Ph.D. in Psychology, Behavior Analysis

The philosophy and program

The aim of the Behavior Analysis program is to provide comprehensive training in behavior analysis, out of which more specialized basic, applied and theoretical interests can be developed. A balance of basic, applied and theoretical training is sought. The faculty and students strive to:

  • Preserve the accumulated knowledge of behavior science by imparting it to others.
  • Develop the science of behavior through the production of new knowledge.
  • Contribute to the betterment of society by the application of this knowledge.
  • Assure the viability of the profession through participation in its governance.

Behavior analysis is an approach to psychology emphasizing the study of behavior in its historical and situational contexts. Behavior analysis training at the University of Nevada, Reno is conducted via a junior-colleague model and includes supervised experience and instruction in:

  • the philosophies of behaviorism
  • the theory and methodology of behavior analysis
  • basic and applied research in human behavior
  • basic research in animal behavior
  • application of behavioral principles to organizational administration and consultation, instructional design and technology, parent and teacher training, and clinical populations
  • participatory governance and fiscal management

Here are just a few reasons why you should apply to the University of Nevada, Reno Behavior Analysis Program:

  • The financial success of our program depends on the students and faculty cooperating with one another and therefore our community of students and faculty make it a point to maintain a harmonious environment. We are a tight group socially and value cooperation over competition.
  • The Behavior Analysis Program operates in part on a self-capitalization plan. This means that the program is partially funded by the entrepreneurial efforts of the faculty and graduate students. Most of the resources for the program, including student support, staff support, equipment, and operations expenses are generated through these efforts. Moreover, the program follows an open-book management approach, and students are encouraged to take an active interest and role in the managerial and financial aspects of our programmatic services. Students work in these services to develop skills that will assist them in future careers. Although most students have been funded to date, funding is not guaranteed and must be arranged by the Training Committee in the Behavior Analysis Program.
  • Behavior Analysis is noted for its unique focus on historical and contextually-situated behavior-environment relations. Its method is experimental, with aims of description, prediction and influence over its subject matter. It has also a distinctive, widely applicable, and effective behavioral technologies that are applied across a variety of areas of applications such as Developmental Disabilities (including autism), Performance Management, Behavioral Systems Analysis, Cultural Behavior Analysis, and Dissemination of Behavior Analysis. These areas of research and applications are represented areas of training in the Behavior Analysis Program at UNR.

Degree programs

The University of Nevada, Reno Behavior Analysis program offers some of the best behavior analytic training in the world. In addition to our Association for Behavior Analysis International accredited doctoral on-campus/master's degree program and off-campus master's degree program, the department also offer Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BCBA), Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCABA) Approved Course Sequences through our off-campus satellite programs. We take pride in the breadth of our research, the depth of our coursework, and in the expertise of our faculty and students.

Doctoral Program in Behavior Analysis

The University of Nevada, Reno doctoral program in Behavior Analysis trains graduates to teach, do research and work as consultants or administrators in the public and private sectors. This degree requires 89 graduate credits, is accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International and has a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Approved Course Sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Current Doctoral handbook 2019-2020

Academic Advising

When students enter the program, they are assigned to one of the core behavior analysis faculty who serves as their academic advisor for the first semester of study or until such time as a research advisor is arranged. Student and advisor should work out a tentative program of study, including the transfer of previous graduate courses. The academic advisor also serves as the liaison between the student and the BATC, and source of support for counseling, tutoring, or other assistance.

Research Advising

Advisory responsibilities are assumed by the student's primary research advisor as soon as their interests develop. Students will be required to approach the faculty member with whom they wish to conduct their research prior to the beginning of the second semester. Upon receiving the permission of the faculty member, they will join their research laboratory.


The program seeks students committed to a behavioral orientation in psychology, who show research and scholarly potential, and who show potential as teachers, scientists and practitioners. Faculty members value ability and accomplishment in the selection process. Students learn a great deal from each other. Consequently, the program seeks a heterogeneous student population. Based on these values, all students are accepted to the program (see section titled "Program Advising"). Therefore, the applicants do not rank order or specify their preferred lab groups, and prepare their application letter and reference accordingly.

To be considered for admission to the University of Nevada, Reno Behavior Analysis Program, interested applicants must meet the requirements and apply to both:

  1. The Graduate School
  2. The Behavior Analysis Program


Graduate School Admissions Requirements

Graduate School
Mail Stop 326
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557

Behavior Analysis Program Admissions Requirements

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A brief statement of purpose
  • A curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Send the above items to:

Behavior Analysis Program
Psychology Department / 296
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557

Related degrees and links
Bachelor's degree in behavior analysis
Master's degree in behavior analysis
Program faculty

Questions regarding admissions, please contact admissions chair, Professor Patrick Ghezzi at

International Student Admissions
The University of Nevada, Reno Behavior Analysis Program has a strong commitment to the international dissemination of behavior analysis and currently has several international students from various countries around the world seeking advanced degrees in behavior analysis. Qualified international applicants are required to submit extra admissions materials depending on their country of origin in addition to the materials listed above. For up to date information and resources for foreign student admission, interested international applicants should visit the website and contact the The University of Nevada, Reno Office of International Students and Scholars.

The Behavior Analysis Program is accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International Accreditation Board. See our annual report data.

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