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Master's Degree Program

Graduate Opportunity

The first step to a meaningful career in the field can be taken at the University of North Texas by pursuing a Master of Science degree in Behavior Analysis.

The Department of Behavior Analysis' innovative program provides:

  • Knowledge of principles, theory and research methods of applied behavior analysis and the experimental analysis of behavior.
  • Procedures for systematic application of behavioral technology in natural environments.
  • Practical experience in functional analysis and in designing, implementing and evaluating behavioral intervention programs.

Our faculty members include professors who've been recognized by the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the National Institutes of Health, among others. They also provide consultations regarding behavioral interventions and human performance in institutions, business and industry.

Our graduate program was also the nation's first to earn accreditation from the Association for Behavior Analysis International. This distinction means we meet or exceed strict standards for excellence in education. Our courses have also been approved by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board, meaning they meet the standards for preparing professional to practice in Behavior Analysis. The department was awarded the Enduring Programmatic Contributions Award from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis for establishing a tradition of leadership in teaching, service and scholarship.

Research Opportunity

Research Opportunities

Behavior Analysis Online (BAO) Research Group. The mission of this lab is to provide applied experience in the behavior analytic design of distance and blended instruction. Projects include assisting in the design of specific instructional programs (learner preparedness, problem solving, collaboration, consultation, and ethics) as well as areas of individual student interests related to on line instruction. There are two hourly teaching assistant positions and two part time teaching/research assistantships available every year. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Shahla Alai-Rosales.

Behavior Analysis Resource Center. A research and treatment team systematically assesses and develops treatment for behavior disorders exhibited by persons with developmental disabilities. This project has offices on the campus of the Denton State Supported Living Center and provides services to residents of the living center.  The project also provides training in behavior-analytic approaches to intervention for personnel at the center and employees of the Department of Aging and Developmental Services. Paid positions available for students who have demonstrated commitment. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Richard Smith.

Beatrice Barrett Neuro-Operant Lab. This project conducts behavioral neuroscience research using fMRI, EEG, and other technologies to analyze relations among physiological and behavioral events as learning occurs. Faculty Supervisors: Dr. Michael Schlund (DBA Research Scientist) and Dr. Daniele Ortu (Research Assistant Professor).

Behavior Research Laboratory. Studies on the relationship between environmental events, physiological events, and verbal behavior. Use biofeedback equipment to monitor physiological responses. If research credit is desired (BEHV 5900) arrange course objectives with supervisor. Also for students interested in learning to run experiments designed to study basic behavioral processes. Meet at least once a week with faculty and/or graduate students and run experiments at times arranged between you and individual subjects. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz.

Child Study Center. Conducts research on instructional strategies and skill acquisition with children with autism. Our research occurs in the context of service delivery at the Child Study Center in Fort Worth. Research topics have included language acquisition, social skills, establishment of conditioned reinforcers, self-help skills, and treatment of vocal stereotypy. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Einar Ingvarsson.

Direct Assessment, Teaching, & Analysis (DATA). The research conducted in this lab examines the effects of behavioral interventions on the acquisition, fluency, and generalization of academic or communication skills with individuals with and without disabilities. An emphasis is placed on conceptually systematic interventions that enhance some aspect of verbal behavior. Through participation in DATA lab, students are given the opportunity to develop and conduct research in behavior analysis. In addition to weekly small group lab meetings, students typically meet individually with the faculty supervisor to expedite project completion. Completed research projects should lead to manuscripts that will be submitted for publication and presented at conferences. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Traci Cihon.

Easter Seals North Texas Autism Treatment Program (ESATP) Research Group. The mission of this lab is to provide service-learning experiences for students in the Department of Behavior Analysis, to offer the community evidence-based resources and expertise, and to produce pragmatic and humane research. Current research opportunities include, but are not limited to: systemic supports (measurement, training, and evaluation,); parent training and support; social and activity behavior; and cultural compassion, understanding, and responsiveness in behavior analytic interventions. All research takes place in the ESATP clinical sites in the DFW metroplex  (Carrolton, Ft Worth, and Oakcliff). There are four part time assistantships available every year.  The positions provide experience and training in program development and systems wide interventions. Faculty Supervisors: Drs. Shahla Ala’i-Rosales and Jesus Rosales-Ruiz. The lab meets Fridays from 10-12.

