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Top 15 PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis 2022

Earning a PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis can prepare students for careers in academia, research, or clinical practice. ABA professionals may work with children with disabilities and their families, teach at the university level, or conduct independent research. The PhD is considered a terminal degree in the field. Admission to ABA PhD programs is highly selective and competitive. Programs feature:

  • advanced coursework in ABA
  • research opportunities
  • the opportunity to publish and present manuscripts

Admission criteria varies by program, but some programs are open to students with only a bachelor’s degree.  Others may require students to have a master’s in ABA and experience working with individuals with disabilities. Some programs are offered online, but most are traditional brick and mortar programs. We considered both types when creating this ranking of the top 15 PhD in applied behavior analysis.

We created this ranking of the best PhD behavior analysis programs to showcase some of the top degrees in the country. We looked to the National Center for Education Statistics to find schools offering graduate level programs in ABA. We narrowed our focus to schools offering a PhD. We then awarded points based on factors like student/faculty ratio, average graduate tuition rate and whether they were ABAI accredited. We felt ABAI accreditation was important since it is an indicator of a quality training program.

Student/Faculty ratio:

  • 12:1 or less- 3 points
  • 13:1 to 19:1- 2 points
  • 20:1 and above- 1 point

Average Graduate Tuition Rate:

  • Less than $10,000- 3 points
  • $10,000 to $15,000- 2 points
  • Greater than $15,000- 1 point

Accreditation

  • 2 points for ABAI accreditation

#15 – Marquette University – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Applied Behavior Analysis PhD Program

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $21,690/year
ABAI Accredited? No
Points: 3
Marquette University features a full-time PhD in behavior analysis program that takes just two years to complete. Students complete intensive coursework and develop an area of specialization. Marquette ABA students train in the new Behavior Analysis Program Building. It includes clinic space for students to complete practicum training with clients from the community. World-renowned faculty serve as research mentors. They provide guidance and assistance to help students reach their professional goals. Students will learn how to implement state-of-the-art behavioral analytic assessments and interventions, becoming leaders and innovators in their field.

#14 – The Chicago School of Professional Psychology – Chicago, Illinois

Online Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 4:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $22,212/year
ABAI Accredited? No
Points: 4
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology features a top full-time online PhD in ABA. It’s a great choice for working professionals. Courses are taught by practitioner faculty who expose students to a variety of ABA applications and specializations. Course offerings include:

  • Supervision and Consulting in ABA
  • Critical Analysis of Research in Verbal Behavior
  • Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Capstone offerings include either a thesis or an Advanced Applied Project. All students are required to complete a dissertation. Students who complete their master’s during the five-year PhD are able to pursue BCBA certification.

#13 – Simmons University – Boston, Massachusetts

PhD Program in Behavior Analysis

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $21,528/year
ABAI Accredited? No
Points: 4
The top online PhD in Behavior Analysis at Simmons University is a 48 credit-hour program. It’s for analysts who want to make significant contributions to the science and practice of ABA. The live, online format allows students to engage with peers and faculty from across the country. Students participate in ongoing lab meetings of faculty, becoming immersed in their research. Research opportunities are available in a variety of areas including:

  • conditioned reinforcement
  • stimulus equivalence
  • behavioral medicine

Graduates are prepared to work in:

  • research
  • education
  • clinical intervention and management.

#12 – Endicott College – Beverly, Massachusetts

Applied Behavior Analysis PhD Program

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $12,666/year
ABAI Accredited? No
Points: 4
The School of Education at Endicott College offers a 60-credit hour PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis. This research-based program prepares students to work in academia or as a scientist-practitioner in a variety of settings. Courses are delivered in a convenient online format that’s ideal for working students. The synchronous online model allows students to interact with their peers and faculty from any location. Students complete 30 credit hours of coursework and 30 credits of research and clinical immersion experience. Admission to the program is competitive and applicants should have a master’s in ABA or the equivalent. New cohorts begin in the fall semester.

#11 – University of South Florida – Tampa, Florida

PhD in ABA

university-south-florida

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 22:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,350/year in-state and $19,048/year out-of-state
ABAI Accredited? No
Points: 4
The University of South Florida features a top value ABA PhD program focused on developing scientist-practitioners. Students work closely with dedicated, dynamic faculty and a cohort of talented students from around the globe. Research opportunities are available to help students gain breadth and depth in their area of interest. Courses were designed to meet ABAI accreditation requirements and give students perspectives that are helpful for ABA practitioners. Students will benefit from mentored and independent teaching experiences that prepare them for a future faculty position. All students complete a dissertation and present their research and state and national meetings.

#10 – Caldwell University – Caldwell, New Jersey

PhD in ABA

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $17,910/year
ABAI Accredited? Yes
Points: 5
The top PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis at Caldwell University prepares students for high-level ABA employment in settings like:

  • special education
  • mental health
  • academia

The 90-credit hour curriculum includes courses in:

  • Professionalism for Behavior Analysts
  • Advanced ABA
  • Language and Social Skills for Individuals with Autism

Students can choose 10 elective courses to tailor the program to meet their professional goals. A thesis and dissertation are also required. Students must complete either an applied practicum or research practicum to complete the program.

#9 – Western Michigan University – Kalamazoo, Michigan

PhD in Behavior Analysis

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $16,360/year in-state and $30,432/year out-of-state
ABAI Accredited? Yes
Points: 5
Western Michigan University offers a well-rounded, ABAI accredited PhD in Behavior Analysis through the Department of Psychology. The program features primary specialty areas that include:

  • autism
  • developmental disabilities
  • basic operant research with humans and non-humans
  • behavioral pharmacology
  • behavioral neuroscience
  • behavioral gerontology
  • safety
  • behavioral medicine

Students have access to research facilities that include non-human behavior labs and child and adult studies labs. The program follows a mentorship model that allows students to work closely with faculty members throughout their time in the program. Financial support is available. Students have the opportunity to apply for graduate assistantships and fellowships.

