Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology Degree Programs 2019

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Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology Degree Programs 2019 2019-09-24T18:18:21+00:00

The field of psychology is experiencing a growing demand for licensed psychologists due to a shortage of such professionals, and it is an incredible feat of educational technology to know that there are online Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology degrees available for those pursuing this complex yet exciting career path. To help prospective students find the school that’s right for them, we have taken the liberty of compiling the following list of the top 30 Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology programs based on a specific set of ranking criteria.

Methodology

We developed this ranking in order to help prospective students identify the best Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology programs based on several factors. To gather data, we conducted a search for the term “Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology degree online” using the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator database. We then took the initial pool of 25 results and narrowed it down to the top 30 graduate programs based on the ranking criteria as outlined below.

Average Cost of Graduate Attendance

The first thing prospective students look at when considering schools is often the cost of tuition. When comparing the average cost of graduate attendance, it is important to not only consider the rate but also the quality of the program as well. We used data from both the College Navigator Tool and each college’s website to determine the tuition obligation and assigned points according to the following table.

Points:
Under $30,000: 3 points
$30,001 to $45,000: 2 points
$45,001+: 1 point

College Ranking

In addition to the cost of a program, it is important to determine whether a school and the program it offers are recognized by a national body dedicated to reviewing colleges and universities such as U.S. News & World Report. We used data for each institution’s ranking in areas such as regional status, national status, best value, graduate psychology programs, and status among other public institutions in the country.

Points:
U.S. News & World Report: Best National School, Best Graduate Psychology Program Ranking:
Top 50: 5 points
Top 100: 3 points
Top 150: 2 point
Top 200: 1 point

U.S. News & World Report: Best Regional University, Best Value School, Top Public School Ranking:
Top 50: 3 points
Top 100: 2 points
Top 150: 1 point

Accreditation

Tuition cost and ranking are only two factors that can help you determine whether a school is right for you. Accreditation for both the institution and the programs it offers is also a critical component of this ranking methodology. Schools that are either regionally or nationally accredited are given more points than those who are unaccredited, and institutions that have earned program-specific accreditation are awarded additional points.

Points:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB): 3 points
Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI): 3 points
American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation: 3 points
Regional accreditation: 2 points

Ranking Top 30 Doctoral Degree Programs in Behavioral Psychology

30. Lesley University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Expressive Therapies can be completed in four years of study.

Points: 4
Program Website

Lesley University is a coeducational, private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts that offers fine arts, creative writing, education, counseling, and expressive therapies programs. The school offers a Ph.D. in Expressive Therapies that interweaves artistic inquiry and expression with a focus on research. The program is structured by year, with a blend of residency hours and online courses. Each doctoral year includes a nine-residency seminar, followed by two online three-credit doctoral seminars. Each course is broken down into sections with the goal of addressing specific competencies. Students may earn their degree within four years, and the fourth year is devoted to the dissertation component of the program.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Expressive Therapies
Average Program Cost: $57,475
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#183 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
New England Association of Schools and Colleges

29. Touro University Worldwide

Los Alamitos, California

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The online Ph.D in Human and Organizational Psychology has no residency requirements.

Points: 4
Program Website

Touro University Worldwide is the distance learning school of the Touro College and University System. Founded in 1971, it is the largest private university in the country with Jewish roots. The online Psy.D. in Human and Organizational Psychology is available entirely online, and there are no GRE or residency requirements. Although the program does not lead to licensure, it does provide professionals with the tools and skills necessary to design evidence-based solutions in their professional field. Students are required to complete courses in research methods, survey design, and cognitive, media, industrial-organizational, and social psychology as well as a doctoral dissertation.

Degree Options:
Online Doctor of Psychology in Human and Organizational Psychology
Average Program Cost: $37,100
U.S. News & World Report Ranking: N/A
Accreditations:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education

28. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Chicago, Illinois

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Applied Behavioral Psychology can be completed in three to five years of study.

Points: 6
Program Website

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, Illinois is a graduate university that specializes in psychology, educating more than 4,300 students and offering more than 20 degree programs in psychology- and behavioral science-related fields. The school offers a full-time doctoral degree in applied behavioral analysis that can be completed in three to five years. Students take courses that cover experimental analysis of behavior and the critical analysis of research in verbal behavior. Students are required to choose between an applied project or a data-driven thesis as a capstone experience. The program also meets all of the requirements for Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis
Average Program Cost: $86,940
U.S. News & World Report Ranking: N/A
Accreditations:
American Psychological Association
Western Association of Schools and Colleges

27. Capella University

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Psychology does not have any residency requirements.

