Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis

Doctor of Philosophy
Main Campus - Melbourne
2018-2019 Florida Tech Catalog
Major Code: 9147 Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy
Delivery Mode(s): Classroom Age Restriction: No
Admission Status: Graduate Location(s): Main Campus - Melbourne
Admission Materials: 3 letters of recommendation, résumé, objectives, GRE

Program Chair
David A. Wilder, Ph.D., BCBA-D

The mission of the behavior analysis doctoral degree program is to produce competent behavior-analytic researchers, instructors and practitioners who are solidly grounded in basic principles derived from the experimental analysis of behavior (EAB), who approach the world from a radical behaviorist perspective, who will continue to contribute to behavioral research and inform their practice with current research findings, and who are prepared to obtain academic and professional positions. Graduates are well-prepared to pursue academic positions, to continue active research programs and to effectively manage behavior analysts under their supervision, both in research and practice.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the program must have completed, or be close to completing, a master's degree in behavior analysis or a master's degree in a related field with an emphasis in behavior analysis, and/or be a board certified behavior analyst, with a graduate GPA of 3.6 (on a scale of 4.0) or higher, and an undergraduate GPA of 3.0.

Applicants must submit a statement of career objectives, a résumé and the School of Psychology supplemental form available from that office. The application must include three letters of reference and a GRE General Test score. Official transcripts of all previous coursework must be submitted. All applications should be submitted by January 15.

A master's degree in behavior analysis and/or board certification, graduate GPA, and GRE scores will be used as initial acceptance criteria. The admissions committee will then review the applicant's potential for scholarship and leadership in behavior analysis by evaluating supplemental materials including clinical and research experience, the application package and participation in applicant interviews.

Degree Requirements

The doctoral program requires a minimum of 87 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree, of which at least 44 semester credit hours must be completed at Florida Tech with no grades lower than B. Students must demonstrate competency in research, teaching, supervision and consultation, and pass a comprehensive examination, before being admitted to candidacy. Candidates must present a completed dissertation manuscript and successfully defend the results to the dissertation committee. If a doctoral student has completed a master's degree but is not a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) or does not meet the supervision requirements to sit for the BCBA examination, the student may be required to take up to nine credit hours of Intensive Practical Training in Behavior Analysis (BEH 5251). In addition, students must complete at least 15 semester credit hours of graded coursework in program courses, six credits of supervised research and at least 18 credits of dissertation. Students  with a master's degree from another institution may be required to complete additional coursework if an equivalent course was not completed.

Curriculum (Includes master's degree requirements)
Core Courses (22 credit hours)
  • BEH 5100 Concepts, Principles and Characteristics of Behavior Analysis
    Credit Hours: 3

    Covers basic concepts and principles derived from the experimental analysis of behavior, and their relation to applied behavior analysis and its basic assumptions and characteristics.

  • BEH 5101 Behavioral and Functional Assessment
    Credit Hours: 3

    Covers descriptive assessment and functional analysis, incorporating behavioral measurement, data display and date interpretation. Also covers selection and definition of target behavior and outcomes.

  • BEH 5102 Experimental Evaluation of Interventions
    Credit Hours: 3

    Covers within-subject experimental methods, incorporating behavioral measurement, data display and data interpretation. Also covers program monitoring and evaluation, an overview of traditional statistical between-subjects research methods, and ethical issues in ABA research and evaluation.

  • BEH 5103 Behavior Change Procedures and Systems Support
    Credit Hours: 3

    Covers behavior change procedures, generality of behavior change, transfer of technology and systems support.

  • BEH 5104 Ethical and Legal Considerations for Behavior Analysis
    Credit Hours: 1

    Covers the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's guidelines for responsible conduct for behavior analysts, position papers of various professional organizations related to ethical issues in ABA, and other ethical and legal considerations for the practice of behavior analysis.

  • BEH 5105 Radical Behaviorism
    Credit Hours: 3

    Covers B.F. Skinner's seminal articles on radical behaviorism, along with other notable commentaries and Skinner's response. Includes determinism, private events, verbal behavior, contingency-shaped vs rule-governed behavior, and a radical behaviorist perspective on culture and society.

