Behaviour Analysis - Applied

Ulster University - Coleraine

Behaviour Analysis - Applied

This course is designed for professionals who work (or intend to work) in the caring professions. You will develop your 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.

It aims to provide a foundation to prepare those interested in applying for the internationally recognised examination leading to Board Certification in Behaviour Analysis (BCBA). This course will normally be completed over two calendar years to allow time to obtain relevant work experience, which is a requirement for future certification. Part-time students will study for two years at Ulster whilst full-time students will study for one year at Ulster followed by a placement year at the New England Center for Children in Boston.

Graduates have successful careers in health authorities and charities as behaviour specialists, or gone to work privately by providing home and school-based behavioural interventions for families. Graduates have also progressed to work as behaviour analysts in countries including the US, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand and Australia.

For further course information please see "Course Web Page" below.

Subjects taught

Year one

Introduction: theories and application of applied behaviour analysis
This module is a first introduction to Applied Behaviour Analysis for postgraduate students; no prior knowledge is assumed. Students will gain an understanding of basic issues in the analysis of behaviour. The seminar-based design of the course means that students develop an understanding of some basic issues and some of the research literature, improve their presentation skills and further their skills in debating in an academic forum.

Scientific principles of behaviour analysis
This module is part of a course of study on Applied Behaviour Analysis ABA for postgrad students; no prior knowledge is assumed. In this module students will gain an understanding of the experimental analysis of behaviour, a scientific approach to human psychology which underpins ABA. Focus is on explaining the fundamentals of this approach, including its experimental techniques and the principles of behaviour that have been discovered using those techniques. In Coleraine practical activities will demonstrate how behavioural processes can change behaviour, whilst in Abu Dhabi online practical activities will be used.

Ethical and legal considerations in applied behaviour analysis
This module is concerned with professional practice in Applied Behaviour Analysis. Students will learn of the legal and ethical obligations they must follow in order to ensure the well being of their clients and to practice as behaviour analysts. Students will also gain a knowledge of how to relate ethical concerns to the basic tenets of behaviour analysis and how these relate to its philosophical underpinnings.

Autistic spectrum disorder and applied behaviour analysis
In this module, postgraduate students will gain an understanding of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and knowledge of the practice of Applied Behaviour Analysis with ASD. They will be introduced to the debates around the most effective treatment for children with ASD. They will learn basic intervention techniques developed within ABA and should acquire a beginning knowledge of how to design an effective ABA programme for children with ASD within an ethical and reflective framework.

Behavioural assessment and intervention techniques in applied behaviour analysis
This module is for postgraduate students of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). Behavioural assessment and intervention techniques are core elements of ABA. This module trains the student to use these elements in the applied domain to develop effective intervention plans for individuals suffering from behavioural deficits or excesses. This module will prepare students for placement (Coleraine only) in ABA as well as lay the foundations for the research dissertation for Masters students.

Year two

Research Methods and Advanced Techniques in Applied Behaviour Analysis
This module builds upon earlier elements of the postgraduate course in Applied Behaviour Analysis Society. The module facilitates the development of the skills and knowledge necessary to become an effective applied scientist and the critical viewpoint required to remain one. It reflects the scientist-practitioner module in emphasising both the responsibility of the behaviour analyst to their client and the need to use of sophisticated behavioural strategies.

Dissertation based on a research project in applied behaviour analysis
This module is for students on MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis and draws on prior training research methods. It provides experience of conducting a research study and producing a dissertation at postgraduate level that contains data presented in a manner typical of that used in international journals in this field. Students must have completed all taught elements of the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis prior to submitting a dissertation.

Preparing for a Research Project
This module is optional
This module is intended to bring the critical thinking and academic writing skills of postgraduate students in Behaviour Analysis up to the level required for writing theses and academic papers in their discipline. Objectives will include: competence in critical thinking skills, and developing the ability to revise and edit drafts of documents of all types relating to research in their discipline.

Placement with work experience in applied behaviour analysis
This module is optional
In this work-experience placement module, students on postgraduate courses in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) will transfer their learning from previous modules into practice. Students may be able to access placement opportunities in local agencies where ABA is practiced, international agencies with whom links are established, or experimental settings. It is essential that appropriate supervision is available and that ethical guidelines are followed. This experience is an essential step towards achieving professional competence.

Work placement / study abroad

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.

Entry requirements

To apply to our postgraduate taught programmes, you must meet the University's General Entrance Requirements and any course-specific requirements.

These vary depending on the course and are detailed online.

If English language is not your first language this course requires a minimum English level of IELTS 6.0, or equivalent. Visit for more details on English language requirements.

For full entry requirements please see "Course Web Page" below.

Application dates

Your Application
You can apply directly to Ulster any time of year. We advise that you submit your application two weeks prior to your course start date to ensure sufficient time to review your application and, should you be made an offer, complete all necessary enrolment admin.

To start an application, you must create an Ulster University account. Do not worry. You don't need to complete your application in one go. We understand that this is a big decision. Our admissions team are on hand to help you with both the form and any documentation that you may need as part of your application.

Application is through the University's online application system (see "Application Weblink" below).



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.

Behavior Analysis Cerification Board ( stipulate that students must attend at least 80% of Verified Course Sequence classes in order to eligible to apply for the Certification Exam.

Enrolment dates

Year of entry: 2020/21

Postgraduate Information Session 26 March 2020
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Post Course Info

Graduates have had successful careers in health authorities and charities as behaviour specialists or gone to work privately by providing home and schoolbased behavioural interventions for families. They have also gone on to work as behaviour analysts in countries including the US and Canada.

Approved by the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Part time

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