Graduate School of Education - George Mason University


School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism - George Mason University

The School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism (SRHT) offers exciting, career-ready majors in dynamic fields such as athletic training, tourism and events management, health and physical education, kinesiology, sport management, and recreation management. SRHT features renowned faculty, cutting-edge research, six laboratories and centers, and a diverse student body of more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year. Each major requires one or more internship or clinical experiences, ensuring that students graduate not just with a transcript but with a resume that demonstrates their professional aptitude and skills.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to the study of behavior. It is concerned with describing, explaining, predicting, and changing behavior.

This 18-credit Applied Behavior Analysis certificate program is designed to increase the professional training of individuals responsible for designing, implementing, and monitoring behavioral treatment and verbal behavior training programs in schools, private practices, and agencies such as psychiatric hospitals and training centers. Certificate does not meet teacher licensure.

Applied Behavior Analysis is a discipline devoted to understanding human behavior and the variables to which it is related, and to bringing about improvements in human behavior and the quality of life that are significant to the individuals involved, through application of empirically validated, scientific methodology to real-world problems and solutions. Applied Behavior Analysis has applications in business and industry; autism, mental retardation, and intellectual disabilities; education at all levels; treatment of psychiatric disorders and family relationships; geriatrics; general and specialty medicine; and numerous other areas.

The ABA Certificate Program prepares students to become competent practitioners of behavior analysis, and contributors to the discipline. Content of the courses in this program is derived from the Task List published by the national Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) as well as the Board's Guidelines for Responsible Conduct. It is approved to meet course requirements to sit for the Behavior Analyst Certification Examination, administered semi-annually. Activities are varied, depending on the types of student behavioral repertoires being shaped in the context of particular activities. Students who sit for the exam who have a Masters degree in an area approved by BACB are eligible for certification as a behavior analyst. Students who sit for the exam who have a Bachelors degree are eligible for certification as an assistant behavior analyst. In addition to the coursework, individuals who wish to sit for the exam must also be supervised by a board certified behavior analyst while practicing ABA therapy. For more information on certification, go to

Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate Degree Requirements (18 Credits)

Note: Optional Practicum

EDSE 795 - Standard Applied Behavior Analysis Practicum and EDSE 799 - Intensive Applied Behavior Analysis Practicum may be taken to meet the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) supervised practicum requirements.

Modes of Program Delivery

  Description Tuition/ Benefits Restricted Enrollment Face-to-Face (F2F) Online
Traditional Mason Program Available to students with a conferred Bachelors degree. Students have the option to take courses online and/or face-to-face. Standard tuition rates
(in-state or out-of state tuition)
Available to students eligible for graduate level coursework 1-2 courses per semester 1-3 courses available per semester (Section DL1)
Consortium Open to Virginia residents. Evening classes offered primarily through face-to-face meetings at participating universities: GMU, Lynchburg College, ODU, and VCU. Standard tuition rates + eligibility for 25% discount Must be admitted student to a participating university + apply separately to Consortium. Consortium cohorts are formed each fall semester. 1 course per semester Not available
Cohort Open to employees in participating school divisions or agencies. Courses are offered face-to-face where employees work allowing balance of work and school responsibilities. Standard tuition rates + eligibility for 25% discount Must be employed by participating school division or agency Typically 1 course per semester Not available

Masters Degree Option

Students who are completing the Master's in Special Education in conjunction with their certificate program will need to complete the following courses to meet the MEd course requirements. Click here for a chart showing overlap in coursework of the certificate and MEd. The MEd courses can be taken at any point in a student's program.

  • EDSE or EDAT elective (3 credit hours)

Practicum (Optional)

Eligibility to sit for the BACB certification examination requires completion of coursework and experience requirements. Once enrolled into the ABAC program, individuals who intend to sit for the national certification exam can opt for the following: (a) standard practicum, (b) intensive practicum track, or (c) track supervised independent fieldwork*.

Students may complete all of the hours needed to satisfy the BACB supervised experience requirement through 15 credits of EDSE 790, standard or intensive university practicum track. Students may complete these practicum either in conjunction with the ABA certificate coursework at George Mason, or after completing George Mason's ABA certificate coursework. Practicum experiences offered by George Mason University have been granted Approved Experience status by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board ( Individuals can be supervised on-the-job if the employment setting meets BACB requirements or the university can identify placement. GMU also provides paid and unpaid practicum placement options. Individuals completing practicum through the university must obtain professional liability insurance and provide proof of coverage to their practicum supervisor and site personnel prior to starting the practicum. The price of professional liability insurance ranges from $10-$59 for the year.

Supervised Independent Fieldwork is for students who have appropriate employment settings. This option is not taken with George Mason and instead, the student will work with a qualified BCBA certified supervisor and will report directly to BACB.

Tuition Assistance and Grant Funding

Paid Practicum: In order to sit for the Behavior Analyst Certification Examination, students must meet coursework and supervised experience requirements. Through collaborative agreements with third party agencies (e.g., schools, non-profits, private agencies), George Mason University provides funding opportunities for students to meet these supervision requirements.

VA-ABA Consortium Cohort: The VA-ABA Consortium is comprised of four universities: George Mason University, Lynchburg College, Old Dominion University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. The cohort is open to Virginia residents. With sufficient enrollment, students are eligible for tuition at discounted rates. Classes are offered through face-to-face meetings using a combination of video conferencing, web conferencing, and Blackboard. Students will travel to the nearest university that is providing the courses. Students who meet the distance requirements may be permitted to take courses from home. All courses are offered in the evenings to meet the needs of those who are working full time.

Cohort program: The Special Education program works collaboratively with a number of school divisions in Virginia to offer special education certificates and degree programs to school employees using a cohort model. This model provides convenience to the students and forms a better link between academia and school realities. Additional benefits of the cohort model include tuition discounts, classes located in the students' school divisions and course scheduling in alignment with school division calendars.

Graduate Research Assistantships: Part time positions are available for students interested in providing research support to faculty.