Graduate Overview

Master of Science in Behavior Analysis

Program Mission

The mission of the Department of Behavior Analysis (DBA) is to provide a program of learning opportunities for graduate students that is nationally recognized for excellence and that establishes knowledge and skills that allow graduates to compete successfully in the job market and make significant contributions to society; to contribute to the discipline of behavior analysis and to the community by conducting applied and basic research that furthers understanding of human behavior and results in demonstrable positive behavior change; to form lasting partnerships in the DFW metroplex, nationally, and internationally; and to develop behavioral solutions for social problems at local, national, and international levels.

The Master of Science degree program was the first graduate program in the nation to be accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis. The program has attracted students from Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, England, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, and Norway as well as from 17 states in the U. S. Students completing the program are eligible to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam and to become Licensed Behavior Analysts in Texas. Whether alumni go on to pursue a doctoral degree or assume professional positions in the community, they are consistently viewed in their new settings as highly-accomplished behavior analysts.

For additional information on applying to the program, please visit:

Our curriculum focuses on these areas:

  • How to design procedures for the systematic application of behavioral technology in applied settings
  • Knowledge of principles of behavior, their conceptual basis and behavior analytic research methodology
  • Practical experience in the implementation and analysis of behavior intervention programs
  • Skills for conducting research in natural settings and for modeling phenomena in laboratory settings

Our faculty members include professors who have been recognized by the American Psychological Association and the National Council for Science and Technology, among others. They also conduct research in many different areas and provide consultations regarding behavioral interventions and human performance in institutions, business and industry. This offers many hands-on learning experiences for students. These include working in applied settings with:

  • Adult learners
  • Individuals with autism spectrum disorder
  • College students
  • Foreign-language learners
  • People with developmental disabilities
  • Pets and exotic animals

Our faculty also conduct behavioral neuroscience research, experimental research, and research related to animal behavior.

The department was instrumental in founding the Texas Association for Behavior Analysis. Our graduate program also was the nation's first to earn accreditation from the Association for Behavior Analysis International (550 West Centre Ave., Portage, Mich. 49024; telephone 269-492-9310).

The department was awarded the 2012 Enduring Programmatic Contributions Award from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis (SABA) for establishing a tradition of leadership in teaching, service and scholarship.

Degree requirements

  • 24 semester hours of core courses
  • 7 semester hours of practical training courses
  • 6 semester hours of master's thesis
  • 6 to 9 semester hours of electives
  • Total of at least 49 SCH in three years


BEHV 5000. Observation and Measurement of Behavior and Environment. 3 hours. An examination of the factors to be considered in observing and measuring behavior and environment; methods of recording data with emphasis on the conditions under which each method is most appropriate.

BEHV 5010. Experimental Analysis of Behavior. 3 hours. Reviews classical experimental literature in behavior analysis. Compares methodology to that in natural and social sciences. Special emphasis on experimental analysis of human behavior.

BEHV 5020. Theory and Philosophy in Behavior Analysis. 3 hours. Study of the conceptual framework of behavior analysis; studies epistemological issues and nature of scientific explanation; examines common misconceptions and provides theoretical foundations for applications and basic research.

BEHV 5100. Introduction to Behavior Analysis. 3 hours. Defines and delimits the subject matter of behavior analysis. Examines the principles that describe behavioral processes and distinguishes the learned and unlearned components of operant and respondent behavior. Relates behavior change procedures to the processes accounting for learned behavior.

BEHV 5140. Research Methods in Behavior Analysis. 3 hours. An overview of strategies and tactics of experimental design in behavior analysis. Includes strengths and weaknesses of single organism methodology in basic and applied research. Topics include issues of experimental logic, experimental control, variability, data analysis and display, and interpretation of experimental findings.

BEHV 5150. Techniques in Applied Behavior Analysis. 3 hours. Analysis of problems in behavioral terms. Selection of management strategy and behavior change techniques, including behavioral contracting, contingency management, programmed instruction, removal or reduction of environmental stressors. Consideration of ethical issues, including informed consent, need for non-coercive or at least restrictive intervention. Supervised practical experience.

BEHV 5250.10 Quantitative Methods in Behavior Analysis. 3 hours. This course is designed to provide the student with an introduction to quantitative analyses within the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. The goal of the course is to facilitate the creation of well-informed consumers of quantitative literature.

