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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  Jan 26, 2021
2014-2015 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Addendum 
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2014-2015 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Addendum [Archived Catalog]

Ph.D. Psychology, Behavior Analysis Specialization

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Los Angeles

Program Overview

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a Ph.D. Psychology, Behavior Analysis specialization program in California, Los Angeles. The behavior analysis specialization offers the study of scientific principles involved in behavior and learning. These principles guide the ethical design, implementation, and evaluation of environmental changes to produce socially significant improvements in behavior.

Prior to advancing to the Ph.D. Psychology program, the M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis degree program incorporates the content areas and practicum requirements such that graduates are eligible for national board certification by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB) in addition to providing a solid foundation in the philosophy, science, and application of behavior analysis. The Ph.D. Psychology program embeds advanced behavior analysis coursework in a foundational framework of psychology theory, research and professional practice so students receive a comprehensive understanding of behavior and learning in preparation for licensure as a Licensed Psychologist in the state of California. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are prepared to work in educational, clinical, and business settings as behavior analysts and behavioral psychologists 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.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Ph.D. Psychology, Behavior Analysis specialization program is oriented toward the full-time/weekend student who is a working professional during the week, although part-time student options are also offered. The program follows a blended format in which students attend classes on campus every other weekend while in between completing on-line content designed to support material covered during the on-ground classes. The program is rigorous and students are advised to consider carefully the balance between school, family, and work and make reasoned choices about time and resource allocation.

Because of BACB supervised experience requirements, students at the M.S. level (the first two years of the doctoral program) also complete Practicum in conjunction with their supervised independent fieldwork hours. Once certified as a BCBA, qualified doctoral students are encouraged to participate in The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Student Apprentice Program to provide BCBA supervision to Los Angeles M.S. students in Practicum, while working under the direction of a faculty mentor to gain teaching experience in higher education.

Admission Requirements

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Ph.D. in Psychology with Behavior Analysis specialization program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Applicants will be judged on their overall ability to do graduate work. Factors that are considered in admission are: GPA from undergraduate and any graduate schools, successful work history after completion of the baccalaureate degree, the admission essay, and letters of recommendation from academic professors or professional or volunteer experience supervisors. Generally, an undergraduate GPA of a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission. Students 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

There are two entry points into the Ph.D. in Psychology, with Behavior Analysis specialization program: 1) post-baccalaureate 106 credit, and 2) post-master’s 48 credit* with a credential of BCBA; NOTE that only* applicants with a master’s degree and the required BCBA coursework will be considered for post-master’s entry. 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. When appropriate, the standard TCSPP course transfer and waiver guidelines apply (information available on the TCSPP website).

Standardized Testing

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for ABA doctoral work but not for MS applicants. Scores should be sent directly to the school (GRE School Code: 1119) for consideration. Please see the application for detailed instructions and information regarding application requirements, application deadlines, and letters of recommendation

TOEFL or IELTS, International Credentials, and International Students

TOEFL or IELTS: If English is not your primary language, you must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores with your application (TOEFL School Code: 7161). International students who received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited United States institution are exempt from this requirement. The minimum scores are: TOEFL - 550 paper based, 213 computer based, 79 internet based; IELTS - 6.5.

ELS Educational Services, Inc.: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is a cooperative member of ELS Educational Services, Inc. which provides intensive English language programs. Students who have successfully completed ELS course 112 may be considered for admission in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS.

International credentials: Applicants with international credentials must obtain and submit an official “course-by-course” evaluation through an evaluation agency such as World Education Services ( or Educational Credential Evaluators Inc. ( In addition to the agency evaluation, all official graduate and undergraduate transcripts must be submitted.

International students: International students must submit a completed application by the general consideration deadline. This will allow sufficient time to obtain the additional documentation required to study in the United States. In addition, once accepted, international students must submit the International Student Information form, a copy of their passport, and financial documentation showing sufficient funding for at least one year of study and all living expenses. This documentation must be submitted at least two months prior to the start of the semester in order to allow sufficient time for the school to issue an I-20 for the student to obtain an F-1 visa, if needed.. An I-20 visa will not be issued without this documentation.

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, in order to secure a place in the incoming class, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $500 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.


The following policies are located under Academic Policies and Procedures : Transfer of Credit, Waiver of Courses, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Grading Scale, Grade Change Requests, Degree Completion, Degree Conferral, Minimum and Maximum Timeframe requirements, and Credit Hours per semester for Financial Aid.  Information on the Academic Success Program is located under Student Life .

Earning a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis as Part of the Ph.D.

An M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis degree is awarded following the successful completion of the program requirements. At the beginning of the semester in which a student expects to be eligible for the master’s degree, he or she is required to submit online an Intent to Graduate form to the Office of the Registrar. The form is a request to conduct an audit to determine eligibility for the degree. All students who file an Intent to Graduate form for Program Completion will be charged a fee. Students who meet the requirements are eligible to participate in the next scheduled commencement and must have filed an Intent to Participate form with the Registrar.

