PHOTO: BAC students

Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis


The behavior analysis concentration is for students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in behavior analysis or related disciplines (e.g., behavioral pharmacology, behavioral neuroscience, exceptional education). It is also for students interested in pursuing course work and experience requirements to qualify for examination to become a master's-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®). Most students choose this latter option and have had great success.

In 2014, this program converted from an experimental analysis of behavior program to an applied behavior analysis program. Since then, many recent graduates have passed the BCBA examination. In fact, the pass rate is 100% and has recognized JMU’s program as a top BCBA producing university. This exam is overseen by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB). The pass rate data can be found in this link:


In this concentration, students will complete course work, conduct research and participate in practicums designed to facilitate mastery of major concepts, principles, practices, and theories in the experimental analysis of behavior, applied behavior analysis, and the philosophy of radical behaviorism. Students in this concentration are required to complete their research apprenticeship and thesis requirements through collaborative research activities with faculty who approach the scientific study of behavior from a behavior-analytic conceptual and theoretical framework.

Program Curriculum (36 credit hours)

Information about required courses: course titles and credit hours.
Methodology and Research Core (15 credit hours) Credit Hours
PSYC 605. Intermediate Inferential Statistics 3
PSYC 602 - Psychological Research Methods --OR--
PSYC 606 - Measurement Theory
PSYC 700 - Thesis -For students in this concentration, the thesis must be an empirical study in either the experimental analysis of behavior or applied behavior analysis. 6
PSYC 805 - Single Case Experimentation 3
Content Courses (9 credit hours chosen from the following and approved by adviser)
PSYC 610 - Applied Behavior Analysis 3
PSYC 613 - Cognitive Science-- OR --
PSYC 616 - Social Psychology-- OR --
PSYC 624 - Neuroscience
PSYC 690 - Experimental Analysis of Behavior 3
Concentration and Elective Courses (12 credit hours)
EXED 501 - Behavioral Assessment 3
PSYC 695 – Practicum 3
Electives (6 credit hours approved by adviser) 6
Total Credit Hours: 36

Students pursing BCBA exam eligibility will take the following two courses as electives:

  • PSYC 601 - Ethics and Professional Development (3 credits)
  • EXED 510 - Systematic Behavioral Interventions (3 credits)

Students not pursing BCBA exam eligibility will have the option to take these or other courses, as approved by the adviser.

Other experiences

In addition to course work and other requirements of the psychological sciences program (e.g., Apprenticeship, Research Roundtable), students participate in a monthly concentration meeting where faculty and students discuss published research and professional issues related to behavior analysis. Additionally, students in the behavior analysis concentration may participate in the activities of various local, regional, national and international agencies, groups and professional organizations that advance the scientific study of behavior and its humane application to solve practical problems.