The Department of Applied Behavioral Science trains researchers and scientist-practitioners in the discovery, translation, and application of knowledge toward solving human behavior problems of societal importance. For this, the department offers a Master's of Arts (M.A.) in Applied Behavioral Science and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Behavioral Psychology. The Department of Applied Behavioral Science (Lawrence) and the Departments of Preventive Medicine and Public Health (KU Medical Center, Kansas City and Wichita) also offer a joint Ph.D./M.P.H. degree. This joint program is the first in the nation to combine the strengths of advanced study in applied behavioral science with a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree. The Department welcomes applications from students wishing to pursue these degrees.


The Department has also established a one-year Certificate Program in Community Health and Development. The certificate program offers advanced training and University-based certification to those involved in building healthy communities. The focus is on training in core aspects of community work from community assessment and strategic planning to intervention, evaluation, and sustainability.

In addition, the graduate curriculum his been approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Thus, students who enroll in and meet grade requirements of select graduate courses as well as obtain clinical supervision by board certified faculty are eligible to sit for the BCBA exam at the master’s or doctoral level.

Curriculum Requirements

The coursework accompanying our Master's and Ph.D degrees fulfill the curricular requirements of the Behavior Analysis Certification Board. In addition, these programs are accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

M.A. in Applied Behavioral Science

The ABAI accredited master's program trains highly competent scientist-practitioners in applied behavioral science. The program offers courses on the empirical and conceptual foundations of behavioral science, and its research methods, but emphasizes coursework and supervised experience in behavioral assessment, analysis, intervention, and evaluation. Its mission is to advance empirically-based solutions to problems of societal importance.

Course Requirements
The M.A. degree requires 30 credit hours -- 12 of them in four content areas, 3 in a practicum. Students must also conduct, write, and orally defend an empirically-based thesis.

Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology

The ABAI accredited doctoral program trains highly competent researchers in behavior analysis. Students are taught to discover and produce, translate and apply, and communicate knowledge in the behavioral sciences for understanding and solving problems of societal importance.

The curriculum provides a sequence of instruction that integrates:

  • Courses in the basic principles of behavior, experimental methods and research design
  • Conceptual foundations with training in basic, applied, and intervention research (e.g., assessment, analysis, intervention, evaluation).

For its research and training, the department receives considerable grant funding.
The doctoral training program operates according to a junior colleague model. Students work closely with their advisors, joining them in every aspect of professional development. This includes designing and conducting research, preparing manuscripts for presentation and publication, and presenting and publishing those manuscripts. Students typically work with one advisor, but may work with others or have co-advisors.

Course Requirements
Ph.D. students are required to take one course in each of seven content areas, along with two practicum courses. Students complete and orally defend an empirically based Master's thesis. With approval, empirically-based theses from other graduate programs may meet this requirement. Following competency exams, students propose, conduct, and defend an empirically-based dissertation.

Affiliated Programs

The department offers a joint PhD-MPH degree in collaboration with the Master's of Public Health (MPH) program in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. This is the first degree in the nation to combine an MPH with the strengths of advanced study in applied behavioral science. It incorporates efficiencies in the elective and research requirements of both departments.

Faculty and student research teams address issues in community health and development, child and youth health and development, disabilities and independent living, and healthy aging. Separate admission is required for both the department (Ph.D. program) and Preventative Medicine (M.P.H. program).

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, retaliation, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies and is the University’s Title IX Coordinator: the Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.