Click here to view the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis catalog page. 

Academic Development Plans

An Academic Development Plan (ADP) is initiated and created by the program in which the student is enrolled. When a student demonstrates deficiencies in competencies that interfere with academic performance, training competence, and/or professional behavior, the ADP is initiated. The completion of an ADP does not constitute disciplinary action, but failure to complete the plan may lead to disciplinary action.

Student Learning Assessment

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TSCPP) is committed to offering the highest quality undergraduate completion program and graduate programs in applied professional disciplines. To meet TCSPP’s standard for academic quality, program learning outcomes are aligned with course learning outcomes and guide assessment.   Data collected from the results of student assessment and the aggregation of these data will inform how students are progressing towards achieving program outcomes.  

All academic programs report annual assessments of student learning and other indicators of program effectiveness as part of the Academic Program Review process.

The Program

The Ph.D. in Psychology with Behavior Analysis specialization program of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) at the Los Angeles Campus is designed to prepare graduates for a career as a behavior analyst working in educational, clinical, and business settings. In addition, the doctoral program prepares graduates for licensure as a Licensed Psychologist in the state of California. Graduates are equipped with the repertoire to function as leaders in their respective positions (i.e., clinical, educational, academic, etc.) and are prepared to address a range of issues and problems, and to design, implement, and evaluate practical effective solutions that work in the real world. Entry to the program is offered to post-baccalaureate students with and without their master’s degree. The incoming profile of the student determines the semester credits, the course sequence, and the years required to complete the program.

The objective of the program is to train individuals to contribute to professional practice settings in addition to the behavior-analytic scholarly and political communities. Doctoral-level students gain a solid foundation of basic psychology and a comprehensive understanding of Science and Philosophy, the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Service Delivery.


The program is designed to prepare students in a wide variety of areas in behavioral service delivery as a practicing behavior analyst, and Licensed Psychologist in the state of California. Students focus on issues related to the understanding and analysis of human behavior from assessment to development of interventions aimed to help individuals with behavioral challenges to have better lives. A strong understanding of behavior from several perspectives assists graduates in looking at behavior and function of behavior in multiple ways to develop comprehensive behavioral treatment for the individuals they serve. Assessment and treatment of behavior is examined across a wide array, including severe behavior problems, mental health 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 behavior analytic techniques apply to individuals with developmental disabilities, they are just as useful to people in the general population.

The doctoral program emphasizes not only knowledge in research, assessment and intervention techniques, but also sound understanding of basic concepts and principles of psychology and advanced concepts in behavior analysis so that students will have the conceptual and scientific underpinnings necessary to understand why behavioral interventions work, how to measure their effects, and how to make appropriate modifications to interventions when they do not. This is accomplished through the specialization training within the Ph.D. in Psychology program which provides students with instruction and exposure in subject matter related to all four domains of Behavior Analysis (i.e., Philosophy, Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Service Delivery). Further, the program curricula dedicated to understanding in advanced behavior analysis 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 using empirical methods, and to be researchers producing new data from their own settings and reporting these data to the applied, clinical and scientific community. Because the delivery of behavioral interventions, such as Applied Behavior Analysis, are becoming more readily available to consumers through a growing base of funding sources (i.e., insurance, regional and state services, etc.), Because behavioral interventions, such as Applied Behavior Analysis, are based on a rapidly developing and evolving behavioral technology grounded in research, the knowledge base is constantly changing. It is our Mission in the Ph.D. Psychology with specialization in Behavior Analysis program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Los Angeles campus to remain at the forefront of the development of this field.


The Applied Behavior Analysis BCBA course sequence (seven 3-credit courses) is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® and meets the requirements necessary to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam. The BCBA course sequence is periodically reevaluated by the BACB to maintain approval status. 

The M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis portion of the Ph.D. Psychology, Behavior Analysis specialization program prepares and qualifies students to take the BCBA Exam. The exam results are treated as a professional qualification for individual students, as well as data about the adequacy of the program in preparing students. Students should visit ( for details.


Upon successful completion of the Ph.D. in 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.

Ethics and Professional Behavior

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 of Professional Psychology. A class in ethics is required at both the master’s and doctoral levels, and student adherence to ethical codes is evaluated both formally and informally. 

Professional Development Group

All students are required to enroll in a Professional Development Group during their first semester in the post-master’s program.  Their instructor serves as their academic advisor until they select a dissertation chair. The 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). Four 1-credit courses prepare students to take the exam and to defend their answers. Students have two chances to pass each component (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 his/her 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 Ph.D. Psychology 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 Program Guidebook.

The Curriculum

Required Core Courses: 45

Elective Courses: 13

Masrer’s Degree: 48 credits

Doctoral Degree: 58 credits

Total Program

Ph.D. Psychology, with Behavior Analysis Specialization: 106 credits


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