Schools with Behavioral Psychology Programs: How to Choose

Dec 12, 2019

Behavioral psychologists observe patients and analyze how internal or external changes affect their behavior. Those interested in studying human behavior may enroll in master's and doctoral degree programs, where they will complete a clinical practicum and engage in research under the supervision of faculty.

Schools with Behavioral Neuroscience Programs

Here is a list of some private and public schools that offer graduate level behavioral psychology degrees:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2018-2019)*
University of California--San Diego San Diego, CA 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state: $11,442; Out-of-state: $26,544
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private Doctoral $51,520
Harvard University Cambridge,MA 4-year, Private Doctoral $46,384
University of California--Los Angeles Los Angeles 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state: $11,442; Out-of-state: $26,544
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 4-year, Private Doctoral $53,740
University of California--Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state: $11,442; Out-of-state: $26,544
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private Doctoral $42,888
University of Wisconsin--Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral In-state: $10,387; Out-of-state: $23,424

Source:*National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students should look at these factors when choosing a school:

  • Consider offered specializations within a particular department, such as education, or clinical psychology.
  • Make sure the program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), since some states require individuals to complete an accredited program before pursuing licensure.
  • In order to practice psychology, an individual must be licensed, so look at programs that will be prepare you for state licensure exams.
  • Since a component of the coursework will involve doing research, it might be helpful to look at current and on-going research studies taking place at schools before choosing a program.

Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis

In a graduate certificate program, students learn how to use behavioral psychology techniques to help individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. Programs may be offered online and generally consist of five courses. Graduate-level certificate programs prepare students for the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) licensing exam. In some cases, course credits earned in a certificate program may be applied toward a master's degree.

Master's Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis

Many master's degree programs require candidates to complete 1,000 hours of practicum experience in addition to core coursework in behavioral psychology. Completion of a research-based thesis paper also form part of the requirements. Programs prepare students to take the BACB licensing exam. Graduates may find work as consultants and practitioners or continue their education and pursue a doctorate degree.

Doctorate Degree in Behavioral Psychology

Applicants must hold a master's degree in psychology or a related field to be admitted to a doctoral program. Involves completing a dissertation within a specific area of study. Areas of specialization include developmental disabilities, instructional design or children and families with special needs. Graduates may become practitioners in the field, higher education instructors or researchers.

There are many schools that offer behavioral psychology programs that will give students the opportunity to partake in research and clinical internships. It is important to find a program that is accredited by the APA, as those programs may lead to better career opportunities.

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