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MSc | Postgraduate Taught

Applied Behaviour Analysis

Entry year
Entry requirements
1 years (Full Time)
3 years (Part Time)
Places available
no limit
  • Overview

    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 1:59) behaviour analysis has experienced a significant rise in popularity.

    There are over 29,000 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 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.

    Applied Behaviour Analysis highlights

    Our educational research has been ranked 4th within the UK in relation to research intensity with 87% assessed as ‘internationally excellent or world leading’ (REf, 2014).

    Industry Links

    • The Centre for Behaviour Analysishas close links with international service and placement providers, and can provide contacts for supervised placements.

    Career Development

    • ABAI Verification The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) 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. Queen’s Verified Course Sequence had an outstanding pass rate of 92% in the 2018 BCBA exam (BACB pass rates), strong evidence of the high teaching quality that our students avail of.

    Student Experience

    • Flexibility The programme is designed to meet the needs of the local and international professionals and is delivered via blended learning. A Postgraduate Diploma in ABA option is also available.
    “The MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis is a highly flexible programme that responds to current professionals’ and students’ needs for an evidence-based education that is readily applicable with a range of populations. The programme offers great opportunities for professional development as well as a solid basis of research skills that can lead to a doctorate in the area of ABA.”

    Dr Katerina Dounavi, Programme Director

    Brexit Advice

    Information on the implications of Brexit for prospective students.

  • Course content

    Course Structure

    Course DetailsStudents 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.

    Please note that unfortunately this course is not eligible for a Tier 4 visa.

    Indicative Number of Modules per Semester
    Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.

    Modules (all 20 CATS points)

    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

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

    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

    Dr Catherine Storey


    Dr Katerina Dounavi
    Programme Director and Deputy Director, Centre for Behavior Analysis

    Email: Dr Katerina Dounavi's work involves teaching Master's level students, supervising PhD students, coordinating the MSc in ABA, and conducting research in the areas of behaviour analysis, autism, early intervention, telehealth, verbal behaviour, education and related.

    Professor Karola Dillenburger
    Professor and Director, Centre for Behaviour Analysis

    Professor Karola Dillenburger is a clinical psychologist and BCBA-D. Her main research leadership concerns Applied Behaviour Analysis and evidence-based decision making and intervention in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

    Teaching Times

    Online content is available on a weekly basis and students can flexibly choose when to complete them within the daily or weekly deadlines that the tutor has set up. Half or full-day on-campus workshops take place once per semester for each module.

    Career Prospects

    The majority of students are already in relevant jobs and the job market is healthy for BCBAs at present. Professionals who are 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 (eg teachers, speech/language therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists). 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.

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

    Employment after the Course
    There is a shortage of Board Certified Behavior 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 with behaviour problems and related.

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

    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 workshop 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 daily or weekly periods.

    Contact Teaching Hours per Week
    Typically 4-5 hours per week per module.


    Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

    Modules are assessed by a variety of methods, eg multiple choice tests, essays, project reports, and contributions to an online discussion forum


    The Graduate School

  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance 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 (ABA) 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.

    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.

    Closing date for applications: Friday 31 May 2019 at 4.00pm.
    Late applications may be considered.

    International Students

    For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

    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.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) £5,900
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £5,900
    Other (non-UK) EU £5,900
    International £16,400

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2019-20 and relate to one year of study only. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    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.

    Applied Behaviour Analysis 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.

    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 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 £10,609 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.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

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

    Apply now

    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 2019 Entry.

    Download a prospectus

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