In this article, we profile the 10 best ABA PhD degree programs of 2022.
PhD ABA programs prepare students with the advanced knowledge and skills needed to conduct behavioral research and design treatment plans to remedy behavior-related problems. Graduates of BCBA doctoral programs are prepared to take the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification exam at the doctoral level from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. These programs are also known as BCBA D programs. Once certification is received, individuals may practice ABA.
10 Best ABA PhD Degree Programs Ranking Methodology
For the purpose of this list, we looked at approximately 17 ABA PhD degree programs and BCBA D programs. We confirmed accreditation (regional and/or national) and selected those schools that offered accredited programs. Few online ABA programs exist, so we gathered information on both on-campus and online BCBA doctoral programs. The graduate tuition and fees were taken from the most recent information offered by the National Center for Education Statistics (College Navigator). After gathering our information, we listed the PhD in ABA programs according to affordability.
- St. Cloud State University
- Capella University
- Cambridge College Boston
- Caldwell University
- Tennessee Tech
- University of South Florida
- Marquette University
- University of Nevada Reno
- Florida Institute of Technology
- Utah State University
Ranking the 10 Best ABA PhD Degree Programs of 2022
10. Utah State University
PhD in Behavior Analysis
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,598
Utah State University offers a program in which students can work towards a PhD, or, if they prefer, they can earn the PhD + Board Certified Behavior Analyst. The first option focuses more on research, theory, and academics, while the second approach prepares students to practice or research in a clinical setting. This first track offers benefits such as training in experimental analysis of behavior, a curriculum that is tailored to the interests of the student, and a dissertation project.
The second track offers training in both experimental and applied behavior analysis, as well as thesis and dissertation projects; students will gain experiences in a clinical practicum over the course of several years. The second track also prepares students for the BCBA examination from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
No matter which track is chosen, this is one of the best applied behavior analysis doctoral programs available. This university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities. Utah State University, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, ranked among top performers in social mobility as well as among top public schools.
9. Florida Institute of Technology
PhD in Behavior Analysis
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,588
Florida Institute of Technology does not offer BCBA doctoral programs online, but a traditional PhD in behavior analysis. While the classes are not delivered online, the program is designed for ABA professionals. Graduates can plan to continue their research, instruct others in applied behavior analysis, or practice ABA themselves.
Core courses required in the program include advanced organizational behavior management, applications of behavior analysis to college instruction, behavioral & functional assessment, ethical & professional standards in ABA, and verbal behavior. Florida Tech ranks with major publications like U.S. News & World Report among best national universities.
8. University of Nevada Reno
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,971
The Department of Psychology in the University of Nevada at Reno offers one of the few ABA doctoral programs in the country. Students learn about topics such as basic & applied research in human behavior, the philosophies of behaviorism, and basic research in animal behavior. They will also learn about how the study of behavior applies to organizations.
This program, which is one of the best PhD ABA programs, requires 89 graduate credits. It is accredited by the ABAI and prepares students for the BCBA examination. The University of Nevada at Reno ranks with U.S. News & World Report among the best national universities and top public schools, and offers one of the top ABA doctoral programs.
7. Marquette University
PhD in Behavior Analysis
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,690
Marquette University offers this PhD in behavior analysis through its Psychology Department, and 63 credits are required to earn this degree. This is one of the top BCBA D programs, and a good choice for those looking for BCBA doctorate programs. This program has an emphasis on mentorship, putting students in small cohorts to ensure that they get the mentorship they need to help them reach their goals. Graduates of this program have gone on to become directors of clinical programs, professors at universities, and practicing behavior analysts.
According to the school’s website, there are four specializations available, depending on what people groups the graduate plans to work with: children & adults with social skill deficits, young children with autism spectrum disorders, children displaying vocal or motor tics associated with Tourette syndrome, or individuals displaying more significant self-injurious behavior or aggressive behavior. Marquette University, according to U.S. News & World Report, tied for #83 among best national universities.
6. University of South Florida
PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis
Hillsboro County, Florida
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,126
One of the top ABA PhD programs available is the PhD in applied behavior analysis offered at the University of South Florida. To be admitted to this program, students must have a master’s degree in behavior analysis or a closely related degree area that includes multiple courses in behavior analysis. Other requirements include a GPA of at least 3.5, as well as a personal statement, GRE score and three strong letters of recommendation. Curriculum requirements include 21 credit hours of core courses, 15 credit hours of independent research, and a dissertation consisting of a minimum of 18 credit hours.
