom and other unspecified pervasive developmental disorders. The prevalence of ASDs in the U.S. is estimated at 1 in 110 children, and relatively few people become Board Certified Behavior Analysts each year. This means mental health professionals trained in ABA are in very high demand nationally.

Graduates of Forest's programs in ABA are eligible to take the exam to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts, which is recognized nationwide.

With ABA certification, graduates will fulfill a variety of needs, including:
  • Building the skills and achievements of children in school settings;
  • Enhancing the development, abilities and choices of children and adults with different kinds of disabilities;
  • Augmenting the performance and satisfaction of employees in organizations and businesses.

Requirements for the MSABA Program

The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (MSABA) program can fit into almost any schedule and is designed for both working professionals and full-time students. Students should work closely with their advisor and the program director to be sure the degree meets their career goals and licensing requirements for the state in which they wish to practice.

Locations offered: Springfield and St. Louis, Missouri

Before completion and submission of the application, please read the following requirements thoroughly. Contact the Forest Admissions Office at 800-424-7793 or if you have questions.

  • Prospective students need a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution and must have earned a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) or better on a 4.0 scale during the last 60 hours of undergraduate work. Applicants without the required GPA are considered on a highly selective basis and are invited to address this issue in their personal essay. If the applicant is extended an invitation to interview, this issue will be discussed in detail.
  • Applicants to the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program need the equivalent of at least twelve (12) semester hours in the social sciences with a grade of "B" or better in a three (3) semester hour course in research design/methods.

The application packet consists of a completed application form and a non-refundable application fee of $50, in addition to the following:

  1. Three Professional Recommendations
    College professors, supervisors, or others who have known the candidate for one year or longer and who have evaluated the candidate's personal, professional, and academic qualifications should be contacted to complete the Professional Recommendation Form. At least three professional recommendations are requiredt.
  2. Personal Essay
    Through the personal statement much is learned about the candidate, including his/her interests, goals, character and fitness for the Applied Behavior Analysis program at Forest. Personal statements should be no more than two pages and include professional goals and purposes for specifically pursuing this degree. The personal statement should reflect the applicant's commitment to ABA as a research-based discipline. Please use 1-inch margins, double spacing and Courier New or Times New Roman 12 pt. font. The applicant may provide any additional information that would benefit the Admissions Committee in determining acceptance into the program.
  3. Current Resume/Vitae
    List other activities since high school, including military service, that are relevant to professional goals.
  4. Official Transcripts
    Official transcript of all graduate and undergraduate work are required, including part-time and summer sessions, and should be mailed directly from all institutions attended since secondary school. If college credits were earned while in secondary school, an official transcript is required of the college/university from which those credits were received.
    Students making application to the program are required to complete and submit their scores for the Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical sections of the GRE. International applicants, who do not hold a United States undergraduate degree and whose native language is not English, are required to submit their TOEFL scores. Forest's code number for forwarding GRE and TOEFL results is 8525. For information about GRE test dates and requests for scores, write to the Educational Testing Services, Princeton, NJ 08541-6000. The phone number is (609) 771-7670; the web site is

Final Steps in the Admission Process for MSABA Degree Applicants

  • Notification of Interview
    As a final step in the application process, selected candidates are invited to participate in an on-site interview with Forest faculty during one of the scheduled interview days. The interview process is intended to provide both the candidate and the Admissions Committee an opportunity to learn more about each other. Following the personal interview, the Admissions Committee will conduct the final review of application materials. Members of the Committee include the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Program Deans, a Core Faculty member, and the Director of Admissions. The Committee will only review an application once a candidate has successfully met all admissions requirements.
  • Notification of Acceptance
    Candidates are selected for admission to Forest Institute on the basis of demonstrated intellectual capacity for the study of psychology and evidence of the character and personal integrity expected of a person who serves the public as a clinical psychologist. The Admissions Committee usually notifies candidates of their acceptance status within two weeks following the personal interview process. Candidates are then given approximately two weeks in which to submit their "Letter of Intent" to enroll in the program along with the non-refundable Enrollment Deposit, or decline the offer of acceptance. At the end of the two-week period, the offer of acceptance will be rescinded if no response is received from the candidate.

Candidates that have accepted an offer of enrollment from Forest but wish to postpone matriculation may submit a written request to delay enrollment to the Director of Admissions. Such an extension may only be granted for up to one year, and may not carry-over into another academic year. In situations where a candidate wishes to begin enrollment in an academic year other than that which was offered, reapplication may be required, including payment of the application and matriculation fees.

Acceptance into one of Forest's programs does not guarantee acceptance into another program. Current students wishing to pursue secondary degree or certificate programs at Forest must make application for such programs through the Admissions Office.

Applications for admission are available from the Admissions Office and on-line, and should be submitted either in person, by mail, by FAX, or electronically through the Forest web site. Because those accepted into the program will render services to the public, Forest routinely performs a personal background check on all incoming students, following written consent.

Download a copy of the Professional Recommendation Form