Master in Special Education, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Track

Typical Length 2 years

Delivery Online

Nationally Accredited

All current UH Mānoa ABA coursework has been aligned to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) 5th Edition Task List requirements.

The Master in Special Education, ABA-Track offers two pathway options:

  1. 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.
  2. The Master in Special Education, Extensive Support Needs-Track prepares classroom teachers and others within the educational community to effectively design and deliver educational services for students with autism and other severe disabilities. This program includes coursework to build a strong foundation in and understanding of these disabilities, as well as, skills in implementing ABA principles and teaching strategies. Although this pathway option includes four of the courses in the BCBA® verified course sequence, completing this program option will not meet all of the course requirements necessary for certification in ABA.
Who should consider this program?

This program is for those who already have a bachelor’s degree and are interested in the field of applied behavior analysis. Candidates enrolled in the MEd SPED + BCBA®-Track or the MEd SPED + Extensive Support Needs-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 or educational services to students with disabilities.

  • BCBA (HIDOE or agencies)
  • Special Education Teachers teaching students with extensive support needs
  • General Education Teachers including teaching students with extensive support needs
  • District Resource Teachers
  • Autism Consulting Teachers

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.

Admission Requirements

Eligibility Criteria

  • Bachelor’s degree: must be from 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 online orientation prior to the start of the program.

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 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.

Deadline
Starting Semester Application Deadline
Summer* February 15
Spring October 1

We do not admit for Fall Admissions. To begin an application, please visit our How to Apply page.

*We are not enrolling for Summer 2023 admissions. Please reach out to the recruitment specialist to be notified of the next admission period: https://coe.hawaii.edu/sped/programs/med-bcba/request-more-info/

 

Delivery & Format

Online Program (online, synchronous)

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

Applied projects are incorporated into program coursework.

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

Tuition & Funding

MEd in Special Education, ABA-Tracks (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, if available, is provided upon acceptance into program.

FINANCIAL AID: All applicants are encouraged to complete the FAFSA for financial aid eligibility and should refer to UH Mānoa’s financial aid website. The MEd in Special Education program is a part-time program, with candidates enrolling in two courses per semester (typically 6 credits). For financial aid purposes, this would be classified as a part-time graduate student (part-time status is 4 credits per semester).

  • If you want to be a full-time student, you would need to enroll in 8 credits or more each Fall and Spring semester. Inform the advisor of your need to be enrolled as a full-time student as you collaboratively plan your course of study with them. Your advisor will determine which courses are appropriate to be added to your program to bring you to full-time status. Pursuing full-time status would extend your program to being more than 31 credits.

LOAN FORGIVENESS: The following additional loan forgiveness options are available to candidates who qualify for and receive financial aid:

SCHOLARSHIPS: To view a listing of all UH Scholarships available, please visit http://www.star.hawaii.edu/scholarship

Specific scholarships to education and/or special education include:

  • Faith C. Ai Memorial Scholarship: Certified educators who are pursuing graduate degrees in any subject may receive up to $5,000, as long as they intend to teach after graduation.
  • College of Education Scholarships: Visit our College of Education funding website to see a listing of available funding opportunities specific to those pursuing degrees and programs in education.
Option 1: BCBA-Track Coursework

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

Spring Sum Fall Spring Sum Fall Spring
Spring Admit 642
603
673
641B
602
614
630
671
641H 632
695
Summer Admit 673
641B
602
603
642
630
641H 614
632
671
695
Option 2: Extensive Support Needs-Track Coursework

Candidates in the MEd SPED, Extensive Support Needs-Track (previously referred to as Severe/Autism-Track) will need to complete core master degree requirements as well as four courses within the BCBA® Verified Course Sequence and options for electives, for a total of 31 credits.

The Extensive Support Needs-Track only admits for Spring semester.

MEd SPED Core Coursework (13 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 688: Research Practicum 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. 

Extensive Support Needs-Track Coursework (18 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
  • Elective
  • Elective

Electives may be selected from the following courses or other courses determined as appropriate in collaboration with the student’s advisor:

  • SPED 412: Individuals with Severe Disabilities/Autism
  • SPED 453: Physical and Medical Needs – Severe Disabilities/Autism
  • SPED 454: Serving Non-School-Age Individuals with Severe Disabilities/Autism
  • SPED 618: Adaptations and Special Procedures – Students with Severe Disabilities/Autism
  • SPED 629: Clinical Practice Special Projects
  • SPED 699: Directed Reading/Research

Sample Course Schedule, based on Semester Start (This track only admits for Spring)

Spring Sum Fall Spring Sum Fall Spring
Spring Admit 642
603
641B
Elective
614
602
688
630
Elective 632
695
Summer Admit (Not enrolling)
Fieldwork Experience (BCBA-Track candidates only)

Candidates pursuing certification in ABA need to complete field experience hours in addition to their degree and coursework requirements. 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). Supervised fieldwork opportunities through UH Mānoa are only an option for candidates enrolled in coursework and SPED 678 is subject to availability.

Learn more about these requirements: ABA Fieldwork Handbook

Advising & Faculty

For general program information and how to apply, please contact the recruitment specialist, Janet Kim (spedinfo@hawaii.edu).

For more specific BCBA-Track programmatic information, including transferable credits or fieldwork experience, please contact the program coordinator, Dr. Jennifer Ninci (jninci@hawaii.edu).

Photo of Janet Kim

Janet Kim

Special Education Recruitment Specialist

Photo of Jennifer Ninci

Jennifer Ninci

Associate Professor