BEHV 5810. Practicum. 2 hours. Students must take this course in the fall semester of their first year. In this class, students will see basic behavior principles in action using a table-top shaping game called PORTL.

BEHV 5028. Autism I: Conceptual/Methodological Issues in Applied Behavior Analysis. 3 hours. Describes basic conceptual and methodological issues involved in behavioral treatment of children with autism. Topics studied include theories and controversies regarding etiology and assessment, distinctions between behavioral and alternative approaches to treatment, comparisons of treatment formats, and critical review of curriculum options. Behavior analysis majors must take BEHV 5810 concurrently with BEHV 5028.

BEHV 5029. Autism II: Applied Behavior Analysis Research and Practice. 3 hours. Describes research and practice associated with the scientist-practitioner model of applied behavior analysis intervention for young children with autism. Students conduct comprehensive reviews of experimental literature in the three critical areas of autism intervention and learn to evaluate this literature according to accepted rules of scientific evidence. Students propose and implement an intervention that addresses at least one experimental question and extends existing scientist/practitioner literature. Students complete projects that translate research findings to practice. Behavior analysis majors must take BEHV 5815 (second Practicum) concurrently with BEHV 5029 and must have received an A in BEHV 5810 and BEHV 5028. Prerequisite(s): BEHV 5028 and BEHV 5810.

BEHV 5250. Topics in Behavior Analysis. 3 hours. In-depth analysis and discussion of significant topics in behavior analysis. Topics include but are not limited to the following: philosophy of measurement of behavioral phenomena; rule-governed vs. contingency-governed behavior; the creation of settings and interpersonal dynamics; stimulus control; organizational behavior management.

BEHV 5330. Verbal Behavior and the Analysis of Human Behavior. 3 hours. Use of behavior analysis in understanding the nature and development of human communication. Explores how and why communication fails; develops guidelines for enhancing communication through an understanding of the underlying behavioral processes.

BEHV 5540. Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues in Behavior Analysis. 3 hours. Addresses and reviews the effects of court decisions in the development and implementation of behavioral interventions, ethical requirements of the Behavior Analysis Certification Board, and professional conduct in treatment, intervention, and consultation settings. Topics include accountability, confidentiality, quality of services, quality of life, emergency management, research, professional collaborations, and ethical safeguards.

BEHV 5560. Development of Behavior Intervention Programs. 3 hours. The focus is on the integrated components of behavioral programming. Includes developing behavioral objectives, functional analysis, design of intervention procedures, evaluative criteria, and the integration of these components into a readable document.

BEHV 5570. Training and Supervision of Staff in Human Service Settings. 3 hours. Includes analysis of political and social contingencies existing in most institutional settings. Describes training considerations and ways to establish a positive work environment for staff and clients. Principles underlying effective supervisory practices are described.

BEHV 5815. Practicum. (Take two, 1 hour) Students work individually or in pairs on a project in any of a variety of applied settings. They are supervised by faculty through weekly meetings and occasional on-site observation. Project must be pre-approved, in writing, by faculty supervisor before registration. Practicum projects typically require about 100 clock hours (including time in the field and time meeting with supervisor). The purpose of this practicum is to provide the student with experience in planning and implementing behavior change. This course may be repeated for credit. Prerequisite(s): BEHV 5810.

BEHV 5820. Internship. 3 hours. Students work in the field, under the supervision of a qualified behavior analyst, in a setting of their choice for a period of 6 weeks. Internship settings include (but are not limited to) agencies serving persons with developmental disabilities, business and industry, consulting firms, research facilities, schools, and offices of physicians, psychologists and other private practitioners. Prerequisite(s): BEHV 5810 and BEHV 5815.

BEHV 5900-BEHV 5910. Special Problems. 1–3 hours each. Open to graduate students who are capable of independent work in a specific area of interest. Outline of the problem and proposed activities must be submitted in writing to faculty and approved in advance of registration.

BEHV 5950. Master’s Thesis. 6 hours. To be scheduled only with the consent of department. 6 hours credit required. No credit given until the thesis has been completed and filed with the graduate dean. Continuous enrollment required once work on the thesis has begun. May be repeated for credit.

Special Organized Classes (When Available)