Points: 6
Program Website

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Capella University is a for-profit institution of higher learning that delivers most of its education online. Students may pursue an online Ph.D. in Psychology and complete the requirements to apply for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification. The program consists of seven core courses, six specialization courses, three electives, three dissertation research seminars, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. Throughout the program, students gain expertise in behavior analysis, and graduates are prepared for careers as clinical leaders, researchers, or teachers in the field. Sample course areas of study include education and teaching in applied behavior analysis, organizational behavior management, experimental analysis of behavior, single-subject research design methods, and behaviorism.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $55,120
U.S. News & World Report Ranking: N/A
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Higher Learning Commission

26. Kansas State University

Manhattan, Kansas

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Behavioral Neuroscience/Animal Learning program trains students in experimental psychology as well as behavioral neuroscience.

Points: 9
Program Website

Located in Manhattan, Kansas, Kansas State University first opened in 1863 as the first public institution of higher learning in the state. The behavioral neuroscience/animal learning program is designed to train students in experimental psychology as well as behavioral neuroscience, and while core courses are required, students must also engage in laboratory research. During the first year, students take a two-part topics course, core courses, and two quantitative courses. Students complete core courses and finish their thesis research in the second year, and preliminary doctoral exams are taken in the third year. Students then begin their doctoral dissertation research. Required areas of study include statistics, experimental design, advanced cognitive psychology, physiological psychology, learning, and perception.

Degree Options:
Behavioral Neuroscience/Animal Learning
Average Program Cost: $48,180
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#75 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#112 (tie) in Psychology
#147 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
Higher Learning Commission

25. Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Psychology requires 48 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 9
Program Website

Established in 1930, Old Dominion University is a public research university and one of the largest in the state with an enrollment of more than 24,500 students. Old Dominion offers a Ph.D. in Psychology, and students can further tailor their degree with a specialization in human factors. This program focuses on both psychological theory and behavioral science, and it is built on the scientist-practitioner model. Students are required to publish a research paper in a peer-reviewed journal and teach a graduate class in their field as part of the degree requirements. While it does not offer a pathway to licensure, it is a comprehensive degree that consists of a dissertation, an exam, research, and 48 credit hours of coursework. Sample courses include Human Cognition, Analysis of Variance and Experimental Design, and Advanced Social Psychology.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $25,104
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#121 (tie) in Top Public Schools
Accreditations:
Approved Course Sequence Through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

24. West Virginia University

Morgantown, West Virginia

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Psychology in Behavior Analysis requires 45 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 10
Program Website

Located in Morgantown, West Virginia, West Virginia University is research-intensive, space-grant, and land-grant university that offers more than 190 professional, doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degree programs in 15 colleges. The school confers an online Ph.D. in Psychology with a concentration in behavior analysis that includes 45 credit hours of coursework, a dissertation, an exam, research, and a practicum, which can be completed in the students’ areas of residence. Students can expect to take courses in the biological aspects of behavior, experimental analysis of behavior, and assessment and intervention strategies for severe behavior.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Psychology – Behavior Analysis
Average Program Cost: $26,865
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#112 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#131 in Psychology
Accreditations:
Association for Behavior Analysis International
Higher Learning Commission

23. Caldwell University

Caldwell, New Jersey

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Applied Behavior Analysis requires 93 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 11
Program Website

Founded in 1939 by the Sisters of St. Dominic, Caldwell University in Caldwell, New Jersey offers 25 bachelor’s and 30 graduate programs as well as online and distance learning options for students across the country, including an online Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis. This program focuses on the advanced procedures and principles of basic and applied behavior analysis research and practice. Students must complete 60 credits of required courses and 33 credits in elective courses, and a specialization in developmental disabilities is available. A doctoral dissertation is also required for graduation.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis
Average Program Cost: $70,500
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#25 in Best Value Schools
#74 (tie) in Regional Universities North
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Middle States Commission on Higher Education

22. University of Nevada Reno

Reno, Nevada

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Psychology in Behavior Analysis requires 89 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 11
Program Website

