Applied Behavior Analysis, CAGS

The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) program seeks to prepare graduates to assume supervisory behavior analyst roles in service agencies and in private and public school settings and to serve as independent consultants. Additionally, it seeks to give graduates expertise in a specific clinical area within applied behavior analysis. The six-course sequence that seeks to prepare students to take the BACB exam is followed by four additional courses in behavior analysis. These courses, which are related, explore the particular clinical issue in-depth.

Four standard programs of study are offered; students may take one or two courses each academic term and choose from a number of summer enrollment options. These options include taking one or two courses or not enrolling at all.

A representative program in which the student takes two courses during the academic year and one course in the summer follows. “Behavior Assessment” and “Research and Design Methods” must be taken first as they are prerequisites for enrolling in the remaining four courses. Specialization courses are indicated only generally; specific courses are determined by the area chosen.

Professional Portfolio

The capstone for the program is the Professional Portfolio. This portfolio, which is compiled electronically, documents the student’s acquisition of critical behavioral procedures and competency in critical clinical skills. These skills, each of which is associated with a specific project, include:

  • Intake assessment
  • Preference assessment
  • Reinforcer assessment
  • Functional analysis
  • Antecedent intervention
  • Consequence intervention
  • Task analysis
  • Discrimination training
  • Literature review

Course assignments are designed to assist the student in designing and executing the projects associated with the skills and in preparing the documentation required for their inclusion in the Professional Portfolio.

A faculty member reviews and signs each project in the Professional Portfolio. The signature indicates that the student has achieved the faculty-established standards for the project. Graduates are encouraged to use their Professional Portfolios when applying for employment.

Although a thesis is not required for graduation from either the Master of Science or CAGS program in Applied Behavior Analysis, students interested in research may combine two or three of the Professional Portfolio items into a research project. For example, the student may complete a literature search on stereotypical behavior, then conduct a functional analysis and intervention with a participant who exhibits that behavior. The research project is then prepared in journal format for inclusion in the Professional Portfolio.

Projects may be submitted for inclusion in the Professional Portfolio at any time during the graduate program. When the student has completed all Professional Portfolio requirements, the program director should be notified so that a final review may take place. A complete Professional Portfolio is required for graduation.

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.

Professional Portfolio

Preference assessment
Reinforcer assessment
Functional analysis
Task analysis
Antecedent intervention
Consequence intervention
Discrimination training
Literature review


A grade of B– or higher is required in each course.

Basic Core
CAEP 6327Behavior Assessment3
CAEP 6328Research and Design Methods3
CAEP 6329Service Administration3
CAEP 6331Advanced Learning Seminar 13
CAEP 6334Applied Programming Seminar 13
CAEP 6336Systematic Inquiry 13
Advanced Core
CAEP 6332Advanced Learning Seminar 23
CAEP 6335Applied Programming Seminar 23
CAEP 6324Programmed Learning3
CAEP 6337Systematic Inquiry 23
Specialization Area
Complete specialization area in consultation with your faculty advisor.9

Intensive Practicum

Note: The intensive practicum is optional. Consult your faculty advisor.

CAEP 8417Intensive Practicum in Applied Behavior Analysis 12
CAEP 8418Intensive Practicum in Applied Behavior Analysis 22

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

30 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required