Ph.D. in Psychology, Behavior Analysis

BA Group 2016

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 University of Nevada, Reno Behavior Analysis program is unique because it offers training in philosophy, basic experimental work and applied behavior analysis. No other program takes such a comprehensive view.
  • The quality of the program is recognized by those in the field, which means alumni have little difficulty finding employment after graduation.
  • The faculty are leaders and experts not only in the field of behavior analysis but also in their particular areas of interest and application. All of our faculty hold leadership positions in various behavioral organizations.
  • The diversity of research interests between our faculty ensures that you will almost always be able to match your interests. Our faculty's interests span anywhere from philosophical and theoretical analyses, through controlled experimental analysis of behavior to a wide array of applications to society and its many issues.
  • The financial survival 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 University of Nevada, Reno behavior analysis program is significantly funded through our self-capitalization efforts. In addition to their course loads, and research, each faculty member is responsible for overseeing entrepreneurial services that raise capital to help pay for student's tuition and salaries, as well as up to 50 percent of faculty salaries. Students work in these services that are valuable training opportunities to develop skills that will assist them in future careers. Examples of some of the program's services include the Early Childhood Autism Program, Person-centered Assessment Training and Habilitation (PATH), Satellite Programs in Behavior Analysis, an the High Sierra-BECS Autism project, The BECS-staff training and agency consultation project, or several other consultation services in schools and the community. The financial support of students each year is dependent on the success of our entrepreneurial services. 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 the services they work in. Although most students have been funded to date, funding is not guaranteed and must be arranged with the faculty admitting you to the program. Upon entering the program, students are typically assigned stipend placements in their mentor's projects for 20 hours a week or if arranged, in another of the program's various entrepreneurial services

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 2018-2019

Academic Advising

Starting Fall 2019, 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 year of study or until such time as a research advisor is arranged. Student and advisor should work out a tentative program, including previous graduate courses which may transfer and procedures for petitioning the Program for course waivers. The academic advisor also serves as the liaison between the student and the program committee. At any time, if the student needs counseling, tutoring, or other assistance, the academic advisor is the person to help him or her make the appropriate arrangements. The student may, of course, approach someone other than their academic advisor to talk to about their program and any problems they are experiencing.

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.

ABAI Accreditation logo for PHD Program

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact Department of Psychology

Phone (775) 784-6828
Fax (775) 784-1126
Location Mack Social Science
Address University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557