The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a Ph.D. Psychology, Behavior Analysis specialization program in California, Los Angeles. The 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.
Prior to advancing to the Ph.D. Psychology, Behavior Analysis specialization 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 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.
Program Learning Outcomes
By the end of the program students will be able to:
- Explain and behave in accordance with ethical and professional standards set by the American Psychological Association and Behavior Analysis Certification Board.
- Describe behavior from historical and modern perspectives in psychology and behavior analysis.
- Review, evaluate and apply research to empirically-based practices and contribute to knowledge of psychology and behavior through research and professional practice.
- Identify and describe various research methodologies and experimental designs to evaluate effective and ethical interventions.
- Identify, describe and use psychological and function-based assessments to develop and evaluate efficacy of interventions and state and plan for possible unwanted effects of those interventions.
- Provide for ongoing documentation, implementation, evaluation, and termination of behavioral services, including staff training and environmental support.
- Describe multicultural and diversity issues and the historical variables that contribute to them, and apply the analysis to solving individual and social problems.
- Communicate effectively with individuals and groups of people in a variety of formats, for varying reasons.
- Develop and use behavior-analytic procedures to produce short- and long-term benefits for clients.
There are two entry points into the Ph.D. Psychology, Behavior Analysis specialization Program:
- Post-Baccalaureate - 106 credits (48 Credits MS ABA and 58 Credits as below)
- Post-Master’s and BCBA® requirements - 58 credits
Post Baccalaureate Admission Requirements
Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Ph.D. Psychology Behavior Analysis specialization program (post- baccalaureate) 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. 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.
The Ph.D. Psychology, Behavior Analysis specialization program has two specific required undergraduate courses - a course in psychology and a course in either statistics or research methods - that must be completed prior to enrollment with a grade earned of “C” or better.
Post-Master’s Degree Admission Requirements
Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Ph.D. 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. Factors considered in admission are: 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 Applied 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 must meet these requirements for admission to the Ph.D. post-master’s:
- Applicants must fall into one of these three categories:
- 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. These courses must be completed prior to enrollment in doctoral program courses. 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 taken courses for the Third Edition Task List, but do not currently hold the BCBA® credential may elect to take courses at TCSPP that provide the supplemental content necessary for testing under the Fourth Edition Task List prior to starting doctoral courses. These courses will not count towards the doctoral level graduation requirements.
- Graduate coursework* that includes:
- 3 credits of Experimental Analysis of Behavior
- 3 credits of Science and Human Behavior
- 2 credits in Analysis of Verbal Behavior
- A completed empirical, behavior analytic thesis
- Students needing to complete the thesis pre-requisite or the supervised fieldwork required to qualify for the BCBA® credentialing examination may be admitted to the program and must complete these pre-requisites prior to being allowed to enroll in PA730 Comprehensive 1. These courses will not count towards the doctoral level graduation requirements.
*Admissions committee may request syllabi and thesis for review and approval by program faculty.
Based on the evaluation of these materials, selected candidates may be invited to interview for further consideration of their application. Applications must be submitted with the $50.00 (USD) application fee in order to be evaluated.
For all students: In additional to the admission criteria, it is recommended that students have access to a computer that is less than three years old, a broadband or Internet connection, and the Microsoft Office Suite including Word, Excel, and Outlook and, at minimum, the following computing skills:
- A comfort with basic Internet technology
- The ability to open and attach files from and to email
- The ability to send and receive email
- The ability to save documents
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 (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators Inc. (www.ece.org). 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.
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 Ph.D. Psychology, 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. 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 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). 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 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 [www.psychboard.ca.gov]. 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.
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 proeced 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, Behavior Analysis specialization 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.