Mastering Behavior Analysis

The master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science (ABACS) prepares you for a clinical or research career focused on helping clients develop new skills and improve the quality of their lives. Students master the delivery of behavioral interventions using verifiable, scientifically based principles. The program prepares students for master’s-level professional practice in applied behavior analysis and doctoral-level work in either behaviorally oriented clinical psychology Ph.D. programs or applied behavior analysis.

"The greatest strength is the professors. Not only do they shape you into a behavior analyst, but they really prepare you to network professionally. The professors actively connect you with professionals in the field that once seemed untouchable. Additionally, the thesis component really made the program for me. Having the ability to conduct our own research under the professors provided a deeper understanding of the scientific processes used in behavior analysis." - Kristen Morris, BCBA - ABACS Alumni 2017

Why Rollins?

applied behavior analysis and clinical science (abacs)

Applied Behavior Analysis is a systematic, research-based application for analyzing, understanding, and changing behavior. The mission of the ABACS program is to produce master’s-level graduates who are skilled in both behavior analysis and the clinical-science applications of behavioral theory. Upon completion of the program, students will possess the knowledge and research skills to assess whether an intervention is empirically supported. Additionally, with the assistance of a faculty mentor, students will acquire the skills to design and evaluate behavioral interventions or research supporting a scientific approach to behavior change. Because the program also includes a focus on clinical science, graduates will be well prepared for PhD programs at other behaviorally oriented institutions.

Employment & Salaries

Behavior analysts work with many populations. The majority of behavior analysts work with children with autism spectrum disorders, with individuals with other intellectual disabilities, and in education. Other areas of work include behavioral gerontology, organizational behavior management, and public policy and rehabilitation.

Currently, there is a healthy demand for professionals holding a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis. Burning Glass Technologies reported that the demand for behavior-analyst positions has more than doubled between 2012 and 2014. The Association for Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) published a report in 2015 indicating 79% of BCBAs are working full time and 17% are working part time by choice. Only 3% of behavior analysts are working part time due to the inability to find work. This master’s degree provides graduates a wide range of career opportunities working in hospitals, educational settings, outpatient clinics, special education, the criminal-justice system, and in private practice with families, organizations, and corporations. The majority of behavior analysts work as direct providers of ABA services and in administrative roles related to ABA services.

The financial outlook for master’s level behavior-analysis occupations is positive. The APBA reported that most behavior analysts make between $65,000 and $75,000. Further, almost a third of the behavior analysts who responded to their survey were making over $75,000 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the median income salary estimate for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is $67,760. Should a student continue on to a PhD program and be licensed as a clinical psychologist in private practice, the BLS’s median income estimate is $91,140. The median income for clinical psychologists teaching or performing research in academia is $68,980, per the BLS.


  1. Association for Professional Behavior Analysts website ( (2014 U.S. Professional Employment Survey: A Preliminary Report)

  2. Burning Glass Technologies: Careers in Focus (2015). US Behavior Analyst Workforce: Understanding the National Demand for Behavior Analysts



The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc® has verified the course sequence and intensive practicum as meeting the coursework and experience requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®.

VCS Pass Rates (Pass-rate data are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of operation.)

Tuition and Fees

The program is a total of 62 credit hours. Based on the 2018-19 tuition rate of $615 per credit hour, the total cost of the program is $38,130. Learn more about financial aid.

Fall 2018 Application Deadlines:

Applications for waitlist consideration for the Fall 2018 cohort will continue to be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis through June 15.

  • Applications for the ABACS program are accepted on an annual basis. The application deadlines for the Fall 2018 cohort are as follows:

    • Early Decision Deadline - March 1, 2018 
    • Regular Decision Deadline EXTENDED - June 15, 2018 (Late applications will be considered based on space available).

Click here for application instructions.

Research Assistantship Opportunities

Two Research Assistantship positions are available to incoming or current students not yet enrolled in their final year of the program (i.e., not beginning Practicum or Thesis/Capstone in Summer 2018). Students can learn more and apply online via Application Deadline: July 15, 2018.

About the ABACS program:

an applied science degree with roots in the liberal arts

The Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science (ABACS) is a 62 credit hour, cohort-based program. In addition to a thesis or capstone project requirement, three practicum or applied research placements totaling 750 hours are also required (250 hours each). This is consistent with board certification requirements. Intensive practica are characterized by on-site and off-site supervision.


Tracks of Study



To graduate, students must satisfy requirements in each of the areas below. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® has verified the following course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®. Applicants will have to meet additional requirements to qualify.

