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MSc|Postgraduate Taught

Applied Behaviour Analysis

Entry year
Entry requirements
2.2 (minimum 55%)
3 years (Part-time)
1 year (Full-time)
Places available
no limit (Part Time)
no limit (Full Time)

Behaviour analysis is the science of understanding behaviour. Therapies and strategies derived from the science have a wealth of evidence showing the effectiveness in helping people learn new skills as well as reducing behaviours that may be harmful to them or others. Behaviour analysis has been recognised as an effective intervention and educational provision for many clinical (e.g., autism) or non-clinical (industry) populations. With the growing prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (now estimated to be 1:36) behaviour analysis has experienced a significant rise in popularity with many behaviour analysts working with this population.

There are over 68,000 certified behaviour analysts 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, health and social care settings and organisational leadership settings.

This programme is a highly interactive learning programme. All key teaching takes place online with on-campus seminars taking place once per semester. The programme provides 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 a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) (only applicable for students residing in the United States), a UKBA(cert) and to those in the ‘helping’ professions (e.g. teachers, speech/language therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists) as well as students preparing for PhD studies.

Please note that unfortunately this course is not eligible for a Student visa.

Closing date for applications: Friday 30th August 2024 at 4pm.

Over 83% of research submitted by colleagues based in the Education Unit of Assessment was judged to be ‘World Leading’ or ‘Internationally Excellent' by a peer review panel (REF2021).

Applied Behaviour Analysis highlights

Career Development

ABAI Verification
The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified the following courses toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination. Applicants will need to meet additional eligibility requirements and demonstrate they reside in an authorized country and province [Canada] before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination.

Queen’s Verified Course Sequence had an outstanding pass rate of 77% in the 2021 BCBA exam (BACB pass rates at, evidence of the high teaching quality that our students avail of.

Student Experience

The programme is designed to meet the needs of local and international professionals and is delivered via blended learning. A Postgraduate Diploma in ABA option is also available as an exit route.

Career Development

UK-SBA Verification
The UK Society for Behaviour Analysis (UK-SBA) oversees behaviour analysis in the UK. This programme endorses and adheres to the UK-SBA's practice values and Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct.

This programme meets the eligibility requirements for candidates to take the UKBA(cert) examination after January 1 2026. Candidates will also be required to complete the UK-SBA Supervision and Competence Standards and pass a qualifying exam.

Industry Links

The supervised practice element is not included in the programme. However, the Centre for Behaviour Analysis has close links with international service and placement providers and can provide contacts for supervised placements in line with the BACB experience standards as well as the UK-SBA standards of competence.

Course Structure

Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (2**-3 years) basis. Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester. Individual modules may be studied as a short course.

The MSc is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS) and a 15,000-word dissertation (60 CATS) or ABA Portfolio (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.

** the 2-year part-time study route is subject to specific University regulations.

Indicative Proportional Mix of Time in Classes, Tutorials/Seminars/Labs, and Private Study in a Teaching Semester: 15- or 17.5-hours online delivery, 5- or 2.5-hours face-to-face seminar per 20 CATS point module.

People teaching you


email: As part of the teaching team, Devon is involved in convening two modules as well as providing supervision for both Master’s and PhD students. Her research focus is primarily on the application of behavioural interventions to improve the quality of life of individuals with disabilities and their caregivers. Other research interests include improving the psychosexual development of adolescents with ASD; using lag schedules of reinforcement to improve behavioural variability; telehealth and parent training; technology-based instruction, and variations of the functional analysis to develop function-based interventions for behaviours that challenge.


Email: Jenny convenes two modules on the MScABA, as well as supervising PhD and MSc student research projects. Jenny is qualified as both a teacher and behaviour analyst and has extensive international experience working in clinical and education settings. Her research has the overarching theme of using innovative technological solutions to create skills and remove barriers to positive social change for autistic individuals. She has particular interests in telehealth, virtual reality and assistive technology. Jenny is also passionate about teaching through play and creating motivation for increased communication whilst ensuring assent.

Senior Lecturer

Email: Katerina is a Senior Lecturer and Centre for Behaviour Analysis Deputy Director. Katerina has extensive clinical experience in numerous countries overseeing the provision of ABA-based services. At Queen’s, she teaches Master’s students, serves as a PhD supervisor, and conducts research in the areas of behaviour analysis, autism, verbal behaviour, evidence-based education, telehealth and professional training.