Founded in 1874, the University of Nevada Reno is the only land-grant institution in the state and operates 17 schools and colleges in industries such as engineer, business, education, medicine, and science. The school confers a Ph.D. in Psychology with a concentration in behavior analysis that trains graduates to work as administrators or consultants, do research, and teach. The program is accredited and requires 89 graduate credits of coursework, a comprehensive exam, a practicum, a thesis or pre-doctoral research project, and a dissertation. Areas of study include behavioral interventions, analysis of behavior, behavior management, and behavioral systems analysis.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Psychology, Behavior Analysis
Average Program Cost: $37,481
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#109 (tie) in Top Public Schools
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Association for Behavior Analysis International
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

21. Simmons University

Boston, Massachusetts

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The online Ph.D in Behavior Analysis require 68 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 12
Program Website

Founded in 1899, Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts is a private women-focused undergraduate school and co-educational graduate school. Simmons offers a 68-credit-hour Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis that is designed to train and position qualified professions to make contributions to the field and to the community. Coursework can be completed on a part- or full-time basis and includes topics such as crisis management, legal and ethical issues, family issues, data display and interpretation, behavioral assessment, and measurement and intervention tactics. Students also team up with faculty to implement, write, and public research before presenting their work in peer-reviewed journals and national conferences.

Degree Options:
Behavior Analysis (Ph.D.)
Behavior Analysis (Ed.S.)
Average Program Cost: $71,740
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#4 in Best Value Schools
#11 in Regional Universities North
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
NECHE

20. Florida Institute of Technology

Melbourne, Florida

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Behavior Analysis offers weekend, evening, and daytime class schedules.

Points: 13
Program Website

The Florida Institute of Technology is a doctoral/research university that operates four academic colleges in aeronautics, engineering and science, business, and psychology and liberal arts. The school confers a Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis that prepares graduates to become behavior-analytic practitioners, instructors, and researchers. The program offers weekend, evening, and daytime class schedules with close proximity to clinics and hospitals that provide applied learning opportunities and internships for students. In addition to completing core coursework, Ph.D. students conduct ongoing research at The Scott Center for Autism Treatment on-campus at Florida Tech. Students must also present a completed dissertation and successfully defend the results to the dissertation committee.

Degree Options:
Behavior Analysis, Ph.D.
Average Program Cost: $107,967
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#177 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Association for Behavior Analysis International
American Psychological Association
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

19. Endicott College

Beverly, Massachusetts

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Applied Behavior Analysis requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 13
Program Website

Founded in 1939 as Endicott Junior College, a two-year institution for women, Endicott College has grown into a postsecondary school that now offers more than 23 bachelor’s programs as well as four doctoral programs, including a Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis. This research-based program is offered simultaneously in both synchronous online and classroom-based formats. Students complete 60 credit hours of coursework as well as a research project, a comprehensive examination, and a doctoral dissertation. Areas of study include behaviorism and philosophy of science, professional and ethical issues, research methods, experimental design and analysis, and the history of behavior analysis.

Degree Options:
Applied Behavior Analysis Program (Ph.D.)
Average Program Cost: $34,140
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#25 (tie) in Regional Universities North
#46 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
New England Commission of Higher Education

18. Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Psy.D in Applied Psychology  requires 48 credit hours of coursework.

Points:
Program Website

Founded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1906, Western Kentucky University offers an academic range of 80 majors and 70 minors through its colleges of health and human services, arts and letters, science and engineering, business, and education and behavioral sciences, including a Doctor of Psychology in Applied Psychology program. The 48-hour curriculum focuses on evidence-based practice, training supervisors using a cognitive-behavioral orientation, and students may complete the didactic portion of the program in three years. Students may choose from a specialization in either clinical psychology or school psychology. After completing the required coursework, dissertation, and pre-doctoral internship, students will be eligible to apply for licensure as psychologists.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Applied Psychology
Average Program Cost: $29,136
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#11 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#34 (tie) in Regional Universities South
#61 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

17. Utah State University

Logan, Utah

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Psychology in Behavior Analysis offers extensive training in basic laboratory research to all students.

