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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  May 23, 2024
2022-2023 Student Handbook and Academic Catalog 
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2022-2023 Student Handbook and Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

PhD Behavior Analysis

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Chicago - Dallas - Los Angeles - Washington D.C. - Online

Program Overview

Through the integration of theory and practice, the 61 credit hour post-master’s PhD in Behavior Analysis program provides a solid foundation in the philosophy, science, and application of behavior analysis, promoting an interdisciplinary and translational approach to clinical practice.

At the PhD level, the program expands upon the knowledge and skills learned in the MS program by strengthening students’ research, clinical, and leadership skills. The aim is to prepare students for a rewarding career in the rapidly growing field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Doctoral graduates are lead practitioners and researchers in educational, clinical, and business settings who can successfully respond to the diverse needs of consumers of behavioral interventions and therapies, and who can teach and mentor students of behavior analysis in university settings.

In addition, students may specialize in the expanding field of Organizational Behavior Management and qualify for a credential in Culturo-Behavior Science.

Program Philosophy

The PhD Behavior Analysis program is designed to prepare students in a wide variety of specialization areas within ABA. Although it is common for lay people to assume that ABA is relevant only to people with autism or other developmental disabilities, behavior analysis is applied to numerous populations and problems. Thus, in the program, students can focus not only on issues related to the assessment and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders, but also on the assessment and treatment of severe behavior problems, instructional design, organizational behavior management, and applications with non-traditional populations such as geriatrics, people with traumatic brain injury, and regular and special education. Thus, while ABA techniques apply to people with disabilities, they are just as useful to people in the general population.

The PhD Behavior Analysis program provides training to students related to all four domains of Behavior Analysis (i.e., Philosophy, Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Service Delivery). Further, the programs and curricula are designed to infuse the scientist-practitioner model across these domains and teach students to be consumers of new research findings, evaluators of their own interventions and programs using empirical methods, and researchers, producing new data from their own settings and reporting these data to the applied and scientific community.

In summary, the PhD Behavior Analysis program’s mission is to provide students with the scientific, analytical, and conceptual tools they need to provide effective, ethical, and practical behavior-analytic interventions and to contribute to the research agenda as applied to the diverse populations that they serve. The vision of the program is to provide the most comprehensive and effective graduate training in ABA, and to that end, the faculty provide the students with the most up-to-date information and research, and encourage critical analysis of the research with an emphasis on using it to drive practice. The ABA doctoral program emphasizes the investment in contributing to research and/or to become clinical leaders in our field. Because ABA is based on a rapidly developing and evolving behavioral technology grounded in research, the knowledge base is constantly changing. It is our Mission in the PhD Applied Behavior Analysis program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology to remain at the forefront of the development of this field.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program students will be able to:

Professional Practice

  • Assess, design, and apply advanced behavior-analytic interventions.
  • Train others to select, design, and conduct behavior-analytic assessments and interventions.


  • Describe multicultural and diversity issues and the historical variables that contribute to them, and apply the analysis to solving individual and social problems.

Professional Behavior

  • Evaluate behavior to arrange contingencies that establish and maintain ethical behavior.
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively with clients, stakeholders, and other professionals; disseminate research and information to the professional community and the general public; and lead advocacy efforts for clients, agencies, and groups.


  • Design, conduct, synthesize, and evaluate original behavior-analytic research.


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Admission Requirements

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Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s PhD Behavior Analysis program 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. Factors considered in admission are: undergraduate and any graduate coursework, GPA from undergraduate and graduate schools; successful work history; admission essay(s); and letters of recommendation from academic professors or professional or volunteer experience supervisors. An undergraduate or graduate GPA of a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission to the school’s Behavior Analysis doctoral program. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all schools where a degree was earned. It is recommended that transcripts are submitted from all schools where credit was received to enhance their applications.

Applicants for admission to the PhD Behavior Analysis program must have a master’s degree and hold a current Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) certification in good standing, or be eligible to sit for the BCBA® credentialing examination.

Applicant Notification

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology reviews applications on a rolling basis. Once review begins, complete applications will be considered by the Admission Committee and applicants will be notified regarding the admission decision. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology does not share information or provide any feedback regarding admission decisions.

If a student is offered admission and in order to secure a place in the incoming class, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $250 will be required by the deposit deadline indicated in the offer of admission. The non-refundable deposit will be applied in full toward the student’s tuition upon enrollment.

Degree Completion Requirements

  • Successful completion of required coursework 
  • Successful completion of residency (Online Only)
  • Successful completion of Comprehensive Examination
  • Successful completion of Dissertation


The following policies are located underAcademic Policies and Procedures : Academic Calendar, Admissions Requirements, Attendance, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Service Learning, and Transfer Credit/Course Waiver. Click the link above for detailed information.

Ethical Guidelines

Students are expected to learn and to follow the ethical guidelines of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Behavior Analysis International, and the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® during and after their work at The Chicago School. A class in ethics is required at the Masters level, and student adherence to ethical codes is evaluated both formally and informally.

Professional Development Group

All PhD Behavior Analysis students are required to enroll in an Advanced Professional Development Group during their first semester or term in the program.  Their instructor serves as their academic advisor until they select a dissertation chair. The Advanced Professional Development Group class is graded on a pass/fail basis.

Comprehensive Examination

Students are required to take and pass a written comprehensive examination and an oral defense before they are allowed to propose their dissertation research to the Institutional Review Board (IRB).  Students have two chances to pass the comprehensive examination (a third attempt may be allowed under extenuating circumstances). When the written and oral components of the comprehensive exam are passed, the student becomes a Doctoral Candidate and can proceed to their dissertation research.


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 PhD 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.

Students may not begin work on their dissertation unless they have completed a thesis either as part of a master’s degree program or in Research Experience I-III (PA 660  PA 661  PA 662 ). 

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

The Curriculum

Required Core: 37 credit hours

Concentrations (choose one):

  • Generalist: 9 credit hours
  • Organizational Behavior Management: 18 credit hours

Electives: Total number is dependent on concentration choice. 

  • Generalist: 15 credit hours
  • Organizational Behavior Managment: 6 credit hours

Program Total: 61 credit hours


Required Core (37 credit hours)

Concentration Options

Generalist (9 credit hours)

Organizational Behavior Management (18 credit hours)

Extension Courses

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