Programme Director, Lecturer.

email: Nichola is course director of the MScABA and also has extensive experience working in clinical settings with children, young people and adults with an autism spectrum disorder. She supervises both Master’s students and PhD students in many areas but particularly in areas for improving education using innovative technologies. Other areas of interest include autism and mental health difficulties, behaviour analysis, effective education and inclusion, and using virtual reality to increase academic attainment.


email: Karola is the Director for the Centre for Behaviour Analysis and the Course Director for the MSc ASD, as well as the convenor for the ABA portfolio. She has vast experience in applied settings working with many different clinical populations. Her main research interests are in ABA and evidence-based decision making in clinical and educational interventions. Throughout her extensive research career, she has been involved in a range of research including parent training, child sex abuse, child protection behavioural social work, and child behaviour management. Her most sustained input into the literature in the field has been in relation to early behavioural interventions, social validity, and parent training in autism. Karola is involved in the supervision of PhD students.

Teaching Times

Online content is available on a weekly basis and students can flexibly choose when to complete tasks within weekly deadlines specific to each module. Half or full-day on-campus seminars take place once per semester for each module.

Learning and Teaching

Learning opportunities available with this course are outlined below:

  • Online Learning

    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, one-day or half-day consolidation seminar takes place once during each module to give students the opportunity to meet each other and course tutors face-to-face.

    Students can study at the time of their convenience within pre-determined weekly periods.

    Contact Teaching Hours per Week
    Typically, 4-6 hours per week per module.


Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

  • Modules are assessed through (1) weekly multiple-choice tests or weekly discussion forums, as well as (2) a summative multiple-choice exam or final essay.

    Information on required assessments is provided at the beginning of each module.

    Modules (all 20 CATS points):
    Assessment in Behaviour Analysis (ongoing assessment and final essay)
    Behaviour Change and Education and Supervising Others (multiple-choice tests and final essay)
    Concepts and Principles of Behaviour Analysis (ongoing assessment and summative multiple-choice exam)
    Ethical and Professional Conduct (ongoing assessment and final essay)
    Evaluation in Behaviour Analysis (ongoing assessment and final essay)
    Fundamental Elements of Behaviour Change (weekly discussion forum posts and summative multiple-choice exam)

    Students are expected to audit 'An introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education' online module in Semester 2.


The School is situated across a suite of three buildings in Belfast's Queen's Quarter. We provide student and staff common rooms, computer suites and designated study spaces.

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The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

    Dissertation (60 credits)

Entrance requirements


Normally a strong 2.2 Honours degree (with minimum of 55%) or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject discipline plus one year of experience in an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) or related context and access to an ABA related working environment.

Applicants with a 2.2 Honours degree below 55% (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.

Applicants with a lower level of performance in an Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may also be considered if they have at least three years of experience in an ABA related context and access to an ABA related working environment.

Applicants with a sub-honours degree level qualification or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may also be considered if they have at least five years of experience in an ABA related context and access to an ABA related working environment.

Applicants who do not satisfy the above but who are holders of an equivalent approved professional qualification or work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Please note that this is an online course.

Unfortunately, this course is not eligible for a Tier 4 visa.

Closing date for applications: Friday 30th August 2024 at 4pm

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal prior to the deadline stated on course finder. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.



Career Prospects


Most students are already in relevant jobs and the job market is healthy for behaviour analysts at present. Professional behaviour analysts 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 (psychologists, teachers, speech/language therapists, occupational therapists). Increasingly, jobs advertised for behaviour managers or specialists require BCBA status and there is a demand for BCBAs in Europe and worldwide, especially in North America.

Those registered with the UK-SBA who work in health and social care or education are accredited under the Professional Standards Authority’s Accredited Registers programme.

Teachers as well as allied health professionals should find this degree beneficial for their workplace.

Employment after the Course

There is a shortage of professional Behaviour Analysts worldwide. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to work in educational and clinical settings serving diverse populations, such as individuals with developmental disorders, students with learning difficulties, children/adults with behaviour problems and related difficulties.

An analysis of the demand for BCBAs in the USA provided details on the most frequent job roles. For information, visit:

Prizes and Awards

Teachers working on classroom-based dissertation projects may apply for the Northern Ireland Centre for Educational Research (NICER) award.

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £7,300
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £7,300
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £21,500
International £21,500

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

Students who choose to conduct research, involving participants under the age of 18, will be required to undergo a criminal background check, applicable to the country where the research is conducted, and according to QUB regulations. The price for this will vary depending on the country and students should budget for costs up to £150.

Students who choose to conduct research, involving participants under the age of 18, will be required to undergo a criminal background check, applicable to the country where the research is conducted, and according to QUB regulations. The price for this will vary depending on the country and students should budget for costs up to £150.

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

How do I fund my study?

The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £6,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £11,836 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

More information on funding options and financial assistance - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at



How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Apply now

When to Apply

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

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