Behavior Analysis (PhD)

Please visit the program page to learn about curriculum, faculty, careers, and more! To request more information about this degree, please fill out our form. Questions? Contact admissions via email or at 617-521-2915.

How to Apply

To get started on your application, click the link below:

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Please allow at least three business days for received documents to be reflected on your application status page.

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Application Requirements

Candidates for the PhD in Behavior Analysis are required to hold a master's degree in behavior analysis or a related field. Candidates must hold BCBA certification or have significant behavior analytic coursework and/or experience in the field.

Application Checklist

  1. Completed online application form
  2. Current résumé that outlines employment and volunteer experiences
  3. Statement of purpose: 2-3 pages
    Make sure to answer all of the following items in a cohesive essay:
    • Explain your reasons for pursuing your PhD at Simmons, including what professional goals you hope to achieve after earning the degree.
    • Discuss how your background has prepared you to succeed in rigorous coursework, conducting research, and writing a doctoral dissertation.
    • Discuss your specific research interests as well as publication and presentation goals. Please also discuss the faculty members with whom you are interested in working, and why.
  4. Analytical writing sample: 10 pages maximum
    Please provide an academic or professional writing sample that demonstrates your analytical, logical, and organizational abilities.
    • Examples include: a thesis chapter, literature review, journal publication, APA-style paper from a course, or clinical report like an FBA, preferably with a functional analysis.*
  5. Three letters of recommendation
    Only letters from supervisors or academic sources will be accepted. At least one letter should be from a professor who can attest to your ability to succeed in graduate coursework.
  6. Official Transcripts
    Official transcripts are required from every college or university attended since the completion of high school, regardless of whether or not a degree was earned.

    Please note:
    International applicants, please see the For International Students accordion below for additional details regarding international transcripts.

    Simmons alumni, please let the Admission team know if you would like us to request your Simmons transcript on your behalf by emailing [email protected].
  7. A non-refundable application fee of $80 (payable to Simmons University)
  8. Interview Candidates may be invited for an interview with admissions and the faculty in Behavior Analysis to address additional questions that both the committee and candidate may have.

As part of our holistic approach to reviewing applications, GRE scores are not required. The admission committee considers all aspects of a candidate's application, including the academic record, professional experience, recommendations, essay and analytical writing sample to evaluate preparedness and potential for success in the PhD program.

*For alternative formats to ensure access and to support varying learning profiles/styles, please consult with the Admission team at [email protected].

Application Deadlines

The following chart details the application deadlines for the Behavior Analysis Ph.D. Program

PhD in Behavior AnalysisFallPriority: March 1

Final: June 1
PhD in Behavior AnalysisSpringOctober 25
PhD in Behavior AnalysisSummerFebruary 1


Simmons welcomes applications from international students. As you prepare your application for admission, please review both the program-specific admission requirements associated with your graduate program of interest, along with the additional details below:

English Language Proficiency

The faculty require that all prospective students for whom English is not the first language and who have not previously completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at an institution where English is the primary language of instruction achieve a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language® (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Test of English as a Foreign Language® (TOEFL)
Simmons Code: 3761

Contact your nearest English language testing center or:

TOEFL® Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-7100
Email: [email protected]

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Contact your nearest English language testing center or:

Find your nearest testing center and upcoming test dates on the IELTS website:

Required Academic Records

In the U.S., academic records or mark sheets are called "transcripts" (this is the term used throughout our website). All applicants must submit official academic records (in a sealed envelope with a signature or stamped seal across the sealed flap) for study completed at all universities (including schools where no degree or certificate was conferred).

Official course-by-course evaluations are required for all transcripts from universities outside the U.S. or Canada. Additionally, all transcripts that are in a language other than English must be officially translated. Only evaluations and translations from authorized organizations are accepted. The preferred provider of transcript evaluations at Simmons is World Education Services (WES):

World Education Services (WES)
P.O. Box 5087
Bowling Green Station
New York, NY 10274
Telephone: 212-966-6311

Required Standardized Test Results

Please review carefully the program-specific admission requirements associated with your graduate program of interest. Some programs require the submission of official standardized test scores or proof of registration for one of the following standardized tests: Graduate Record Exam (GRE), Miller Analogies Test (MAT), or MTEL® (Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure). If test scores are required for your program, plan ahead to allow plenty of time to take the test and receive your scores. Further information about these tests can be found below:

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
Simmons Code: 3761

GRE, Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6000
Princeton, NJ 08541-6000
Telephone: 609-771-7670

Miller Analogies Test (MAT)
Simmons Code: 1226

MAT Customer Relations
19500 Bulverde Road, Ste. 201
San Antonio, Texas 78259
Telephone: 800-622-3231
Email: [email protected]

Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure® (MTEL)
Simmons Code: 44

Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure®
Evaluation Systems
P.O. Box 660
Amherst, MA 01004-9013
Telephone: 413-256-2892

Application Deadlines

Applications for admission are accepted on a rolling basis until the relevant priority deadline:

Fall Semester (September)
Master's, EdS, or Certificate Program: August 1

Doctoral Program: February 1

Spring Semester (January)
Master's, EdS, or Certificate Program: December 15

Doctoral Program: September 1

Summer Semester (May)
Master's, EdS, or Certificate Program: May 1

Doctoral Program: December 1

To ensure adequate time for review, international applicants are encouraged to submit all application materials at least two months in advance of the relevant application deadline listed above. Please allow ample time for the pace of international postal services, obtaining visa documents, arrival in the U.S., and transitioning to a new environment.

