PhD in ABA


USF ABA PhD Program

(Photo: USF ABA PhD students 2023)

USF is seeking applications for its Doctoral program in Applied Behavior Analysis. View Flyer.

The emphasis of the ABA doctoral program at USF is on the development of behavior analysts who are teachers and researchers. Students graduating from the program will receive training through coursework, mentoring in teaching, and research activities with community partners.

Why choose USF?

While working on your doctoral degree at the University of South Florida, located in the vibrant and beautiful Tampa Bay area, you have the opportunity to:

  • Explore behavior analysis at a new level.
  • Work with a dedicated and dynamic faculty along with a cohort of diverse and talented students from all over the United States and beyond.
  • Get involved in research and gain both breadth and depth in your chosen profession.
  • Complete a carefully designed series of courses with your cohort and have mentored and independent experiences teaching your own classes to undergraduate students.
  • Work closely with your primary faculty mentor on your dissertation, all the way from its design to presenting it at conferences and submitting it for publication. You will also work with a secondary faculty mentor, with whom you will learn additional skills.
  • Receive a generous doctoral compensation package with tuition coverage, salary, and health care coverage.

What happens after you graduate?

Once you graduate, you will be ready to assume a position as a faculty member or as clinical director of a behavior analytic agency. You will have the repertoire to not only succeed, but to excel. You will be ready to pass on what you have learned to the next generation of researchers, teachers and clinicians; and you will always be a part of the USF ABA family.

Who will be your faculty?

You will develop relationships with the faculty members for your coursework as well as your primary and secondary mentors. The faculty at USF has a diverse range of research interests and experiences and you will select mentors who can get you the expertise you need to reach your goals. You will attend lab meetings with your mentors where you will learn by witnessing and participating in the research conducted by your faculty member and more senior students. You will have exciting discussions about your own research and present your own data for review. You will have guided experiences with the goal of building your research competency and that will leave you ready to develop your own research lab.


You will complete a series of courses designed to meet ABAI accreditation requirements, but more than that, these courses will provide you with a firm foundation in behavior analysis theory and practice as well as challenge you with basic behavior analysis perspectives that are relevant for applied behavior analysts. You will have the opportunity to explore other related fields, such as gerontology or positive behavior intervention and supports as they related to your interests.

Research Experiences

You will join a lab or labs with other students and faculty interested in the same areas as you and will gain experience working first on other students' and faculty members' projects and then on your own. You will complete literature reviews in two different areas of research. One of these may be the foundation for your dissertation. You will complete a dissertation with supervision and support from your primary faculty mentor. The dissertation will consist of original research that you propose, defend before your committee, and conduct. You will present research at state (e.g. the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis) and national (e.g. Association for Behavior Analysis International) meetings and work with your faculty mentors on publishing your work. When you graduate, you will have a curriculum vitae that reflects your research accomplishments at USF. Please click here to view some recently published research by USF faculty and students.

Teaching Experiences

You will have mentored and independent teaching experiences, both in class and online. First you will serve as a teaching assistant for a faculty member as he or she teaches a course and over the course of a semester, you will gain more and more independence. The next two semesters you will have the opportunity to teach that course on your own under supervision. You will also have additional online teaching opportunities.  Not only will these opportunities provide you with support, but they will prepare you for your future faculty position and show that you can teach others about behavior analysis, either in class or using distance-learning technology.

Is this Program for You?

  • Do you have a passion for behavior analysis and you have a strong foundation in the field through your Master's program but you want more?

  • Would you like the training you need in research and teaching to obtain a position a university department as a faculty member?

  • Are you ready to earn a doctorate degree and enter the next phase of your career?

Apply Now!