Points: 13
Program Website

Located in Logan, Utah, Utah State University is a research, land-grant, and space-grant university and the largest public residential campus in the state. Utah State offers a Ph.D. in Psychology degree with a specialization in behavioral analysis, providing students with broad training in core areas of behavior analysis, research methods, and psychology. Students must complete the coursework in the psychology program as well as emphasis-area courses for the behavior analysis program such as those in neuroscience, behavioral economics, social psychology, behavioral pharmacology, neuropsychopharmacology, and advanced developmental psychology. All students, regardless of specialization, also receive extensive training in basic laboratory research.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Psychology With a Specialization in Behavior Analysis
Average Program Cost: $19,988
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#112 (tie) in Top Public Schools#148 in Psychology
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
American Psychological Association
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

16. Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Behavior Analysis requires 78 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 14
Program Website

Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan was founded by Dwight B. Waldo in 1903, and it enrolls more than 23,200 students per year throughout its seven degree-granting colleges. The school confers a Doctor of Philosophy in Behavior Analysis program that prepares students for research, applied work, and teaching in the field of behavior analysis. Students must complete at least 78 semester hours, including 30 hours of coursework and 12 hours of a dissertation. A practicum and professional field experience are also required. The doctoral program incorporates all of the requirements of the master’s program plus additional advanced behavior-analytic practical training, research, and coursework. Graduates are prepared for roles in industrial-organizational settings, human services, education, and research.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Behavior Analysis
Average Program Cost: $54,732
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#112 (tie) in Top Public Schools
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Association for Behavior Analysis International 
American Psychological Association
Higher Learning Commission

15. Texas Tech University

Lubbock, Texas

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Experimental Psychology requires 45 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 14
Program Website

Texas Tech University is a public research university in Lubbock, Texas and the flagship institution of the four-school Texas Tech University System. It is the only campus in Texas to house a medical school, a law school, and an undergraduate university, offering more than 150 programs through 13 colleges and 60 research institutes and centers. Texas Tech offers a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology with a focus on human factors that significantly emphasizes research, and students are expected to continuously engage in research, public articles, and attend and present research at conferences. The program consists of 45 hours of coursework, 18 hours of research, 12 hours of dissertation, a pre-qualifying exam, a comprehensive exam, a proposal defense for the dissertation, and the final defense of the dissertation. Areas of study include statistics, group process and intergroup relations, and the biological, affective, social, and cognitive bases of behavior.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology
Average Program Cost: $29,073
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#100 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#187 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

14. University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute

Omaha, Nebraska

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Doctoral program in Applied Behavior Analysis requires a practicum in applied behavior analysis, a doctoral dissertation, and an internship.

Points: 15
Program Website

The University of Nebraska Medical Center is a public center of education, patient care, and health sciences research in Omaha, Nebraska. In addition to providing state-of-the-art patient care, the Monroe-Meyer Institute also offers medical and therapeutic management programs to students, including a doctoral program in applied behavior analysis. Students are required to take core courses in verbal behavior analysis, advanced methods in single-case research, behavioral psychology of development, experimental analysis of behavior, and the assessment and treatment of child psychopathology. Students must also complete a practicum in applied behavior analysis, a doctoral dissertation, and an internship.

Degree Options:
Doctoral Program in Applied Behavior Analysis
Average Program Cost: Waived
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#167 (tie) in Psychology
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Association for Behavior Analysis International
American Psychological Association
Higher Learning Commission

13. University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in ABA requires 54 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 17
Program Website

The University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida was founded in 1956 and is the fourth-largest public university in the state, enrolling more than 50,700 students across institutions in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota-Manatee. The Ph.D. in ABA is a research-based degree that follows a cohort model and imbues the curriculum with team projects and original research projects to ensure that students learn soft skills while simultaneously learning the core concepts of the field. The program consists of 54 credit hours of coursework, a teaching practicum, a research project, and a dissertation. Courses cover topics such as functional analysis, statistical applications in translation research, and experimental analysis of behavior. Students are eligible for both certification and licensure after graduation.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in ABA
Average Program Cost: $23,297
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#58 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#71 in Best Value Schools
#81 in Psychology
#124 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

12. Western New England University

Springfield, Massachusetts

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Doctorate in Behavior Analysis requires 54 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 18
Program Website

Western New England University, located in Springfield, Massachusetts, is a private university that offers programs throughout its colleges of pharmacy, law, engineer, business, and the arts and sciences, including a doctorate in behavior analysis. The Ph.D. program consists of 54 credit hours of study with at least 27 hours in seminars. The remaining 27 hours may be additional elective seminars, behavior analysis practica, or dissertation credit. Core courses delve into topics such as behaviorism, quantitative analysis of behavior, descriptive and inferential statistics, experimental analysis of behavior, and professional issues, ethics, and research design. Students can complete the program in three years.