  • BEH 5303 Experimental Analysis of Behavior
    Credit Hours: 3

    Provides an advanced overview of the fundamentals of behavior from the perspective of operant conditioning. Includes the principles and procedures used within the field of behavior analysis. Requires research and written reports and evaluations.

  • BEH 5400 Introduction to Organizational Behavior Management
    Credit Hours: 3

    Includes performance and cause analysis, and intervention selection, design and implementation. Also includes evaluation of past and current research on improving workplace productivity, quality, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and safety. Addresses how performance management uses behavior principles as applied in business and industry.

Additional Core Courses (14 credit hours)
  • BEH 5201 Ethical and Professional Standards in Applied Behavior Analysis
    Credit Hours: 1

    Includes defining acceptable treatment environments, rights to effective treatment and education, balancing the rights to habilitation and personal liberties, least restrictive alternatives, punishment and aversive control, emergency interventions and other ethical issues related to persons with disabilities and clinical populations.

  • BEH 5202 Ethics in Behavior Analytic Research
    Credit Hours: 1

    Prepares students in the behavioral sciences to identify and surmount current and emerging ethical issues when planning, conducting and disseminating research.

  • BEH 5401 Advanced Organizational Behavior Management
    Credit Hours: 3

    Examines human behavior in organizations from a behavior analytic perspective. Includes the interface between OBM and I/O psychology, pay for performance, motivation, performance improvement techniques, compensation, quality, job satisfaction and its relation to productivity, and the ethics of personnel management.

  • BEH 6301 Applications of Behavior Analysis to College Instruction
    Credit Hours: 3

    Covers fundamentals of instructional design grounded in principles of learning derived from behavioral science and behavior analytic research. Emphasizes applications of programmed instruction, personalized systems of instruction, precision teaching, direct instruction, teaching machines and inter-teaching for collegiate instruction.

    Enrollment in Behavior Analysis degree program or successful completion of BEH 5000 or   
  • BEH 6302 Verbal Behavior
    Credit Hours: 3

    Covers B.F. Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior from a conceptual and applied perspective. Takes material directly from Verbal Behavior (Skinner, 1957). Includes supplemental readings to provide more contemporary updates to the main text.

    Admission to doctoral program or instructor approval
  • BEH 6304 Complex Human Behavior
    Credit Hours: 3

    Examines application of principles of behavior to complex human behavior (thinking, dreaming and imagining). Deepens conceptual and practical understanding of advanced topics in behavior analysis. Introduces theory and research that focuses on complex human behavior. Generates research questions and protocols to examine complex human behavior. 

Psychology (9 credit hours)
  • BEH 5106 Biological Basis of Behavior: Behavioral Pharmacology
    Credit Hours: 3

    Examines the biological basis of behavior and introduces the scientific study of drugs and their effects on behavior. Emphasizes the neurological basis of psychotropic medications (loci of drugs in the central nervous system) and behavioral pharmacology (behavioral effects of drugs in the central nervous system).

  • PSY 5101 Statistical Research Methods 1
    Credit Hours: 3

    Introduces psychological research methods and designs, including analysis and interpretation of simple correlational and experimental designs.

  • PSY 5102 Statistical Research Methods 2
    Credit Hours: 3

    Analyzes multifactor research designs using analysis of variance and related techniques, including the use of computerized statistical packages and data analysis.


    PSY 5101

Practical Training (9 credit hours)
  • BEH 5251 Intensive Practical Training in Behavior Analysis
    Credit Hours: 3

    Provides students with hands-on experience in applied behavior analysis (assessment and/or intervention) in a practical setting. Requires regular meetings and work at an approved practicum site.

    Program chair approval or enrollment in master's program
Research (33 credit hours)
  • BEH 5999 Thesis
    Credit Hours: 3

    Includes preparation and submission of a research thesis, the quality of which is judged acceptable by the ABA program chair, the college and graduate programs director.

    Considered a full-load if registered for at least three credits
  • BEH 6800 Supervised Research
    Credit Hours: 1

    Research conducted under the guidance of doctoral-level graduate faculty. Research may lead to preparation of a research proposal for dissertation work.

  • BEH 6999 Dissertation in Behavior Analysis
    Credit Hours: 3

    Research and preparation for the doctoral dissertation.

    Admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree
  • Approved Elective (may be from master's degree) Credit Hours: 3
Total Credit Hours Required: 87