Global Studies and Second Language Acquisition. Participating students are interested in cultural differences and similarities, interdisciplinary approaches to student learning and behavior (including communication), international studies, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. We have two distinct lines of research: second language acquisition and the effects of interdisciplinary learning communities with (and without) short-term study abroad opportunities on undergraduate learning and behavior. Students interested in learning Italian also often participate in this lab. Some aspects of this lab require that students undergo a stringent application and interview process particularly those pertaining to students interested in studying abroad. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Traci Cihon.

Human Operant Lab. The research in this laboratory attempts to understand the processes that underlie complex human behavior such as abstraction, concept formation and remembering. Populations studied include typically developing and developmentally delayed persons of all ages.  Some areas of focus include stimulus equivalence, short-term remembering, and attending. The laboratory comprises graduate and undergraduate students and runs all year. Students meet weekly to present data and discuss experimental strategies and tactics. Students are encouraged/required to present their work in departmental colloquia as well as at regional and national conferences. Exceptional students will have an opportunity to have some of their work funded and write up their research for publication. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Manish Vaidya.

Little Learner Lab. Provides practical training and research experience related to clinical practice for children with and without disabilities. Young children with autism receive clinical services related to skill acquisition and the reduction of maladaptive behaviors at the Kristin Farmer Autism Center. Applied research related to early intervention is conducted at KFAC. A secondary line of research involves sign language acquisition with typically developing infants and toddlers at the First United Methodist Church. Faculty supervisor: Dr. Karen Toussaint.

Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals (ORCA). ORCA is a group based out of the behavior analysis department for graduate and undergraduate students interested in gaining experience in animal training. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Jesus Rosales

Repertoire Enhancement and Development with Youth (READY). The purpose of this project is to increase the contacts of youngsters, at-risk for social maladjustment, with communities that could potentially support and further develop their pro-social and personal behavior. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz

Pigeon Lab. The research in this laboratory seeks to understand the limits of human – nonhuman similarities and differences by studying the development of complex performances in pigeons. Recent topics have included concept learning and short term remembering. The laboratory comprises graduate and undergraduate students and runs all year. Students meet weekly to present data and discuss experimental strategies and tactics. Students are encouraged/required to present their work in departmental colloquia as well as at regional and national conferences. Exceptional students will have an opportunity to have some of their work funded and write up their research for publication. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Manish Vaidya.

Teaching Sciences Lab. Members of the Teaching Sciences lab are interested in the development and delivery of effective instruction at the college level. Students who participate can obtain teaching and tutoring experience working with undergraduate students who are learning about basic principles of behavior analysis; participate in course redesign and evaluation; and lead or assist studies designed to improve our teaching efficiency and effectiveness, explore new or unfounded teaching strategies, and contribute to the existing scholarship of teaching and learning literature. Paid positions are sometimes available, contingent upon university budget and successful grant applications. Faculty Supervisor: Dr.Traci Cihon.


Attending UNT

Admission Requirements

You must meet the admission requirements for the Toulouse Graduate School® and the following program requirements. The graduate school admission requirements are outlined on their website. (The deadline to apply is January 15 each year for the following fall admissions start.)  The program requirements are:

  • A GPA of 3.4 or better
  • Acceptable GRE scores
  • Commit to a career in behavior analysis
  • Two behavior analysis prerequisite courses
  • Three reference letters
  • Statement of interest

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

Financial assistance

Donald L. Whaley Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was established to honor the memory of Donald L. Whaley, Ph.D. (1934-1983). Dr. Whaley was the founder of the Center for Behavioral Studies and served as its Executive Director until his death in 1983.

The scholarship is available to behavior analysis majors, and is usually awarded to students at the time of admission to the graduate program. The scholarship is for $1,000, distributed equally across Fall and Spring semesters. Recipients must be enrolled for a minimum of six SCH any semester they receive support through the Donald L. Whaley Memorial Scholarship.

Douglas P. Field Research Scholarship

The Department for Behavior Analysis offers Douglas P. Field Research Scholarships on an ongoing basis. The number of scholarships awarded depends on funds available. These funds are intended to support independent (supervised) student research, typically culminating in a thesis project.  Please consult with your faculty advisor for assistance in developing your proposal.

