Mastering Behavior Analysis

The mission of the Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science master’s program is to produce graduates skilled in behavior analysis and clinical science. By the completion of their training, students will exhibit a mastery of application and research skills that will permit them to design and evaluate behavioral interventions and research.

The master’s program in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science at Rollins College follows a junior-colleague model to ensure high-quality mentoring of students. Upon entering the program, students work collaboratively with all faculty in every aspect of professional development, including: professional networking, practicum site selection, designing and conducting research, presenting and publishing research, and goal setting with regards to further graduate study or job placement. For the thesis/capstone process in the final year, students are matched with one primary adviser according to research interests.

Annual Program Data

"The greatest strength is the professors. Not only do they shape you into a behavior analyst, but they really prepare you to network professionally. The professors actively connect you with professionals in the field that once seemed untouchable. Additionally, the thesis component really made the program for me. Having the ability to conduct our own research under the professors provided a deeper understanding of the scientific processes used in behavior analysis." - Kristen Morris, BCBA - ABACS Alumni 2017

Why Rollins?

applied behavior analysis and clinical science

The Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science is accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International Accreditation Board. The mission of the ABACS program is to produce master’s-level graduates who are skilled in both behavior analysis and the clinical-science applications of behavioral theory. Upon completion of the program, students will possess the knowledge and research skills to assess whether an intervention is empirically supported. Additionally, with the assistance of a faculty mentor, students will acquire the skills to design and evaluate behavioral interventions or research supporting a scientific approach to behavior change. Because the program also includes a focus on clinical science, graduates will be well prepared for PhD programs at other behaviorally oriented institutions.



This coursework sequence has been verified to meet the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®. Applicants will have to meet additional requirements to qualify.

We are very proud of our 98% overall pass-rate for our BCBA exam candidates. In 2018 and 2019, our first-time BCBA exam candidates had 100% pass-rate. VCS Pass Rates (Pass-rate data are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of operation.)


 Fall Application Deadlines:

Applications for the ABACS program are accepted on an annual basis. The application deadlines for the Fall cohort are as follows:

  • Early Decision: February 15
  • Regular Decision Priority Date: June 1 (Applications will continued to be reviewed on a space available basis).

Click here for application instructions.

Program Length:

2-3 years


Research Assistantship Opportunities

Two Research Assistantship positions are available to incoming or current students not yet enrolled in their final year of the program. Students can learn more and apply online via


ABACS Program Diversity & Inclusion Statement

The Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science (ABACS) Program embraces a philosophy of intellectual community enriched and enhanced by diversity along a number of dimensions, including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, age, country of origin, disability, physical stature and body size, religious or spiritual beliefs, and socioeconomic class. We are especially committed to increasing the representation of those populations that have been historically excluded from participation in U.S. higher education as a whole, and the field of behavior analysis, specifically.  

The science of behavior, like other sciences, seeks to be objective.  Because science consists of the behavior of scientists, we recognize that it does not always live up to that ideal.  We acknowledge that our field is historically built on, and continues to be disproportionately influenced by, a small subset of privileged voices. Furthermore, we acknowledge and condemn the historical transgressions of our discipline and Psychology generally in the pathologization of non-normative gender identity and sexual orientation, and the ableist and abusive practices of so-called “behavior modification.”    

The ABACS program was founded by members committed to social justice, including the late Maria Ruiz.  Dr. Ruiz’s conceptual analyses, including her much-celebrated discussion of the alliance between feminism and the philosophy of behavior analysis, underlie our program’s very foundations.  We are inspired by and committed to upholding Dr. Ruiz’s legacy of advocacy, and acknowledge there is much work to do in combating systemic disparities within our program, discipline, and higher education.  

To that end, we commit to rigorously uphold all policies and ethical standards applicable to our program, including but not limited to the Rollins Non-Discrimination Policy and Statement of Diversity Policy and Principles, the Association for Behavior Analysis International’s Diversity Policy, and the Behavior Analysis Certification Board’s Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts (see Code 1.05 c-e).  Within and across classes in our program, we commit to use empirically-supported strategies for meeting the needs of diverse learners.  We commit to collaborating with Accessibility Services, the Office of Title IX, and Rollins Campus departments and programs to serve the needs of our students. 

 Behavior analysts have long recognized the role of antecedent stimuli that guide behavior.  This statement is but one antecedent of many intended to support a culture of respect, inclusion, and continual commitment to improvement.  



an applied science degree with roots in the liberal arts

The Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science (ABACS) is a 57 credit hour, cohort-based program. In addition to a thesis or capstone project requirement, three practicum or applied research placements totaling 750 hours are also required (250 hours each). This is consistent with board certification requirements. Intensive practica are characterized by on-site and off-site supervision.


The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® has verified the following course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®. Applicants will have to meet additional requirements to qualify.

