Applied Behavior Analysis PhD

Doctor of Philosophy in Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis


The Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis Ph.D. incorporates an approach to teacher training in which all instruction used by teachers is based on scientific evidence and the use of scientific procedures to fit the appropriate science-based practices to individual students’ varied learning and language developmental needs.

Research is a central component of the training—both the applications of research using science based tactics and measurement, and the generation of new research. The focus of the MA program is in the application of scientific procedures in classrooms, while Ph.D. students engage in research throughout their program, building on their research training in the MA, culminating in a dissertation that identifies and investigates a topic related to our mission.

Dissertations must make contributions to both the applied and basic science. The faculty and the students generate a substantial body of research leading to publications and presentations at international scientific conferences each year and this is a key component of the Ph.D. training. Programmatic research is conducted in the following areas: effective classroom practices, language/verbal development interventions that result in children learning to learn in different ways, observational learning, and systems wide scientific approaches to education.

Students who already hold M.A. Degrees from other institutions must take the twelve M.A. core courses because the core prepares them with the means to be successful in completing milestone Ph.D. requirements. Ph.D. students also need to be dually certified in New York State for teaching children from birth to grade 6.

Detailed Ph.D. Program Description

A student is engaged in conversation with one her peers at a study group at Teachers College.

Admissions Information

Doctor of Philosophy

  • Points/Credits: 75
  • Entry Terms: Summer/Fall

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): December 15
  • Summer/Fall (Final): Rolling

* For details about rolling deadlines, visit our admission deadlines page.

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • Academic Writing Sample
  • Must hold Master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from an accredited CABAS university

Requirements from the TC Catalog

View Full Catalog Listing

Doctor of Philosophy Exceptionality Focus Areas:

  • Applied Behavior Analysis

  • Intellectual Disability/Autism

  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Research and Evaluation Emphasis:

Students with excellent potential as researchers and theoreticians who are interested in scholarly careers in special education, education, and related social sciences may apply for the Ph.D. degree program, which represents the highest level of achievement in the Arts and Sciences. This degree program is administered jointly by Teachers College and the graduate faculty of Columbia University.

Prospective students may obtain information on program offerings by contacting the program office.

Ph.D. Program in Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis

The Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis M.A. and Ph.D. programs incorporate an approach to teacher training in which all instruction used by teachers is based on scientific evidence and the use of scientific procedures to fit the appropriate science-based practices to individual students’ varied learning and language developmental needs. The M.A. program prepares graduates to be dually certified from birth to grade 6 in New York State and reciprocal states. Students accepted in the program are placed in paid teacher assistant positions (M.A. students and Ph.D. students taking the M.A. core) or paid teacher positions (Ph.D. students who have completed at least 3 semesters of the M.A. core) in schools and classrooms that practice teaching as applied behavior analysis. The training of teachers is also based on scientifically tested procedures. Teacher trainees are taught until they master the science and its application with all children from 2 years through grade 5.

Research is a central component of the training—both the applications of research using science-based tactics and measurement and the generation of new research. The focus of the M.A. program is in the application of scientific procedures in classrooms, while Ph.D. students engage in research throughout their program, building on their research training in the M.A. and culminating in a dissertation that identifies and investigates a topic related to our mission. Dissertations must make contributions to both the applied and basic science. The faculty and the students generate a substantial body of research leading to publications and presentations at international scientific conferences each year, and this is a key component of the Ph.D. training. Programmatic research is conducted in the following areas: effective classroom practices, language/verbal development interventions that result in children learning to learn in different ways, observational learning, and systems- wide scientific approaches to education.

Students who already hold M.A. degrees from other institutions must take the ten M.A. core courses, because the core prepares them with the means to be successful in completing milestone Ph.D. requirements. Ph.D. students also need to be dually certified in New York State for teaching children from birth to grade 6. The teaching placement is a critical part of the program, because it provides the opportunities to train M.A. students and to be involved in cutting-edge research. In that role Ph.D. students are critical instructors for the first- and second year

M.A. students, an experience that prepares the doctoral candidate to teach and mentor graduate-level students. Our Ph.D. candidate teachers play a significant role in our record of providing measurably superior instruction and bridging the educational gap. For more information please see the Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis M.A. program description.

Department Courses Required for All Student Majors in Degree Program Core Requirements for all Ph.D. Majors in the Applied Sciences of Learning and Special Education Cluster

  • HBSE 5010 Study of the philosophic foundations of special education

  • HBSE 6001 Research in special education: Research/experimental design

  • HBSE 6005 Research in special education: Single-case design

  • HBSE 6010 Advanced study of problems and issues in special education

  • HBSE 7500 Dissertation seminar in special education

  • HBSE 8900-8910 Dissertation advisement in special education

Non-Department Courses Required for All Student Majors in Degree Program

  • HUDM 4122 Probability and statistical inference

  • HUDM 5122 Applied regression analysis

Specialization Requirements, Applied Behavior Analysis:

  • HBSE 5304 Advanced practica in special education: Behavioral disorders

  • HBSE 5904 Problems in special education: Behavioral disorders

  • HBSE 5915 Supervision and administration of special education and human resources agencies through organizational behavior analysis

  • HBSE 6008 Behaviorism

  • HBSE 6015 The verbal behavior model: Individual educational programming

  • HBSE 6031 Single-case experimental design in education, medicine, and therapy

  • HBSE 6404 Advanced internship: Behavior disorders

  • HBSE 6504 Advanced seminar in special education: Applied behavior analysis and behavioral disorders

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