Master in Special Education + BCBA®-Track Verified Course Sequence

Typical Length 2 years

Delivery Online



Beginning Fall 2020, all UH Mānoa ABA coursework has been aligned to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) 5th Edition Task List requirements.

The Master in Special Education + BCBA®-Track Verified Course Sequence is a 2-for-1 opportunity to meet the degree and coursework requirements towards certification in ABA. The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified the following courses toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination.

Who should consider this program?

This program is for those who already have a bachelor’s degree and are interested in pursuing certification in behavior analysis. Candidates enrolled in the MEd SPED + BCBA®-Track program will need access to employment or volunteer experiences in the field working directly with individuals warranting ABA supports to be able to carry out applied projects. Candidates may be working in the field as practitioners from a variety of fields; examples include but are not limited to:

  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT)
  • Skills Trainers
  • *Special Education Teachers
  • General Education Teachers
  • District Autism Resource Teachers
  • Autism Consulting Teachers
  • Behavioral Health Specialists

*Those who have completed our Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education with the severe disabilities/autism emphasis within the last five years may be able to double count up to 12 credits of overlapping coursework towards this program.


Common Careers

Graduates of this program typically work for the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) or other agencies providing behavior analytic services.

  • BCBA (HIDOE or agencies)
  • Special Education Teachers
  • General Education Teachers
  • District Resource Teachers
  • Autism Consulting Teachers

To see a listing of local agencies across our state, please refer to the Hawaii Association for Behavior Analysis website.

This program does NOT lead to initial teacher licensure to teach in Hawaii public schools. If interested in becoming a licensed special education teacher, please refer to the Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education; the severe disabilities and autism emphasis has overlapping coursework with the BCBA-Track program. 


Admission Requirements

Eligibility Criteria

  • Bachelor’s degree: must be from a a UHM recognized, accredited, four-year institution of higher education
  • GPA: 3.0 or higher
  • A laptop is required upon admission

All candidates must attend an orientation at UH Mānoa* prior to the start of the program. A travel stipend is provided to neighbor island candidates to attend. Candidates outside of Hawaii will receive a distance option for attending the orientation.

*Online orientation may be provided, based on COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.

Application Requirements
  • Official transcripts from each post-secondary institution attended
  • Video Recorded Responses and Essay
  • Statement of Objectives
  • Resumé
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation

International students are currently unable to pursue our online or hybrid programs due to visa requirements, including for those who wish to pursue online courses from their home country. We are in the process of reviewing requirements and processes and will send out a notification of changes or updates regarding this issue to those who complete the “Request More Info” form. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Starting Semester Priority Deadline Final Deadline
Summer February 1 February 15
Fall February 1 March 1
Spring September 1 October 1

To begin an application, please visit our How to Apply page.

Delivery & Format

Online Program (online, synchronous)

All courses in the MEd SPED, BCBA®-Track program are offered online and include synchronous online class sessions in the early evenings on weekdays, typically 4:30pm-7:00pm HST*.

*Candidates residing outside of Hawaii must consider differences in timezone before committing to this program.

Tuition & Funding

MEd in Special Education, BCBA®-Track (31 credits, based on 2020-2023 tuition rates):

MERIT-BASED STIPENDS*: Possible departmental stipends, based on available funds. Receive up to $8,000 total, based on merit as evaluated by transcripts, GPA, letters of recommendation, and full-time enrollment. Application is provided upon acceptance into program.

*Due to current COVID-19 pandemic and UH budget concerns, merit-based funds are not currently available.

FEDERAL TEACHER LOAN FORGIVENESS: SPED teachers at Title I schools can qualify for up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness after five years of service. ( Students must have qualified and received financial aid/student loans to receive loan forgiveness on previous degree or can apply for financial aid to cover the master degree. Complete your free financial aid application to see if you qualify.


  • Faith C. Ai Memorial Scholarship:
    • Receive up to $5,000
    • Eligibility: Certified educators who are pursuing graduate degrees in any subject, as long as they intend to teach

Candidates in the MEd SPED, BCBA®-Track will need to complete core master degree requirements as well as the BCBA® Verified Course Sequence for a total of 31 credits.

MEd SPED Core Coursework (10 credits):

  • SPED 602: Special Education Law and Compliance (3)
  • SPED 641B: Seminar on (Applied Research) in Special Education (3)
  • SPED 642: Seminar on Issues in Special Education (3)
  • SPED 695*: Master’s Capstone Project (1)

*Candidates can choose to replace the Plan B Project (1) with a Plan A Thesis (6), extending their total program credits to 36. For this program, candidates must carry out an original single-case research study that is grounded in the theories and principles of ABA for their Plan A or B project. 

BCBA®-Track Coursework (21 credits; 3 credits each course):

  • SPED 603: Principles of Behavior
  • SPED 614: Assessment & Instruction – Severe/Autism
  • SPED 630: Positive Behavior Support
  • SPED 632: Language/Communication Intervention – Communication Disorders/Autism
  • SPED 641H: Seminar on Single-Case Research in Special Education
  • SPED 671: Advanced Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (Prerequisite: SPED 603)
  • SPED 673: Ethics & Professional Conduct

Sample Course Schedule, based on Semester Start

Fall Spring Sum Fall Spring Sum Fall Spring
Fall Admit 602
Spring Admit 602
641H 630
Summer Admit 673
641H 630
Fieldwork Experience

Candidates may not begin accumulating experience hours until they have started the BCBA® Verified Course Sequence. Candidates must earn the required number of hours within a span of 5 years. The candidate is responsible for gathering/maintaining evidence of their experience hours with their supervisor.

Candidates may acquire fieldwork supervision independently from the university. Alternatively, UH Mānoa can provide ABA fieldwork through additional credits for Hawaii residents. Students who opt to pursue fieldwork through UH Mānoa must enroll in SPED 678 (ABA Fieldwork) for up to twelve additional credits (4 semesters). Practicum opportunities through UH Mānoa are only an option for candidates enrolled in coursework and SPED 678 is subject to availability.

Advising & Faculty

For general program information and how to apply, please contact the recruitment specialist, Janet Kim (

For more specific programmatic information, including transferable credits or fieldwork experience, please contact the ABA program coordinator, Dr. Jennifer Ninci (

Photo of Janet Kim

Janet Kim

Special Education Recruitment Specialist

Photo of Jennifer Ninci

Jennifer Ninci

Assistant Professor