Area 1:  Conceptual Foundations (12 credit hours) 

  1. Behavioral Assessment (BACS 511)
  2. Single Subject Experimental Design (BACS 512) 
  3. Seminar in Radical Behaviorism (BACS 613)

Area 2: Basic Science (8 credit hours required)

  1. Experimental Analysis of Behavior (BACS 521) 
  2. Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (BACS 522)

Area 3:  Clinical Science (8 credit hours required - choose 2)

  1. Comparative Research Design & Statistics (BACS 531)
  2. Behavior Therapies (BACS 535)
  3. Behavioral Neuroscience (BACS 536)
  4. Special Topic: Seminar in Behaviorism and Clinical Science (BACS 539)
  5. Special Topic (BACS 515)

Area 4: Application (12 credit hours)

  1. Behavioral Interventions I:  Applications  (BACS 541)
  2. Behavioral Interventions II: Special Populations  (BACS 542)
  3. Organizational Behavior, Culture, and Leadership (BACS 561)

Area 5:  Law and Ethics (4 credit hours)

  1. Law, Ethics, and Behaviorism (BACS 551)

Area 6:  Supervised Practical Research and Training (9 credit hours)

  1. Professional Development (BACS 661, 3 credit hours, credit/no credit)
  2. Practicum I (BACS 671, 2 credit hours – 250 hours of supervised experience)
  3. Practicum II (BACS 672, 2 credit hours – 250 hours of supervised experience)
  4. Practicum III (BACS 673, 2 credit hours – 250 hours of supervised experience)

Area 7:  Master’s Thesis or Capstone Equivalent (4 credit hours)

  1. Thesis or Capstone I (BACS 681, 2 credit hours)
  2. Thesis or Capstone II (BACS 682, 2 credit hours)

Tracks of Study

Students complete a three-year program of study.  In some cases, eligible students may complete the program on an accelerated two-year track (pending approval by program faculty)*.  All classes are offered in the late afternoon and evening at the Rollins College Winter Park campus. Some classes will be offered in a reduced-seat time, blended course design (up to 50% of seat time out of the classroom).


First year (Fall) - 12 credit hours

  1. BACS 522 - Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (4)
  2. BACS 512 - Single Subject Experimental Design (4)
  3. BACS 551 - Legal and Ethical Issues (4)

First year (Spring) - 8 credit hours

  1. BACS 521 - Experimental Analysis of Behavior (4)
  2. Area 3, Clinical Science Elective (4)

First year (Summer) - 4 credit hours

  1. Area 3, Clinical Science Elective (4)

Second year (Fall) - 8 credit hours

  1. BACS 511 - Behavioral Assessment (4)
  2. BACS 613 - Seminar in Radical Behaviorism (4)

Second year (Spring) - 4 credit hours

  1. BACS 541 - Behavioral Interventions I: Applications (4)

Second year (Summer) - 6 credit hours

  1. BACS 671 - Practicum I (2)
  2. BACS 542 - Behavioral Interventions II: Special Populations (2)
  3. BACS 681 - Thesis I (2)

Third year (Fall) - 8 credit hours

  1. BACS 672 - Practicum II (2)
  2. BACS 561 - Organizational Behavior, Change, and Leadership (4)
  3. BACS 682 - Thesis II (2)

Third year (Spring) - 5 credit hours

  1. BACS 661 - Professional Development (3)
  2. BACS 673 - Practicum III (2)

 Please note - The courses listed below may not be transferred from another institution:

  • BACS 511 Behavioral Assessment
  • BACS 512 Single Subject Experimental Design
  • BACS 522 Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis
  • BACS 541 Behavioral Interventions I: Applications
  • BACS 551 Law, Ethics, and Behaviorism
  • BACS 561 Organizational Behavior, Culture, & Leadership
  • BACS 613 Seminar in Radical Behaviorism
  • BACS 681 Thesis or Capstone I
  • BACS 682 Thesis or Capstone II
* Admission to the two-year track is restricted and applicants must meet one of the requirements listed below:
  1. Applicant is already credentialed at the BCaBA level
  2. Applicant possesses a master’s degree or higher in another discipline
  3. Applicant is an international student and requires higher number of credits per semester to satisfy visa requirements
  4. Approval of ABACS faculty during the interview process

meet the faculty


Dr. Michele Williams
Michele Williams
Associate Professor, Program Director

Ph.D., West Virginia University
M.A., West Virginia University
B.A., Drury University

(April) Michele Williams is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral® who has served as the Director of the ABACS master’s program since its beginning in 2015. She teaches courses in single-subject research design, behavioral theory and philosophy, diverse applications within the field of behavior analysis, and professional development. Trained as a basic researcher, her earlier publications included examinations of the effects of delayed reinforcement on response acquisition as well as the side effects of punishment. After a post-doctoral fellowship in behavioral pharmacology, she moved into applied behavior analysis by designing early intensive behavioral interventions for children with development disabilities. She also worked for a behavioral consulting company, preparing evidence-based training programs for employees in the insurance industry. More recently she has begun exploring respondent conditioning relations in pairing procedures, multiculturalism, and diversity issues within the discipline of ABA, new applications of TAGteachTM for skill acquisition, and interteaching.

