Bachelor's in ABA

For anyone exploring the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA), your timing couldn’t be better.

You might be a professional in another field and considering a career change. Or, you could already be working in ABA in an entry-level position. You may simply be fascinated with the scientific principles of learning and behavior. 

Whatever your situation, you are just in time to help fill a growing labor market need for professionals with ABA credentials by enrolling in Ball State bachelor's degree in applied behavior analysis with an emphasis in autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The principles of ABA have many applications and have been shown to be effective for addressing the needs of individuals with ASD and other developmental disabilities. ABA is about using proven techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive change in socially significant behavior for children and adults. You will learn to help children and adults alike to address behavior and solve social problems and relationships between individual, family members, or people in the community.

This program is offered completely online – with part- and full-time options – making it possible for you to continue your daily routine while earning your degree. All courses are asynchronous, so you can finish your coursework on your own schedule, as long as you complete weekly assignments by their deadlines.

What It’s Like to Pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with an Emphasis in Autism

As new ABA facilities continue to grow, so will the need for bachelor-level behavior specialists. Because a bachelor’s in ABA, matched with study in ASD, raises your marketability, you will be prepared for many job possibilities, including:

  • Behavioral consultants working in school districts
  • Behavioral therapists working in autism centers
  • Behavioral therapists working in mental health centers
  • Behavior consultants with companies working with individuals with developmental disabilities
  • Behavior consultants working with physicians, nurses, and psychologists in hospitals

Graduates of the program will also be well positioned to pursue advanced graduate degrees in ABA, school psychology, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, social work, criminal justice, special education, and education.

And, although this undergraduate program focuses on autism, you will learn ABA techniques and skills that you can use to address a wide array of needs such as organizational behavior management, health and wellness improvement, and substance abuse disorders.

After completing this bachelor’s degree, along with the necessary field hours, you’ll be eligible to take a national exam to earn the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) credential. BCaBAs are needed to fill positions in a range of settings—ABA clinics, autism centers, hospitals, mental health centers, schools, geriatric facilities, to name but a few. 

An abundance of job postings in Indiana—and across the country—means that this shortage could be an opportunity for you wherever you live. Since Ball State’s undergraduate degree comes to you 100 percent online, you can prepare for this favorable job market from your laptop—whether at home, at work, or your child’s soccer practice.

Earning a bachelor's degree in applied behavior analysis with an emphasis in autism opens yourself up to boundless opportunities within a career that has a shortage of credentialed professionals.

First, you will earn a foundation in an important behavioral science and will learn from faculty who care about their students and who are actively engaged in research and their own communities. The program is housed within the Ball State Teachers College, which regularly ranks among the best in the nation.

Secondly, the ABA program is part of college's Department of Special Education. This academic department has been on the forefront of training professionals in best-practice methods to help special populations for decades. 

A bachelor’s degree program could also help prepare you for continued graduate-level education in ABA, which could significantly broaden your career opportunities and earning potential. Ball State has one of the largest master's degree programs in ABA in the country.

Ball State has several programs in ABA. Our undergraduate specialization in ABA, our graduate certificate in ABA, and the master's degree were the first such programs in the state of Indiana. This bachelor's degree in ABA is also the first in Indiana and one of only a few online undergraduate degrees in this field available in the nation.

Our online programs enroll students from around the globe, enabling graduates from around the world to obtain BACB credentials and enhance their communities. Our online bachelor's in ABA only reinforces Ball State as a national hub for ABA studies.

For example, our Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder (CASD) was founded to produce meaningful answers to the questions that most challenge the ASD community. By using rigorous research methods and addressing crucial gaps in services, our team of faculty, staff, and students work to meet the growing needs of individuals with ASD, their families, and professionals who work with them.

  • Ball State has this highest form of accreditation: continuing institutional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. What this means to you is that we have met rigorous academic standards and professionalism that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and other institutions of higher learning. We have been accredited since 1925.
  • CAEPOur Teachers College is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), a specialized accrediting body for educator preparation that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • We are also accredited by the Indiana Teacher Training and Licensing Commission.
  • In addition, 23 programs within the college have received national recognition through their respective professional associations.

Course Requirements

Ball State’s online bachelor of science (BS) in ABA requires 120 credits.

  • University Core Curriculum (36-39 credits)
  • General Electives (45-48 credits) — You will work with your advisor to select the elective courses to best fit your academic goals. You will have enough elective credits to fit in a minor, which can make you even more marketable. Minors available online include psychology of human development, sociology, and criminal justice.
  • ABA Courses (36 credits)

Courses in the ABA Major

All of these courses are required:

  • EDPS 270 Lifespan Development (3 credits)
  • SPCE 200 Exceptional Children and Adults (3 credits)
  • SPCE 280 Behavior Analysis Principles, Processes, and Philosophy (3 credits)
  • SPCE 290 Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder (3 credits)
  • SPCE 292 Treatment and Interventions with Autism Spectrum Disorder (3 credits)
  • SPCE 307 Ethical, Professional Practice in Behavior Analysis (3 credits)
  • SPCE 310 Application of Consultation in Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)
  • SPCE 315 Advanced Behavior Analysis (3 credits)
  • SPCE 316 Single-Subject Research Design and Applications (3 credits)
  • SPCE 320 Advanced Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorders (3 credits)
  • SPCE 438 Advanced Seminar in Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)
  • SPCE 483 Seminar in Autism Spectrum Disorder (3 credits)

View Catalog

The degree is designed so that you can complete it in four years if you take classes full time. Completion time will vary if you attend part time. We encourage you to discuss with your advisor regarding your workload and your time frame for completing your degree. 

This course sequence is verified for students who will apply for the BCaBA exam under the 5th edition task list.

On-Campus Students

If you are studying on campus, you can earn the BS or BA (bachelor of arts) in ABA. The BA degree includes some foreign language requirements.

On-campus students will have a wider array of elective courses, core courses, and optional minors in which to choose. Your advisor will help you create a plan of study to meet your goals.

Ready to Apply?

Whether you are transferring credits in from another university or have never taken college courses before now, we invite you to learn about Ball State's admission requirements and how to apply to this program.

At minimum you will need a high school degree or have earned a high school equivalency diploma (TASC or GED).

Whether you are new to Ball State, transferring from another school, or returning to Ball State to finish a degree, you will need to review the admissions process for new or transfer students in an online program.

To be considered for admission to the semester you prefer, your application and all supporting materials, such as other college or university transcripts, should be to us by the following dates:

  • Fall semester: August 1
  • Spring semester: December 1
  • Summer semester: April 1

Please plan for at least 3-4 weeks for staff from your previous schools to send official transcripts to Ball State. We will review your application as soon as we receive all your application materials.

Although the courses within the major are completely online, you may take this major if you are a student on Ball State’s main campus. You will need to apply via the university’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions.


If you are already a current Ball State student, then meet with your academic advisor regarding a change of major. You may also contact ABA advisor Amy Chamberlain.

If you are planning to study online from your home country, you may apply for this degree program.


However, because of federal requirements, we cannot currently accept international students studying on the Ball State campus to this major.

Students from Other States

Ball State is authorized to accept online students from all U.S. states. However, certain states have regulations regarding licensing programs in nursing and education. Learn more about state authorizations for non-Indiana students.


Admission to Ball State is selective, and we carefully evaluate all application on an individual basis. Applying for admission is easy. Use our convenient, comprehensive, and secure online application.


Want to Learn More?

Do you have questions about this program or online learning? We’re here to help! You may request more information using our online form, or feel free to reach out directly to one of our staff.

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