Skip to content
Two students reading Applied Behavior Analysis

Ph.D. in Psychology

Behavior Analysis Specialization

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Full-Time
  • 5 Years Full-Time

The Chicago School’s Ph.D. in Psychology, Behavior Analysis Specialization program at our Los Angeles campus focuses on a natural science approach to help graduates pursue careers as behavior analysts and licensed psychologists. In addition to contributing to original research, graduates may assume the following roles in the field of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA): Teachers Administrators […]

The Chicago School’s Ph.D. in Psychology, Behavior Analysis Specialization program at our Los Angeles campus focuses on a natural science approach to help graduates pursue careers as behavior analysts and licensed psychologists.

In addition to contributing to original research, graduates may assume the following roles in the field of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA):

  • Teachers
  • Administrators
  • Researchers
  • Clinicians

Guided by practitioner faculty, Ph.D. in Psychology, Behavior Analysis students will learn how to affect positive changes in the environments they operate within by drawing on behavioral principles for positive behavior change, using data and scientific methods to generate results. In addition to helping prepare students to sit for licensing exams administered by the California Board of Psychology (BOP), The Chicago School’s Ph.D. in Psychology, Behavior Analysis program will help provide doctorate in psychology graduates the necessary skills to pursue employment in the following areas:

  • Academia
  • Education
  • Service delivery
  • Clinical
  • Business
  • Nonprofit

Ph.D. in Psychology, Behavior Analysis: L.A. Student Experience

Immersed in the heart of the most diverse city in the most diverse state in the U.S., students attending the Los Angeles Campus will benefit from significant networking opportunities as they experience real-world training in the city’s rapidly evolving downtown business district. Together they learn from and work side-by-side with an experienced, qualified, and passionate faculty practitioners.

Read more about our Los Angeles Campus.

In addition, students enrolled in the Ph.D. in Psychology: Behavior Analysis program are offered the opportunity for hands-on learning through ConCISE, a student run consulting firm with a mission of providing solutions to business and organizations throughout Southern California.

Learn more about ConCISE.

Request Info

Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis

This 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.

Psychological Assessment and Intervention

This course evaluates the selection, administration, and evaluation of psychological assessment and testing instruments. Test construction, and the concepts of validity and reliability will also be explored. An overview of instruments used in developmental screening and treatment will be provided with an opportunity for students to sample and report findings from their exposure to various instruments.

Critical Analysis of Research in Verbal Behavior

Skinner’s Verbal Behavior (1957) 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.

The Applied Behavior Analysis BCBA® course sequence (seven 3-credit courses) is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® and meets the academic requirements necessary to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) exam. Some of the supervised experience can be met through the MS in ABA program. The BCBA® course sequence is periodically reevaluated by the BACB® to maintain approval status. Students should visit www.bacb.com for details

Upon successful completion of the Ph.D. Psychology: Behavior Analysis Specialization program, graduates will have earned a doctoral degree in psychology that meets the degree level and degree name requirements of the California Board of Psychology. There are additional requirements for licensure as a Licensed Psychologist in California that fall outside of the scope of the program. Specifically, students will be responsible for completing the required two years (3,000 hours) of supervised professional experience outside of this program. Upon earning a qualifying doctoral degree, successful completion of supervised professional experience, and completion of additional required instructional hours in specified content areas, which are offered as electives in the program, an individual may apply to sit for the psychologist licensing exams administered by the California Board of Psychology.

Students completing the MS ABA program as part of the 5-year post-baccalaureate doctoral program will complete a portion of supervised fieldwork required to seek the BCBA® credential. Students are responsible for completing the other portion of supervised fieldwork outside of the program.

Students applying to the Ph.D. in Psychology, Behavior Analysis Specialization 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 completing the doctoral program in Psychology: Behavior Analysis Specialization facilitate you 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.

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Ph.D. in Psychology: Behavior Analysis Specialization 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 three requirement categories for admission to the Ph.D. post-master’s:

  • 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
  • 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).

Based on the evaluation of these materials, selected candidates may be invited to interview for further consideration of their application.

The Chicago School is dedicated to keep 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.

Learn more.