Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology

The Applied Behavioral Science doctoral program trains highly competent researchers in behavior analysis. Students are taught to discover and produce, translate and apply, and communicate knowledge in the behavioral sciences for understanding and solving problems of societal importance.

The curriculum provides a sequence of instruction that integrates:

  • Courses in the basic principles of behavior, experimental methods and research design
  • Conceptual foundations with training in basic, applied, and intervention research (e.g., assessment, analysis, intervention, evaluation).

For its research and training, the department receives considerable grant funding. 
The doctoral training program operates according to a junior colleague model. Students work closely with their advisors, joining them in every aspect of professional development. This includes designing and conducting research, preparing manuscripts for presentation and publication, and presenting and publishing those manuscripts. Students typically work with one advisor, but may work with others or have co-advisors.

The Doctorate in Behavioral Psychology is accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International Accreditation Board: annual report data.

The Doctoral Program Profile can be found here

Course Requirements

Ph.D. students are required to take one course in each of seven content areas, along with two practicum courses. Students complete and orally defend an empirically based Master's thesis. With approval, empirically-based theses from other graduate programs may meet this requirement. Following competency exams, students propose, conduct, and defend an empirically-based dissertation.

Affiliated Programs

The department offers a joint PhD-MPH degree in collaboration with the Master's of Public Health (MPH) program in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. This is the first degree in the nation to combine an MPH with the strengths of advanced study in applied behavioral science. It incorporates efficiencies in the elective and research requirements of both departments.

Faculty and student research teams address issues in community health and development, child and youth health and development, disabilities and independent living, and healthy aging. Separate admission is required for both the department (Ph.D. program) and Preventative Medicine (M.P.H. program).


Questions about the Graduate Program?

If you have questions about our graduate program, please contact Dr. Derek Reed, Director of Graduate Studies, at dreed@ku.edu

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