Autism Studies & ABA at MBU Online

Earn your bachelor degree through Virginia's first undergraduate program in Applied Behavior Analysis.

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Be an advocate and changemaker

Help address one of the most significant and growing needs in education. Be an advocate and changemaker, making a real difference for families and individuals in your community. Help fill the need of schools and in-home service-providers of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Mary Baldwin University, located in Staunton, Va., has more than 177 years of experience educating teachers. Coursework in ABA has been offered at Mary Baldwin since 1993, with a comprehensive certificate in ASD since 2010 and ABA credentials first offered in 2012. Available completely online, MBU’s bachelor in Autism Studies & ABA is the first degree of its type in Virginia.

Request information today on how you can be among the first to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Autism Studies & ABA.

BACB verified course sequence logo


  • BA with a major in Autism Studies & ABA

  • Comprehensive Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA)**
    Following graduation and optional fieldwork, you will be eligible to sit for the BCaBA exam. Applicants will have to meet additional requirements to qualify.

MBU alumna and ABA practitioner Tatiana Bryant speaks with an animated child

“At MBU, our professors get to know us and our interests. You get to work one-on-one with professors, and it was actually one of my teachers who was also working as an ABA clinician, who got me interested in this field. I took that and ran with it.”


Earn your master’s degree with one extra year of study (BA/MS)

MBU also offers the option for a BA/MS in which students can package their BA in Autism Studies & Applied Behavior Analysis with an MS in ABA through an extra year of study.

  • Juniors must have a 3.0 to apply

  • Involves one extra year of online study that may be done from anywhere

  • You’ll graduate twice from MBU: Once with your BA, then the next year with your MS

  • Students in other majors who complete the applicable ABA coursework as undergraduates may also be eligible to complete a Bachelor’s/MS program in ABA through one additional year of study, including those graduating with BS, BSW, and BSN degrees

Do I have to major in Autism Studies & ABA to seek BCaBA credentials?

No! The verified course sequence is available to all MBU students. BCaBA coursework may be combined with any major. For example:

  • Psychology

  • Education

  • Social Work

  • Business

  • Criminal Justice

The pre-requisite is PSYC 101.

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Course Sequence

*Please note: This major does require 12-17 graduate credit hours as part of the major; only up to 18 graduate credit hours may be counted toward the BA degree.

Applied Behavior Analysis Components (16-17 credit hours)

Students must wait until junior status to take these graduate courses, rare exceptions with approval.

ABA 313 or 513* Basic Concepts & Principles of ABA (4)
ABA 514 Behavior Assessment (3) – pre-req is ABA 313/513
ABA 515 Behavior Change Procedures I (3) – pre-req is ABA 313/513
ABA 516 Behavior Change Procedures II (1) – pre-req is ABA 313/513
ABA 517 ABA Ethics & Professional Standards I (2) – pre-req is ABA 313/513
ABA 518 ABA Personnel Management I (1) – pre-req is ABA 313/513
ABA 519 Data Collect. & Research Design (2) or ABA 536 Measurement, Data, & Experimental Design (3)** – pre-req is ABA 313/513

Autism Sequence (12 credit hours)

The practicum requires 70 direct hours of fieldwork; all other courses online

ED 360 Characteristics and Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (3)
ED 361 Communication, Language, and Sensory Aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorders (3) – pre-req is ED 360
ED 362 Social Skills Instruction and Behavior Strategies for Students with ASD (3) – pre-req is ED 360
ED 363 Practicum Experience: Autism Spectrum Disorders (3) – pre-req or co-req ED 361 and ED 362

Additional Requirements (10 credit hours)

PSYC 101 Intro to Psychology as a Natural Science (4)
PSYC 203 Abnormal Psychology (3) – pre-req is PSYC 101 or 111
ABA 400 Senior Seminar (3)

Electives (choose 3 of the following courses)

This list includes Staunton and online options (any alternatives must be approved by the coordinator of the major)

SOWK 251 Child Welfare Services (3)
SOC 110 Sociology of the Family (3)
SOC 260 Medical Sociology (3)
PSYC 212 Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience (3) – pre-req is PSYC 101 or BIOL 111
PSYC 241 Sensation & Perception (3) – pre-req is PSYC 101, BIOL 111, BIOL 151, or instructor permission
PSYC 210 Child Psychology (3) or ED 212 Lifespan Human Development (3)
ED 215 Foundations and Legal Issues of Special Education*** (3)

Total = 47-48 credit hours (students also receive the Comprehensive Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders)
*Students planning to do the BA/MS option must take ABA 513, not ABA 313
**Students planning to do the BA/MS option must select ABA 536 Measurement, Data, and Experimental Design
***Students planning to do the BA/MS may not select this option

Additional Requirements for Students doing the BA/MS option (to be taken post-BA): offered online only
ABA 534 ABA Ethics & Professional Standards II (1)
ABA 535 Advanced Concepts & Principles of ABA (3)
ABA 537 ABA Personnel Management II (1)
ED 622 An Integrated Approach to Exceptionality (3)
IN 620 Inquiry into the Legal and Political Processes of Exceptionality (3)
IN 630 Methods of Professional Inquiry (4)
ED 632 Inquiry Research Project (3) – pre-req is IN 630
Total Graduate Credit Hours = 35 credit hours (17 taken as a BA student; 18 taken as a MS student)

Updated 10/26/18

**All BACB Verified Course Sequences are required to publish pass rates of their students who take the BCaBA and BCBA examinations. The BACB makes pass rate data available at and 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. At this time, MBU has fewer than six first-time candidates testing annually, so that information is not available for publication. Should that change, these pass rates will also be posted here.**