Eligibility/Academic Requirements. Students must have completed at least 18 semester credit hours in the major before applying for this support. Students seeking this support must have at least a 3.2 GPA, with no C’s or unresolved I’s on the record. No proposals will be considered without a signature from a faculty advisor. Recipients of the scholarship must be enrolled for six or more hours during each semester they receive scholarship money.

Grace of a Miracle Scholarship in Behavior Analysis

Through a generous donation by Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA, the Department of Behavior Analysis is pleased to offer a scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to support research in applied behavior analysis that addresses the needs of families who have children with autism. Tammy created this scholarship to honor the memory of Karen Grace Mericle Buchanan, one of the parents who helped found the North Texas Autism Project at UNT. Karen passed away in 2002 and Tammy wished to pay tribute to her life and to encourage students in behavior analysis to pursue meaningful research that makes a difference in the lives of children and families.

Eligibility/Academic Requirements. Full time graduate student or undergraduate students in the Department of Behavior Analysis may apply. Students must maintain full time status in good standing and must have a desire to dedicate career to research & practice in the behavior analysis of family enhancement. Interested students will submit a letter of interest that details the importance, research question, method, and design of the proposed project; their qualifications and support to carry out the research, and the names and phone numbers of two references. Upon completion of the project, students will submit a completed thesis and a letter of gratitude to Donors and a synopsis of the thesis to scholarship committee. Interested students should contact Dr. Shahla Ala’i-Rosales.

Guy Bedient Memorial Scholarship in Applied Behavior Analysis

Guy Michael Bedient (1956-2007) earned his BS in Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Graf and his MS in Behavior Analysis under the supervision of Dr. Sigrid Glenn. Mr. Bedient dedicated his career in behavior analysis to improving the lives of individuals with autism and encouraging those he supervised to pursue advanced study in the science of behavior analysis. His clinical work was informed by basic research and he encouraged research that would advance the science of behavior analysis and disseminate behavior analytic contributions to other disciplines. Mr. Bedient emphasized reinforcement-based interventions, implemented in the learner’s natural environment. His treatment plans or protocols pulled from the breadth of behavior analytic specializations (e.g., discrete trial training, natural environment training, Precision Teaching, Direct Instruction).

Eligibility/Academic Requirements. Support is offered for ongoing or planned research projects. Those proposals that most closely align with Mr. Bedient’s priorities will be given extra consideration. Proposals should include the rationale and proposed methods with supporting references in addition to a letter of interest describing how the proposed research aligns with the goals of this scholarship fund. Proposals are due no later than March 1 of each year and the scholarship recipient will be announced at the ABAI Convention the following May. Note: Research funds are limited to $250.00 per application.

West Coast Behavioral Scholarship

Donnie Staff, MS, BCBA, and Shane Isley, MS, BCBA, Department of Behavior Analysis Alumni and founders of West Coast Behavioral Consultants, Inc. in Seattle, WA, have established the West Coast Behavioral Scholarship Award to support students interested in obtaining leadership skills in multi-disciplinary service delivery. Awards in the amount of $1,000 each are awarded annually. Students who receive West Coast Behavioral Scholarship Awards are eligible to apply for paid internships with our company.

Eligibility/Academic Requirements. Qualifying students must hold a leadership position (i.e., senior RA, TF, etc.) in one of the following community-based or university-based applied projects supervised by UNT Behavior Analysis faculty:

  • Behavior Analysis Resource Center (BARC)
  • Direct Assessment, Teaching, and Analysis Lab (DATA)
  • North Texas Autism Project (NTAP)
  • Teaching Sciences Lab
  • The Child Study Center-Autism Intervention

Additional projects deemed appropriate by selection committee may apply

In addition, students must have taken or will agree to take at least three credit hours of additional multi-disciplinary coursework in such areas as Psychological Aspects of Marital and Family Interaction (PSYC-5590) and/or Family Counseling (COUN-5580), or other courses as approved by the faculty. Students entering their second or third year of graduate studies and have maintained a 3.7 GPA or above will be given preferential consideration. Interested students should contact Dr. Karen Toussaint.

Information about other financial assistance programs is available at the Financial Aid website.

Toulouse Graduate School University of North Texas

1155 Union Circle #305459
Denton, TX 76203-5017

Telephone: 940-565-2383
Fax: 940-565-2141
E-mail: graduateschool@unt.edu