Online Master of Arts (ABA)

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The MA degree in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is designed for students seeking to become a well-trained Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) through an efficient and high-quality program.

This biblically centered program equips professionals with teaching and intervention skills based on ABA principles. ABA is the most research-supported scientific treatment for autism and is highly effective for individuals with other disabilities as well.

Next start date: January 10, 2022

At a glance

Program Credits


Standard Completion Time

20 months

Why Applied Behavior Analysis?

  • Best research-supported scientific treatment for autism
  • Effective for individuals with other disabilities as well
  • Demonstrated to be effective in many areas including:
    • Communication, social, self-help, play, and work skills
    • Reading and other academic skills
    • Positive and safe behaviors
    • Family life

Program Highlights

  • Ranked in Top 62 Online ABA Programs
  • Cairn’s BCBA exam pass-rate in 2020 was 100%
  • First Christian university worldwide to offer a program, with extensive autism training, verified to meet BCBA exam coursework requirements
  • May be started in any semester and completed in as few as five semesters
  • 7-week courses
  • 50% tuition discount for educators working in Christian schools
  • The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified the courses listed below toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination
  • Must meet additional fieldwork requirements to be eligible for the BCBA examVisit for details and other requirements.
Other Important Information
  • The 5th edition BCBA exam will be available starting January 2022.
  • Individuals residing outside of the U.S. and Canada may apply to complete this program to earn a Master’s degree in ABA but effective January 1, 2023 will not be eligible to apply for BCBA certification from the BACB.
  • Completion of program requirements leads to a master of arts degree but not certification in behavior analysis or special education.
  • Students are responsible for verifying if the program meets the ABA licensing or certification requirements of the state and/or country where they intend to practice. Please see ABA Licensure and Certification.
Career and Ministry Enhancements
  • Become a behavior analyst and enter a profession in high demand in the U.S. and globally
  • Apply ABA in diverse fields such as education, autism, and developmental disabilities
  • Work in schools, residential and home programs, clinics, hospitals, and other settings
  • Develop Christian services and ministries for individuals with autism and their families

Typical Program Curriculum

Semester 30 Total Credits = 24 Core/Specialization + 6 Bible/Theology Credits + Comprehensive Exam
Fall #1 SPE 721 ABA for Autism and Other Disabilities I (S1)
SPE 722 ABA for Autism and Other Disabilities II (S2)
Spring #1 SPE 725 Principles of Behavior (S1)
SPE 723 Interventions for Autism/Other Disabilities (S2)
Summer #1 SPE 728 Ethics for Behavior Analysts (S1)
SPE 726 Secondary Transition Assessment and Intervention (1 cr.) (S2)
SPE 727 Supervision and Management (2 cr.) (S2)
Fall #2 SPE 724 Single Subject Research (S1)
SPE 661 Foundations of Special Education (S2)
Spring #2 THE 601 Overview of Christian Theology (S1)
BIB 621 Biblical Integration for Educators (S2)
SPE 790 ABA Comprehensive Exam

S1 = first 7-week session; S2 = second 7-week session



To enter the program, the candidate will:

To complete the program, the candidate will:

  • Successfully complete all required coursework with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and pass the comprehensive exam


For more information about the online Master of Arts (ABA) degree, email

Learn about the time and technical requirements for Cairn University online programs.

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