Graduate opportunities

Behavior Analysis — the study of the effects of the environment on the behavior of individuals — is a natural science, and its principles are universal. They can be applied with any population, including children with autism, people with developmental disabilities, parents and children, pet owners, college students, healthcare providers, athletes, employers and CEOs.

A career in Behavior Analysis will give you many options. Behavior analysts work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Animal shelters
  • Classrooms
  • Governmental institutions
  • Health institutions
  • Homes
  • Large corporations
  • Zoos

Anywhere there are people, there is the opportunity to help individuals reach their full potential through improving their environment.

You can pursue a Master of Science degree in Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas. Our program will teach you about both the experimental analysis of behavior and applied behavior analysis, which will prepare you for either further study in a doctoral program or a career in a variety of settings. Our coursework will give you a broad understanding of behavior principles, but also will allow you to specialize in certain areas. For example, we offer several courses that focus on autism. Our program also will prepare you for certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

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
  • Children with autism
  • 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 and remains its headquarters. 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.

Research opportunities

The Beatrice Barrett Neuro-Operant Lab studies the relationship between basic behavioral processes and brain function. The lab also studies brain-machine interfaces. Research is supervised by Dr. Daniele Ortu and Dr. Michael Schlund.

The Behavior Analysis Resource Center research and treatment team assesses and develops treatment for behavior disorders exhibited by people with developmental disabilities. This project provides services to residents at the Denton State Supported Living Center, Denton County MHMR Center and the Child Study Center. Faculty supervisor: Dr. Richard Smith

The Easter Seals North Texas Autism Treatment Program Research Group provides services that apply behavioral approaches to treating autism. Training opportunities are available in the Family Connections Project, Teaching Partners in Early and Intensive Behavioral Interventions, Distance Education Program and Global Learning Community Project. Faculty supervisor: Dr. Shahla Ala'i-Rosales

The Human Operant Lab attempts to understand the processes that underlie complex human behavior such as abstraction, concept formation and remembering. Populations studied typically include developing and developmentally delayed people of all ages. Areas of focus include stimulus equivalence, short-term remembering and attending. Faculty supervisor: Dr. Manish Vaidya

Little Learner Lab provides practical training and research experience related to clinical practice for children with and without disabilities. Current projects include early intervention services for children with autism and sign language acquisition with typically developing infants and toddlers. Faculty supervisor: Karen Toussaint.

The Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals studies human-animal interactions. The group conducts research and community service projects related to animal training and applied animal behavior. Faculty supervisor: Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz

The Teaching Sciences Lab focuses on the development and delivery of effective instruction at the college level. Students can gain experience teaching and tutoring undergraduate students, participate in course redesign and evaluation, and assist with research projects. 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 at The program requirements are:

  • A GPA of 3.4 or better
  • Acceptable GRE scores
  • Commitment 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

Amounts vary each year, but the following financial assistance programs are available to help you pursue your education:

  • Donald L. Whaley Memorial Scholarship
  • Douglas P. Field Scholarship for Graduate Student Research
  • Grace of a Miracle Scholarship in Behavior Analysis
  • Guy Bedient Memorial Scholarship in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Madonna Ludlum Memorial Scholarship
  • Part-time employment in faculty-supervised projects (10 to 20 hours per week)
  • Research assistantships (10 to 20 hours per week)
  • Teaching fellowships for select second-year students

Information about other financial assistance programs is available at


Shahla Ala'i-Rosales, Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Kansas. Applied behavior analysis and autism; early childhood education; parent and teacher training; errorless teaching techniques.

Traci M. Cihon, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Ohio State University. Verbal behavior; applied behavior analysis and autism; effective instruction in higher education; translational research.

Jesús Rosales-Ruiz, Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Kansas. Applied behavior analysis in the community; experimental analysis of stimulus control; behavior development; generalization processes.

Richard G. Smith, Associate Professor and Department Chair; Ph.D., University of Florida. Behavior analysis in developmental disabilities; analysis of basic processes in severe behavior disorders; treatment of self-injurious behavior; parent training and related services.

Karen Toussaint, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Louisiana State University. Early intervention for children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Manish Vaidya, Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Florida. Basic stimulus control processes; memory and cognitive deficits in aging; history and philosophy of behavior analysis; technology transfer; organizational behavior management.