Application materials should be submitted using the exact address below. Please be sure to include "Graduate Studies Admission" in the address of any items submitted by mail to ensure receipt by our office.

Graduate Studies Admission
Simmons University
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115-5898

Required Financial Documentation

Upon acceptance, international students must also submit an International Student Supplement Form (ISSF) indicating the source(s) of funding to be used to meet the tuition and living expenses associated with attending Simmons. We ask that you apply to the program only if you are reasonably certain that you will be able to meet the financial obligations.

When you are preparing the International Student Supplement Form (ISSF) documentation, please arrange with your bank, sponsor, and/or government to provide an official statement indicating that you have sufficient funds in a bank for these educational expenses and/or that your tuition and expenses will be paid by your sponsor(s) or government. All documents must be no more than one year old, have been prepared specifically for Simmons University, be in English, and show funds in U.S. dollars ($). Simmons cannot issue a Form I-20 until the required financial documents have been received.

Visa Requirements and Full-Time Academic Status

Immigration requirements stipulate that international students studying in the U.S. with an F-1 student visa must be enrolled full-time (minimum of eight credits per semester) in an academic program.

Current F-1 visa holders who will need to transfer their records in SEVIS to Simmons upon enrolling will be required to submit an I-20 Transfer-In Form, which has been signed by their current DSO, along with an International Student Supplement Form (ISSF).

If you have questions about the Form I-20, the documents referenced above, visa requirements, or your eligibility to study at Simmons, please contact the Office of Graduate Studies Admission at [email protected] or 617-521-2915.

Financial Assistance

Merit-based scholarships that cover a portion of the tuition expenses at Simmons are available to well-qualified applicants in our on-campus degree programs. International student applicants to eligible programs will receive automatic consideration for merit-based scholarships at the time of acceptance, and no additional paperwork is required beyond the application for admission. Applicants are encouraged to apply early to ensure the availability of funding.

While U.S. federal financial aid through the FAFSA is available only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, international student applicants may qualify for some private loans. To learn more, please contact the Simmons University Office of Student Financial Services at [email protected] or 617-521-2001.

For additional information about international student admission to Simmons, please contact the Office of Graduate Studies Admission at [email protected] or 617-521-2915.

Can I submit my online application before all of my required materials are received?

Yes, and we encourage it! Once you submit your application, you will be able to log in to the self-service center to check the status of your application and to see if your materials have been received. Prior to submitting your application, you will not be able to check your status online.

What should I do if my recommenders did not receive an email requesting a letter?

First, suggest your recommender check her/his spam folder. Since the notifications come from an automated system, the messages often end up in spam. Not there? Contact us and we can resend the notification. You can also resend invitations from your self-service center. And, finally, recommenders are always welcome to email a recommendation letter to us. We'll be glad to manually add it to your application.

How quickly are my application materials processed?

Once you submit your application, we will look for any previously received materials to attach to your application. It usually takes 1-5 business days for our office to process and attach materials. To ensure receipt of your materials in our office, please ensure that items sent by mail are issued to the following exact address:

Simmons University
Graduate Studies Admission
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115

How long will a decision take after my application is complete?

Admission decisions on master's degree applications are generally available within 2 to 3 weeks of application completion. Doctoral candidates will be contacted with an update from the admission committee within 2 to 3 weeks of application completion, and admission decisions are generally available within 6 weeks of application completion.

Will my decision letter be emailed or mailed?

Official decision letters are issued by mail. If you notice that your application status has changed to "Decision Mailed" please allow at least one week for the letter to arrive before contacting our office.

Can I take classes before I apply?

If you are unsure about enrolling in a graduate program, or just want to advance your educational experience, all of our master's degree programs offer the option to enroll in up to two graduate-level courses (eight credits) as a non-degree student before formally applying to a program. Additional details about non-degree registration, including current course offerings, can be found on our Non-Degree Options page.

Do I need to submit the FAFSA and Simmons University Student Information Form by the priority admission deadline?

No. Students interested in applying for federal financial aid, which is awarded in the form of loans, may do so at any point by submitting the FAFSA and the Simmons University Student Information Form to the Simmons University Office of Student Financial Services. Contact their office via email or at 617-521-2001.

Upon acceptance, eligible applicants receive automatic consideration for merit-based scholarships. Most merit-based scholarships are awarded based on the overall strength of an application for admission, and no separate application is required.


Tuition and fees

Tuition and fees at Simmons are updated annually each spring. They are assessed each semester based on the number of credits enrolled, the level of degree, and the particular program of study.

Health insurance

All students taking 9 or more credits are required by Massachusetts State law to enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan or be covered by a health insurance plan with comparable coverage.

Non-degree enrollment option

If you are unsure about enrolling in a graduate program, or just want to advance your educational experience, non-degree study at Simmons is the best option for you. 

Contact us

Questions? Contact us via email or at 617-521-2915. We're happy to schedule visits and campus tours. 

Upcoming Graduate Admission Events