Degree Options:
Doctorate in Behavior Analysis
Average Program Cost: $72,954
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#44 in Best Value Schools
#68 (tie) in Regional Universities North
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Association for Behavior Analysis International 
American Psychological Association
New England Commission of Higher Education

11. University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Psychology students benefit from extensive professional development opportunities during their doctoral training.

Points: 19
Program Website

Founded as Cincinnati College in 1819, the University of Cincinnati is the oldest institution of higher education in the city and enrolls more than 44,000 students per year, making it the second-largest postsecondary institution in the state. The school offers a Ph.D. in Psychology that trains doctoral-level researchers, primarily in the areas of neuropsychology, health psychology, and experimental and human factors. Students pursuing this path work with a specific faculty mentor who is responsible for ensuring students are actively engaged in research throughout the course of the program. The school aims to train students to compete for positions in a broad range of settings, so students benefit from extensive professional development opportunities during their doctoral training.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $72,340
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#75 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#130 in Best Value Schools
#131 (tie) in Psychology
#147 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Association for Behavior Analysis International
Higher Learning Commission

10. Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Arizona State University requires 84 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 19
Program Website

Arizona State University is a public research university that operates four regional learning centers across the state and four campuses throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. Enrolling more than 80,000 students, it is one of the largest public universities in the country. The school confers a Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience that combines neuroscience solutions with real-world challenges. Throughout the program, students will learn how to use applied and theoretical models to conduct translational research into the psychosocial and neurobiological processes that underlie health and behavior. Students must complete 84 credit hours of study, including core coursework, a prospectus, an oral comprehensive exam, a written comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. Students may complete the program in five years.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology With an Emphasis on Behavioral Neuroscience
Average Program Cost: $71,512
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#39 in Psychology
#52 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#115 (tie) in National Universities
#119 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
American Psychological Association
Higher Learning Commission

9. Northeastern University

Boston, Massachusetts

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Psychology offers four degree specializations.

Points: 19
Program Website

Established in 1898, Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts is a postsecondary institution that offers undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 18,000 undergraduate students and 8,000 graduate students. Northeastern offers a Ph.D. in Psychology, and students can choose one of four specializations: personality/social, perception, cognition, and behavioral neuroscience. The program strives to train students to become experts in their field, and those following the behavioral neuroscience path will benefit from a curriculum that integrates genetic, pharmacological, and neuroanatomical techniques to understand the biological basis of processes like mental illness, stress, addiction, learning, and memory. Students complete core psychology courses, behavioral neuroscience emphasis courses, a thesis, research project, and a doctoral dissertation.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $57,000
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#44 (tie) in National Universities
#66 (tie) in Psychology
#72 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
American Psychological Association
New England Association of Schools and Colleges

8. Queens College and Graduate Center of CUNY

Queens, New York

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Psychology in Behavior Analysis offers 14 degree specialization.

Points: 19
Program Website

Founded in 1937, Queens College and Graduate Center is one of the four-year colleges in the City of New York (CUNY) system. The school’s study body represents more than 170 countries, and it is consistently ranked for the quality of its affordability, the achievement of its students, and the quality of its faculty and academic programs. The school’s doctoral program in psychology is divided into 14 training areas, including a concentration in behavior analysis. Students are provided with a firm foundation in the practice and principles of behavior analysis with courses that focus on the applied and experimental analysis of animal and human behavior, including behavioral pharmacology and behavioral neuroscience.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Psychology: Behavior Analysis
Average Program Cost: $53,850
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#14 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#55 (tie) in Regional Universities North
#79 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Association for Behavior Analysis International
American Psychological Association 
Middle States Commission on Higher Education

7. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, Pennsylvania

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Educational Psychology doctoral program offers two degree specializations.

