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An Applied Behavior Analysis in class Applied Behavior Analysis

Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis

  • Chicago, IL
  • Full-Time
  • 3 Years Full-Time (post-master’s) , 5 Years Full-Time (post-baccalaureate)

The Chicago School’s Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program provides a solid knowledge base in the experimental analysis of behavior, applied behavior analysis, and radical behaviorism, equipping graduates with the skills to bring about socially significant behavioral changes through evidence-based program development. Meeting the needs of busy professionals, the post-master’s courses in this program […]

The Chicago School’s Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program provides a solid knowledge base in the experimental analysis of behavior, applied behavior analysis, and radical behaviorism, equipping graduates with the skills to bring about socially significant behavioral changes through evidence-based program development.

Meeting the needs of busy professionals, the post-master’s courses in this program are offered in an on-campus blended format. Courses meet on ground for one weekend (Saturday and Sunday) each month during the semester. In between these campus meetings, students in this doctorate ABA program will supplement their courses with readings, online discussions, papers, and projects.

Graduates who complete the M.S. in ABA requirements during the 5-year Ph.D. will be eligible to pursue certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA). Students will gain experience and exposure in a wide variety of ABA applications and specialties, including instructional design, precision teaching, and verbal behavior.

Developing expert knowledge in behavior analytic theory, research, and practice, graduates emerge eligible to pursue certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and to serve as highly-competent behavioral scientist-practitioners in the following areas:

  • Academia
  • Education
  • Service delivery
  • Business
  • Nonprofit
  • Government

Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): Chicago Student Experience

The Chicago Campus provides students an opportunity to immerse themselves into a culturally diverse city with nearly unlimited academic resources as well as excellent networking opportunities. Chicago is also home to some of the nation’s finest dining, entertainment, museums, and other activities.

At our flagship campus, The Chicago School has demonstrated a continued commitment to a diverse student population and expanding mental health services to multicultural and underserved communities.

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Critical Analysis of Research in Verbal Behavior

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.

Supervision and Consulting in ABA

In this course, students will learn how to supervise behavior analysts and other practitioners. Topics addressed include: supervising direct care staff, teachers, and parents; professional development and training; in-home and school consulting; and competency-based staff training. Ethical issues associated with supervision as a behavior analyst will also be discussed. As part of this course, students will supervise graduate students at practicum sites.

Experimental Analysis of Behavior

This course addresses critical areas of the experimental analysis of behavior (EAB) literature and focuses on thematic research in several sample areas of stimulus equivalence, generalization and discrimination, concept formation, escape and aviodance, and schedule-induced behavior.  Students read classic research articles in the field of EAB, as well as more current research designed to assess behavioral mechanisms associated with experimental findings.  By the end of the course students will know how to read and understand basic research articles (e.g., in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and other journals in experimental psychology) and will understand the implications of such research for the theoretical basis of the field and its application to human behavior.

BCBA® Certification

Post-Baccalaureate Program Entry:
Students that enroll in the post-baccalaureate Ph.D. Applied Behavior Analysis program sequence complete all program requirements and can apply for the award of the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis degree as part of their Ph.D. program. Both the Ph.D. Applied Behavior Analysis and the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis are aligned with degree, coursework, and supervised experience requirements for eligibility to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®).  Applicants for BCBA® certification must meet additional requirements established by BACB® including application, examination, and background check.

Post-Master’s Program Entry
Students that have a master’s degree in Psychology, Education, Behavior Analysis, or other related degree recognized by the BACB®, but have not completed the BACB®-approved course sequence will meet degree, coursework, and supervised experienced requirements for eligibility to take the BCBA® credentialing examination (based on the Fourth Edition Task list) at the completion of the Credentialing Track curriculum requirements.

State Professional Licensure
There may be state professional licensure requirements to practice applied behavior analysis.  A state’s licensure board determines the specific requirements for candidates seeking professional licensure and those requirements are subject to change.   The following is professional licensure information as of the date of publication:

  • The M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis, Ph.D. Applied Behavior Analysis, or other related degree recognized by the BACB® in conjunction with BCBA® certification aligns with degree and certification requirements for professional licensure in Alabama, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. Graduation from the above listed degree programs aligns with degree requirements for professional licensure in Arizona, Massachusetts, and New York. Note that candidates for licensure may be required to meet additional state requirements such as application, examination, and background check.
  • A professional license is not required to practice behavior analysis in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. State laws on professional licensure are subject to change by their legislatures.

It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements for any state not listed above.  The Ph.D. Applied Behavior Analysis may meet some or all of the requirements of states not listed, but additional state-specific approvals or coursework and/or practicum hours may be required beyond the program’s graduation requirements.  Some state licensing requirements include the following: completion of a master’s degree, post-graduate field work, certification as a board certified behavior analyst, examination, and application for license.

Due to recent and ongoing changes in state professional licensure of applied behavior analysis practitioners, students should contact the state board directly to verify information regarding professional licensure.  To assist with this research, the Association of Professional Behavior Analysists (APBA) publishes information regarding state licensure.

Students are also required to complete a dissertation. The dissertation must be a data-based empirical evaluation that marks an original contribution to the published literature. The Ph.D. Applied Behavior Analysis course sequence facilitates student completion of the dissertation with a carefully designed course sequence that has the necessary steps toward dissertation completion embedded into the required coursework. Students receive detailed information about the dissertation process and related requirements during their first year in the program.

More specific information is located in the ABA Program Guidebook.

Send materials to:

Admissions Operations
c/o The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
350 N Orleans ST STE 1050
Chicago, IL 60654-1822

Students applying to the Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis program must submit the following:

  • Application
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Essays- Please answer the following two questions on separate sheets of paper (approximately 500 words each).
    • Describe the areas of applied behavior analysis that most interest you – including your professional goals – and how those interests developed. How will completion of the doctoral program in Applied Behavior Analysis facilitate achieving your professional goals?
    • As a behavior analyst, you are likely to work and study with people from many different backgrounds. Tell us some of the challenges you see studying and working with people different from yourself, and what you would contribute in your interactions.
  • Official College/University Transcripts
    • Students must submit official transcripts from all schools where degrees have been earned. The Chicago School requires that all schools be regionally accredited higher education institutions. Official transcripts may be sent directly from the institution or with your application for admission as long as they are official, sealed, and signed across the envelope flap when they arrive.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
    • Appropriate recommendations are from professors and/or supervisors from significant work or volunteer experiences, who can appraise your academic or professional performance. Letters should arrive in a sealed envelope, signed across the seal.
  • Previous Coursework
    • Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Ph.D. Applied Behavior Analysis program (Post- Master’s) is open to any person who has earned a master’s degree as specified below from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements.The school admits applicants whom it judges to possess sufficient academic aptitude, as well as the emotional and social maturity to function effectively as a professional behavior analyst. Applicants will be judged on their overall ability to engage in graduate work.Applicants must meet one of these two requirement categories for admission to the Ph.D. post-master’s:
      • Category A: Have a master’s degree in Psychology, Education, Behavior Analysis, or other related degree recognized by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB®) and hold a current BCBA® certification in good standing OR
      • Category B: Have a master’s degree in Psychology, Education, Behavior Analysis, or other related degree recognized by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB®) and have completed the BACB® approved courses required to qualify for the BCBA® credentialing examination (based on the Fourth Edition Task) list.

International Application Requirements

The Chicago School is dedicated to keeping our professional degree programs accessible to anyone regardless of financial status. In addition to the scholarships that may be available, our Financial Aid department will help provide you with information to determine what financial arrangements are right for you.

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