Area 1:  Conceptual Foundations (12 credit hours) 

  1. Behavioral Assessment (BACS 511)
  2. Single Subject Experimental Design (BACS 512) 
  3. Seminar in Radical Behaviorism (BACS 613)

Area 2: Basic Science (12 credit hours)

  1. Experimental Analysis of Behavior (BACS 521) 
  2. Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (BACS 522)
  3. Behavioral Psychopharmacology (BACS 537)

Area 3:  Clinical Science (8 credit hours required)

  1. Comparative Research Methods and Statistics (BACS 531)
  2. Psychological Assessment and Diagnosis (BACS 532)
  3. Child Behavior Disorders (BACS 533)
  4. Adult Behavior Disorders (BACS 534)
  5. Behavior Therapies (BACS 535)
  6. Behavioral Neuroscience (BACS 536)
  7. Clinical Science of Stress, Trauma, and Recovery (BACS 538)
  8. Special Topic: Seminar in Behaviorism and Clinical Science (BACS 539)
  9. Special Topic (BACS 515)

Area 4: Application (12 credit hours)

  1. Behavioral Interventions I:  Applications  (BACS 541)
  2. Behavioral Interventions II: Special Populations  (BACS 542)
  3. Organizational Behavior, Culture, and Leadership (BACS 561)

Area 5:  Law and Ethics (4 credit hours)

  1. Law, Ethics, and Behaviorism (BACS 551)

Area 6:  Supervised Practical Research and Training (10 credit hours)

  1. Professional Development I (BACS 661, 2 credit hours, credit/no credit)
  2. Professional Development II (BACS 662, 2 credit hours, credit/no credit)
  3. Practicum I (BACS 671, 2 credit hours – 250 hours of supervised experience)
  4. Practicum II (BACS 672, 2 credit hours – 250 hours of supervised experience)
  5. Practicum III (BACS 673, 2 credit hours – 250 hours of supervised experience)

Area 7:  Master’s Thesis or Capstone Equivalent (4 credit hours)

  1. Thesis or Capstone I (BACS 681, 2 credit hours)
  2. Thesis or Capstone II (BACS 682, 2 credit hours)

Tracks of Study

Students may select either a two- or three-year program of study. All classes are offered in the late afternoon and evening at the Rollins College Winter Park campus. Some classes will be offered in a reduced-seat time, blended course design (up to 50% of seat time out of the classroom).

Two-year program of study (Track A)

First year (Fall) – 16 credit hours

  1. BACS 522 – Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (4)
  2. BACS 512 -- Single Subject Experimental Design (4)
  3. BACS 511 – Behavioral Assessment (4)
  4. BACS 551 – Legal and Ethical Issues (4)

 First year (Spring) – 12 credit hours

  1. BACS 521 – Experimental Analysis of Behavior (4)
  2. Area 3, Clinical science #1 (4)
  3. BACS 541 – Behavioral Interventions I:  Applications (4)

 First year (Summer) – 10 credit hours

  1. BACS 671 – Practicum/Applied Research I (2)
  2. BACS 542 – Behavioral Interventions II:  Special Populations (4)
  3. Area 3, Clinical Science #2 (4)
  4. BACS 681 – Thesis I (2)

 Second year (Fall) – 14 credit hours

  1. BACS 561- Organizational Behavior, Culture, Leadership (4)
  2. BACS 613 – Seminar in Radical Behaviorism (4)
  3. BACS 661 – Professional Development I (2)
  4. BACS 672 – Practicum/Applied Research II (2)
  5. BACS 682 - Thesis II (2)

 Second year (Spring) – 10 credit hours

  1. BACS 537 - Behavioral Psychopharmacology (4)
  2. BACS 662 – Professional Development II (2)
  3. BACS 673 – Practicum III (2)

Three-year program of study (Track B)

First year (Fall) - 12 credit hours

  1. BACS 522 - Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (4)
  2. BACS 512 - Single Subject Experimental Design (4)
  3. BACS 551 - Legal and Ethical Issues (4)

First year (Spring) - 8 credit hours

  1. BACS 521 - Experimental Analysis of Behavior (4)
  2. ELECTIVE Area 3: Clinical Science (4)

First year (Summer) - 8 credit hours

  1. ELECTIVE: Area 3: Clinical Science (4)

Second year (Fall) - 8 credit hours

  1. BACS 511 - Behavioral Assessment (4)
  2. BACS 613 - Seminar in Radical Behaviorism (4)

Second year (Spring) - 8 credit hours

  1. BACS 537 - Behavioral Psychopharmacology
  2. BACS 541 - Behavioral Interventions I: Applications (4)

Second year (Summer) - 6 credit hours

  1. BACS 671 - Practicum I (2)
  2. BACS 542 - Behavioral Interventions II: Special Populations (4)
  3. BACS 681 - Thesis I (2)

