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Behavior Analysis Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Harold Abel School of Psychology

Gain advanced skills in behavior analysis

When you reach for the highest level of education in psychology with the Capella online behavior analysis PhD, you can become a research leader in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA). With the skills you develop, you can help people overcome their psychological challenges and thrive.

Your coursework will help you gain knowledge of the theoretical foundations of ABA to help you perform basic and applied research. You’ll prepare for a career as a leader, teacher, or researcher in the practice of applied behavior analysis.

At a Glance

  • Online & in person
  • 7 core courses
  • 4 specialization courses
  • 5 elective courses
  • 3 dissertation research seminars
  • Comprehensive exam
  • Dissertation
  • 104 total quarter credits
  • 25 max transfer credits

Classes Start July 8th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo SPRING)

PhD in Psychology, Behavior Analysis program highlights

Scholar-practitioner faculty

Learn the latest in theory and practice from experienced doctoral faculty actively engaged in their professions.

Prepare to teach

Our applied teaching track program helps you gain experience as a teaching assistant or tutor.

Relevant, real-world learning

Your psychology coursework allows you to conduct research alongside Capella faculty.

BACB certification

Completing this degree specialization can be an important step toward applying for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D) certification.

Complementary coursework approach

Your online coursework is enhanced by face-to-face residencies designed to give you intensive, hands-on experience to successfully complete your program.

The tools you need

Behavior Development Solutions test prep software is integrated into your coursework to help you prep for BCBA-D certification.

Our unique doctoral structure

Our PhD in Psychology, Behavior Analysis program is designed to remove roadblocks for you and demystify the dissertation process. This unique approach centers on supporting you in three ways: through program structure, a dedicated faculty and support team, and online resources. To help generate momentum toward graduation, you’ll begin your dissertation early in the program. Our faculty, support team, and online resources will help guide you every step of the way.

Meet your PhD in Psychology faculty

Our distinguished psychology faculty are industry leaders, bringing real-world relevance into the courseroom to enrich your education, and career.

Dana Reinecke, PhD, BCBA-D

Associate Chair

Kaori Nepo, PhD, MEd, BCBA-D

Part-Time Faculty

Get the support you need for success

Our dedicated support teams guide and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.

Doctoral advising

Doctoral programs are specific and challenging. That’s why you’ll have access to expert support at every step along the road to your degree.

Financial aid counselors

Our team knows how to run the numbers and help find ways to save on costs.

Cost & learning format

Our original learning format offers extra structure for those who want it. We'll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$540 per credit, 104 total quarter credits, 25 max transfer credits

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

Reduce your tuition by $5K

Enroll in a qualified program, apply for a $5,000 scholarship, and meet eligibility requirements.

10% military discount

If you're an active-duty military service member, spouse, or veteran, discounts may be available.

Employer & association discounts

If your employer or organization is a partner with Capella, you may be eligible for a tuition discount.

Behavior analysis PhD sample courses

Your doctoral-level coursework in applied behavior analysis is designed to help you gain real-world academic and research expertise in this field of psychology. You’ll also participate in in-person dissertation research seminars, which allow you to get an early start on your dissertation.

Show course with description
PSY8301
Single-Subject Research Design Methods

In this course, learners expand their foundational knowledge about the basic methods of research used in single-subject research. Learners describe the different methodologies within, as well as the strengths and limitations of, single-subject research. Learners expand on their skills in visual analysis to determine research findings. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits
PSY8302
Behaviorism

Learners in this course expand their knowledge on the basic theories of behavior analysis. Throughout the course, learners evaluate the basic principles described in the theories of behavior analysis science. Learners identify some of the common misconceptions in these basic theories. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits
PSY8303
Experimental Analysis of Behavior

In this course, learners explore the history of, and synthesize the research in, the experimental analysis of behavior. Learners describe the importance of the link between experimental analysis of behavior and the application of the science. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits
PSY8305
Organizational Behavior Management

In this course, learners describe the field of organizational behavior management and its relationship to the science of behavior analysis. Learners synthesize research in the field of organizational behavior management. Throughout the course, learners apply basic assessment techniques and develop interventions commonly used in the field of organizational behavior management. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits
PSY8306
Education and Teaching in Applied Behavior Analysis

In this course, learners examine the theories of behavior analysis and how they influence teaching and educational programs. Learners synthesize research related to teaching skills in the field of behavior analysis, and explore how they will use principles from theory and research to inform their teaching. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits

What you’ll learn

  • Synthesize principles and applications of addiction psychology theory and its evidence base.
  • Employ a plan for continued professional and career development on contemporary issues and trends related to addiction psychology.
  • Evaluate addiction psychology literature.
  • Interpret knowledge of addiction psychology research and contribute to the field of psychology.

  • Utilize appropriate evaluation and outcomes measurement procedures.
  • Maintain an awareness of evolving cultural, ethical, and legal standards related to addiction psychology research, practice, and policy.
  • Communicate knowledge about addiction psychology using accepted professional community standards.

Behavior analysis PhD career insights

PhD in Psychology—Which Specialization Is Right for You?

Learn more about Capella's PhD in Psychology program and available specializations.

Tips on How to Become a Behavior Analyst

A look at the education and certification needed for a position in this growing field.

Kids Won’t Eat Dinner? Capella University Faculty Member Invents a Fun Fix

Anesa Doyle used ABA principles to invent a product to encourage kids to eat.

Psychology PhD professional paths

Your education can help you reach your goals, professionally and personally. Here are some of the jobs and employment settings to consider with a PhD in Psychology, Behavior Analysis degree.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Board certified behavior analyst (BCBA)
  • Clinical director
  • Behavior analyst
  • Professor of psychology

Related employment settings to explore

  • College or university
  • Community or technical college
  • Private practice
  • Individual and family services
  • Skilled nursing facility
  • Hospital
  • K-12 public or private school

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

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