Points: 23
Program Website

Founded in 1855 as the Farmers High School of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University, commonly referred to as PSU or Penn State, is a doctoral, land-grant, state-related university that operates facilities and campuses throughout Pennsylvania. Penn State offers undergraduate, graduate, professional, and continuing education programs via on-campus and online delivery formats, including a doctoral degree in educational psychology. The major steps in this program include a candidacy exams after the first year, comprehensive exams after coursework is completed, a dissertation proposal, and a final oral dissertation defense. In addition, students can choose to specialize in one of two areas: learning or educational and psychological measurement.

Degree Options:
Doctoral Degree Program in Educational Psychology
Average Program Cost: Waived
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#20 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#26 in Psychology
#59 (tie) in National Universities
#131 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
American Psychological Association
Middle States Commission on Higher Education

6. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, Texas

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Psychology requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 24
Program Website

Founded in 1883, the University of Texas at Austin is a public research university and the flagship institution of the University of Texas System, offering more than 100 undergraduate and 170 graduate degrees, including a Ph.D. in Psychology. This hybrid program allows students to choose their own area of expertise such as a cognate area in behavioral psychology. This research-based program means that students must complete original research as part of the school’s requirements. Students must also satisfy residency requirements and complete 60 credit hours of coursework, including cognate and core curriculums, as well as a dissertation or research paper. Courses delve into topics such as advanced behavior pathology, theory and explanation in social psychology, and principles of sensory and behavioral neuroscience.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Psychology
Average Program Cost: $50,460
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#8 (tie) in Psychology
#15 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#49 in National Universities
#128 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
American Psychological Association
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

5. The Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Behavioral Neuroscience can be completed in four to five years of study.

Points: 24
Program Website

The Ohio State University was founded in 1870 as a land-grant university. It has since grown into the third-largest university campus in the U.S., offering undergraduate and graduate programs for on-campus and online students across the country. Students pursuing the doctoral program in behavioral neuroscience are prepared for research-oriented careers in industry or academics, and they have the opportunity to pursue one of several main areas of emphasis within the program. Students may earn their degree in four to five years, and the program offers opportunities for research completed either independently or collaboratively. Areas of study include psychopharmacology, behavioral neuroscience, biological psychiatry, and the psychobiology of learning and memory.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience
Average Program Cost: $47,028
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#17 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#24 (tie) in Psychology
#56 (tie) in National Universities
#126 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Association for Behavior Analysis International
American Psychological Association
Higher Learning Commission

4. University of Kansas

Lawrence, Kansas

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology students must take one course in seven content areas as well as two practicum courses.

Points: 24
Program Website

The University of Kansas, located in Lawrence, Kansas, was founded in 1865 and now operates five campuses across the state. KU offers more than 345 degree programs available on-campus and online, including a Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology. This program’s curriculum provides instruction that integrates courses in the basic principles of research, experimental methods, and behavior as well as training in intervention, applied, and basic research. Ph.D. students must take one course in seven content areas as well as two practicum courses. They must also complete an orally defend an empirically based master’s thesis. In some cases, theses from other graduate programs may fulfill this requirement. After the completion of competency exams, students must propose, conduct, and defend an empirically based dissertation.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology
Average Program Cost: $40,000
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#50 in Psychology
#61 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#98 in Best Value Schools
#129 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Association for Behavior Analysis International
American Psychological Association
Higher Learning Commission

3. Teachers College, Columbia University

New York, New York

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Applied Behavior Analysis requires a doctoral dissertation.

Points: 25
Program Website

Teachers College, Columbia University is a graduate school of health, education, and psychology in New York City. It is the largest and oldest graduate school of education in the U.S. The school confers a Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis, a program with a focus on special education in which students engage in research as well as core coursework in areas such as philosophic foundations, single-case design, research/experimental design, qualitative approaches, and an advanced study of problems and issues in special education. Specialization requirements for the applied behavior analysis focus include topics in behaviorism, behavioral disorders, single-case experimental design, and individual educational programming. Before graduating, students are required to complete a doctoral dissertation.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Behavior Analysis
Average Program Cost: $165,112
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#3 (tie) in National Universities
#6 in Best Value Schools
#17 (tie) in Psychology
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Association for Behavior Analysis International 
American Psychological Association
Middle States Commission on Higher Education

2. University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Doctorate in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience can be completed in five years of study.

