The seven-course sequence of the Applied Behavior Analysis graduate certificate focuses on integrating research, basic principles, and specialized coursework with fieldwork in the areas of intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, and behavioral health. Prospective students will have a choice to complete either the certificate alone, or as a concentration while pursuing a graduate degree in Special Education.

Program Overview

  • Options: Graduate certificate, master’s concentration
  • Location(s): On campus; limited online courses available
  • Credits: 21
  • Duration: Minimum nine months
  • Cost: $894 per credit; $12,000-19,000 total
  • Deadline: Rolling admissions
  • Start term(s): Fall (preferred) and Spring semesters
  • Careers: Behavioral health, autism support, developmental disability services

Mercyhurst’s Special Education and Applied Disability Studies graduate program seeks to produce the most skilled special education and behavioral health professionals in the region. Small graduate classes allow students to actively engage with faculty and peers. In fact, regular lab meetings push students to share ideas, collaborate, and think critically about coursework and discussions.

The coursework in this certificate program satisfies the requirements you need to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination through the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

Learning Outcomes

Mercyhurst graduate programs are designed to give our students a competitive edge in the marketplace. Our curriculum will prepare you as an educator who is able to:

  • Analyze and critique educational research
  • Apply dimensions of applied behavior analysis
  • Utilize evidenced-based practices and assessments in clinical settings
  • Write measurable objectives such as those found in an Individual Education Plan (IEP)
  • Write procedures for evidenced-based practices across disability groups and lifespans

Course Requirements

The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified the following courses toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination.

The seven courses required for the Applied Behavior Analysis graduate certificate are:

  • EDSP 501: Introduction to ABA: Behavior Intervention
  • EDSP 502: Educational Research: Single Case Research
  • EDSP 536: Professional, Legal, & Ethical Practices
  • EDSP 640: Concepts & Principles of ABA I
  • EDSP 645: Behavior Interventions II
  • EDSP 650: FBA & Behavior Interventions III
  • EDSP 660: Concepts & Principles of ABA II

A university certificate of completion will be awarded to students who complete the seven-course sequence.

Career Paths

Depending on your background and/or choice to continue on for a master’s degree, our ABA graduate certificate program will prepare you for careers related to:

  • Behavioral health and analysis
  • Developmental disability services
  • Autism support
  • Postsecondary academic support and career services

Admissions Requirements

Prospective applicants for the graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis must fulfill the following admission requirements. At the discretion of the program director, admission may be granted to applicants who have not fulfilled all the admission requirements provided they agree to the conditions of the acceptance prescribed by the director.

Admissions decisions are made by the program director on a rolling basis after a holistic review.

Applicants can choose to start in either the Fall (preferred) or Spring semesters.

  • Completed (free) online application 
  • A bachelor’s degree in any discipline from an accredited school with a preferred overall minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you’ve attended 
  • A current resume 
  • A 500- to 750-word personal statement outlining your reasons for enrolling and personal and professional goals

Explore Financial Aid

Earn an affordable graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis with competitive per-credit costs. Visit our Graduate Cost and Financial Aid webpage or contact us at or 814-824-2202.

Contact Us

Phillip Belfiore, Ph.D.
Program Director, Graduate Special Education
Office: Hirt 300B
Phone: 814-824-2267

Colleen Hordych
Assistant Director, Graduate Admissions
Phone: 814-824-2297