The broad aim of the MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis is to give students the opportunity to develop their theoretical and conceptual knowledge in behaviour analysis, develop skills in behavioural assessment, and acquire the ability to work in partnership with clients where they plan and implement programmes that are aimed at establishing, strengthening and/or weakening targeted behaviours.
The course is designed for professionals who work (or intend to work) in the caring professions, for example with people with autism and other learning disabilities, in the area of general behaviour management, parent training, community development, and adult mental health.
The programme aims to provide a foundation that contributes to the preparation of candidates interested in applying for the internationally recognised examination leading to Board Certification in Behaviour Analysis (BCBA). It will normally be completed over two calendar years to allow time for students to obtain relevant work experience, which is a requirement for certification in Behaviour Analysis.
In Semesters 1 and 2 students will attend the campus on Fridays during the teaching period of 12 weeks. In semester 4 students will attend the campus on Thursdays for the teaching period of 12 weeks. In Semester 1, they will take Module 1 (3 hours class time) and Module 2 (3 hours). In Semester 2 they will take Module 3 (2 hours), Module 4 (3 hours) and Module 5 (3 hours. In Semester 3, they will commence work on the placement, which will continue through Semester 4 (the first semester in their second year of enrolment). In Semester 4, they will also take Module 6 (4 hours). The dissertation based on a research project in ABA will begin in Semester 5 of enrolment (i.e. the second semester of the second academic year) and continue through Semester 6, the summer period.
Students are responsible for sourcing their own suitable placement opportunities which will allow them to complete a minimum 250 hours of work based practice using the principles of behaviour analysis. We anticipate the use of a variety of types of placement. These will include those where the student is an employee of an organisation that regularly employs ABA, or is a full-time employee of an organisation that employs a range of approaches in working with clients (e.g. a learning disability service), or is a part-time employee involved in delivering a behavioural programme at the home of a child. Where none of these conditions are possible we will endeavour to help students identify a community-based activity which could form the basis of a suitable placement. In every case, there will be active negotiation with the agency to ensure that suitable opportunities for the placement student can be made available, that adequate health safety standards will be met, and that adequate supervision arrangements can be established.
Those students interested in carrying out a placement in the New England Center for Children (NECC) should be aware that the Ulster University cannot guarantee any student a placement position or the number of placements available. These decisions are at the discretion of NECC. Please also note that Ulster University cannot guarantee any student a work visa for the US, thus any student applying for a visa should not give up employment or book flights until the visa application has been successful.
Those students who have completed the course have gone on to have successful careers in a number of areas. For example numerous students have gone on to work for local health authorities and charities as behaviour specialists in both Northern Irland and the Republic of Ireland. Numerous students have gone on to work privately by providing home- and school-based behavioural interventions for families. A number of students who completed their placement year with the New England Center for Children (NECC) in Boston went on to work for NECC in London and Abu Dhabi.
As the BCBA qualification is internationally recognised a number of graduates have gone on to work as behaviour analysts in countries such as the US and Canada.
Those students who completed the course whilst in employment have gone on to bring their new skillset to such diverse backgrounds as education (Special Needs and mainstream), social work, and mental health nursing.
Behaviour analysis has been recognised as the basis for medically necessary intervention and educational provision for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. With the growing prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (now estimated to be 1:68) behaviour analysis has experienced a significant rise in popularity.
There are over 13,000 Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBAs) worldwide and this number is predicted to rise given that professional approval is seen as the key to delivering high quality services to individuals, families, in schools and in related settings. Furthermore, behaviour analysis is increasingly being applied to general education, special education and organisational leadership settings.
This programme is a highly interactive blended learning programme (mostly online with some face to face workshops) providing professionals from a wide range of backgrounds with scientifically validated expertise that is applicable to mainstream and special needs education, inclusion, curriculum, learning, and pedagogy. It should be of interest to professionals wishing to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA®), to those in the ‘helping’ professions (e.g. teachers, speech/language therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists) and students preparing for PhD studies.
Please note that unfortunately this course is not eligible for a Tier 4 visa.
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc. has verified the six core modules of the MScABA toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (Option 1) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination.
◦As a prestigious Russell Group University, Queen’s is ranked 8th within the UK in relation to research intensity;
◦Education at Queen’s has been ranked 4th within the UK in relation to research intensity with 87% of the research undertaken within the School assessed as ‘internationally excellent or world leading’ (REF, 2014);
◦The programme offers an economically attractive option as online/blended delivery of the content allows UK/EU/international students to participate without relocating to Belfast;
◦Belfast is easily reached from mainland UK and Europe by a variety of low-cost airlines;
◦The on-campus workshops are timetabled on consecutive days for all the modules in a semester, thus reducing travel requirements;
◦The supervised practice element is not included, but contacts for placements can be provided;
◦An exit award is available. The PGDip (ABA) includes the BACB course sequence without the MSc dissertation
Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (2 or 3 years) basis. Individual modules may be studied as a short course. Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.The MSc is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS) and a 15,000-20,000 word dissertation (60 CATS) as well as audit 'An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education' online module in Semester 2.
Students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Behaviour Analysis by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught pathway modules.
Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.
Students are expected to audit 'An introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education' online module in Semester 2.
The majority of students are already in relevant jobs and the job market is healthy for BCBAs at present. Professionals who are certified BCBAs have the skills and knowledge to develop, implement and evaluate quality interventions that help to produce positive behavioural changes in a range of settings. Typically, behaviour analysts work in the ‘helping’ professions (e.g. teachers, speech/language therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists). Increasingly, jobs advertised for behaviour managers or specialists require BCBA status.
There is an increasing demand for BCBAs in Europe and worldwide, especially in North America. Teachers as well as allied health professionals should find this degree beneficial in their workplace.
This specialist programme enables students to develop their knowledge and competencies, including the following:
The Behaviour Analysis courses in this programme provide a course sequence approved by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board ®, Inc. (BACB) (http://www.bacb.com) as meeting the academic requirements to sit the examination to become a Board Certified Assistant Behaviour Analyst, and contribute to a BACB® approved course sequence for a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®). Students can also progress on to further postgraduate study to complete the full BACB® approved.
Depending on your specialty, you may work in a range of settings (including research institutions, private practice, schools, special education settings, universities, health services, business and industry, governmental agencies and zoos), and with a range of populations (including families, people with psychological problems, children with challenging behaviours, individuals with special needs, teachers, people and their pets, agricultural species and any others seeking positive behaviour change).
Students who specialised in the application of Behaviour Analysis to human behaviour are working in the community, in mental health, and in educational settings and with a wide range of individuals.
However, it doesn’t matter what type of psychology you choose to practice, or whether you end up in a field orientated to people or animals. What is important is that you gain an understanding of how and why organisms behave (i.e., what maintains and/or influences behaviour) whether it be private or public.
Many students intending careers involving application of behaviour analysis (for example, those who intend to work with families, children or with people with an intellectual disability) gain practical experience alongside their graduate studies.
This can be voluntary work or paid work as a support worker. In addition, sometimes experience can be gained though working for parents or trusts who employ students specialising in applied behaviour analysis to work with their children, helping to implement programmes for them.
The MAppPsy(BA) programme includes training in the skills required to work practically applying behaviour analytic principles to behaviour change.