Behavior Analysis

Student therapist working with a kid

The Behavior Analysis specialization at Utah State University provides students the opportunity to earn a PhD in psychology with a focus on investigating variables that influence human and nonhuman behavior. The doctoral program with a specialization in Behavior Analysis provides students a solid understanding of conceptual, translational, basic, and applied domains of behavior analysis. The specialization promotes an interdisciplinary and translational approach to behavior analysis.

Students receive hands-on training in laboratory research and/or clinical settings. They also receive instruction and mentorship from exemplary faculty with interests in decision making, impulsivity, resurgence, and treatment integrity and adherence.

Students accepted into either track of the Behavior Analysis specialization doctoral program receive tuition awards and assistantship stipends. Learn more about applying to this specialization and how students are funded.

The PhD track prepares students to conduct laboratory and translational research, preparing them to pursue academic and research careers.

  • Practical and academic training in human and nonhuman experimental analysis of behavior
  • Curriculum tailored to student interests
  • Dissertation project
  • Graduates typically pursue academic and research appointments 
PhD with BCBA
The PhD + Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) track prepares students to become scientist-practitioners who can work in research institutions and practice in a variety of clinical settings (e.g., hospitals, private practice).

  • Training in experimental and applied behavior analysis
  • Completion of an ABAI verified course sequence (VCS)
  • Thesis & dissertation projects
  • Satisfies requirements for Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) licensure/certification
  • Several years of a part-time clinical practicum
  • Employed primarily as scientist-practitioners in research institutions and clinical settings 

Application Requirements

Submit the following to the School of Graduate Studies:

  • Application
  • Statement of Purpose/Intent - Recommended length of 500-1000 words
  • CV
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcripts from All Previous Schools

Admission Criteria:

  • GPA for the last 60 credits taken of 3.0 or higher
  • Fit with a current faculty member affiliated with the specialization

Note: The Behavior Analysis specialization will not require GRE scores for the Fall 2023 admissions cycle.

Applications are due by December 1st.
This specialization will be conducting invitation only interviews of applicants virtually January 11th - January 13th 2023.

Behavior Analysis Faculty

Behavior Analysis
Katie Brown
Katherine Brown

Katherine Brown

Assistant Professor - Behavior Analysis Specialization

(435) 797-2670

Greg Madden
Behavior Analysis
Gregory Madden

Gregory Madden

Professor - Behavior Analysis Specialization


Behavior Analysis
Amy Odum

Amy Odum

Professor - Behavior Analysis Specialization


Behavior Analysis
Tim Shahan
Timothy A. Shahan

Timothy A. Shahan

Professor - Brain & Cognition and Behavior Analysis Specializations


Reasons to Choose Our Specialization

Acquire Grant-Writing Skills

You will learn to ask important questions and design studies to advance scientific knowledge. Importantly, you will acquire the skills needed to fund your research after you leave Utah State University. These grant-writing skills will allow you to sustain your own research line as you pursue your career.

Breadth of Coursework Opportunities

You will have a wide variety of coursework options in modern theories of learning, statistical analyses, experimental design, translational research, and applied behavior analysis. Courses are taught by influential researchers who stay abreast of and contribute to the cutting-edge advances in their respective fields. You will participate in weekly graduate seminar meetings at which students and specialization faculty discuss contemporary research articles. These discussions often result in new basic and translational research projects.

Contribution to the Literature

You will conduct experiments and/or interventions while in the graduate program that will contribute to the scientific literature of behavior analysis. Students frequently present posters and talks at conferences, as well as publish articles in peer-reviewed journals. Students often publish 10 or more articles during their time in our graduate program.

Interdisciplinary and Translational Research

You will have the opportunity to learn and conduct research in an environment that facilitates the translation of research to everyday problems. The translational implications of these research projects extend to areas like substance-use disorders, treatment relapse, behavior interventions, and preventing patterns of impulsivity.


Your tuition is fully covered* and you will be awarded an assistantship with a monthly stipend. Assistantships include research and teaching experiences, allowing you to expand your academic skillset. More information about student support including health insurance is available here.  (*on an approved program of study)

Behavior Analysis Labs

Behavioral Economics Lab | Greg Madden

The Behavioral Economics Lab at Utah State University explores how human and nonhuman behavior may be positively influenced through curated environmental design. Our research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIDA and NICHD) and the US Department of Agriculture.

Timothy Shahan Lab

The Shahan lab focuses on quantitative analyses of conditioning and learning. Common topics of investigation are choice, behavioral momentum theory, relapse of extinguished behavior (resurgence, reinstatement, renewal), conditioned reinforcement, and attention.

Challenging Behavior and Intervention Lab | Katie Brown

The CB lab is engaged in collaborative and independent research projects that span across basic and applied domains of behavior analysis. We aim to improve outcomes for children and their families through research, teaching, and outreach.

Amy Odum Lab

Delay Discounting/Impulsivity, Environmental Factors Influencing the Development of Tolerance and Sensitization to Drugs of Abuse, Drug and Environmental Influences on Timing/Temporal Discrimination.

Recent Awards

  • Dr. Paul Cunningham (class of 2019) is the 2021 recipient of the APA Division 3 Early Career Contribution Award.
  • Dr. Paul Cunningham (class of 2019) is the 2021 recipient of the APA Division 25 SEAB Basic Dissertation Award.
  • Dr. Meredith Berry (class of 2012) is the 2021 recipient of the APA Division 25 B.F. Skinner Foundation New Basic Researcher Award.
  • Dr. Andrew Craig (class of 2017) was the 2020 recipient of the APA Division 25 B.F. Skinner Foundation New Basic Researcher Award.
  • Dr. Jillian Rung (class of 2018) was the 2019 recipient of the APA Division 25 SEAB Basic Dissertation Award.
  • Dr. Margaret Sweeney (class of 2016) was the 2019 recipient of the APA Division 25 B.F. Skinner Foundation New Basic Researcher Award.