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MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis

Course Description

The MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis is a highly interactive blended learning programme 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. The programme includes a Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB®) approved course sequence (4th Edition Tasklist) (practice element not included).
This programme should be of interest to professionals wishing to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts, to those in the ‘helping’ professions (e.g. teachers, speech/language therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists) and students preparing for PhD studies.
The Centre for Behaviour Analysis is well connected both locally and internationally and unique project and employment opportunities arise on a regular basis.

What is Applied Behaviour Analysis?

"Applied Behavior Analysis is a well-developed discipline among the helping professions, with a mature body of scientific knowledge, established standards for evidence-based practice, distinct methods of service, recognized experience and educational requirements for practice, and identified sources of requisite education in universities." – Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)
Behaviour Analysis is the science of behaviour. This means that we are interested in everything a person does, including what we feel (emotional behaviour) and think (cognitive behaviour). When this science is applied to enhance or develop socially relevant behaviours we call it Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). There are many applications, for example, to enhance or teach communication and language skills, social skills, reading and other academic skills, life skills, business or classroom management, and many more. In other words, ABA is utilised to help many people in many situations.
Due to the effectiveness of the intervention methods and teaching techniques based on ABA, the demand for behaviour analytic services has increased worldwide, not only for individuals with autism and other special educational needs, but also for application in the mainstream inclusive classroom and many other educational, clinical, or general life contexts.

BACB Recognition

Professionals who are Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBA) have the skills and knowledge to develop, implement and evaluate quality interventions that help to produce positive behavioural changes in a range of settings. The six modules of the MSc ABA cover the required academic curriculum. The programme presently does not include BACB practice requirements, but we have many national and international affiliate organisations who welcome our students and offer placements (some are paid, some unpaid) and supervision (in person or online). Supervised practice requirements can be undertaken while you are studying on the MSc ABA.

Why ABA at Queen's?

◦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 includes an approved course sequence covering the complete BACB Tasklist (4th Edition) curriculum;
◦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


On successful completion of this programme students will be able to:
o demonstrate knowledge and understanding of any educational research, policy, practice and theory covered in the programme;
o analyse and apply critically examples of the research literature relating to the content of the programme;
o show evidence of reflection on their professional practice;
o demonstrate knowledge of a range of educational research methods;
o choose fit-for-purpose methods for a research project within the context of their own professional role;
o demonstrate engagement in the processes of research planning, data collection and analysis (as appropriate), and research reporting.

Programme Structure and Modules

Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (3 years) basis.
In order to be awarded the MSc ABA, students must successfully complete six taught modules (120 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits) as well as audit the Research Methods in Education online module. An exit qualification (PG Diploma ABA) is available. Students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Behaviour Analysis by successfully completing 120 credits from taught pathway modules.
The programme content is delivered online with multiple focused weekly virtual interactions that include peer- and tutor feedback. This structure allows for acquisition of knowledge, information sharing, development of critical thinking skills, and giving and receiving immediate feedback. An intensive on-campus 5-hour consolidation workshop takes place once during each module to give students the opportunity to meet each other and course tutors face-to-face.

Short Courses

We've made it easy to study for a Masters module as a short course. If you would like to study for one of the modules in the MSc ABA, please contact the Education Secretary (tel: +44 (0) 28 9097 5923/ 5032, ) for advice.


Assessment in Behaviour Analysis
Behaviour Change and Education
Concepts and Principles of Behaviour Analysis
Ethical and Professional Conduct
Evaluation in Behaviour Analysis
Fundamental Elements of Behaviour Change
Research Methods (audited)

Career Opportunities

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.

Visit the MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis page on the Queen’s University Belfast website for more details!

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

A 2.1 Honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject discipline plus one year of experience in an Applied Behaviour Analysis or related context and access to an ABA related working environment. Applicants with a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may also be considered if they have at least two years of experience in an ABA related context and access to an ABA related working environment. Language requirement for applicants whose first language is not English (IELTS 6.5 (within last 2 yrs) or approved equivalent.

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