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Doctorate in Behavior Analysis

College of Arts & Sciences

This world-renowned program was developed in response to the increasing demand for scientists and practitioners of evidence-based methods for the education and treatment of individuals with autism and related disabilities. The PhD program in Behavior Analysis at Western New England University will give you the skills to fill this void and become a leading voice in the field. Through a combination of coursework and supervised practical and research experiences, the aim of the Department of Psychology is to train researchers and scientist-practitioners in the discovery, translation, and application of knowledge toward solving human behavior problems of societal importance. Our graduates have gone on to contribute critical research to the field and work in a variety of clinical and academic settings.

Why Choose Doctorate in Behavior Analysis?

The doctoral program is accredited by the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). Their guidelines require that doctoral programs seeking accreditation include an educational program with instruction in behavior-analytic approaches to one or more specialized areas of the non-human and/or human basic research literature, research methods, and the applied behavioral literature; and a dissertation of which questions and methods are based on a behavior-analytic approach to problems and issues.

One of the strengths of the program is our partnership with the prestigious New England Center for Children to offer this program to staff with faculty on their campus. The Center, located in Southborough, MA, is home to a school for over 250 children with autism and includes a faculty of over 1000 educators. The Center provides state-of-the-art education for children with autism, autism spectrum disorder, pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Student funding and support is available for this program. View our current tuition rates.

What Will You Study?

Students are expected to complete 54 credit hours with at least 27 of those hours being seminars (the remaining 27 may be dissertation credit, behavior analysis practicals, and additional elective seminars). Courses will be offered in three of the four 11-week terms scheduled by the Western New England University Graduate Program (Fall, Winter, and Spring terms).

Students are expected to enroll in 7 total credits in three of the four terms in each of the initial two years of the program. Students are expected to enroll in a total of 4 credits in three of the four terms in the third year of the program. Students not finished with the program by the end of the third year register for 1 credit of dissertation continuance in up to three terms of their fourth year and all subsequent years until completion of all degree requirements. 

Top 5 Reasons to Choose the Behavior Analysis Doctoral Program

  1. Widely Published Faculty and Graduates–Your research is guided by a faculty advisor and committee members who routinely publish high quality articles. Our faculty members have published over 400 peer-reviewed articles with 100 being published in the last five years. On average, 90% of graduates have published at least one paper from a program requirement; more than half publish more than one.

  2. Connection to Leading Experts in Behavior Analysis–You will consistently interact with leaders in our field and fellow behavior analysts conducting original research at various sites throughout southern New England. Six yearly research colloquia allow for students and faculty to discuss ongoing research. Fifteen yearly practicum meetings allow for access to a diverse group of practitioners for reflection on practice and provide faculty and peer support of progress towards professional and scholarship goals.

  3. Breadth of Scholarship Opportunities–The coursework and scholarship represent all branches of the field: conceptual, basic, applied, and practice. You will study learning and problems of behavior in general while having strength in developing a better understanding of autism.

  4. Preparation to Contribute to the Body of Behavior Analysis Knowledge–Program requirements are geared towards developing professionals who will contribute to the behavior analytic knowledge base through teaching, presenting, writing, publishing, reviewing, and disseminating. Dissertation and review paper format requirements are designed to facilitate submission of student work for publication.

  5. Our Graduates Become Tomorrow’s Behavior Analysis Leaders–Our doctoral candidates work as faculty, consultants, and directors in a variety of settings, including universities, schools and hospitals.

Admissions Requirements

Candidates interested in this program need to have earned a master’s degree in behavior analysis or related discipline or be certified as a master’s-level behavior analyst by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board. Candidates must also have earned a minimum of a 3.6 grade point average (GPA) in their master’s degree program.

Admissions Process

How are Courses Offered?

Knowledge and skills are developed through an intensive, 3-year, full time curriculum of (a) formal course work encompassing conceptual, historical, translational, basic, and applied domains of behavior analysis, research and scholarship, professional communication, legal and ethical issues, and teaching; (b) supervised practicum experiences integrating research, college teaching/advising, and professional practice; (c) a requirement to write, present, and defend a publication-quality, extensive, integrated, and critical review of basic, applied, or conceptual literature relevant to behavior analysis; and (d) a requirement to propose, conduct, write, present, and defend an empirical dissertation whose questions and methods are based on a behavior-analytic approach. All students must be engaged in behavior analytic activities at least 20 hours per week in addition to their formal coursework.

How Long Will the Program Take?

The program may be completed in three years and must be completed within seven years.

Data on Program Graduates

Learn more about where the PhD in Behavior Analysis has lead our graduates. 

Data on Graduates

Faculty and Advisors

The Program's faculty hold various leadership positions in the field of behavior analysis and routinely present and publish their research findings. All students are assigned primary and secondary faculty advisors upon admission to the program. Primary advisors function as mentors and agree to oversee the professional development of the student; whereas secondary advisors agree to oversee the professional development of the student should the primary advisor be unavailable.

Faculty and Advisors