Ph.D. in Psychology, Behavior Analysis Specialization in Los Angeles

Program Description

Applied Behavior Analysis uses a natural science approach to help people make meaningful differences in their lives.

Offered at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology's downtown Los Angeles Campus, The Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (Ph.D.), Behavior Analysis specialization program is designed to prepare graduates for a career as a behavior analyst working in educational, clinical, and business settings. In addition, this doctoral program prepares graduates to sit for the psychologist licensing exams administered by the California Board of Psychology (CA BOP). 

There are two entry points into this doctoral behavior analysis program at our Los Angeles Campus:

  1. Post-baccalaureate 106 credit (5 year doctoral program), and
  2. post-master's with BCBA 48 credit* (3 year doctoral program)

Students are prepared to be change agents in whatever settings they enter, by drawing on behavioral principles, careful measurement to drive decision making, and using scientific methods to generate knowable results. 

Graduates may assume roles in the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) field as leaders, teachers and administrators, researchers, and clinicians in a variety of settings. They may also teach and mentor future generations of behavior analysts, as well as contribute original research to the Applied Behavior Analysis field. 

*NOTE that only applicants with a master’s degree and the required BCBA coursework will be considered for post-master's entry into the 3-year doctoral program. Additional coursework, including a master's thesis, may be required for post-master's entry students. Specifically, students may be required to take courses from the first two years of the 5-year Ph.D. (i.e., the master's-level coursework) and will be required to do an empirical, behavior-analytic thesis if they did not complete one in their previous master’s program.


Applied Behavior Analysis




Upon successful completion of the Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Behavior Analysis Program, graduates will have earned a doctoral degree in psychology as required by the California Board of Psychology to meet eligibility as a Licensed Psychologist in CA. There are additional requirements for licensure that fall outside of the scope of this program, such as completion of supervised professional experience and additional psychology content exposure.

Total Credits

106 credit hours, post- baccalaureate; 48 credit hours, post-master’s

Fieldwork Requirements

Program Time to Completion

3 years full time, 5 years part time
  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • A course in Psychology, with a grade earned of C or better
  • A course in Statistics or Research Methods, with a grade earned of C or better
  • Three letters of recommendation
Admission Requirements

GRE Requirements

Sample Courses

Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis

This advanced applied behavior analysis course will focus on specialized areas of basic and applied research (e.g., stimulus equivalence, relational frame theory, matching theory, concurrent schedules, behavioral economics, motivating operations, etc.) and how they can be extended to practice (e.g., FCT, token economies, self-control, academic behavior, etc.). Students will examine and critique behavioral research that illustrates these developments and their applications, review it from a conceptual/theoretical and methodological perspective, and consider extensions and implications for both research and practice.

Psychology of the Lifespan

This course examines the psychological developmental stages from infancy through advanced age, focusing on the development of perceptual and cognitive processes, psychosocial roles, and familial interpersonal processes. Current clinical approaches are examined from diverse theoretical viewpoints and in view of recent research findings. Cultural diversity and individual differences are integral to this course.

Critical Analysis of Research in Verbal Behavior

Skinner’s (1957) Verbal Behavior offers a conceptual analysis of verbal behavior. This course provides students with the opportunity to analyze research that has influenced a behavior-analytic conceptualization of verbal behavior and to examine current trends in research related to verbal behavior. Students will read research that has contributed to empirical support for Skinner’s conceptualization of verbal behavior and analyze the strengths and limitations of these studies in order to identify areas of research that are still needed for a complete understanding of verbal behavior. Students will then develop a framework for determining which aspects of verbal behavior have empirical support and which aspects of verbal behavior have yet to be explored.

View full course catalog »