Points: 22
Program Website

Situated on a 2,000-acre campus in Gainesville, Florida, the University of Florida traces its origins to 1853. UF is divided into 16 colleges and more than 150 education, service, and research centers, institutes, and bureaus, offering more than 100 undergraduate majors and 200 graduate degrees, including a program in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. Students experience a multidisciplinary training in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience and learn to use practical techniques ranging from genetic and biochemical manipulations to brain imaging. Students can earn their degree in five years, and graduates are prepared for careers in teaching and industrial or academic research.

Degree Options:
Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience
Average Program Cost: $31,850
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#8 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#35 (tie) in National Universities
#39 in Psychology
#91 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
American Psychological Association
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

1. University of Illinois

Champaign, Illinois

Top 30 Ph.D in Behavioral Psychology

The Ph.D in Psychology requires 96 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 26
Program Website

The University of Illinois was founded in 1867 as a land-grant institution, with a 6,370-acre main campus located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana, Illinois. The university operates 16 schools and colleges, offering more than 150 undergraduate and more than 100 graduate programs of study, including a Ph.D. in Psychology. Students must complete 96 hours of graduate work, a master’s thesis, core and specialization courses, a doctoral qualifying exam, an oral preliminary exam, and a Ph.D. thesis and defense. Ph.D. candidates are also required to gain teaching experience as part of their academic work via a two-semester teaching assistantship.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology
Average Program Cost: Waived
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#7 in Psychology
#13 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#46 (tie) in National Universities
#111 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
Approved course sequence through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
American Psychological Association
Higher Learning Commission

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for a Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology Degree?

Not only is an online Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology a professional degree, but it is a terminal degree as well, meaning that those who complete these programs have reached the peak of education in their field. In other words, they have the knowledge and skills to fill any position within the behavioral psychology industry, and in some cases, they may even be overqualified.

The most common career path for graduates with a doctorate in behavioral psychology is that of a behavioral psychologist. These professionals work in the public or private sector, in the government, in schools, or for themselves in a freelance capacity. Behavioral psychologists have many options in terms of careers, and they simply go where their profession is in demand.

Graduates may also choose to pursue an academic route via professorships, working within colleges and universities to educate the next generation of psychologists. This option is ideal for those who have a passion for teaching, and it is the main reason why so many curriculum requirements include a teaching practicum.

Finally, although not a common choice, graduates may decide to become researchers and benefit from fulfilling work and a feeling of purpose. Students typically work on psychological experiments within the government, think tanks, or university settings. The results from these experiments may lead to breakthroughs within the field of psychology.

How Much Can You Earn in This Field?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for psychologists is $77,030 per year, or $37.03 per hour, as of May 2017. However, several factors contribute to the salary one can expect to earn, including the demand in the area for psychologists as well as the region in which they live. In addition, some psychologists earn more in private practices that typically provide weekend and evening sessions, which generally constitute overtime for the psychologists.

What Are the Various Disciplines of Behavioral Psychology?

Also known as behavior analysis, behavioral psychology is a broad subfield of psychology. It is considered transdisciplinary, meaning that the field transcends the standard, traditional lines that are often drawn between disciplines. Most professionals will encounter neuroscience, sociology, and psychology in their day-to-day job duties. Other disciplines at play may include communications, research methodologies, counseling, and, to a degree, public administration. It is important to note that the various disciplines of behavioral psychology greatly depend on a student’s focus area; not all disciplines are equally represented in every available career option.

Is Accreditation Important for an Online Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology?

Finding an accredited doctoral program in behavioral psychology may seem tricky, but it is definitely possible. The Association for Behavioral Analysis International (ABAI) is the most prominent accrediting body for the behavioral psychology specialization. In addition, attending a doctoral program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) can provide graduates with a massive advantage over candidates who did not complete a program with specialized accreditation.

Although accreditation is important for every student, it is particularly vital for those seeking a counselor or licensed psychologist career path. In some cases, earning an unaccredited degree can wreak havoc on a student’s chances of becoming licensed or from seeking reputable employment. Students may find themselves needing to take an additional workshop or courses from another institution, which costs additional money and time, in order to get back on track for licensure.

Keep in mind that not all online doctoral programs offer licensure tracks, and licensure requirements vary by state. Students who are considering this path should take the time to consider their options prior to making a decision about a Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 30 Ph.D./Psy.D. in Behavioral Psychology degree programs.

By OPD Staff
August 2019