Stephanie Kincaid

Stephanie Kincaid
Assistant Professor

Ph.D., West Virginia University
M.S., West Virginia University
B.A., West Virginia University

Stephanie Kincaid is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral®. Her primary area of research is response recurrence (behavioral processes that cause the return of previously eliminated behavior), and has also conducted research in reinforcement schedule thinning, functional assessment and treatment of elopement, and progressive ratio schedules. Her graduate training included basic behavioral research with non-human animals as well as applications of behavior analysis in schools. After finishing her Ph.D., she completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Severe Behavior at the Marcus Center (an NIH Autism Center of Excellence). She teaches Law, Ethics, and Behaviorism; Organizational Behavior, Culture, and Leadership; and Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis at Rollins.

Awaiting Photo

Kara Wunderlich
Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of Florida
M.S., University of Florida
B.S., University of Florida

Kara Wunderlich is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the Doctoral Level (BCBA-D). She teaches classes in behavioral assessment and ethics and professional issues related to behavior analytic practice. Kara received her doctorate from the University of Florida in 2015. She has provided behavior analytic services in both clinical and school-based settings, primarily with students with intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorder. Her research focuses on the assessment and treatment of problem behaviors, especially behaviors maintained by automatic reinforcement, as well as generalization and maintenance.

thesis & capstone projects

"I enjoyed the experience mostly since I was able to apply principles of ABA in a different environment than it's typically used (i.e., Autism). I think the thesis experience helped me better understand the scientific/research side of ABA and I have a better appreciation for it now as a BCBA." - Breanna Sniffen, '17

To complete the ABACS program, students are given the option of completing a thesis or capstone project. Students may choose between completing either an empirically based master’s thesis or a capstone project. Students will choose between thesis and capstone in collaboration with their mentor. In either case, the student must demonstrate how he or she is answering or addressing a unique and useful question. Theses based on archived data are acceptable provided the student shows that unique data analyses were conducted and can convince his or her committee why the extant database is appropriate. Capstone projects will be supervised by the student’s mentor only while thesis committees will be composed of three judges.

The thesis committee Chair must be a full-time faculty member in the ABACS program. The second thesis committee member is selected by the director of the ABACS program. The third member of the thesis committee may be drawn from the program faculty, affiliated or adjunct faculty, or may be an outside member not affiliated with the program or the college but with relevant expertise in the student’s thesis area.

If the student completes a capstone project instead of the thesis, the student will have satisfied the requirement when the student’s mentor and the ABACS program director, or a designee of the program director, approve the final report of the project.

Maria Ruiz

Maria Ruiz Memorial Research Award

The Maria Ruiz Memorial Research Award was established to recognize outstanding thesis research in applied behavior analysis. Maria was a prominent researcher and writer in conceptual and applied behavior analysis. A professor in the Psychology department at Rollins College, she worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help create the Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science master’s program in 2015. She passed away on August 15, 2017 after a year-long battle with cancer. Maria’s passion for teaching others both subject matter and analysis was an abiding ethical construct in her life. This award is presented at graduation to the student who best exemplifies Maria’s focus on controlled, rigorous data collection to inform treatment decisions.

Maria Ruiz Memorial Research Award Recipients:

2021: Ronni Hemstreet
2020: Alexandra Knerr
2019: Angela Van Arsdale
2018: Stephanie Gonzalez

employment & salaries

Behavior analysts work with many populations. The majority of behavior analysts work with children with autism spectrum disorders, with individuals with other intellectual disabilities, and in education. Other areas of work include behavioral gerontology, organizational behavior management, and public policy and rehabilitation.

Currently, there is a healthy demand for professionals holding a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis. Burning Glass Technologies reported that the demand for behavior-analyst positions has more than doubled between 2012 and 2014. The Association for Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) published a report in 2015 indicating 79% of BCBAs are working full time and 17% are working part time by choice. Only 3% of behavior analysts are working part time due to the inability to find work. This master’s degree provides graduates a wide range of career opportunities working in hospitals, educational settings, outpatient clinics, special education, the criminal-justice system, and in private practice with families, organizations, and corporations. The majority of behavior analysts work as direct providers of ABA services and in administrative roles related to ABA services.

The financial outlook for master’s level behavior-analysis occupations is positive. The APBA reported that most behavior analysts make between $65,000 and $75,000. Further, almost a third of the behavior analysts who responded to their survey were making over $75,000 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the median income salary estimate for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is $67,760. Should a student continue on to a PhD program and be licensed as a clinical psychologist in private practice, the BLS’s median income estimate is $91,140. The median income for clinical psychologists teaching or performing research in academia is $68,980, per the BLS.


  1. Association for Professional Behavior Analysts website ( (2014 U.S. Professional Employment Survey: A Preliminary Report)

  2. Burning Glass Technologies: Careers in Focus (2015). US Behavior Analyst Workforce: Understanding the National Demand for Behavior Analysts

get in touch with us