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Applied Sciences of Learning and Special Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Applied Sciences of Learning and Special Education
In the Department of Health and Behavior Studies

Degree Guides > Applied Behavior Analysis

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Applied Behavior Analysis


Our teacher preparation program is devoted to the practices of teaching as a science. We believe that education should be first driven by the needs of students and families in terms of their contribution and access to habilitative lifestyles through the application of the basic and applied sciences of behavior. Thus, what works for the individual student drives both pedagogical and curricular decisions. The state of the science in teaching as behavior analysis calls for expert identification of the appropriate strategies and tactics needed by each student in the continuum leading to their maximum achievement of recognized educational standards as well as scientifically identified functional repertoires. Research from related fields of cognitive psychology and health and behavior studies serve as additional resources for tactics that are then applied through behavior analytic teaching. We develop teachers who are strategic scientists of pedagogy and behavior change tactics. Our graduates provide measurably effective schooling for children and work with others to realize a research based systems approach to education (Greer, 2002). We prepare teachers who can provide state of the science instruction for students with and without disabilities. Our graduates are especially prepared to work with diverse populations and students who require expert instruction.

We provide our teacher trainees with data-based pedagogical tactics and curricular objectives that are supported by the research literature as the most effective tactics currently available. Teachers are taught to use their continuous measurement and graphic display of their students’ responses to instruction as the means to individualize all pedagogical tactics within classrooms containing students with diverse repertoires. The curricular materials are tied to the National Common Core and New York State Curricular Guidelines and the English Excellence in Education Standards, such that modules within “method” courses incorporate how to teach the objectives found in the state guidelines for children from pre-school through grade 6. The standards are recast and appended according to the research literature as functional repertoires associated with the four major subdivisions of curricula--academic literacy, self-management, problem solving, and an enlarged community of interests (conditioned reinforcers).

Degrees and Certification

This program offers both Masters of Arts (MA—45 credits) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD—75 credits) degrees MA graduates are eligible for advanced CABAS® Board Certification at various levels of competency (Behavior Analyst Teacher I, Behavior Analyst Teacher II, Behavior Analyst Master Teacher). Doctoral students who have completed the teacher ranks are eligible for the CABAS® Advanced Board Certification as Assistant Behavior Analyst, Associate Behavior Analyst, and Senior Behavior Analyst. Research publications and prior achievement of advanced ranks allow post-doctoral graduates of our program to be eligible for Assistant, Associate, and Senior Research Scientist ranks.  Completion of the MA program results in Certification by the State of New York and 30 other states as teacher of regular and special education from birth to grade 6.

Program Requirements

All MA students MUST complete two years of full-time internship in our CABAS® model Research and Development schools (

All MA students must meet the liberal arts requirements for NYS teacher certification (by the completion of the program). This necessitates 6 credit hours of science (taught by a science department—social sciences do not count). 6 cr. hrs. of math (taught by a math dept.), 6 cr. hrs. of history/ELA/social studies, and 6 cr. hrs. of a foreign language. AP credits taken during high school or documented demonstration of proficiency (e.g., an exam or CLEP) are also acceptable.

All PhD students are required to have completed our MA core and are required to teach in our schools until they have completed their dissertation.

Please refer to the specific degree guides for more information: