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Special Education (M.Ed.) - Applied Behavior Analysis Specialization Program

Vanderbilt Department of Special Education’s Applied Behavior Analysis Training Program offers students an Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI)-Verified Course Sequence (VCS) and a Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB1) concentrated supervised fieldwork program. Vanderbilt’s VCS includes six mandatory courses and three elective options (see distribution of content in Table 1). Each elective emphasizes a different aspect of ABA in special education and is selected according to students’ primary program area (i.e., high incidence, severe, and early childhood). Concentrated supervised fieldwork entails four semesters of mandatory monthly Vanderbilt Association for Behavior Analysis events, two semesters of formal internship including weekly PORTL meetings (Fridays), and completion of an ABA capstone project (i.e., Academic or Behavioral Intervention, Clinical Case Management, or Thesis).


Although there is overlap, the requirements for becoming and practicing as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst are different than the requirements for completing this training program. Students should familiarize themselves with all credentialing requirements before applying for board certification.


Mandatory Courses

SPED 8810: Introduction to Single-Subject Research Methodology

SPED 8400: Experimental Analysis of Behavior

SPED 7400: Management Procedures for Academic and Social Behavior

SPED 7430: Administering Ethical Behavior Analytic Services

SPED 7600: Advanced Procedures in Classroom Management

SPED 7980: Theory in Behavior Analysis

Elective Options (one course, determined by program area)

SPED 7810: Research Methods in Special Education

SPEDH 7620: Intensive Intervention for Students with Severe and Persistent Behavioral Difficulties

SPED 7250: Methods of Instruction of Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities

SPEDE 7400: Foundations of Instruction in Early Childhood Special Education

1 The BACB is a nonprofit organization that credentials behavior analysts who have completed a BACB-approved course sequence, have accrued sufficient field experience hours, and have demonstrated proficiency identifying and describing behavior analytic principles, processes, and concepts as evidenced by a passing score on a mandatory computerized exam prior to board certification (for more information about the BACB and certification process, visit The BACB requires all departments with verified course sequences to provide pass/fail rates: (

Anyone interested in a career in applied behavior analysis should be aware of the two primary credentials that are often needed to do so. The first is Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and the second is Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA; sometimes called a Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst or LABA).

The BCBA credential is a nationally recognized professional credential focused on discipline-specific professional standards. The LBA credential is a state-established credential that is related to specific state regulations on the practice of applied behavior analysis. The requirements for each state’s LBA credential vary. Links to information about licensure requirements in the United States may be found at the following web address:

For more information please contact  Dr. Johanna Staubitz