Courses seen in the ABA PhD program include experimental analysis of behavior, statistical applications in translational research and evaluation, and conceptual foundations of behavior analysis. University of South Florida ranks with U.S. News & World Report among top national universities. This is among the best options for BCBA PhD programs.
5. Tennessee Tech
Applied Behavior Analysis – PhD
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,498
One of the least expensive ABA PhD programs on our list is this applied behavior analysis PhD. The degree is technichally in exceptional learning, with a concentration in applied behavior analysis. This program offers two specializations within that concentration. The first is Young Children and Families (abbreviated YCF); the second is School-Aged Children and Adult Populations (ABAS). This second option prepares students to take the BCBA examination.
Some of the career options listed on the program website are clinical director/supervisor; crime, delinquency, & forensic behavior analyst; organizational behavior manager; positive behavior support consultant; researcher; and university faculty member. Tennesse Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools’ Commission on Colleges, and is one of the top BCBA degree programs.
4. Caldwell University
PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,380
Caldwell University offers an ABAI-accredited PhD in applied behavior analysis. The program has five main learning objectives. The first is that graduates understand the theoretical concepts behind behavior analysis. The second is that graduates are able apply these concepts in a practical and effective way in real-world environments. The third is that graduates are able to supervise and train others in behavior analysis. The fourth is that graduates understand advanced topics in behavior analysis. And finally, the fifth is that graduates are able to develop and complete independent research in this field. Caldwell University ranks with U.S. News & World Report. Rankings include #14 in best value schools, and tying for #85 in regional universities in the North. This is one of the top BCBA doctorate programs.
3. Cambridge College Boston
PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis with Specialization in Autism Intervention
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,062
The ABA PhD program at Cambridge College requires 48 credits. It takes nine terms to earn the degree–one of the top BCBA doctoral programs in the country. This program focuses on autism intervention. Students will take classes such as behavior analytic perspective on child development, early intensive behavioral intervention, and evaluation & treatment of severe behavioral disorders.
This program is offered mostly online, with the exception of two summer residencies during the first two years of the program. To be admitted into the program, prospective students must complete an interview with the program chair and faculty, as well as completing other requirements. Cambridge College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education and ranks with U.S. News & World Report among the top regional universities in the North, as well as among top performers on social mobility.
2. Capella University
PhD in Psychology with a specialization in Education and Teaching in Applied Behavior Analysis
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,784
Capella University offers a PhD in Psychology with a specialization in Education and Teaching in Applied Behavior Analysis. This degree is offered entirely online. The program, according to the website, requires three elective courses, six specialization courses, seven core courses, three doctoral project development seminars, one comprehensive exam and one dissertation.
Some of the core courses required in this program are: foundations of theory and practice for doctoral psychology learners, advanced single-subject research design for behavior analysis, and ethics and multicultural issues in psychology. Some career options listed by the website are: board certified behavior analyst, clinical director, behavior analyst, or professor of psychology.
While this is not strictly a PhD in applied behavior analysis, it is a good option for those who want to learn more about behavior and is worth looking into for those searching for the top BCBA doctoral programs. Capella University ranks with U.S. News & World Report among top psychology schools.
1. St. Cloud State University
Applied Behavior Analysis (Psy. D.)
St. Cloud, Minnesota
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,904
St. Cloud State University’s PhD in ABA program is an on-campus program that focuses on ABA for children with autism spectrum disorder. This is a great option for those looking for BCBA PhD programs: the coursework is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, and at the end of the program, the student will be equipped to become certified as a doctoral-level board certified behavior analyst, or BCBA-D.
The program requires that students complete 90 credits in order to graduate. Graduate assistantships are offered, and the program has access to a modern autism clinic, through which students will be trained using the latest research. According to U.S. News & World Report, St. Cloud State University tied for #95 in best regional universities in the Midwest, #85 in top performers on social mobility and #29 in top public schools. Due to the institution’s affordable graduate tuition, St. Cloud State University earns the #1 spot on our list of the best value ABA PhD programs.
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