Frequently Asked Questions

The eligibility criteria state that I must have my master’s degree to apply to the program, but I will not have my master’s degree by the time I apply. Does that mean I am not eligible to apply?  

You are still eligible.

We recognize that many of our applicants are in the process of completing their master’s degree requirements when they apply to our PhD program. The Office of Graduate Studies must have an official transcript on file showing that your master’s degree was awarded by no later than January 1 of the following year (within approximately four months of starting the PhD program). It is expected that all of your degree requirements (e.g., coursework, thesis if applicable) are completed by the time you start the PhD program in August. The January deadline is designed to give the student’s master’s degree program ample time to send official transcripts.

What if I don’t expect to have my BCBA by the time I would start the PhD program?  

As long as you expect to have your BCBA by February 1 of the following year (within approximately five months of starting the PhD program), you should apply.

It is expected that all of your BCBA requirements (e.g., coursework, practicum hours) are completed by the time you start the PhD program in August. The February deadline is designed to give prospective students time to take the exam shortly after obtaining their master’s degree and to allow time to gather and submit the materials required to take the BCBA exam.

The master’s degree and BCBA eligibility requirements are in place to ensure that students completing our PhD program’s courses, which are designed as upper level courses, have the appropriate foundation in behavior analysis to maximize their learning.

How do I know which faculty are planning on taking students?  

Prior to submitting your application, you can inquire with the faculty you are interested in working with to get a general sense of whether they expect to take students. However, we usually determine which faculty are taking students and how many initial slots we have available shortly after the recommended application deadline. During the online application process, prospective students are asked to specify which faculty they are interested in working with. Students may select more than one faculty member.

There are many factors that weigh into which faculty are accepting students, such as the current number of students the faculty is advising and the availability of funding.

Can I tour the facilities?  

Yes, we encourage folks to tour our facilities. However, please consider that we get many requests for tours (e.g., caregivers, school personnel, training programs, state programs). If you are a prospective student who is interested in touring our facilities, we ask you to set up a time to tour the facilities after the admissions committee has had an opportunity to review your online application (e.g., in December or early January). This way, the admissions committee can determine whether they would like to interview you during your visit.

Please note that we recognize that traveling with short notice can be costly. As such, we typically leverage web-based technology to set up a virtual interview for those who make our short list of applicants but who cannot tour our facilities or who wish to interview prior to visiting. We set up formal interviews only after the faculty have reviewed your application materials.

Please email Vanessa Wilcox to set up a tour. In your email, please indicate:

(a) whether your application materials have been submitted, (prospective students who have submitted their application will be given priority in scheduling)

(b) which departments you are interested in touring, and

(c) which faculty you are interested in meeting.

Please also include a general time frame of availability for the tour. Please note that we typically do not begin scheduling tours until after applications have been reviewed (Review begins Dec 1st).

Can I take courses online for the PhD program?  

We do not have online courses.

Do you accept applications for the spring or summer semesters?  

Generally, we do not.

All students start at the same time: one week prior to the start of the fall semester (details are provided in the offer letter).

In the past, some students have elected to start attending research meetings prior to officially starting the PhD program. However, it should be noted that any research or clinical work initiated prior to the start date does not officially count toward the doctoral degree requirements.

The online system for fall applications typically opens mid-October. The deadline for applications is December 1.

Who should I contact about questions regarding the PhD program?  

If you have general questions regarding the program, please contact the director of the ABA PhD program, Dr. Nicole Rodriguez.

We also encourage you to notify Dr. Rodriguez of any ambiguity or suspected errors on our webpage so that we can work swiftly to modify them. We want the process of learning about our program and applying to be straightforward.

We encourage prospective applicants to read the following paper published in The Behavior Analyst for additional information on our PhD program.

For more information, take a look at our interview with Applied Behavior Analysis EDU.