#8 – Florida Institute of Technology – Melbourne, Florida

Ph.D. In Behavior Analysis

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $16,128/year
ABAI Accredited? Yes
Points: 5
The innovative Behavior Analysis PhD from Florida Tech University is a great choice for students who want to become:

  • behavior-analytic researchers
  • teachers
  • practitioners

The program is accredited by the ABAI. The BACB has approved the course sequence and the Intensive Practical Training in Behavior Analysis needed to sit for the BCBA exam. Courses are taught by dedicated faculty who are committed to the field. Courses are offered at two different campuses during the daytime, evening, and weekend. Students gain real world experience by:

  • participating in research
  • leading training sessions for educators
  • working with children and families at the Scott Center for Autism Treatment.

#7 – West Virginia University – Morgantown, West Virginia

PhD in Psychology-Behavior Analysis

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,134/year in-state and $26,154/year out-of-state
ABAI Accredited? Yes
Points: 5
West Virginia University Department of Psychology offers a PhD in Psychology focused on behavior analysis. Students develop a strong foundation in:

  • basic research
  • theory
  • applications of behavior principles

The curriculum includes research, coursework, and practica. The program includes the verified course sequence needed for graduates to become BCBAs. Students can conduct studies at the Intensive Autism Service Delivery Clinic through:

  • the Center for Excellence in Disabilities
  • in homes
  • in local public schools

Funding, including a nine-month stipend and tuition waiver, is provided for each student in the program.

#6 – Utah State University – Logan, Utah

Behavior Analysis PhD

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,184/year in-state and $21,575/year out-of-state
ABAI Accredited? No
Points: 5
The College of Education and Human Services at Utah State University offers a high-quality Behavior Analysis PhD. It’s focused on the variables influencing both human and nonhuman behavior. Students can choose from a PhD track with a specialization in behavior analysis or a PhD+BCBA track.

Students in the PhD track typically pursue careers in academic and research settings. They complete a dissertation project and take courses that align with their interests. Training emphasis is on the human and nonhuman experimental analysis of behavior.

PhD+BCBA students complete the ABAI verified course sequence and receive training in experimental and applied behavior analysis. Graduates work as scientist-practitioners in clinical and research settings. Tuition is fully covered, and students receive an assistantship with a monthly stipend.

#5 – Teachers College at Columbia University – New York, New York

PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis

columbia-university-teachers-college

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $42,432/year
ABAI Accredited? Yes
Points: 6
The Teachers College, Columbia University features an ABAI accredited PhD in ABA emphasizing research-based instruction. Students will learn how to use scientific tools and instructional practices to help accelerate children’s educational progress. Research opportunities include areas like effective classroom practices and observational learning. New students are admitted during the summer and fall terms. Graduates are eligible for the CABAS Advanced Board Certification as:

  • Assistant Behavior Analyst
  • Associate Behavior Analyst
  • Senior Behavior Analyst.

#4 – The Ohio State University – Columbus, Ohio

PhD in Educational Studies, Special Education

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $11,560/year in-state and $36,276/year out-of-state
ABAI Accredited? Yes
Points: 6
The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology offers a unique PhD in Educational Studies focused on Special Education. This ABAI accredited full-time program prepares students for leadership roles in:

  • research
  • teaching
  • service

Students work closely with faculty members on research in areas like:

  • learning disabilities
  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • autism

Students are fully funded, including a tuition waiver, monthly stipend, and benefits. Applicants should have earned their master’s degree and have experience working with individuals with disabilities to apply.

#3 – University of Kansas – Lawrence, Kansas

PhD in Behavioral Psychology

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,989/year in-state and $23,951/year out-of-state
ABAI Accredited? Yes
Points: 7
The University Kansas Department of Applied Behavioral Science offers a PhD in Behavioral Psychology that strives to train students as highly competent researchers in behavior analysis. The program follows a junior-colleague model. It allows students to work with their advisors in every aspect of professional development.

Through this model, students will design and conduct research and prepare manuscripts for publication and presentation working closely with their advisor. The curriculum includes the Verified Course Sequence needed by students who want to sit for the BCBA exam. Students with their master’s degree can complete their PhD in about four years.

#2 – The University of Nevada – Reno, Nevada

Behavior Analysis Ph.D.

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,657/year in-state and $21,310/year out-of-state
ABAI Accredited? Yes
Points: 7
The Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno offers a high-quality ABAI accredited PhD in Behavior Analysis that provides students with comprehensive training. The program uses a junior-colleague model that includes supervised experience and instruction in areas like basic and applied research.

The program strives to maintain a balance of basic, applied, and theoretical training. The 89-credit hour program includes the BCBA Approved Course Sequence needed to sit for the BCBA exam. Graduates are prepared to:

  • teach
  • do research
  • work as consultants.

#1 – University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute – Omaha, Nebraska

Applied Behavior Analysis – MSIA Doctoral Program

university-of-nebraska

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 2:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,207/year in-state and $26,379/year out-of-state
ABAI Accredited? Yes
Points: 8
Our top choice for a PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis is offered by the University of Nebraska Medical Center Munroe-Meyer Institute. This ABAI accredited program focuses on ABA for:

  • children
  • adolescents
  • families

Students can specialize in areas like:

  • autism
  • behavioral pediatrics
  • severe behavior disorders

Their innovative training model incorporates didactic instruction with supervised research and clinical practice. This means students can immediately apply classroom concepts and principles. Students admitted to this three-year program receive:

  • a stipend
  • free health care benefits
  • a full tuition waiver.