Master of Arts in Special Education

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This 36-hour degree plan is designed for individuals who are seeking board certification in behavior analysis. Students have the option of earning an MA (thesis) or MA (non-thesis).  The MA (thesis) option requires successful completion of a master's thesis defense. The MA (non-thesis) requires successful completion of a research project or literature review. The degree plan originates in the School of Teaching and Learning. The candidate must successfully complete a comprehensive examination. Candidates must be enrolled in coursework during the semester they take comprehensive examinations.

Additional information: Reference the Program Landing Page for additional information, such as cost, delivery format, contact information, or to schedule a visit.

To be regularly admitted to the graduate school, applicants must submit to the Office of Admissions:

  1. Graduate Application
  2. Application fee
  3. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, both undergraduate and graduate (Note: A minimum GPA of 2.5 in undergraduate and graduate work is expected)
  4. Two letters of recommendation
  5. Acceptable writing sample

The priority deadline for applications is May 1st. The final deadline is August 1st. Applications are reviewed for Fall semester start dates only.

Master of Arts in Special Education (Low Incidence Disabilities and Autism Program)

Master of Arts in Special Education (Low Incidence Disabilities and Autism Program)
Required Courses
SPED 6301Applied Behavior Analysis 13
SPED 6302Seminar In Autism Spectrum Dis3
SPED 6303Behvrl Intervntn & Change Proc 13
SPED 6304In-Home Training & Family Iss3
SPED 6306Eval & Measurement Of Behavior 13
SPED 6307Behvrl Assmnt Iss & Proc 13
SPED 6314Thesis I-Rsch Mthd-Bhvr Analys3
SPED 6315Thesis II 23
or SPED 6317 Applied Research In Spec Ed
SPED 6318Ethics for Behavior Analysts 13
Select one of the following:3
Stdy-Cogntve/Low Incidn Dsblty
Tch Mthd-Lrnrs/Mild-Mod Dsblty
Std Behavior Disorder Children
SPED 6329Personnel Supervision in ABA 13
SPED 6331Advanced Concepts and Principles in ABA 13
Total Hours36

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), Inc.® has approved the following course sequence as meeting the 5th edition coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®. Applicants will have to meet additional requirements to qualify.


MA Thesis students enroll in SPED 6315.  MA Non-thesis students enroll in SPED 6317

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) marketable skills initiative is part of the state’s 60x30TX plan and was designed to help students articulate their skills to employers.  Marketable skills are those skills valued by employers and/or graduate programs that can be applied in a variety of work or education settings and may include interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas.

The MA in Special Education is designed to provide graduates with the following marketable skills:

  • Apply scientifically derived principles about variables in the environment that affect socially significant behavior.

  • Use Applied Behavior Analysis to manage the behavior of persons with intellectual disabilities or autism.

  • Complete coursework needed to qualify to take the Behavior Analyst Certification Exam.