Third year (Fall) - 10 credit hours

  1. BACS 661 - Professional Development I (2)
  2. BACS 672 - Practicum II (2)
  3. BACS 561 - Organizational Behavior, Change, and Leadership (4)
  4. BACS 682 - Thesis II (2)

Third year (Spring) - 6 credit hours

  1. BACS 662 - Professional Development II (2)
  2. BACS 673 - Practicum III (2)

Third year (Summer)

  1. Completion of any remaining degree requirements that may have been deferred (if needed)

Thesis/Capstone Requirement

Students may choose between completing either an empirically based master’s thesis or a capstone project approved by the student’s mentor. Additional information can be found under the "Thesis/Capstone" tab.

meet the faculty


Dr. Michele Williams
Michele Williams
Associate Professor, Program Director

Ph.D., West Virginia University
M.A., West Virginia University
B.A., Drury University

Michele Williams is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral® who teaches classes in single subject design, the experimental analysis of behavior, and the theory and philosophy of behavior analysis. Trained as a basic researcher, her publications have included studies on the effects of delayed reinforcement on response acquisition and the side effects of punishment. After graduate school she began developing and overseeing early intensive behavior intervention programs for children with autism and related disorders. She has supervised master’s theses in the areas of video modeling to teach social play skills, testing the function of verbal behavior, and facilitating the acquisition of early verbal behavior using the stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure.

Sarah Slocum
Sarah Slocum Freeman
Visiting Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of Florida
M.S., University of Florida
B.S., Louisiana State Univeristy

Sarah Slocum Freeman is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral® and has published work in skill acquisition, manding, and the assessment and treatment of behavior disorders. In 2014, Sarah was awarded the Dennis Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowship from Autism Speaks to complete her dissertation focusing on severe escape behavior. Additionally, she was awarded the Ruth McQuown Scholarship Award in April of 2015. Sarah served as the Associate Director of the Behavior Analysis Research Clinic at the University of Florida for two years, where she focused on integrating clinical and research practices in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Sarah teaches Behavioral Assessment, Interventions, and Intensive Practicum at Rollins College.

Stephanie Kincaid

Stephanie Kincaid
Visiting Assistant Professor

Ph.D., West Virginia University
M.S., West Virginia University
B.A., West Virginia University

Stephanie Kincaid is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral®. Her primary area of research is response recurrence (behavioral processes that cause the return of previously eliminated behavior), and has also conducted research in reinforcement schedule thinning, functional assessment and treatment of elopement, and progressive ratio schedules. Her graduate training included basic behavioral research with non-human animals as well as applications of behavior analysis in schools. After finishing her Ph.D., she completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Severe Behavior at the Marcus Center (an NIH Autism Center of Excellence). She teaches Law, Ethics, and Behaviorism; Organizational Behavior, Culture, and Leadership; and Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis at Rollins.


David C.S. Richard

David C.S. Richard
Dean, Hamilton Holt School

Ph.D., University of Hawaii, 1999
M.A., University of Hawaii, 1992
M.Ed., Harvard University, 1988
B.A., University of California at San Diego, 1986

David Richard is a behavioral clinical psychologist who teaches courses in comparative research design, application of statistical techniques to single-subject data, trauma and trauma recovery, and organizational culture, leadership, and development. He is currently the dean of the Hamilton Holt School and is responsible for coordinating both the undergraduate and graduate curricula. His past research has focused on computer applications in behavioral assessment (e.g., ecological momentary assessment), trauma assessment, and the empirical study of leadership styles and their relationship to organizational outcomes. In the ABACS program, he is responsible for the clinical science side of the program and works with students to help them understand the history of behaviorism (philosophical and epistemological antecedents), idiographic and nomothetic research methods, and organizational dynamics. He also serves as primary mentor for those students aspiring to advance to behaviorally-oriented clinical PhD programs after graduation.

Stacey Dunn
Stacey Tantleff Dunn
Associate Professor

Ph.D. University of South Florida, 1995
M.A. University of South Florida, 1992
B.A. George Washington University, 1989

Stacey Dunn is a licensed clinical psychologist whose primary research activity is in the areas of body image and eating behavior, with a focus on media effects and gender differences. Her most recent research, teaching, and clinical work reflect her interests in positive psychology and mindfulness-based therapies. Dr. Dunn teaches courses in positive psychology, psychology of relationships, clinical psychology, and introductory psychology.

thesis & capstone projects

To complete the ABACS program, students are given the option of completing a thesis or capstone project. Here are some examples of past projects. Students may choose between completing either an empirically based master’s thesis or a capstone project approved by the student’s mentor.  In either case, the student must demonstrate how he or she is answering or addressing a unique and useful question. Theses based on archived data are acceptable provided the student shows that unique data analyses were conducted and can convince his or her committee why the extant database is appropriate. Capstone projects will be supervised by the student’s mentor only while thesis committees will be composed of three judges.

The thesis committee Chair must be a full-time faculty member in the ABACS program. The second thesis committee member is selected by the director of the ABACS program. The third member of the thesis committee may be drawn from the program faculty, affiliated or adjunct faculty, or may be an outside member not affiliated with the program or the college but with relevant expertise in the student’s thesis area.

If the student elects to complete a capstone project instead of the thesis, the student will have satisfied the requirement when the student’s mentor and the ABACS program director, or a designee of the program director, approve the final report of the project.

Maria Ruiz Memorial Research Award

Maria RuizThe Maria Ruiz Memorial Research Award was established to recognize outstanding thesis research in applied behavior analysis. Maria was a prominent researcher and writer in conceptual and applied behavior analysis. A professor in the Psychology department at Rollins College, she worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help create the Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science master’s program in 2015. She passed away on August 15, 2017 after a year-long battle with cancer. Maria’s passion for teaching others both subject matter and analysis was an abiding ethical construct in her life. This award is presented at graduation to the student who best exemplifies Maria’s focus on controlled, rigorous data collection to inform treatment decisions. The 2018 recipient is Stephanie Gonzalez. 

"I enjoyed the experience mostly since I was able to apply principles of ABA in a different environment than it's typically used (i.e., Autism). I think the thesis experience helped me better understand the scientific/research side of ABA and I have a better appreciation for it now as a BCBA." - Breanna Sniffen, '17
  • Breanna Sniffen '17 - Used an auditory feedback method called TAGteach to teach new pitches by female softball pitchers and to improve the accuracy of their current pitches. She presented her results last year at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis-International in Denver, CO in 2017.

  • Kristen Morris '17 - Conducted an assessment of the feather-plucking behavior of a black vulture. She was able to determine that it was plucking to receive attention from humans in the form of soothing statements. She has since gone on to present her findings at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis-International in San Diego, CA. Additionally, she is evaluating varying raptors and working to set up an enrichment study with a group of primates at a zoo in Idaho. 

  • Christina Greco '17 - Measured whether teaching a child with autism to label highly preferred and less-preferred items, then measured whether or not the difference in preference would result in differential ability to request them as well. She found that the child not only learned to request the highly preferred item, but also started spontaneously requesting other items in her environment. These results were presented at the annual Florida Association for Behavior Analysis in Daytona last fall.

  • Sabrine Maali '17 - Measured the activity preferences of older adults diagnosed with dementia across time. Based on her results, she was able to recommend ways in which their caregivers could further enrich their environments and improve their quality of life.

  • Jennifer Darrah '17 - Conducted an assessment of pica behavior (i.e., ingesting inedible objects) of children with autism. Based on her results, she recommended the most effective intervention for the behavior.

intensive practicum

Students at Rollins will complete an Intensive Practicum according to the standards of the Behavior Analysis Certification Board®. This will include 250 hours of experience in each of three semesters in one or more practicum sites, totaling 750 hours of experience. 

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® has verified the practicum course sequence as meeting the experience requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination. Applicants may need to meet additional requirements to qualify.

  1. Practicum I (BACS 671, 2 credit hours – 250 hours of supervised experience)
  2. Practicum II (BACS 672, 2 credit hours – 250 hours of supervised experience)
  3. Practicum III (BACS 673, 2 credit hours – 250 hours of supervised experience

Based on current practicum placements, students are required to obtain all (or almost all) of their hours during regular business hours (Monday through Friday during the day). Students are advised to start planning to adjust their schedules early in the program. It is possible that some on-site work can be performed during evening hours and on Saturdays, but no sites offer such an arrangement currently. These placements have the potential to be hourly paid experiences, although this is not true of every practicum placement.

Students should be aware that the practicum hours involve physical direct interaction with children and adults with intellectual disabilities. (See the BACB Task List for tasks that must be performed as part of practicum training.) Students with disabilities who may require accommodation for these tasks are encouraged to initiate a meeting with the practicum coordinator and Rollins Disability Services Office as early as possible to discuss practicum expectations and essential requirements of the program.

The current practicum sites include the companies listed below. We are always seeking new opportunities that fit with our students’ interests. Students will be exposed to behavior-analytic therapy with adults and children in need of services.

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